View Full Version : What can you tell me about a degree in economics??

Apr. 7, 2012, 01:51 PM
For some reason I have developed a weird curiosity about it.

Anyone have one?

Anyone have a job that is from having that degree?

How could that degree impact a business career?

Apr. 7, 2012, 02:04 PM
I can't tell you much... but I actually said out loud to a friend pursuing that degree, "So what will you do with that?"

Turns out, people with economics degrees move to the country's capital, get a good job with the government, and have opinions on the federal budget, employment statistics, and the like. Also they help draft those sorts of things.

Apr. 7, 2012, 02:15 PM
That's what I hear. Sounds interesting to me.

I'm very opinionated :lol:

Apr. 7, 2012, 03:11 PM
I have a BS in Economics and Psychology, from a liberal arts college. I can't say that either degree prepared me to actually hold a job of any kind. Ultimately I got my masters in Public Administration - after I moved to the state capital and saw that many government jobs were attainable with this sort of degree. It was much more specific to the real world, and I worked for quite a while as an administrator at SUNY and then another office through the University before I decided to stay home with my kids.

If you find Economics to be an interesting subject, my advice to you would be to make your degree as specialized as possible. I took many *general* type courses - international economics, monetary economics, obviously macro and micro economics....but I shyed away from things like econometrics and accounting. I would try to make sure you have as much math, statistics, accounting type courses as possible.

A *general* undergraduate degree in Economic theory isn't very useful, except as a stepping stone to graduate school.

Apr. 7, 2012, 03:25 PM
Thanks for your input! Perfect!

Apr. 7, 2012, 03:36 PM
I'm also curious about economics as a degree, since I need to figure out something to do with my life. And soon.

I was thinking about majoring in economics and maybe doing something with statistics as well.

Apr. 7, 2012, 03:39 PM
S1969 come bacckkkkk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:winkgrin:

I also have another question, what sort of specialized economics degree would be good in the corporate culture? Specifically one catering to providing outsourced services, like customer service?

Apr. 7, 2012, 04:16 PM
I have a BS in Economics (mathematical emphasis) and a Masters in Operations Research. I work as a consultant in the utility industry doing strategic planning. I have done this for over 20 years and love it.

An economics degree is very versatile and teaches you to analyze issues and relations. You can focus on policy issues or focus on mathematical analysis (which is what I do). Banking, govenments, Federal banks, utilities, consulting, health etc. are all industries that you can get into.

Apr. 7, 2012, 04:20 PM
Adagio, Puget Sound Energy needs your help LOL!!!

Seriously though, sounds like you enjoy your job. Very cool! I think I should take an online class and see how I like it.

Apr. 7, 2012, 04:23 PM
I did a bachelors in Economics w/ minor in Accounting; later an MBA w/ concentration in Economics and Finance. Worked in the Treasury Department of a mid-size bank, later in the Trust/Asset Management businesses for a total of about 30 years....UGH I think that makes me old?? But not too old to ride!

You can also teach at college level; the Federal Reserve hires economists, consulting firms hire economists, you'd be surprised at postions where the analytical thought process comes into play.

Apr. 7, 2012, 04:53 PM
S1969 come bacckkkkk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:winkgrin:

I also have another question, what sort of specialized economics degree would be good in the corporate culture? Specifically one catering to providing outsourced services, like customer service?

Oh, I am not the right one to ask - I graduated over 20 years ago, so even if I knew then what was useful, it would probably not be helpful today (just the changes in technology are astounding!) But I agree with the idea of the math emphasis, or econ/accounting. Definitely do your research to see what different paths through an Econ degree you can take, and where they lead. Good luck!

Apr. 7, 2012, 11:28 PM
Have a BA in Economics, cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. Was considering going on to law school when I was offered a position in finance on a start up govt contractor. Led to Controllership, led to CFO. Did go for an MBA, over the years have done enough course work for 1.5 MBAs lol, but kept having to interrupt due to major promotions taking up too much time.

Making over six figures now. Not sure how much of career success was due to the major, but I did have the kind of logical, rational brain that naturally appreciated supply, demand, modeling, etc, so it felt right for me to pursue it.

Summary: if it interests you, go for it. Get as high a GPA as you can, so you can parlay it into a grad degree in something more specialized if needed.

Apr. 7, 2012, 11:36 PM
Thanks all :)

Apr. 8, 2012, 12:24 AM
If you only get a BA...keep practicing, "You want fries with that?"

Not a high demand job...CPA has more options. Econ classes are fun, but like Sociology, no jobs.

Apr. 8, 2012, 01:15 AM
I have a BA in Economics. It has served me really well. That said, the best advice I never heard was, open a newspaper or a job website and look for "economist wanted" ads. You won't find many. I lucked out and ended up in insurance and risk, neither of which used anything I learned in my degree. And it failed me when the job market got bad. I am now in grad school looking in another direction.

