Brandeis International Business School

Raffi Garcia, PhD ’18: Making the Brandeis experience his own

Raffi Garcia, PhD '18
What drew you to the PhD program at Brandeis International Business School?

When I mentioned to my undergraduate thesis advisor that I was interested in applying to PhD programs in economics, he advised me to look into the PhD program at Brandeis. So when I was ready to apply to PhD programs, I remembered his advice and I looked into the program again. It was just the type of program that I was looking for. It was a small program with strong research faculty and a focus on international economics and finance — two of the fields that I was interested in. It was also located in the Boston area, a city that I love.

Additionally, the good placement history in both academic and non-academic research positions was also a plus, given my background in economic consulting and my interests in academia. I enjoy learning in small groups and building and feeling part of a community, so the International Business School seemed to be the right fit for me. 

How has the International Business School helped your career?

I think one of the things that sets the PhD program apart is that it’d essentially a PhD program in economics with a strong finance emphasis. So when you’re going into the job market, particularly the finance job market, the combination of economics and finance makes you a stronger candidate. This strength is highlighted by the program placement record. 

I owe a lot of my development as a researcher to the research faculty at the International Business School, particularly my PhD committee — Debarshi Nandy, Betsy Brainerd and Ricardo Lopez (my thesis committee chair) — and informal faculty mentors and advisors such as Aldo Mussacchio, Blake LeBaron, David Pettenuzzo and Kathryn Graddy. They helped me through the different stages of my development as a PhD student and contributed their expertise in fine-tuning my different research ideas in the fields of financial economics, empirical industrial organization and international trade. 

What made your experience at Brandeis unique?

As a PhD student, you typically work individually or with other PhD students. But I felt that Brandeis had given me this great opportunity and I wanted to make sure I gave back to the broader community. So I made it a point to branch out and interact with other students, faculty and staff that were not involved directly with the PhD program. For example, I became a Leadership Fellow and participated in student-run events including the Global Gala and 3 Day Startup Challenge. I also performed Latin dances at different Brandeis events, which was a lot of fun.

As a student, I feel that I contributed to the Brandeis experience while also making it my own. I am very proud of being an alumnus of Brandeis International Business School and I hope to continue to contribute to the community in the future. 

PhD in International Economics and Finance
Class of 2018

Job
Assistant Professor of Finance and Accounting (tenure-track), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Previous Experience
Lecturer, Brandeis University, 2014-2017
AEA Research Fellow, U.S. International Trade Commission, summer 2015
Senior Consultant, Booz Allen Hamilton, 2009-2011
Executive Assistant Planner, Macy’s Inc., 2005-2007

Previous Degrees
MA in Economics, Vanderbilt University, 2009
BA in Economics and Latin American Studies, Boston College, 2005

Home Country
Dominican Republic

Cecilia Maya
Cecilia Maya

MA ’00, PhD ’04