For this What’s in a Degree segment, we explore the world of economics, and what it is like to undertake an economics degree, what job opportunities it offers, and what are the essential skills you will develop by taking up this degree.
I am a 2nd-year B.Sc. Economics student in the UK, and it’s a pleasure to be able to study the intricacies of the world of money and trends, and how societies allocate resources to competing uses. First, let’s clear a few misconceptions! Whenever someone says GDP or inflation, the first thing to pop up in your mind is the economy. Furthermore, it seems easy to connect the economy and economists! However, that’s just a part of what the degree offers. Economics goes behind everyday decisions, from large-scale and crucial questions like how are premiums on health insurance decided to intricate but equally crucial questions like how do coffee shops charge different prices to different customers and establish trends in consumer behaviour.
What really differentiates the degree from a degree in suppose, finance or accounting, is the fact that it goes beyond the business front of things. Moreover, it offers an insight into world problems and micro-scale issues as well. To study economics, especially in the UK, you will require to have a strong grounding in maths, and basic knowledge of economic concepts from your high school education. It is usually a 3 year or 4-year degree, depending on what other majors you combine it with, if you take up a year in industry, or whether you are studying in the UK or the USA.
The skills that you develop over the course of your study, will enable you to take up a career in a wide variety of fields. Economists can take up jobs in a variety of business fields as well, such as financial advisors, which are some of the highest-paid professionals in the USA as of 2020.
Another very lucrative field is investment banking, that is if you can handle the high-stress environment that investment bankers operate in. However, this high-stress job pays off well in many countries! You can also obtain additional certification upon your bachelor’s degree, to work in the capacity of a Chartered Accountant, which can be done while already in a job in some countries such as the UK.
A niche and very math-intensive field is actuarial science. Economics graduates can work in the capacity of an actuary, but additional certification may be required. Actuaries mainly work with risk, and the estimation of it, and there is a very high demand for these professionals. This high demand and high-risk combination also mean that salaries tend to skyrocket!
Lastly, as is with any science, many economics graduates choose to study further, towards masters or PhD level qualifications and contribute to the generation of knowledge and work in academia. Eventually, this could be converted into a job at world agencies like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.