John Taylor

Current Role: Expert Witness/Project Manager – Energy Regulatory and Financial Consulting
Graduate Year: 2006

What made you decide to earn your degree at American University as opposed to another institution?
I interviewed several universities and found that AU was set up to meet my specific needs (1) ability to dig deeply into a wide array of economic topics and subjects (2) ability to intermingle with doctorate students’ pursuit of cutting edge ideas and (3) balance between technical concepts and policy implications.  AU did indeed meet those expectations and surpassed them.

In your opinion, what do you think is your program’s biggest strength? Please explain why.
Outside of the location, which provides access to businesses, organizations, governments, and career opportunities, I found the professors to be outstanding.  The professors’ varied interests, deep experience, obvious passion, and excellent teaching capabilities are among the best I’ve experienced. Over the years talking to others with masters in economics I feel very lucky to have had them teach me.

How was the coursework and curriculum relevant to your field today? How did the faculty keep the curriculum current?
Utilities operate both in the macro economy and are subject to microeconomic influences.  The coursework and curriculum in micro, macro, and financial economics is very relevant to the financial and regulatory operations of utilities.  The statistical knowledge and mathematical economics knowledge gained through my coursework at AU directly applies to the financial and economic analysis we conduct for utilities throughout North America.  Coursework and case studies in each of my classes at AU involved current data, issues, and economic experiences, which allowed me to hit the ground running with my career.

Is there a class, project or assignment that was particularly memorable? Why?
Having great conversations with professors and other graduate and doctorate students helped develop my capacity to explain ideas in an accessible format.  I was able to further refine these skills as TA for introductory economics for undergraduates and the art of talking and explaining about economic principles and complex concepts is something I do daily in my current position.

Briefly describe in what ways the program exceeded your expectations.
I was very surprised at the community within the program.  I really got to know my professors and fellow students well; learning outside the classroom from their experiences, perspectives, and goals.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them and have kept up with a number of these friends over the years.  Also, I have continually been thrilled when I find a new way to apply directly the knowledge and skills gained at AU to my career within the utility sector.

What skills did you learn in the program? What were the major takeaways?
Focus – Perseverance – Collaboration – Self-Knowledge – Problem Solving – Confidence

Mathematics – Statistics – Economic Theory – Financial Theory – Monetary Theory

The major takeaway for me was that I can master complex ideas and that I thoroughly enjoy doing so. 

How has earning your degree impacted your career?
I testify in regulatory proceedings in front of judges, lawyers, clients, and other experts.  Without my master’s degree I would not be as confident testifying to the issues and analysis I support, and frankly those listening would put less weight on my testimony.  The skills and knowledge gained through my masters at AU allows me to be capable of undertaking the various analyses I support and keeps the attention focused on my testimony not on any lack of credentials.

To learn more about American University’s online MA in Economics, request more information or call us toll free at 855-725-7614.