Spotlight on Social Sciences Alumni: Amanda Michaud

MichaudName: Amanda M Michaud

UR Major: Economics

Other UR Majors/Minors: Mathematics, Arabic

Additional Education: University of Minnesota, MA and PhD- Economics (2012)

Current City, State of Residence: Bloomington, Indiana

Job Title: Assistant Professor of Economics

Employer: University of Indiana- Bloomington

How did you choose your major(s)?

At Rochester, I sampled courses in political science, philosophy, and economics hoping to better understand the world around me. I found the mathematical rigor of economics provided the most satisfying way to organize my thoughts. We can argue about assumptions, but at least in economics, assumptions lead to definitive conclusions.

What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?

I rowed with the women’s crew team all four years at Rochester. My experience was a lesson in the value of grit. We all know it takes many days of consistent hard work to become a better athlete. However, I found the patience to continue through bad days an even more important factor. Since leaving Rochester, I have found an ability to not be discouraged by the many failures that come before success a difficult, but important trait.

What did you wish you had known before graduating? What would you have done differently?

I don’t have any regrets. I chose to put myself in deliberately hard situations. For instance, I struggled with my Arabic courses, so I studied abroad in Egypt. It was difficult, but my Arabic improved. Sometimes hard experiences do not come by choice, but we can always choose to learn from them.

What is your opinion regarding graduate school vs. working right after graduation?

I chose to go straight to graduate school. The logic that spoke to me is: the sooner you go, the more valuable your education is because you get to use it longer. Luckily, as economic students, you understand opportunity costs as well.

What early career advice can you give to current UR students studying economics?

The best first job is the one in which you can acquire skills that will make you attractive to other employers. You will pay for these skills with a lower starting wage, but you will have more opportunities.

What do you do now and why did you choose this career? Where would you like to be in five years?

I am an Assistant Professor of Economics at Indiana University in Bloomington. My job is to be curious and encourage students to be curious too. There is paperwork, but it is still the best job I could ask for. I chose this career because I am motivated by challenges and, as we have seen, the challenges posed to macroeconomists are never ending. Five years from now I hope to have put the power of the science to good use and to have challenged students to try out the “economic way of thinking”. Maybe I will have inspired a few to continue to explore economic logic as my professors at Rochester once inspired me.