Undergraduate Program

What's it like to work for one of the Federal Reserve Banks?

Yigal GelbName: Yigal Gelb
Graduation date: May 2000
Major: Economics; Honors: Phi Beta Kappa

What is your current position?
My current position is research associate in the department of domestic research in the Federal Reserve Bank of NY.

What is the nature of your work?
The work here is quite diverse. I work with different economists helping them with their long-term research. But I am also responsible for helping economists with preparing FOMC briefings for the president of the bank. These briefings actually affect monetary policy by helping the president decide if to lower or raise interest rates. There are many other projects going on as well. What is also nice is that there is exposure to many lectures and paper presentations, not to mention general discussions with the economists.

What does a typical day consist of? What do you do? When do you start? How late do you work?
The work load varies a lot. Sometimes there is time for long lunches and strolls by the sea shore, other times you stay late, although this is very rare. A typical day has me coming in at 9 a.m. and working until 5 p.m. The day can consist of programming in SAS or STATA, talking to economists, or doing research work.

What's the best way of learning more about the work you do?
The best way to learn more is to join a research function with an economics emphasis. I must say that the research here is more technical than a private sector money management firm, though.

Looking back at your undergraduate days at Rochester, what courses or activities were particularly valuable for your current position?
I think macro and micro are the most useful since they serve as the foundations for everything we do here. All the economist are so well versed though, that all the courses factor in, from public finance to trade.

In retrospect, were there things you wish you did more of?
Courses that could have helped more have to do with computer programming and different statistical software, such as SAS or STATA. But the truth is that the more veteran people usually teach it here, so it's not a problem.

What do you think is the next logical career step for you?
As for this position, if you are interested in obtaining a PhD in economics, this position is for you, since it is designed primarily for that, and lasts two to three years. Also, there is always opportunity to branch out into something in the bank.