MA achievement

A High Ranking for the M.A. Program in Economics

econ50The M.A. program in Economics at the University of Connecticut has been ranked #38 of the 157 programs evaluated in the Financial Engineer’s 2015 Master of Economics Rankings.

A variety of factors are used to evaluate each program, including acceptance rates, the employment prospects for new graduates, and starting salaries and bonuses.  The results are considered “”the most comprehensive rankings for graduate financial economics programs in the United States.”


Oskar Harmon featured in article written by MA student Andrew Sparks

On Wednesday, November 16, 2011, UConn Today featured an article about Professor Oskar Harmon’s innovations to traditional class methods.  The article was written by one of the department’s MA students, Andrew Sparks.

Andrew’s article outlines Prof. Harmon’s efforts to makes his lectures and class discussions available online and on mobile devices. For example, Prof. Harmon has re-formatted his lectures so that they can be played on smart-phones, and has opened class discussion threads on Facebook so that his students can choose to learn and participate on mobile devices. Andrew notes the significance of this, as Prof. Harmon recognizes the need to give students several options for participation beyond email, HuskyCT forums, and in-class lectures.  Prof. Harmon saw a new opportunity in mobile media (smart-phones, tablets, etc.) and rolled out the new formats this semester.

The link to the article is here:

Be sure to check UConn Today for future articles on the Econ department faculty, also written by Andrew.

Stockton to Receive Distinguished Alumni Award

The UConn Alumni Association recently announced that David Stockton has been named to receive the 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award. After completing his BA and MA at UConn in just four years (1972-76), under the supervision of Professor Emeritus William McEachern, Stockton obtained a second MA and his PhD in Economics at Yale University. A Danforth Fellow, Yale Fellow, and member of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi, Stockton joined the Federal Reserve’s Division of Research and Statistics in 1981. Since 2000, he has served as the Director of Research and Statistics, overseeing the Fed’s large staff of PhD economists who conduct research and inform the Fed’s Board of Governors–the architects of U.S. monetary policy.

Both the current Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke, and his predecessor Alan Greenspan have strongly praised Stockton’s expertise and advice on economic matters. In addition to his responsibilities for directing longer-term research projects at the Fed, Stockton presents regular economic forecasts to the Federal Open Market Committee–the group of officials that regularly meets to decide Fed policies and actions that shape banking operations and interest rates in the U.S. and abroad. Stockton’s public service career continues a family tradition. David’s father, Ed Stockton served as Mayor of the Town of Bloomfield, and later was named Commissioner of Economic Development under Governors Ella Grasso and William O’Neill. The Stockton family’s New Jersey ancestor Richard Stockton signed the Declaration of Independence.

Stockton will be officially honored at an Alumni Association event in the South Campus Rome Hall Ballroom, on October 1, 2010.

There is more about David Stockton in the UConn Alumni Magazine

MA Alumnus appointed CFO of prominent Chinese biotechnology firm

From PRNewswire:

3SBio Inc. (NASDAQ:SSRX), a leading biotechnology company focused on researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing biopharmaceutical products primarily in China, today announced that it has appointed Mr. Bo Tan as Chief Financial Officer, effective February 1, 2009. Since joining 3SBio in October 2008, Mr. Tan has been acting as the financial advisor for the company, providing advice on the company’s capital market initiatives and overseeing the company’s treasury functions.

Dr. Jing Lou, Chief Executive Officer of 3SBio, commented, “I am delighted to name Bo as our CFO, given both his recent contributions to 3SBio as financial advisor and the broad wealth of experience he brings, as reflected by his previous roles in the financial services industry and pharmaceutical industry. I strongly believe that his skills and experience will further benefit our company during an important time of our development.”

Mr. Tan, 36, has extensive experience within the financial and pharmaceutical industries, having worked across private equity, equity research and commercial practice. Previously, he has served as the Executive Director and a member of Investment Committee for Bohai Industrial Fund Management Company, a private equity fund in China. Earlier in his career, he spent six years in the pharmaceutical industry with Eli Lilly & Company and EMD Pharmaceuticals, Inc in North America and went on to serve as a China healthcare and consumer analyst at Lehman Brothers Asia and Macquarie Securities in Hong Kong.

Mr. Tan received his MBA degree from Thunderbird School of International Management, an MA degree in economics from the University of Connecticut and a BA degree in economics from Renmin University of China. Mr. Tan is also a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst).

Maintain a ‘can-do’ attitude, speaker (MA Econ) tells winter graduates

Approach life with a positive attitude, protect your health, and be personally accountable. That’s the advice businessman and philanthropist Denis McCarthy gave to students at UConn’s winter commencement exercises in Gampel Pavilion on Dec. 14.

About 800 students – including more than half who earned their degrees from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences – were joined by friends and family members for the ceremony.

Having a positive attitude in life helps build self-confidence, McCarthy told the crowd. “Certainly you have to be realistic depending on the subject or circumstance, but having that ‘can do’ attitude will help you be enthusiastic and passionate about what you do professionally,” he said. “Those are two excellent leadership skills.”

