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Darla Moore School of Business


MAEcon candidate learns to better adapt to life's changes

Oct. 16, 2018

Sara Dixson, Master of Arts in Economics (MAEcon) candidate


Why did you attend the MAEcon program?
I completed my undergraduate degree at the Moore School in economics and marketing. I learned about the MAEcon program in one of my economics classes. I liked that it’s only a year long and had a small class size. I’ve had a great experience in both my undergraduate and graduate study at the Moore School.

Who at the Moore School most impacted you?
Our previous program director, Scott Ranges, and our current program director, Cynthia Stanley. Both were instrumental in making sure that all of our program questions, and even USC-related questions, were answered. They made the transition to a graduate school program easier and are always available to the students if they needed anything.

The Office of Career Management, specifically Stacey Yeoman, has also been very helpful to me during my time in the MAEcon program. We participated in weekly meetings that covered everything from resume formatting to job searching to professional dress. These meetings were extremely effective in making sure that the MAEcon students were well prepared and confident in our job searching process.

What has been your favorite thing that you’ve learned in your program?
One of my favorite things that I’ve learned in the MAEcon program is the use of statistical programming. The MAEcon program allows students to earn a Certificate of Applied Statistics. Being able to learn about statistical programming and more about statistics in general has been very interesting and has made me more marketable in my job search.

I’ve also enjoyed the friendships I’ve made with my cohort. We all get along very well. Having a small group of people to go through this program with who understand the struggles and joys of the program has been great.

What has been the most useful thing you've learned?
I’ve learned many useful things in the MAEcon program, but I think the most useful is that time management is key. It can be quite an adjustment to go from doing undergraduate coursework and to diving into graduate school work. The coursework we were assigned varied in difficultly, so it was essential that I allocated my time correctly in order to complete assignments by their respective deadlines. Improving my time management skills has definitely prepared me for any work I will be doing after graduation.

I’ve also learned that doing things outside of your comfort zone will make you a better person, both personally and professionally.

Where do you see yourself in five to 10 years?
I’m interested in using economics to improve the health care field, so I see myself ultimately working in the health care sector or for the government. One area that interests me is price gouging in drugs that are necessary for survival. Having better regulations on drug pricing could potentially make the prices of drugs more affordable, so I can see myself doing work in that area.

Also, the U.S. spends a large share of the GDP on health care, but U.S. citizens are not the healthiest people, nor do they have the highest life expectancy. Essentially, the market for health care is inefficient. I believe an improvement could be made by lowering the amount of money the U.S. spends on health care while ensuring Americans maintain their level of health. My role in using economics would be to research or provide information that could be useful in changing these health care policies.

In five to 10 years, I would like to be successful in either field and hopefully making a positive impact on the world.