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Any Econ Undergrads Here?

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by TyCooN, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. TyCooN

    TyCooN Senior member

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    What kind of work did you get into after college?:eh:
     
  2. imolazhp_ci

    imolazhp_ci Senior member

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    i was a political economy major... so a bit different. i work in real estate development... specifically, hotels.
     
  3. Claghorn

    Claghorn Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Yup. It's a fantastic choice if you plan on getting a PhD (in economics or most anything else). Not so great, I think, as far as getting a job with just your bachelors (probably better off with a BS in finance or accounting).

    I moved to Asia for some research opportunities after graduation (2008). Eventually a career in academia awaits me.

    Quite a few I know got into finance after internships, but that might have had to do with networking more than their major. A few others are analysts of some sort; I'm not sure if they actually use their degree much there.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  4. Saturdays

    Saturdays Senior member

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    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)
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  5. imolazhp_ci

    imolazhp_ci Senior member

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    i went to columbia. with the exception of wharton, and up and until recently, no ivy has any "pre-professional" programs. no business, not finance, pre-med, pre-law, etc.

    columbia just last year started some "financial economics" whatever major. when i was there, all the econ majors went to banks/real estate developers/consulting firms.

    it's more about being at a target school for the company you want to work at, and networking, than your major. nobody really cares about your major unless you're going into a quantitative field.
     
  6. aspasp

    aspasp Senior member

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  7. imolazhp_ci

    imolazhp_ci Senior member

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    isn't there's like.. "applied econ" or something? not undergraduate "business." similar to columbia "financial economics"... i guess my point was more that the only undergraduate program that will give you the same general training as a proper MBA would, is Wharton.
     
  8. otc

    otc Senior member

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    What school? It can make a big difference from a recruiting perspective but not necessarily from a hiring perspective (i.e. a good candidate is a good candidate...but a good candidate from a heavily recruited program is going to have many more chances to prove it while someone from a smaller/lower ranked school might need to do some more legwork on their own).

    I graduated from a good program and went into econ consulting. I like it a lot as the work is quite varied which suits my personality and most of the cases are pretty high profile and interesting. At the PhD level, you'd better be from a top program, but we've made plenty of good hires with BAs from no-name schools.
     
  9. tj100

    tj100 Senior member

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    Investment banking.

    I would say that major is mostly irrelevant in the job search.
     
  10. Wade

    Wade Senior member

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    I had a mentor who was an Econ major for undergrad at Emory and he works at UBS atm.

    Most of the econ majors i knew went on to become an analyst and a lot often went on for either MBA or pursuing PhD
     
  11. tj100

    tj100 Senior member

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    I would also point out that on my first day in the econ program (top 10 undergrad) the head of the department addressed the incoming freshmen and asked: "show of hands, who here is positive that they want to pursue a PhD in economics?" About a dozen hands went up, and he replied: "you guys are all in the wrong place, head over to the math department and talk to me in four years."
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  12. Joffrey

    Joffrey Senior member

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    Doubled in Econ and International Studies (with IPE concentration). Worked at a govt consulting company in DC post grad. I think econ is a great major if you know what you're interested in but don't like finance/accounting.
     
  13. Claghorn

    Claghorn Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Soooooooo true. Though I would be a bit less extreme and say that pursuing an economics PhD without at least minoring in math (and taking as many econometric courses as possible) is asking for a major headache come graduate school.

    Perhaps I should have said "it's a fantastic choice is you plan on getting a PhD (in any of the humanities outside of economics)." I still feel that it makes for a very versatile degree with regards to any graduate pursuits related to liberal arts or social sciences.
     
  14. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    I did econ/philosophy. but I had several years sales expereince when I started school. I worked for a consulting company for a year, and since then I've been in sales
     
  15. otc

    otc Senior member

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    Just want to throw it out there...so much of the best work in economics (and even the best BA students I saw in economics) came from people who did not initially intend to pursue economics.

    There are a lot of PhDs out there with BAs in physics or math...even people who come from out of nowhere with things like history/political science/psychology.

    I don't know who the hell shows up at college their freshman year and says "I want to take economics 101, then major in it, then spend 7 more years getting a PhD in it"...but I would guess that 95% of those people never come anywhere close to a PhD. They probably took something stupid like AP econ and decided that it sounded like a good major (or they heard job options were good for econ)...

    I'm not saying the quote from tj100 is right (plenty of PhDs have econ undergraduate degrees) but it makes a bit more sense if you think of economics as a tool. To do really well with a tool, you have to either be
    A) *really* good at using it (hence the mathematicians/statisticians/physicists who come to the field with incredibly strong math skills).
    B) Use the tool on something people haven't tried it on before (like Steven Levitt or someone like nobel prizewinner Robert Fogel whose history background undoubtedly influenced his research heavily).

    Both types of people can come from econ BA -> econ PhD but I would venture to guess that the mathematicians who turn into the type A economists have a slightly easier time getting through school and finding rewarding work. Levitt didn't really know calculus when he showed up in grad school and I bet that made it hard for him until he started coming up with his wacky ideas. Someone who doesn't have really great technical skills *and* doesn't look at problems with a fresh lens, is probably going to have trouble being successful.

    edit: I say all this only as something that I can observe. I am certainly not saying that majoring in math is going to lead to success in economics. I am pretty damn sure that the people who major in math before getting an econ phd probably *love* math. People who don't love math don't tend to major in math. They are successful at econ because they love the math that drives econ (and probably decided they didn't like the careers that pure math would lead them to). Someone who comes at it from another path (like Fogel's history) is probably just bringing their love for something else to the field. If your interest is actually in economics (especially if its not certain you want a phd), then by all means, major in economics :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  16. imschatz

    imschatz Senior member

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    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.
     
  17. otc

    otc Senior member

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    +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.
     
  18. CYstyle

    CYstyle Senior member

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    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.
     
  19. otc

    otc Senior member

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  20. ConcernedParent

    ConcernedParent Senior member

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    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.
     

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