Career Paths for Economics Majors

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What exactly can I do with my Economics degree?

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Economics is a broad field. One thing I’ve discovered is that economics majors work in a wide variety of roles.

When it comes to economics, many people automatically think of finance-related roles.

A common question I receive after I tell someone that I am a student is “what are you studying?” That is quite expected. After I respond, Economics, the response is almost always a question or statement related to finance, stocks, investments — “the money.”

I totally get it. The two go hand in hand. Many Economics students pursue careers in finance. But it’s still worth clarifying that there are more options out there for Economics majors.

The Coursework

As an Economics student, the core courses of your degree include various levels of Microeconomics and Macroeconomics; introduction, intermediate, and advanced. This is where the main foundation is built to dive into other areas.

For example, my core microeconomics courses included:

  • Introduction to Microeconomics, Intermediate Microeconomics 1, Intermediate Microeconomics 2, Advanced Microeconomic

The same progression applies to Macroeconomics.

Many of the concepts learned in micro and macro courses are then taught in relation to other areas.

For example:

  • A course in Environmental Economics focused on understanding microeconomic and macroeconomic concepts in relation to the environment.

Of course, there is also math and analytical based coursework:

  • Statistics, Calculus, Econometrics

Electives may vary by university and can include:

  • Sports Economics, Economic Development, Economics of Education, Game Theory, Economic Writing, Economics of China, etc.

An economics degree can be combined with many areas of interest. The variety of areas where economic concepts and models can be applied can make it a very interesting field of study. Economics students also develop transferable skills such as analysis, critical thinking, problem-solving, forecasting/predicting, and communication.

The main places where economics majors work are corporate firms, economic consulting, law, government and non-profits, and academics and research. Economists work in many different industries including healthcare, education, transportation, and international trade.

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Career Paths

Economists have a great understanding of how the economy works. They create financial and economic forecasts, develop economic models, and create or update policies. A quick LinkedIn search for Economist brings up roles such as Health Economist, Economist-Commercial Analytics, Junior/Senior Economist, and Risk Economist just to name a few.

Analysts examine (analyze) data and/or policies. The forecast and report on their findings. A Policy Analyst determines whether existing policies need updating, and put forward recommendations for the updating of policies. Other types of analyst roles include Financial Analyst, Economic Development Analyst, Credit and Compliance Analyst, etc.

Consultants are usually knowledgeable in a particular area and apply this knowledge to provide expert advice to clients. Consultant roles related to economics include Management Consultant, Economic Consultant, and Strategy Consultant.

Researchers work in many different areas and are primarily responsible for gathering and evaluating data. They apply the information gathered to solve problems, identify issues, and make predictions.

Professors generally are researchers who teach in their areas of expertise/research. Economics professors can carry out their own research or use existing data, for example — census data, to analyze and write research papers based on their findings. And of course, they prepare coursework and deliver instruction to students.

Mathematicians/Statisticians are good at working with numbers and applying mathematical approaches to problem-solving.