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What career options are there for economics majors?

I am studying economics at Brown; I really like how economic thinking can solve problems, but I am not a huge fan of math (I do not plan to take any beyond statistics and Calc II which are required). I am very interested in public policy, but more from an applied microeconomics view (rather than macro policy). I'm not super interested in finance/consulting/business, but I haven't ruled it out. I think teaching and research would be super cool, but I know getting an economics Phd is a lot of math. What career options would y'all suggest? #economics #policy #professor #career #phd #government #research


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Dino’s Answer

I would suggest a government-related role... an economics background can be applied in many areas - public policy, research, FED/State agencies. I would also recommend the private sector - an economics degree can be used in business strategy, marketing, data analytics, etc. Neither a government or private sector role require a PhD unless you want to really specialize.


Hope this helps!


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Ken’s Answer

The most important and most direct way to find an appropriate application of economics for you is two fold:

  • get to know yourself to see how your personality traits relate to people involved in various applications of economics
  • get to know and meet and talk to people who are involved in those areas of interest so that you can carry on a dialogue (a two way conversation in person) to learn more about what they do and how they got there and what they recommend and how you feel about it.

Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .

Ken recommends the following next steps:

The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field and in which area of application would you find the best match.
Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. The best person at your college would be the director of alumni relations. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. You can locate them by asking your school academic advisor, favorite teachers, and the reference librarian at your local library. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##

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Ray’s Answer

You can become an economist predicting, forecasting, and forming the future economic trend,

or you can become a teaching teaching economics.

Or you may utilize what you learn in college to have your own business.

Going to government sectors is also an option. You can always go to work for many companies

on Wall Street or Main Street.


Good Luck.


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Richard’s Answer

My son studied economics and has received job offers in consulting/investment banking so I will answer from the perspective of his advice.

He was also not interested in the business/IBD route, but tried it.

He ended up finding Economic Consulting as a great middle ground -- intellectually challenging, but not as risky as a PhD. You should check it out!

Also, it's worth taking real analysis in college just so you don't rule yourself out of a PhD.

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