all students

Chris Blattman's "10 things not enough kids know before going to college"


first years


economics and math economics majors

My advice

  • Take a calculus class at CC early. Even if you have Calc 1 on your transcript from high school, take Calc 2 here. The econ classes will feel easier when you've refreshed your math skills.
  • Finish the intermediate theory requirements (301 and 302) your sophomore year.
  • Think about taking econometrics your sophomore year. Professors are more likely to hire you as a research assistant after you've taken econometrics, and two summers of RA work is better than one.
  • Choose electives with an eye towards choosing your thesis topic. In addition to topics, take classes from professors you'd like to work with and learn skills that will be useful during your thesis.

Chris Blattman's "How much economics should you study in college?"



international political economy majors

My advice

  • Take Econometrics. It's not required of you (yet) but basic knowledge of regression analysis will be helpful in your career.
  • Take my Impact Evaluation class. You need to know how to measure the impact of the programs you will advocate in your career.


considering an economics phd?

My advice

  • Develop your data analysis skills. Take econometrics early and take it seriously, work as a research assistant for professors over the summers, emphasize data analysis in your thesis.
  • At minimum, you need Calc 1, Calc 2, Prob Stat, and Linear Algebra. Calc 3, Differential Equations, Statistical Modelling, Numerical Analysis, and Real Analysis are also good.
  • Take Real Analysis, but take it at a time when it will be your highest priority. Getting an A in Real will be a big help in getting you into top programs, and getting you funding.
  • Think about learning a programming language. Python is good for many tasks.
  • Work for 2 years after undergrad and before graduate school, preferably at a job that improves your data analysis or theoretical modeling skills. 

Dina Pomeranz's advice on Twitter

Eve Ewing's advice for students from historically underrepresented backgrounds, also on Twitter


Please help me add to this list!

jobs in international development


IPA (This is the group I worked for during graduate school)



IFPRI (This is where I did my post-doc)

Center for Global Development

The Brookings Institution

Abt Associates

Mathematica Policy Research


Other data monkey jobs

The Federal Reserve Board (This is what I did after college)

Other Federal Reserve Banks

The Brookings Institution

Urban Institute


Abt Associates

Mathematica Policy Research

The Lab @ DC

State Government

Local Government