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Brent Hickman

Brent Hickman


Ph.D. 2010 (Economics)

Facing a few Nobel Prize winning economists in your job interview could be intimidating, but recent Ph.D. graduate Brent Hickman was prepared. Hickman, who accepted an assistant professor position in the noted University of Chicago Economics Department, credits his experience at Iowa in preparing him for the job market.

"The Iowa economics faculty invests a lot into their Ph.D. students," he explained. "As I started to prepare for the job market, they had me work through my presentation several times and then we simulated job interviews. They grilled me hard, but once I was on the job market, I didn't encounter anything that I wasn't prepared for."

For Hickman, Iowa's economics faculty was an invaluable resource.

"They really take a value-added approach to teaching new economists."

In addition, he credited Renea Jay, the college's Ph.D. coordinator, as being a huge asset. While the professors take care of the academic and professional side of the program, Renea is key to helping students work through the logistics of the program. Renea provides a support network where they learn how to negotiate all the steps to complete the program.

"She's like our den mother," Hickman stated. "She makes grad school easier."

Hickman lived in various parts of the country but really grew to love Iowa and Iowa City in his five years in the program.

"Iowa City is a great place to live and go to graduate school. There is plenty to do but not so many distractions that you don’t focus on your work."

All of his hard work, research, and practice paid off when Brent received an offer from the University of Chicago. Hickman's expertise is in the area of applied microeconomics and his dissertation focuses on using game theory to explore the implications of Affirmative Action policies in college admissions. It's a topic that receives a lot of interest and the Tippie College is proud of his innovative approach to the subject.  

He is continuing this research while at Chicago, and has published many articles on the subject of online auction pricing.