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Develop Written and Verbal Presentation Skills

Professional economists have to be able to communicate with students in the classroom, to clients, and to the general public. While these skills are essential for success on the job market, time is scarce during your job-market year, so it is good idea to start working on these skills early on in your graduate career.

The Economics 501 seminar and your duties as a teaching assistant provide opportunities for you to develop your skills. In addition, Northwestern University offer the following resources for developing writing and presentation skills.

Accent Reduction Training

The Economics Department offers a subsidy for accent reduction training at the School of Communication. This can be particularly helpful for students considering ultimate employment in business schools, teaching colleges, or the private sector. If you have an accent that might lower your chances for such jobs (this will be true for many non-native speakers), you should consider signing up. The program consists of an initial evaluation and, if necessary, additional sessions with a coach. Learn about the program. 

To schedule an evaluation, contact Speech, Language, and Learning Services via phone (847-491-5012) or e-mail (

The university also offers a free accent reduction training software that some students have found useful.

Presentation Skills

The Graduate School offers a free presentation skills course entitled “Ready, Set, Go” every summer. Find course information.

Additional courses and resources for presentation training offered by the graduate school can be found at The Graduate School's website.

Professor Jesse Schapiro of the Brown University has produced advice on how to make effective presentations.

Writing Skills

There are tutors available at University Writing Place and Graduate Writing Place to help with writing your papers. The service is free. Information can be found at the Writing Place.

We suggest consulting a writing tutor already for the first paper that you write, such as your Economic History or 501 paper, rather than waiting for your fourth-year paper or job-market paper. It is a good idea to establish good writing habits early on. The Writing Place also offers workshops throughout the year; see their web site for specific offerings.

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