Pietro Biroli




Graduated in September 2007 and holds a PhD from University of Chicago, IL, USA

I was part of the first cohort of students that began the Joint Degree Program between Bocconi and Louvain-La-Neuve. Although this fact had some drawbacks, especially from the bureaucratic standpoint, we were also very excited to begin this experience. The relationships with the other students were great: people with very different backgrounds, coming from all over Europe, Latin America and Africa, but all devoted to academics and the pursue of knowledge. We started sharing the little beauties and hardships of being a master students in LLN: we would work and eat together during the week, while on the weekend we often planned trips to the more mundane Brussels. The work load was quite significant, but that was part of the factors that contributed to making the Joint Degree an important experience: I especially liked the courses on econometrics and the lessons on Microeconomics, which took a different angle from the one that was proposed by the courses in Bocconi. Furthermore, the fact that faculty was smaller and very much devoted to research helped the interaction in the critical phase of the master dissertation. I decided to write a thesis on migration under the supervision of Prof. Docquier, whose knowledge in the subject and kind inclination towards his students still remain in my memories today; I remember that I would go to his office with a long list of question and he would go over them with me until I was completely satisfied. At the end of the courses, while I was writing the thesis, I also managed to obtain a job as a interimaire in the European Commission, in DG ECFIN. I could simply take the train from my house in LLN all the way to the commission, and this facilitated a lot my job. Overall, the experience in the Joint Degree helped me choosing the academic career: during the last semesters of the program I decided that I wanted to pursue further the research interest that I started developing, and therefore I started applying for a PhD in economics. I am now in the economics department of the University of Chicago, and part of the path that I've chosen has been detertermined during the 12 months spent in Belgium.