Getting Into Economics

Updated: Apr 4

The first thing you often hear about economics is that it’s all about money. Now that isn’t necessarily wrong, but economics is so much broader than that - it is the study of the ‘efficient allocation of scarce resources’. Naturally, this means economics has an influence in all aspects of society and studying it can lead to a huge variety of careers!

 

Universal Benefits of Studying Economics

  • A new lens with which to view the world – ranging from understanding grocery prices to government policy.

  • Develop better financial decision making, logical and problem-solving skills.

  • Helps you understand the news and even predict future headlines.


For Students Who are Considering Economics

  • Economics is considered a rigorous and quantitative course, useful for any career.

  • Economists have the highest remuneration among other subject researchers and professors in academia!

  • A-level economics is unique amongst all other A-levels; it combines mathematics, essay writing and analysis into a broad and condensed package.

  • A suitable complement for anyone wanting to study math, management, history, psychology, philosophy, biology, sociology, ecology, geography and/or politics in the future.

Specialisation Areas

  • Economic History

  • Development Economics

  • Public Economics

  • Financial Economics

  • Industrial Organisation

  • Business Economics

  • Labour Economics

  • Health and Education

  • Law and Economics

  • Political Economy

  • Behavioural Economics

  • Energy and Infrastructure

(For more information on each specialisation, I recommend using the AEA website (link at the end of the post)).

 

Economics opens doors to a variety of different jobs, depending on whether you wish to join the public sector or private sector.


Public Sector Jobs

  • Politician

  • Teacher

  • National Grid

  • Think Tank

  • Civil Service & Treasury

  • Competition Law/Policy

  • Financial Regulators

  • Psychiatrist

  • World Bank

Private Sector Jobs

  • Financial Services

  • Corporate Strategy

  • Management Consultant

  • Lawyer

  • Real Estate

  • Actuary

  • Entrepreneur

  • Political Risk Analyst

 

There are a lot of myths around economics that prevent a lot of people from studying economics or simply taking an interest in it and researching it. Some of the most common myths have been busted below.


Myth Busting

Myth 1: Economics is all about Maths and theoretical models:

  • You can take a more philosophical approach to economics, try to view economics from a historical lens or argue that economic decisions are a result of on one’s psychology. All these approaches to economics mean that economics is never ‘all about’ one thing and it means that people with a variety of strengths can enjoy studying it!

Myth 2: Economics A-Level is not ‘respected’:

  • I often hear that economics is a ‘soft’ subject and that since it isn’t widely studied like English and Maths it makes a poor choice as a facilitating subject. This is true only in specific scenarios – for example, economics may not be a useful facilitating subject for a music degree, but it is useful for almost any other subject!

Myth 3: I have to go to university to be an economist:

  • The UK government unveiled a new degree apprenticeship scheme in 2018 and the Bank of England runs multiple degree apprenticeships in economics related subjects. These degree apprenticeships enable you to be a salaried worker at a prestigious organisation and let you earn a degree at the same time!

 

Career Spotlights

Competition Lawyer:

  • A career in competition law is amongst the most lucrative and fascinating work a lawyer can do. A competition lawyer needs to have a solid understanding of economic theory – particularly industrial organisation - as this underpins all the laws they will study. The university of law’s website has a lot more information if you are interested in breaking into this industry.

World Bank:

  • International agencies such as the United Nations and The World Bank hire economists for a huge number of roles. Economics can give you strong statistical knowledge and, especially if you know another language, you have a far greater chance of being hired for these competitive jobs. Additionally, experts in development economics may find themselves prescribing policies to uplift some of the poorest populations in the world.

Start-up Entrepreneur:

  • Businesses all aim to make as much profit as possible and as such they all follow microeconomic principles. By understanding these principles you’ll have many strategies for creating a business (such as price discrimination). Furthermore, economics can give an insight into the big picture, which should help you when you scale up!

War Strategist:

  • As a student of economics, you will be very familiar with a branch of applied math called ‘game theory’. Game theory is the study of how ‘rational’ people make choices in a ‘game’. One such game can be a war, where military strategies are all based on how the other ‘player’ (the enemy) makes their own strategies. When the military considers whether to escalate or de-escalate their stances in a war, game theory experts are usually consulted!

 

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_war_game

https://www.law.ac.uk/resources/blog/competition-law/

https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/careers/early-careers/our-programmes

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-government-economic-service-degree-level-apprenticeship

https://russellgroup.ac.uk/for-students/school-and-college-in-the-uk/subject-choices-at-school-and-college/

https://www.aeaweb.org/jel/guide/jel.php


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