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Old 06-28-10, 11:36 AM   #1
Yaniel
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BF Economists or Econ Majors?

I'm an Econ major but haven't actually started the courses yet since I'm just getting into my 3rd year. Any economists here? Web searches always say it's a good field, with good pay and jobs available but I want some first hand experience. What kind of jobs can I expect to find with a masters, how common are government jobs, is the starting pay decent? What I see online for starting pay seems optimistic to me, but maybe I just have low standards.
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Old 06-28-10, 01:15 PM   #2
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I have a B.A. and M.A. in economics. Most of my time since college has been with an economics consulting firm, but I also worked in the transfer pricing practice at a big accounting firm for a short period. The work ranges from mind-numbing to very interesting. It can get very stressful at times. Entry-level work will be menial (data entry, quality control), so accept that now.

Most of my friends from school did not go into consulting. They work at school districts, real estate firms, banks, software companies performing all sorts of functions.

The pay is pretty good. I don't know what new hires get now, but my guess is it is above average. I had two job offers when I graduated. One was with a consulting firm and one with the state. The consulting job paid about a third more than the state job. That pay differential might be much different now.

Some advice: Build you technical skills as much as possible. It surprises me how little recent grads from top schools know how to use Excel, PowerPoint, etc. Learning a statistics program like SAS or STATA will also give you a big advantage when looking for a job, even if your skills are beginner.
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Old 06-28-10, 01:30 PM   #3
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you can get me my fries with that BA in econ.
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Old 06-28-10, 01:30 PM   #4
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I have grad degrees in Economics. I have mainly worked in the public sector, and generally been really more in Finance than Econ per se. My statistical skills are my most used attributes. Other than that, my ability to analyze things in a "general equilibrium" kind of way, understanding human behavior from the Economist's view has been very helpful in preventing policy nightmares.

A couple of tips: mathematical rigor is high in graduate school. I was very happy that I took Real Analysis, Abstract Algebra, etc. as an undergraduate. Second, read "The Making of an Economist" by Klamer & Colander

http://www.amazon.com/Economist-Stud.../dp/0813306981

That way you'll know what you're in for.
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Old 06-28-10, 01:32 PM   #5
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you can get me my fries with that BA in econ.
First hand experience?
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Old 06-28-10, 01:38 PM   #6
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First hand experience?
I think so....I'm pretty sure several "economics majors" have served my lunch recently.
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Old 06-28-10, 05:16 PM   #7
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I think so....I'm pretty sure several "economics majors" have served my lunch recently.
Oh, yes the lunch line at the homeless shelter. I'm sure you get your free lunch often.
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Old 06-28-10, 06:58 PM   #8
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Oh, yes the lunch line at the homeless shelter. I'm sure you get your free lunch often.

Only when I make a big donation.
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Old 06-28-10, 08:06 PM   #9
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Not an econ major (poli sci), but I write about economics and business. I'm going to suggest that actual economist jobs aside, there are opportunities in journalism for people who know economics but can write clearly for a non-specialist audience. Whatever people say about journalism dying, good business and economics journalists are hard to come by and often command higher salaries than their generalist counterparts. If you can develop a particular specialty (mine is China, mostly by accident), even better. A strong academic background will certainly not hurt.

If you like writing, it may be worth a look.
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Old 06-28-10, 08:07 PM   #10
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Economists are like meteorologists. They have no idea what's going to happen tomorrow - but they sure sound like they do.
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Old 06-28-10, 10:18 PM   #11
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Yes, I will have fries with that.
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Old 06-28-10, 10:32 PM   #12
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Economists are like meteorologists. They have no idea what's going to happen tomorrow - but they sure sound like they do.
It's worse than that. A meteorologist can be proven wrong if he predicts sunny skies and it ends up pouring rain. But an economist will always a find way to argue that he was right, even if the outcome completely contradicts his prediction.
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Old 06-29-10, 06:03 AM   #13
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It's worse than that. A meteorologist can be proven wrong if he predicts sunny skies and it ends up pouring rain. But an economist will always a find way to argue that he was right, even if the outcome completely contradicts his prediction.
See Paul Krugman.
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