Totally not saying don't do it, but specialize in something within the degree, or make economics your minor. But it is ultimately better to get a degree in a field where you can open a job site and search "nursing" or "teacher" or "accountant" or "programmer" and have 50-60 positions pop up rather than one.

Unless you are at a top school, at the very top of your class and have great connections. That might get you inside the Beltway in one of those top-paying gov't jobs.

Apr. 8, 2012, 02:12 AM
Another Econ BA here. I think the biggest plus of having it coming out of college was I could pretty much get any kind of job that wasn't super specialized/technical. However, that also was problematic because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do! I ended up in insurance which has treated me fairly well.

I agree though that if you know something that interests you, try and specialize in it. Especially if it's a technical field.

Apr. 8, 2012, 02:23 AM
Horsepoor is a working economist, and her SO is too. I don't know if she'll see this, but she actually, really does what her degree says!:D I know they do work for government agencies, ag. businesses, etc. You might PM her to get the specifics of their job(s). It is fairly lucrative, but they do work very hard at it, as well. They did work for a firm, but now are self-employed.

Apr. 8, 2012, 09:30 AM
I have a business mgt and an accounting degree. I loved EVERY single econ class I have ever had. LOVED stats too. I am fascinated by econ.

My husband has a minor in econ. But he is an engineer. I love we can converse on the subject.

If I was not so overly schooled I would get a degree in econ.

Apr. 8, 2012, 09:34 AM
Every woman I know with an econ grad degree works in international development here in DC, so if that's your cup of tea, go for it.

Perfect Pony
Apr. 8, 2012, 11:29 AM
If you only get a BA...keep practicing, "You want fries with that?"

Not a high demand job...CPA has more options. Econ classes are fun, but like Sociology, no jobs.

What a crock of poo. I happen to be surrounded by thousands of economists in my new job, making 6 figure salaries and enjoying their job. Do you even know what "economics" means? Do you even know how someone becomes a CPA btw? Lots of CPAs with Econ degrees.

To the OP, there are loads of interesting jobs out there for economics majors. Many of the most successful people I have met majored in econ, people that are now highly paid Researchers, CFOs, Product Managers, Statisticians. Like others have said, lots of jobs in Finance, Banking, Government Research, and Consulting. If you are serious about the major I would recommend getting involved in your college Alumni club if there is one, as well as an other Econ organizations on campus.

Good luck (from someone working as a Systems Engineer with a Anthropology degree)

Apr. 8, 2012, 11:46 AM
Wow, great insight thanks so much all!

I am going to take a class and, Perfect Pony, take you up on your idea of getting to know and chatting with Econ orgs or Alumni for direction and advice.

Apr. 8, 2012, 01:05 PM
Two words: Investment Banking. :)

Apr. 8, 2012, 01:38 PM
Thanks Lisa!

Apr. 9, 2012, 02:09 AM
I have a PhD in economics and am a faculty member at a large state university. I love the subject, but I realize that most people who study economics don't do so to become professors :)

An economics degree is excellent preparation for any sort of work that requires you to synthesize data, perform cost-benefit analysis (which is implicit if not explicit in any sort of business -- if you are spending money on option A, you should be considering whether it's really a better investment than some alternative B), write or communicate about data, and think about how people make tradeoffs between options on lots of different margins.

Specific jobs that people can get with BAs in economics: data analyst (industry or government), investment banker (large investment banks tend to hire primarily from highly selective colleges and universities), management consultant (ditto on recruiting for the largest/most prestigious companies), development specialist (including NGOs and government agencies), policy analyst (local, state, or federal government), program manager.

Specific skills that economics majors acquire: basic statistical analysis, ability to interpret data and to be informed consumers of research (i.e. what decision should your organization make, based on the results of some new study?), ability to write clearly about numbers, ability to produce basic summary statistics (of, say, the pattern of sales in the company, or the relationship between sales and advertising campaigns, or comparison of sales between different managers).

Really fun stuff that you can do if you choose to pursue a higher degree in economics or a related field (economics is excellent preparation for studying public policy, for example): learn to ask and answer big, important questions about the world! Why don't people invest in preventive care, and instead spend money on curative treatments for illnesses that could have been avoided? What policies would be most effective in encouraging retirement savings? Economics is ultimately the study of how people make decisions when they can't have everything they want. At the graduate level, we use that framework in very technical ways to answer precise, sometimes pedantic questions and slowly build up to explaining behavior in a formal, systematic way. At the undergraduate level, it provides an excellent benchmark for organizing thinking about lots and lots of real-world situations.