Professor Christine Ries joined the faculty at the School of Economics in 1999. Throughout her time here, Professor Ries has taught a wide variety of courses, including The Global Economy, The Economics of Corporate Strategy, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Global Financial Economics, and the School of Economics Capstone Course. Her work focuses on global corporate financial management, economic development, and tax policy.
1. Who or what inspired you to study/pursue economics?
I worked my way through college, partially by working at IBM, where I studied and reformed many administrative reports.
I majored in biology and chemistry in college to enter medical school. After graduation, I wanted to take time off from school and began working in a bank in a consultant position. I was fortunate to travel to many US companies in this role. With this business experience, I began seeing patterns and connections and wanted to figure out how the bank's clients could improve their decision-making.
My husband graduated with an MBA and went on to a Ph.D. program in economics. The bank where I worked would pay for me to get an MBA.
My first class was microeconomics with Rachel McCulloch, who later became one of my best friends. After about 15 minutes in the first class, I realized I had fallen in love. I could see how studying the SYSTEM that is economics could help me make sense of the phenomenon I had been studying at work and for the companies I had served.
So, I entered the Ph.D. program at a time when The Chicago School was being created. I worked with faculty who almost all went on to receive Nobel prizes (Milton Friedman, George Stigler, Bob Fogel, Art Laffer, Robert Aliber, Don McCloskey, Arnold Zellner, Harry Johnson, Eugene Fama, Sidney Davidson, etc., etc.). How could I NOT fall in love!!!
2. Why did you decide to teach at Georgia Tech, and what's the best part about working here?
After decades in business schools (Harvard, Stanford, Duke, Claremont Drucker Center), I wanted to work in a technology university because I saw the coming developments in economics as happening when economists confronted problems in innovation and technology. I had known the Dean of Ivan Allen College for a long time and he convinced me to visit. Paul Samuelson and Milton Friedman both supported my ideas about technology and economics and thought this was a good move.
Also, I have always had a heart for education and wanted to 'give back' by serving in an administrative and leadership role. I was the first permanent Chair at the School of Economics after Bill Schaeffer had served as acting Chair for seven years.
What do I like about Georgia Tech? I love working with colleagues in science and engineering all over the Institute and have made contributions in the design of economics courses for students in science, technology, and engineering such as Economic and Financial Modeling, Network Economics, and Big Data Analytics for Public and Private Enterprise.
3. What do you research, and what is the goal of your work? What do you seek to change or improve with it?
In the past, global corporate financial management. I produced a body of literature, including case studies in foreign exchange risk management.
I have served on the Georgia General Assembly's Special Council for Tax Reform and Fairness for Georgians. This brought me to work in state economic development and tax policy. See taxreformthegame.com.
4. What are your hobbies and favorite things to do outside of work?
Choral singing; church mission activity (Africa, Mexico); serving on boards of directors, especially at charter schools and international schools.
5. What's your #1 piece of advice for Econ students at Georgia Tech?
Do what you love. Find someone whose job you admire and prepare yourself for that job.
6. If prospective students or alumni are interested in what you do, can they contact you? What are some fields, topics, career questions, etc., that you could speak to?
Sure, for speaking. I do a great deal of public speaking. Topics include reform in K-12 education, global economics, instructional innovation in universities, tax reform, and emerging market economics.
Thank you, Professor Ries!
- Trade Policy and Corporate Business Decisions (book)
- Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness for Georgians
- Measuring Foreign Exchange Exposure: A Practical Theory and its Application: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.2469/faj.v39.n5.59