After leaving UConn with his MA in 2005, Steve Sugrue worked for Circuit City in Richmond, VA designing large-scale inventory demand forecasting systems and later moved to online/digital marketing. Since the company folded, he has been working for State Farm Insurance in Bloomington, IL as a Research Statistician, a PhD-level position. He does a lot of time series modeling related to banking deposit instruments and also some panel data modeling related to Internet consumers. He just started some work related to game-theoretic approaches to optimal financial product mixes over the customer life cycle.
The job is a mixture of economics and statistics. Steve does literature reviews to see how certain problems or classes of problems have been approached academically and he tries to adapt that to local needs. His group is more unconventional, in that it is bit of a think-tank in that it is called out to consult on the more esoteric issues that are not as clear-cut with respect to methodology choice and analytic flow. He states that his group’s job is to bring their bubble gum and duct tape expert opinions and experience and solve the problems. In this respect, the flexibility of the training of an economist, along with a few statistics classes have helped him a lot.