Thursday, November 02, 2006

(Informal) Campus Visit

Go to a UK university to present my job market paper at their Labour Workshop. Iwan, the host, told me to come by midday, although the workshop would start at 1 pm. I wondered why. It turns out that there is a faculty lunch from midday every Thursday at the department of economics, and Iwan wanted me to join this. I was introduced to several faculty members. It's difficult for me to catch names when being introduced. I shouldn't be lazy about this. A job market guide says, "Try to remember who you met."

Then it's 1 pm. In front of about 20 people (I'm not sure how many of them are faculty members and how many are PhD students), I present my paper. During the introduction, the floor is quiet. But once I get into the body of the talk, questions erupt. Two parts of my presentation turn out to solicit lots of questions: the measurement of democracy and the analysis of pathways. Iwan suggests (after the seminar) deleting the measurement of democracy part. That's what Oriana also suggested. I should talk to Tim on this. For pathways, I learn that I should make it clear at the beginning of the talk that which pathway is unlikely, which is likely, and which cannot be tested. It seems I gave an impression that the only pathway is sanitation. No, that's not what I wanted to say.

When Iwan tells me that I have one minute left, I don't understand that correctly as my mobile tells me I have five minutes---my mobile clock is wrong. So I fail to jump to the conclusion, ending up having no time for the conclusion slide.

After the seminar, one faculty member comes to me, giving some comments. If the number of people wanting to talk after the seminar is an indicator for success, this is not very good.

After leaving the seminar room, Iwan takes me to the office of one of his colleagues. He gives me some comments on my work. I should have asked about his research as some job market guides suggest. I remember this when he is taking me back to Iwan's office. Too late.

Iwan gives me quite a few comments, not only the research itself but also some tips for the presentation style. I ask him, "How do you evaluate my talk today?" He says I should have deferred questions if I will cover them later. Answering all questions on the spot distorts the structure of the talk, leaving the audience into confusion.

We talk until about 3:15 pm. As Iwan needs to teach from 4 pm, we say goodbye.

I don't know if today's talk is an informal job talk as Oriana suggested. Some faculty members including Iwan asked me where I'm looking for a job. I answered anywhere in the world. I added I'm going to apply to their department (which is true anyway). But Iwan told me that his department won't go to the AEA meeting this January (like LSE) because interviewed candidates often refuse to come over to England. This suggests that what they want to know about me is whether I have intention to remain in England.

It was a valuable experience. It's kind of a practice campus-visit. (Maybe it wasn't a practice, though.) I learn loads of things about what's going to happen early next year.

I directly go home, instead of going to LSE. I should relax a bit this evening. From tomorrow, I need to revise the paper, prepare the presentation for the mock job talk a week on Monday, and start sending application packets.

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