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What do I need to know to succeed in the field of Economics?

I'm planning on majoring in Economics and I'm looking for advice on what I need to do to be successful. What topics should I focus on in college and what kind of job/internship positions should I apply for both during and after college?
#knowledge #skills #career #job #economics

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To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

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Ken’s Answer

The most important thing for you to know that will help you to succeed in Economics is how this career area relates to your personality traits and how those traits relate to others who are successful in this area.


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. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
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. 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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Chris’s Answer

Hi Anthony, great question. I'm an economist - I studied it both for my undergrad (in Germany) and my PhD, in the US.


Economics is a very big field and you'll have lots of choices. It's good to know a bit of math. In some schools, economics feels a lot like mathematics, in other schools, you'll be drawing lots of graphs to understand the important concepts. But in either case, knowing a bit of mathematics makes your life easier.


But you also have many choices. Do you want to work in a business? Or do you want to work help people in poor countries? Or maybe you want to do research? It's also fine if you don't know yet, that's a big part of what college is for. Talk to as many economists as you can, and see what career most appeals to you!


In my case, I initially thought I wanted to be a professor, that's why I did my PhD. Instead of internships, I worked with professors throughout my summer breaks. Then I realized I wanted to work at a company, and now I'm a data scientist.

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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.

Keynes said "an economist must be mathematician, historian, statesman, philosopher".

Modern economics is an incredibly diverse subject: as a comminality, you must be fluent in math/programming/basic policy questions, but there are specialties like healthcare/labor market/

Check out quant econ as a great way to start exploring your interests! Also read abstracts from the QJE or other prestigious journals in your area to explore your interetss.
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