Catherine Tucker

Tell us about your career after graduating, and how you got to your current position

I went to do a PhD in economics at Stanford and then went straight on to do an Assistant Professor role at MIT. I have been at MIT for 17 years now and have risen through the tenure process to be a Chaired Professor.  


What aspects of your degree have been useful in your career?

Probably the training about how to write about economics. Also a lot of the non-mathematical intuition which is emphasized at undergraduate.  


What did you most enjoy about your time studying economics at Oxford?

My two favourite classes were Labour taught by Ken Mayhew and Economic Theory taught by David Myatt. 


How did Oxford influence you and your career choice?

Without Oxford, I would never have met Professor Myatt who was a lecturer at Nuffield there at the time who encouraged  me to apply for a PhD in Economics in the USA. 


What has been the biggest challenge in your career to date?

I have been incredibly blessed. It is hard to get tenure, but in some sense the fact it was so unlikely that you would ever get tenure at somewhere at MIT made it far easier for me to cope with the stress of the early years. I was quite accepting of the fact it almost certainly wouldn't work out.  


What advice would you give someone considering applying to study Economics at Oxford?

You will receive so much time and attention from some brilliant minds. Take advantage of it. 


Can you name three things you value most about your time at Oxford?

  • Conversations
  • The sheer beauty of the buildings that surround you 
  • Friendship