Economics

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Area

Economics

  • Specialties:
    • Micro
    • Macro
    • Financial
    • International
    • Industrial organizational

  • Specialties continued:
    • Demographic or labor
    • Natural resource and environmental
    • Public finance
    • Econometrics
    • Business

  • Data collection
  • Data analysis
  • Research analysis
  • Forecasting
  • Planning
  • Consulting
  • Policy advising
  • Economic development

Employers

  • Research firms and think tanks
  • Private corporations in a variety of industries:
    • Retail
    • Banking
    • Insurance
    • Mining
    • Transportation
    • Healthcare
    • Research and development
    • Tourism
  • Consumer goods manufacturing firms
  • Nonprofits and non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

  • Federal government:
    • Department of labor
    • Bureau of labor statistics
    • Department of commerce
    • Bureau of economic analysis
    • Census bureau
    • Department of agriculture
    • Agricultural research service
    • Department of state
    • Department of health
    • Environmental protection agency
    • Office of policy, planning, and development

  • Federal government continued:
    • Securities and exchange commission
    • Small business administration
    • Congressional budget office
    • Federal reserve system board of governors
    • Legislatures
  • Local and state government agencies
  • Public utilities
  • Trade associations
  • Labor unions
  • International organizations (e.g., World Bank, United Nations)
  • Consulting firms

Strategies

  • Most economics positions in the private sector require a master’s or doctoral degree. Plan to specialize at the graduate level.
  • Some entry-level positions such as Research Assistant or Economics Assistant are available in government agencies for candidates with bachelor’s degrees, but more opportunities and the potential for advancement are available for candidates with graduate degrees.
  • Approximately 50% of economists work for local, state, or federal government.
  • Economists can specialize in a particular industry such as healthcare, transportation, or energy. Nearly all industries employ economists.
  • Develop excellent quantitative, analytical, and computer skills along with the ability to communicate data and findings to people with less technical backgrounds.
  • Supplement undergraduate curriculum with courses in math, statistics, computer science, business, and political science.
  • Gain experience with survey design and working with large amounts of data.
  • Become adept at making reports, creating charts and graphs, and writing findings clearly.
  • Complete an internship with a government agency or market research firm.
  • Join student professional organizations and read journals to understand the industry.
  • Learn to work independently and to demonstrate a proclivity to problem-solving.
  • Work with the campus career center to learn about government hiring procedures.

Area

Banking and Finance

  • Financial analysis
  • Commercial banking
  • Retail banking
  • Consumer banking
  • Credit analysis
  • Lending
  • Trust services

  • Mortgage loans
  • Branch management
  • Operations
  • Market research analysis
  • Securities:
    • Sales
    • Research

Employers

  • Corporate finance departments
  • Banks
  • Credit unions
  • Savings and loan associations
  • Financial services institutions

  • Insurance firms
  • Wholesale lenders
  • Housing lenders
  • Federal reserve banks

Strategies

  • Build a solid background in business: finance, accounting, and marketing.
  • Gain experience through part-time, summer, or internship positions in a bank or financial services firm.
  • Develop strong interpersonal and communication skills in order to work well with a diverse clientele.
  • Serve as treasurer for student organizations.
  • Get involved with investment clubs.
  • Research certifications in the industry (e.g., Chartered Financial Analyst, CFA).
  • Earn an MBA for positions in investment banking.

Area

Insurance

  • Sales
  • Claims
  • Underwriting
  • Risk management

  • Asset management
  • Loss control
  • Customer service
  • Actuarial science

Employers

  • Insurance firms
  • Insurance brokers

Strategies

  • Complete an internship with an insurance agency.
  • Talk to professionals in the industry to learn more about claims, underwriting, and risk management. Many entry-level positions exist in these areas.
  • Initiative and sales ability are necessary to be a successful agent or broker.
  • Develop strong communication skills as many positions require interaction with others and the ability to explain information clearly and concisely.
  • Several certifications are available in the insurance industry.  Research those relevant to your area of interest.
  • For actuary science, take additional courses in statistics and mathematics. Plan to take a series of actuarial exams to gain licensure from either the Society of Actuaries or the Casualty Actuarial Society. (The type of insurance you deal with determines which path to pursue.) Most actuaries take these exams while working full-time, and the process takes several years.

