PhD in Economics

Scott Beaulier, 2004

Scott Beaulier

What work are you doing now?

I'm Dean of the College of Business at North Dakota State University. We are a Top 100 public university, and I'm quite possibly the youngest business dean in America at the moment.

What do you like about it?

I love the day-to-day variation in the work I do, the challenges that pop up unexpectedly, and the focus required on thinking about the long-term value we are adding to our student programs. Some days, I feel like an external facing CEO of a large organization and other days I'm engaged in detailed operational decisions that affect our curriculum. No two days are the same, and I'm constantly forced to dig deep into my own training and also learn new things to be at the top of my game.

How did your degree in the college prepare you to do this work?

The economics program at George Mason University is second to none in terms of its applied focus and focus on "daring to be different." I got the chance to work with great people--two Nobel laureates plus public intellectuals like Tyler Cowen and Pete Boettke. There's no place like Mason, and that intellectual environment helped crystallize my ability to think like an economist, which is how I'm wired to think and approach almost every issue I face in my current role.

What advice would you give current students about developing their careers?

Read. A lot. And, read far away from your field of study--it's amazing to me how often I'm drawing from literature, the great books, and research in other fields when working my way through a problem. Tune out the constant praise and satisfaction that comes from putting out a small fire--it's the long-term, bigger goals that are the ones that really define success; in other words, there are many ways we can be busy, busy, busy, but there are only a few paths to transformative results. I'm interested in the latter. Be brilliant with the basics.