McCarthy is the retired chairman, CEO, and president of Fidelity Management Trust Co., a subsidiary of Fidelity Investments, one of the world’s leading providers of financial services. During the ceremony, he received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

McCarthy earned a bachelor’s degree in finance at UConn in 1964, and a master’s degree in economics in 1965. He is co-chair of UConn’s capital campaign and a member of the UConn Foundation board of directors, which he chaired from 2000-2004.

Read more at UConn Advance

Studying in the MA program: the economics of a new perspective

Lawrence Posner with Professors Ray and Heffley
From CLAS Notes:

Retirement in the traditional sense held little interest for Lawrence E. Posner, MD, ’05 MA, Economics.

In 2003 he retired from Bayer Pharmaceutical Corp., West Haven, Conn., where he was senior vice president for research and development and worldwide head of regulatory affairs, overseeing some 800 employees.

He then accepted an offer to become head of U.S. R & D for Yamanouchi Pharma Ltd. of Tokyo, but left when that company merged with another and moved to Chicago.

That freed him to do what most people with an MD and a successful career behind them might not: Go back to school.

It had been on his mind for a while. He felt comfortable in the world of ideas and research – he began his career with specialty training in medical oncology, then spent three years at the National Cancer Institute, studying RNA tumor viruses and working in the Laboratory of Tumor Cell Biology under Dr. Robert Gallo, a pioneer in HIV research.

This time, he wanted to study economics – not business, he notes, but academic economics.

“Economists like to focus on utility – why people make decisions,” he says. “Economics give you that kind of perspective, on why people make certain choices.”

Returning to school at age 56 proved to be daunting. Most schools would not accept him as a degree student, and some did not even respond to his inquiries.

Metin M. Cosgel, professor of economics in CLAS at UConn, suggested that he enroll for a master’s degree rather than a PhD, to see how he liked it.

So Posner took an apartment on campus in Storrs, commuting home to Greenwich on weekends, and started his first semester with four courses.

“The teaching at UConn was great. The faculty was so well prepared and had such a command of the material,” he says.

And it was tough. In Prof. Kathleen Segerson’s micro-economics course, where he was the oldest student in the class and couldn’t read the blackboard because of a cataract, he earned a C.

He had been a good math student as an undergraduate at Brandeis University, but that was in the days when calculating meant whipping out a slide rule. As a grad student at UConn, he had to learn simple computer programming and revisit statistics, matrix algebra, and calculus.

Other grad students – some the same age as his son – helped him.

“I’m very grateful for my study group,” he says.

“Medical school was easy compared to going back,” adds Posner, who earned his MD with honors at Case Western Reserve University.

But Posner stuck with it, brought up his grade average, and earned his degree. He is now writing a paper with his thesis adviser, Prof. Dennis Heffley, on the effects of health care spending on life expectancy.

Health care policy, a hot button issue on the state and national political scenes, is one of his interests.

“The solution is not that hard,” he maintains. “There are ways out there to spend less with similar outcomes.”

After earning his master’s, he accepted a two-year contract assignment with Bayer, his former employer, before it merged with Schering AG.

Now he serves on corporate pharmaceutical boards – Labopharm, Inc., and Noxxon Pharma AG – and he is a general partner at Vedanta Capital in New York City, where he specializes in health care investments.

His wife, Amy Newburger, has a dermatology practice. Their daughter recently entered medical school at Columbia University Medical Center at 26, after majoring in theater arts in college, and their son is in graduate school in mathematics at New York University.

“To this day, they want to know why I didn’t walk at graduation,” he says.

But he is proud of his hard-earned degree. As he told Heffley, when Beethoven was asked which of his works he was proudest of, he referred to his only opera, Fidelio, because it was the most difficult and therefore the most dear.

Shortly after earning his master’s, Posner was approached by a biotechnology company in California that was looking for a CEO, but he would have had to relocate from Connecticut for up to three years.

His question to himself was, “Is it really going to make my life that much better?” he says.

“You start making economic decisions,” he adds.

Winter graduation ceremony set for Dec. 14 at Gampel

Denis M. McCarthy, retired chairman, CEO, and president of Fidelity Management Trust Co., a subsidiary of Fidelity Investments, will deliver the keynote address during Commencement on Dec. 14.

More than 800 students are expected to graduate during the University’s sixth annual mid-term Commencement Exercises, which begin at 2 p.m. in Gampel Pavilion.

McCarthy, who earned a bachelor’s degree in finance at UConn in 1964, and a master’s degree in economics in 1965, is co-chair of UConn’s current capital campaign and a member of the UConn Foundation Board of Directors. He chaired the board from 2000 to 2004.

He will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree during the December ceremony.

“I’m forever grateful for what a UConn education has meant in my life,” says McCarthy. “In my younger days, UConn was there for me and gave me a great start on life.”

Read more in the UConn Advance.