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post #16 of 47
My undergrad was Economics/Mathematics, then graduate studies in Economics (just a masters - I don't have the patience for academia).

Right out of school I was in 'Strategic Planning' - for a telecom. I was responsible for planning a Call Centre - managing staff levels, both short term and long-term. Did some econometric forecasting, and developed and played with some econometric/mathematical models in that role.

Now I'm a Business Analyst for an Electric Utility. Kind of a liaison between IT and the business unit I work for. Do some Excel/SQL work developing IT solutions for the unit.

My next move will be to go into Commodities Trading (trading the inputs/outputs of Power Generation) or Investment Analysis (Doing cash flow, life-cycle valuations, etc.).


My Theories on Economics Undergrad Studies:

1) There are "Economic Analysts" and "Policy Analysts". I'd put myself in the first group.

2) An "Economist" without formal econometrics training is little more then a Sociologist - and we all laugh at how employable those social "scientists" are. You're best options with a "Policy" orientated BA is either to do a MA, MBA, or go work for the government.

3) If you want to be an "Economic Analyst" take a Math/Stats minor. Looks great, and lots of the jobs overlap. Virtually ALL the jobs I've applied for asked for "Math, Stats, Computer Science, or Economics" degrees. The more you know in all those fields the better. I'd even go so far as make sure you take a few Computer Sciences courses in VBA/SQL/Java

4) If you want to be a "Policy Analyst" .. I donno. Take a "Economics of Sport" course or something.
post #17 of 47
+1 to programming skills. My undergrad experience didn't really teach me this (I think we occasionally had stata/matlab stuff in econometrics but it was mostly typing in the functions the TA told us to use). Luckily it was always something I was interested in so I had been doing basic bits of programming long before college and took a few CS courses in college just for fun.

You don't need to know how to build fully functional applications or have a strong fundamental understanding of algorithms/data structures. What would be very helpful is being able to script out simple tasks. Most statistical analysis "programming" is really just scripting in a statistics-specific language. Knowing SAS/Stata/R is great, but throwing in things like VBA or Python is the kind of thing that may not be meaningful on your resume, but it will impress your employers when you solve all of their problems by automating everything with a Python script.
post #18 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saturdays View Post

It depends on what school you go to. Any Econ major from a school like U-M Ann Arbor will have better prospects than a Econ/Finance major from Michigan State University (just using Michigan schools because I am familiar). Finance majors at U-M have better prospects than Econ majors at U-M though.
You need to leverage experience, work from your initiative, positions of officer in academic clubs, your GPA, etc.. Your major might not be as important as you think it is. Many people don't even work in a field where their major is associated with.
My advice, get involved - usually people in the business school administration know top recruiters from firms that visit your school, if they know your name and have a good association with it - they will help you out if you ask. Try to get a professor to let you assist him in some research, if they are currently working on something it can add a good amount of value, maybe value more stressed for higher education, but can be leveraged elsewhere.
In the end your school brand does make a big deal when you apply for jobs, whether you agree with that or not. Its an absolute fact that fortunately/unfortunately can make/break you from getting certain positions.
To answer your question: A friend of mine did Econ at U-M and worked as an analyst at a big bank. I myself did Finance at MSU and currently an analyst at an F500. My job vs his job are completely different - I manage expenses across the company whereas he worked in much more complex securities based analysis. From my school, my job is pretty good compared to the rest of my graduating class, his for an Econ major is also pretty good (but compared to Finance majors in his school not so much)

Similar experience for me coming out of college (job in tech though). I went to a good public school, got a job at a big tech company in the Bay Area, had a decent amount of experience with the product, and other's on my team had 5+ years of exp and a degree from an ok public school. Our manager just had a degree from an ivy league with no other experience. Similarly all most new hires from ivy leagues started at entry level management over people who have experience but only degrees from a non ivy league.
post #19 of 47
post #20 of 47
Used to be an econ major, now a minor. I go to Cal and most my peers that have graduated are analyst in banks of various repute (depending on their grades/internships,etc)... A couple went into consulting. One guy I know who earned himself a gentlemanly sub-3 gpa is doing Peace Corps or something I think.

