Dr Patrick Carvalho

Patrick Carvalho

Image: ANA Studio NZ

PhD in Economics (2014)

Dr Patrick Carvalho is an Economic Adviser at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. He has extensive international experience in public policy across academia, public organisations and the private sector, having worked as:

  • A Research Fellow at the New Zealand Initiative (New Zealand).

  • Director at The MacroDyn Group (USA).

  • A Research Fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies (Australia).

  • A Lecturer at the ANU College of Business and Economics (Australia).

  • Head of the Economic Studies Divisions at FIRJAN (Brazil).

Patrick holds a Bachelor of Law degree from Rio de Janeiro’s State University, a Masters in Political Science from the University of Wollongong and a PhD in Economics from The Australian National University.

Patrick’s responses to questions from CBE students:

Can you tell us about your career path and what led you to the role you're in today?

My career path was not always a straightforward discovery process, yet a purposeful one: at its core, a deep longing to forge the right balance between intellectual passion and craftsmanship. At times, this was not the easiest route but one that I am proud and happy about. Today I am grateful to work in an organisation that rewards my multidisciplinary background and diligent work ethics.

How did your PhD and teaching experience at CBE benefit your career?

Getting my PhD and teaching experience from a first-rate academic institution was key to advance my career. It nurtured a solid training in quantitative and qualitative research methods rooted in a free-thinking environment. At the same time, CBE's seal of excellence provided me with the right signalling to potential employers in Australia and overseas.

You have worked in academia, public organisations and the private sector. What do you think are the top three differences between them?

Life in academia has a different time zone, almost glacial, where the pursuit of perfection always comes first and deadlines are not so deadly. In the private sector, risk appetite and work pressure are highest in order albeit with good financial returns: deadlines are paramount, even if that turns squaring the circle a daily routine. Public organisations provide the stability to do a good job, and most importantly, you have the opportunity to deliver a real and lasting positive impact on people's lives.

Given your experience across several countries and cultures, could you list three pivotal career lessons you have learnt so far?

  1. Work ethics comes before talent.
  2. Flexibility is key.
  3. Perfecting your craft is a lifelong journey.

Could you please describe a typical day as an Economic Adviser at the central bank of a nation? How do you manage to continue your research interest at the same time?

I love my job at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand: flexible, challenging and intellectually rewarding. My typical day at the RBNZ starts with substantial reading on the latest developments in national and global affairs, complemented by meetings and emails. On a regular basis, I am usually tasked with topical projects pertaining to macroprudential regulation and other central bank matters around the financial system stability.

What are some advantages and challenges for PhD/MPhil graduates who wish to pursue an industry or public sector career?

A typical PhD/MPhil graduate has a competitive advantage in formal research training and experience in intellectual problem-solving. However, during the graduate course, the student usually has to let go relevant professional experience. My two-cent advice is: make sure the opportunity cost of the time away from the labour force is well compensated by gaining a solid state-of-the-art research training.

What are your tips for a successful industry or public sector job application and interview?

Prepare, prepare, prepare. Job hunting is a full-time job, which requires dedication and diligence — as well as a good amount of patience.