Why choose IDE? - “The Hindu” interviews Pariroo (IDE ‘18) on her PhD applications and work

June 12, 2019

Below is a condensed version of an interview with Pariroo Rattan on her academic success, first published in "The Hindu". Read the full interview here.

After completing BA (Hons) Economics at Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Pariroo Rattan (IDE'18) joined the IDE programme, which she picked over Oxford, LSE, and UCL. Pariroo wrote her IDE thesis on how culture can reduce certain kinds of market failure.

Following this, she has been living and working in the Economics department at Yale University, University of Oslo, London School of Economics, and College de France conducting research with a team of four professors at each of these universities on the structural transformation of India (Agriculture, Manufacturing, Services) since 1980s.

Come August, she will be starting her Ph.D programme at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. What makes this noteworthy is that she also received acceptance offers from most other top schools such as Stanford, Yale, Berkeley, Columbia, Brown, LSE, Northwestern, and University of Chicago, for their Ph.D [Economics] programme.

In the article Pariroo talks about how IDE enabled her to reach this point. 

“During my time at Yale, apart from the core courses in Economics I had to take, I also took Ph.D level classes in the Department of History and Political Theory. I took a high-level proof-based class in the Mathematics department on real analysis. I also worked part time for three economists at Yale in conducting research and developing undergraduate and graduate level courses,” says Pariroo.

"At Yale too, I have greatly benefitted from the network of students and alumni who have gone on to pursue PhD programmes. The Director of my Master’s degree has been one of the most brilliant and committed teachers I have had the privilege of knowing, and I am most grateful for his continuous guidance."

What made Pariroo so successful is that she made use of pretty much every office hour and the many optional seminars and courses available to any IDE student at Yale:

"I wouldn’t see any of the work I have done beyond academics as pushing myself “extra”. I think being a young thinker involves curating learnings beyond regular classroom work."

After discussing the merits of having a good work life balance to avoid being burned out in an intense one-year master program, Pariroo goes on to discuss Economists' careers in general:

"Students interested in a plethora of jobs across the corporate sector or entrepreneurship can find firm grounding here. Many economists go on to do policy formation, implementation and evaluation work with governments, multi-national institutions (like World Bank, United Nations, IMF, ILO), NGOs and local organisations. Those interested in research work and teaching can work as professors, academics, and lecturers in universities. Economics think-tanks occupy a unique space of advocacy between academia and government opening up doors to economists and policy enthusiasts."

Finally, Pariroo outlines challanges that she faced coming from the Indian education system. In particular she mentions the lack of a thesis requirement in India as well as a lack of opportunities to learn coding as a main issue.  Pariroo loved writing her Development Paper at IDE and made use (like many IDE students) of the available coding classes.


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