Area

Sales

  • Industrial sales
  • Consumer product sales
  • Financial services sales
  • Services sales

  • Advertising sales
  • Corporate sales
  • Manufacturer representation
  • Direct consumer sales

  • E-commerce
  • Customer service
  • Sales management:
    • District, regional, and higher

Employers

  • For-profit and nonprofit organizations
  • Product and service organizations
  • Manufacturers
  • Financial companies

  • Insurance companies
  • Print and electronic media outlets
  • Software and technology companies
  • Internet companies

Strategies

  • Obtain related experience through internships or summer and part-time jobs.
  • Seek leadership positions in campus organizations.
  • Work for the campus newspaper, directory, or radio station selling advertisements.
  • Become highly motivated and well-organized.
  • Learn to work well under pressure and to be comfortable in a competitive environment.
  • Prepare to work independently and to be self-motivated. Plan to work irregular and/or long hours.
  • Develop a strong knowledge base of the product or service you are selling.
  • To deliver effective customer service, develop problem-solving skills, self-confidence, assertiveness, and empathy.
  • Learn to communicate effectively with a wide range of people. Supplement curriculum with classes in interpersonal communication and public speaking.

Area

Management 

  • Entry-level/management-trainee
  • Supervision of employees and operations
  • Project management
  • Team management

  • Information management
  • Operations management
  • Middle management
  • Top management

Employers

  • Banks and financial institutions
  • Retail stores
  • Restaurants
  • Hotels and other facilities
  • Service providers
  • Healthcare organizations and hospitals

  • Local, state, and federal government
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Self-employed
  • Manufacturers
  • Software and technology companies
  • Educational institutions

Strategies

  • Nearly every type of organization across industries offer management positions.
  • Take additional courses in management and human resources.
  • Be prepared to start in entry-level management trainee positions or corporate rotational training programs.
  • Gain related experience through internships or summer and part-time jobs.
  • Work at a retail store or restaurant; advance into an assistant manager position.
  • Get involved in student organizations and assume leadership roles.
  • Demonstrate a strong work ethic, integrity, and a sense of independence.
  • Take courses in a secondary specialty such as marketing or information systems to increase job opportunities.
  • Learn to communicate effectively with a wide variety of people and to work well on a team.
  • Develop strong problem-solving skills.

Area

Education 

  • Teaching
  • Research

Employers

  • Colleges and universities
  • Secondary public and private schools

Strategies

  • Earn a Ph.D. to teach in post-secondary institutions.
  • Gain research experience by assisting a professor.
  • Maintain a high GPA and secure strong faculty recommendations to get admitted into graduate school.
  • Obtain teacher certification for public school positions. Earn additional certifications as it is unlikely that schools will hire teachers only for economics.
  • Seek experience working with young people.
  • Serve as a tutor, peer mentor, resident assistant, or other student leader.
  • Develop strong public speaking skills.

General Information

  • Economics is a social science that researches people and how they use their resources with a focus on the economic well-being of society.
  • An undergraduate degree in economics can lead to many career opportunities. Students should clearly define their goals and seek experiences and skills necessary to reach those goals.
  • Internships and experiences often direct the career path of economics majors.
  • Some undergraduate programs are located in colleges of Business and others in Arts and Sciences. These may lead to either the B.A. or B.S. Career opportunities can vary slightly depending upon the particular degree and curriculum.
  • Most “economist” positions require masters or doctoral degrees in economics or a closely related field.
  • Economics can serve as good preparation for graduate programs in economics, law, public administration, international affairs, environmental science, management science, or business.
  • Gaining relevant experience through internships is critical.
  • Important skills for economists to gain: data acquisition and analysis techniques, critical thinking, report writing, competency with relevant software, and the ability to identify economic trends.
  • Learn about economics and business careers through research on internet sites and books, informational interviews of professionals, and exposure to work environments through shadowing, volunteering, or interning.
  • Get involved in student professional associations in fields of interest.
  • Build and utilize a personal network of contacts. Once in a position, find an experienced mentor.