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"Success Begins When You Listen and Collaborate with Others"

World Ready Research - Q&A with Satyam Panday, PhD '13

Satyam Panday

February 12, 2016

Satyam Panday, PhD '13 is a U.S. Economist in the Global Economics and Research division at Standard & Poor's Rating Services. Throughout his time at Brandeis IBS, he examined the fields of labor economics, applied econometrics, and development and transition economics, focusing his dissertation on economic mobility. Satyam, now based in New York, NY,  took time to reflect upon his experiences as a PhD student and their effect on his career. 

What inspired you to come to Brandeis IBS?

I was drawn to the school’s strong faculty, their research topics and the international student body – and being in Boston was a plus as well. I am from Kathmandu, Nepal, and had been living in the U.S. since my undergraduate days. The transition to Brandeis IBS was smooth, partly because I had been in the country for some time, and more important, because the Student Services and Career offices were always there to guide me through any issues I had.

How did the international aspect of the school’s community affect your research?

Brandeis IBS provided me the opportunity to work with peers from different cultural and geographic backgrounds. In particular, experiences and insights of friends from developing countries fostered my continued interest in conducting research on subjects related to international finance and development economics.

Do those same factors influence your work today?

I develop S&P’s U.S. economic forecasts, provide insights into U.S. macroeconomic outlook and develop thought pieces on economic policy actions. I started at the company immediately after I finished my PhD dissertation, and I continue to maintain collaborations with international colleagues, working with them on topics of macroeconomics that impact markets around the world. 

You had a great relationship with faculty while here. 

They’re both approachable and professional when interacting with students. I initially started out in the school’s MA program in International Economics and Finance, and Professor Can Erbil inspired me to pursue a PhD. I wanted to become a teacher like him. From there, my time as a PhD student was filled with candid and thoughtful interactions with faculty. I was fortunate to have [current OECD Chief Economist] Catherine Mann and George Hall as teachers and advisers, and to have rewarding experiences with wonderful professors such as Blake LeBaron, Kathryn Graddy, Nidhiya Menon, Gary Jefferson, Carol Osler, Judith Dean and Daniel Tortorice.

What’s your advice for students making the transition to their first job out of graduate school?

Success in the workplace begins with being able to listen and collaborate well with others. You have to start by soaking in the culture, understanding the strategic initiatives in place and bringing thoughtful suggestions, all while being respectful of what was established prior to your joining. In particular, PhD students generally get comfortable working alone while they’re in graduate school, so adjusting to that change is important. Through all of this, don’t be afraid to take on projects that are out of your comfort zone – these provide the most valuable learning experiences.