Despite the joke here that Haas [the b-school] decision day means a lot of new econ majors, I don't think major is THAT big of a deal. The employment prospects for econ seem to be close to par with the undergrad business program.
post #21 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by TyCooN View Post

What kind of work did you get into after college?eh.gif

I graduated from a fairly no name state school with >3.5 GPA with an Econ/Fin degree. I wasn't even graduated yet before I had a full time position with the army corps of engineers as an economist. My only regret was similar to the above, as I wish I would have taken more programming courses. I work with SQL/SAP databases on a regular basis and a familiarity in programming would have gone a long way.
post #22 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stewbone View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by TyCooN View Post

What kind of work did you get into after college?eh.gif

I graduated from a fairly no name state school with >3.5 GPA with an Econ/Fin degree. I wasn't even graduated yet before I had a full time position with the army corps of engineers as an economist. My only regret was similar to the above, as I wish I would have taken more programming courses. I work with SQL/SAP databases on a regular basis and a familiarity in programming would have gone a long way.
it's crazy they don't teach us SQL in school, eh?

Teach us all these awesome data modelling tools, then we hit the private sector, and all our data is in SQL based databases and we have to spend our first little while learning how to get the data.
post #23 of 47
I was an econ and public policy major at Michigan. My first job out of undergrad was at a large local private foundation. After a year off of school I started graduate school to study urban planning and econometrics. My current position is in local economic development (I keep my eyes open for opportunities back in the world of private foundations though).

My time in undergrad focused much more on the liberal arts and policy side of economics. It wasn't until afterwards that I realized I missed a huge opportunity by not exploring the technical side more while at arguably one of the best public university economics programs in the country, hence the reason I did a bit of a concentration on it in grad school. However, the relatively brief exposure I got to econometrics in graduate school (it was a graduate certificate while I was earning my MUP) was nothing compared to what I would have gotten if I had studied economics in the business school or if I had done a full econ graduate or PhD program. In the end though, my education was plenty for my ultimate career goals.
post #24 of 47
BS in Econ, minor in General Biz Admin. I work as a Paralegal / "Litigation Support Specialist" for a boutique Intellectual Property firm, filing lawsuits for Patent Infringement or Theft of Trade Secrets. Didn't need the degree to get a job as a paralegal, but it sure helped w/ getting a decent salary.

Without it, I'd probably be stuck working at some Family Law firm for 9 dollars an hour. Litigation's kinda grinding me down though, considering trying out patent prosecution.
Quote:
My time in undergrad focused much more on the liberal arts and policy side of economics. It wasn't until afterwards that I realized I missed a huge opportunity by not exploring the technical side more while at arguably one of the best public university economics programs in the country, hence the reason I did a bit of a concentration on it in grad school.

Most people in my school seemed to focus on Game Theory rather than Econometrics for Undergrad. Big mistake IMO, but your average undergrad student would rather eat a turd than take a statistics based class I've found.
post #25 of 47
Another Econ undergrad here. I work in banking. The degree is not so useful on the job, but let me tell you, it's Money for winning arguments on twitter and at cocktail parties.
post #26 of 47
Ideally, I'd like to go for a Masters or PhD in econ, and get JD as well. Then end up as a damages expert. Cush!
post #27 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pennglock View Post

Another Econ undergrad here. I work in banking. The degree is not so useful on the job, but let me tell you, it's Money for winning arguments on twitter and at cocktail parties.
i-bank?
post #28 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by javyn View Post

BS in Econ, minor in General Biz Admin. I work as a Paralegal / "Litigation Support Specialist" for a boutique Intellectual Property firm, filing lawsuits for Patent Infringement or Theft of Trade Secrets. Didn't need the degree to get a job as a paralegal, but it sure helped w/ getting a decent salary.
Without it, I'd probably be stuck working at some Family Law firm for 9 dollars an hour. Litigation's kinda grinding me down though, considering trying out patent prosecution.
Most people in my school seemed to focus on Game Theory rather than Econometrics for Undergrad. Big mistake IMO, but your average undergrad student would rather eat a turd than take a statistics based class I've found.
this is true. I can't disagree with you here.

I spent more time in a quarter where a 300 level stats course was my only course than I do for my current 4 course quarter.
post #29 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by TyCooN View Post

this is true. I can't disagree with you here.
I spent more time in a quarter where a 300 level stats course was my only course than I do for my current 4 course quarter.
Stats is tough, but well worth it. Stats classes seemed to be the weed-out courses for both Econ and Business Administration.

If I may offer a little advice...

post #30 of 47
econ/math, first job was doing quant "research" for a mutual fund, now doing programming for a smaller asset manager

all the people who say statistics and coding are important are right. learn sql/r/python, if not in a class, then on your own. contrary to what one poster above said, R should not be grouped with stata/sas, it is far superior and in many important ways better than python. i would learn the two simultaneously as they are similar.
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