+1 vote
asked ago in General Economics Questions by (200 points)
Hello all, I am currently an undergraduate pursuing a B.S. in economics. I’m in the second half of my third year and with graduation on the horizon I wanted to ask if there was anything you’d recommend to someone like me. I have found a passion for this subject that is honestly unrivaled in my life, and I want to make the best of every moment I have while I’m still a student.

I’m not exactly sure where it is I’m heading right now, i.e. careers, further education, etc, however I don’t really care, as long as it is in this field I’m sure I will be happy.

I’m sure this post must seem very vague, but in honesty the future is a little vague at this point so what is one to do.

Thank you so much, any words of wisdom or insight would be greatly appreciated, I look forward to hearing from you.

4 Answers

+1 vote
answered ago by (970 points)
selected ago by
 
Best answer
I've posted some advice about pursuing a PhD in economics here:
https://sites.google.com/site/wdcraighead/grad-school-advice

Of course, there are many alternatives that might be fulfilling to you - e.g., working in a job related to public policy - that are less costly than an economics PhD.  Fundamentally, the decision to go to graduate school is about deciding what type of career you want to have, so I'd recommend doing some soul-searching on that first.  Good luck!
commented ago by (200 points)
Thank you so much. I cannot express my appreciation for the sheer amount (and honesty) of the information you have provided. I have been trying to learn as much as I can about possible career paths and further education in the past few weeks. It’s been kind of overwhelming, but this was very reassuring. I’ll definitely pass this along to a few of my fellow undergrads.
+1 vote
answered ago by (260 points)
I suggest getting WORK experience after you graduate and BEFORE considering graduate school (if that's your plan), as many academic economists know too little about real world operations to offer useful insights to that real world.
+3 votes
answered ago by (1.2k points)
Everyone will tell you that to prepare for graduate school and to increase your chances of getting into a good one, you should take a lot of math and probability/statistics courses. And they are correct; those techniques are important at  that level of economics. But I suggest taking as many history courses as you can (not necessarily economic history), bearing on countries and issues that most engage your intellectual interest. You should also develop interest in reading history, outside of your coursework and purely as an intellectual pursuit. This will give you a broader and deeper perspective that will make you a better economist.

And please accept my good wishes for a great career.
+2 votes
answered ago by (180 points)
As mentioned by other responses, statistics, data science, and econometrics are important classes to take to maximize your career opportunities.  I also agree that taking another field of interest is useful, as economics can be used in many areas and having that education will make you stand out.  This could be history, political science, the arts, etc.  Also see if there are student clubs that focus on economics or "close substitutes" (finance, business fields) that would provide you with networking opportunities and job leads.  If you are interested in working for government or a firm with your economics degree, I highly recommend that you join NABE (the National Association for Business Economics at www.nabe.com) as a student member.  NABE has several student chapters at various universities around the US and is open to both undergrad and grad student participants.  Even if there is not a local student chapter, you could attend the regional meetings as well as their national conferences/meetings.  I highly recommend doing internships, as that will give you a much better idea of what economics jobs entail on a day to day basis.  You can find internships at your school's career services center, JOE, NABE's job listings, or just creatively use Google to target firms of interest.  I work for Disney, and we have many Professional internships in data science, finance, marketing analytics, consumer research that economics graduates would be a good fit for.  Just google Disney professional internships if you want to check them out.
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