Graduates with bachelor’s degrees in economics find entry-level positions in which their primary responsibilities are the collection, assimilation and preparation of data. For positions with greater responsibility, such as those in teaching or government, a master’s degree or Ph.D. is required. The more quantitative course requirements of the economics major include statistics, regression analysis, and econometrics. These form the core of business life, but at the same time, those who are comfortable with the written or spoken word have a significantly higher rate of advancement and overall job satisfaction than those who are not. Applicants should be comfortable with computers, numbers, and long academic papers. Many women who start in academia find they are more successful in the private sector. The ability to distinguish yourself from other economists is key, but can be difficult, especially within a particular company’s or industry’s accepted economic assumptions. Creative thinkers and those who have taken cross-discipline course loads, such as philosophy or marketing, seem to find it easier to break from the pack and propose new, interesting additions to the economic canon. Technological breakthroughs bring countless new possibilities to economic analysis for economists to explore and present.
Two years out: Economists who pursue graduate degrees often work while still in school, so these first few years pass at a frenzied pace. For the first few months in the working world, economists learn the assumptions and models used by the hiring company. Tasks focus on computer modeling, report writing, and working as part of larger, highly supervised research teams. Salaries are low. Projects usually have strict deadlines, so expect some weekend work. Economists in academia start out as assistant professors, lecturing, grading papers, and teaching sections.
Five years out: Nearly 30 percent of those who began five years ago have either returned to school to pursue higher degrees in economics or to get out of the field altogether (in many cases, to become bankers). Since most private consulting firms employ fewer than fifty people, those who stay can rise rapidly. Successful economists are team leaders, managing large research projects, working with clients, and reviewing materials prepared by junior associates. Academics, now teaching their own seminars, are likely to have shifted among universities to those with strong opportunities for advancement and are publishing papers and articles other than thesis material.
Ten years out: By this point, economists have significant client experience, strong managerial skills, and an ability to deliver promised services. Over 25 percent of ten-year veterans start their own consulting firms. Others become in-house employees at banks, brokerage houses, or other types of financial consulting firms (usually at the vice-presidential level or higher). Academics are now professors, publishing articles, working with graduate students, and angling for the extra university awards and consulting agreements that can provide a significant boost to income and prestige within the profession.
Economists who leave the profession find a wide range of careers open to them. Their statistical and mathematical skills make them well-suited for careers as statisticians, bankers, stockbrokers, options traders, equity research analysts, and any other profession that requires systems modeling. Their research and writing skills allow them to become financial journalists, research analysts, academics in other fields, and administrative managers.
Answered By: oceano - 12/18/2007