Ten Questions

December 3, 2012 11:38 am

Lucrezia Reichlin

Lucrezia Reichlin

Lucrezia Reichlin: "Never underestimate a man’s mistrust of women"

Lucrezia Reichlin is a professor of economics at London Business School – third in the FT European Business Schools 2012 Ranking – and a non-executive director of UniCredit Banking Group, an international banking network in central and eastern Europe. Before joining LBS in 2008, she worked at the European Central Bank where she was the first female director-general of research.

Ms Reichlin grew up in Rome and studied for her PhD at New York University before moving to teach at the Université Libre of Brussels for 10 years, where she created a short-term forecasting model for central banks. In 2002 she developed the model further at the US Federal Reserve and founded Now-Casting Economics Limited, a business that uses her model to forecast current-quarter GDP growth in real time for leading economies. Most central banks in the world use the model today.

Born in Rome, Ms Reichlin now lives in London and enjoys reading, running and listening to classical music.

1. What is an average day at work like?

I have no clear routine because I travel a lot for research and various other commitments. If in London, I run in the morning and divide the day between research or writing (a couple of hours a day), administration (I am chair of the department), teaching and outside commitments (meeting colleagues or going to seminars).

2. What do you enjoy most about your job?

The freedom of writing what I want and interacting with students from different backgrounds, the connection between business and education and the possibility of combining academic work with other things.

3. What is the best piece of advice given to you by a teacher?

To work on ambitious projects. My research on methods for analysing large dimensional data in economics was very ambitious. It was innovative and showed new ways of how to construct empirical models.

4. What academic achievement are you most proud of?

My work on the econometrics of high-dimensional data had a big academic impact and received a lot of citations. It also led to many applications and it is the basis of my business.

5. What is your biggest lesson learnt?

It is important to have a clear sense of priority in work and not just pursue anything that is interesting. Impact is the result of cumulative effort in a particular domain.

6. What advice would you give to women in business?

Never underestimate a man’s mistrust of women.

7. How do you deal with male-dominated environments?

I try to be tough and at the same time maintain a sense of humour but I don’t always succeed.

8. What is the last book you read?

I have just finished The Secret Rooms by Catherine Bailey. It is a fantastic mystery which Bailey researched by studying the archives at Belvoir Castle in the UK. It is a family story but of great significance in understanding class relations during the first world war. I am very interested in the first world war - I think it is important to understand Europe through the complexity of its legacy.

9. If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?

I would have children earlier and worry less about work achievement at the beginning of my career.

10. What are your future plans?

I have many. I am currently writing a book about the ECB during the crisis and I have plans on how to develop Now-Casting Economics Ltd in different directions. I would also like to start a business school in Sicily.

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