Kavan Kucko, MIPA ’08

Undergraduate education

Bachelor’s degrees in economics and math, UW–Madison


Menomonie, WI

La Follette School honors

Finalist in the Presidential Management Fellows Program


Cornerstone Research, Chicago, IL

Job title


Primary job responsibilities

I manage and conduct economic analysis relevant for legal matters including mergers, labor discrimination, and intellectual property rights.

How do you use what you learned at La Follette on the job?

La Follette was where I first really started to think like an economist. Our clients are almost exclusively law firms, and part of my job is to help the legal team navigate tough economic questions. At the La Follette School, I also learned how to work with and manage large data sets and manipulate them with statistics. I use those skills every day.

Which experiences and skills in particular helped you get your job?

Data analysis, empirical research

Why the La Follette School?

I went through the accelerated program; this was a great opportunity to obtain a master’s degree with only one additional year of school. I was also excited about the diverse faculty backgrounds.

Project assistantship

I had a PA-ship with Menzie Chinn. This was a fantastic opportunity. We wrote a paper together that I presented at two international conferences. Menzie has since written letters of recommendation for me, and we are still in contact to this day. The paper I wrote with Menzie was my first academic paper, which prepared me for research at the Ph.D. level.

Why would you recommend the La Follette School to a prospective student?

The faculty is wonderful. The degree you obtain is practical and affords many varied career opportunities.

Honors since the La Follette School

I received a Ph.D. from Boston University in May 2016.

Why a PhD in economics?

After the La Follette School, I took a position at the Federal Reserve Board. I worked with many economists and thought I would enjoy doing what they do.

La Follette School mentors

Menzie has been a mentor to me through the years. We worked together on research, he advised me when applying to Ph.D. programs, and he helped me when I was on the economics job market.

People would be surprised to know that I …

I curled against Olympic gold medalist Matt Hamilton a few times when I was a member of the Madison Curling Club. He was in high school and very good. I did not win (that part is probably not surprising).