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PhD Program Alumni Profile and Spotlight: Rawley Heimer

From the Federal Reserve to the Classroom


Rawley Heimer, PhD '13
Alexandria, Virginia

Rawley Heimer, PhD ’13 was certain he knew what he wanted to do when he began his studies and research at Brandeis International Business School (IBS). In his time at Brandeis, his passions developed and took him in unexpected directions. Dr. Heimer began his post-graduate work at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and now works as an Assistant Professor at Boston College.  

What drew you to the PhD program at Brandeis IBS?

I had been in contact with some of the faculty before applying and was able to get a good sense of the high-quality individuals there with varying experiences from academia to policy to business-oriented positions. There’s also a great diversity of faculty interest within the sphere I was interested in – policy – so there were many faculty working in my field.

How did Brandeis IBS impact your career?

I had the opportunity to teach, to stand in front of a classroom and communicate ideas to students. That helps with your research because it helps you digest pretty complicated ideas and package them in terms that are simpler and easier for individuals to understand. And in turn, that helps you write your papers better. It helps you to see where you might have difficulties communicating various subjects to individuals who may not be familiar with the subject matter you’re working on. Another was having good relationships with the professors and advisors. It helped make me a better colleague both at the federal and academic career levels. Being a part of an academic department helps you see how it takes everyone’s best efforts and involvements to make sure that you have a good community. All of these things have value in your subsequent career, whether teaching at a university or being part of a policy group at the Fed.

What made your experience at Brandeis IBS unique?

You get exposed to so many different ideas, and opportunities arise in different areas. When I finished my course work and started to build my research portfolio, I discovered different areas of study from those that had made my academic career so far. One of the good things that came of that was that the program was flexible enough to allow me to discover and explore some areas of research that I did not previously anticipate having interest in. The community was good in terms of giving ideas and supporting my branching out in new ways.