29 June 2021

Cambridge Scholar Reflects on His Time at the Institute

After completing his degree in International Economics at the Institute, Kishen Shastry (MA, ‘20) was given the opportunity to study and research at the University of Cambridge. For Kishen, the Institute provided a stepping stone for more great things to come. 


Although I hold a bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering, I was always curious about the workings of the “real world” through the lens of the social sciences; naturally, I was inclined towards law, realpolitik, and economics.

Serendipitously, the Graduate Institute Geneva provided the perfect academic setting for me to transition into this realm via a Master in International Economics.

The experience at the Institute was the inflection point for me, where the raw curiosity matured into clarity. This clarity eventually led me to the doctoral programme at the University of Cambridge. 

The Institute supported me with the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation Scholarship, which allowed me to explore and understand the profound potency of economics as a discipline.

Through my interactions with the faculty at the Institute, I realised that economics had the tools and literature to answer a gamut of really interesting questions about the world. It was here that I started thinking like an academic economist. 

I truly benefited from the high teacher-to-student ratio at the Institute, which allowed me to refine my research with some of the world-renowned economists there. As a student, I was deeply influenced by Professor Jean-Louis Arcand and Professor Damien Neven, both of whom are leading economists in the field of microeconomics. 

Consequently, I was awarded the Cambridge Trust, and the Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation Scholarships to study Economic Research at the University of Cambridge. I decided to move to Cambridge because of its strength in empirical and theoretical microeconomics research. Whilst at Cambridge, I was also Research Assistant for a prestigious Keynes Fund project.

My current research focus is on institutional economics, and specifically in understanding informal institutions in developing countries. One example of such work would be to apply game theory-related competition models to the caste system in India.

In that case, I would investigate the role of government in the provisioning of public goods and its relation to competition amongst different caste and caste-based organisations. Largely, I hope to make contributions to microeconomic theory and econometrics through my research. 

Recently, I was awarded the Cambridge Trust, Cambridge Nehru Bursary, and the Jesus College Scholarship to continue my PhD in Economics at the University of Cambridge.

I have also been selected as a recipient of the Adam Smith Fellowship at the Mercatus Centre in George Mason University, alongside my PhD, where I would be contributing to the research themes in political economy.

When I look back and ruminate, I can assert with certitude that Graduate Institute, Geneva was key to my profoundly satisfying academic journey. 

Merci beaucoup!