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The ISBF Blog

Why Study Economics?-The ISBF Gazette_Issue IX

Posted on April 18, 2014 by Chiraag Mehta  | Blog | Teaching

“The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind”, as Bob Dylan would say. The unprecedented growth in the modern era of consumerism, globalisation, finance and fiat money has placed economics at the heart of most major world issues today.result, be it the question of the exploitation of resources in Africa, the inclusive development of the Indian economy, the mad rush for 'Arctic gold', the Arab spring, the 2008 global crisis or even climate change and environmental sustainability, economic wisdom is indispensable in framing policies to understand and address them. The content of most reputed undergraduate programmes in economics is designed to facilitate over three years a mastery over theoretical tools and their application to the above types of real-world situations. Learning economics is therefore a process conducted as  much in class as outside it, and this attribute, more than others, makes it instantly relatable and exciting. For most high school-ers, an under-graduate degree must tick as many as possible of broadly 3 boxes: Is the course interesting? Can I apply it to the real world in my post-college life? How open are my job options after this course? What kinds of jobs do economics undergraduates usually get? Is the course a good stepping stone into a top Master's / MBA programme? The first question hopefully stands addressed above, with more empirical proof readily available via a perusal of any newspaper or magazine of the day As regards options, an undergraduate degree in economics actually leaves the door open for a very wide range of options indeed, including for entry into a top post-graduate programme. Being the most technical of the social sciences, economics must necessarily equip its student with adequate analytical and quantitative skills to traverse the vast and uncertain landscape of human, social and institutional behaviour. These skills stand you in excellent stead in the eyes of employers across a wide range of sectors – from lucrative and challenging jobs in areas such as banking, consulting and marketing to firms engaged in economics research, policy-making and non-governmental work. Coveted jobs such as in investment banking, considered by many to be the gold standard in corporate employment, also value very highly the economics graduates' ability to both identify the implications of global events and policy changes on the local market and economy, as well as apply their considerable mathematical and analytical ability to quantify such effects. In fact, evidence from top undergraduate colleges across the country clearly indicates that engineers aside, economics graduates are the most employable in the pool of job applicants. Since most top business schools of the day train their students to land 'high-package' jobs in glamorous  sectors like the first few mentioned above, the kind of skills they look for in candidates seeking admission tend to be inferred / back-calculated from the skills sought by the multinational corporations that provide these lucrative jobs. Therefore, the analytical ability, creativity and keen intellect nurtured in you through a degree in economics whips up for you a disproportionate advantage. This is again something borne out by admissions data from IIMs across the country; in fact the same data also serves to bust the unsubstantiated belief (read: myth) that a Bachelor's degree in business, commerce or accountancy is undisputedly the best platform to gain admission into a top MBA college And, of course, a first-class degree in economics is the natural and ideal base for launching yourself into further studies, research and policy making or academic life. You will be well-suited for the most rigorous of Master's programmes in economics, econometrics, public policy, political economy, international relations, finance and even management. The downside, which you may be looking for by now, is that you tend to have to work relatively harder in completing an economics degree But not only does that hard work bear a disproportionate set of rewards, but it also imbibes in you skills that last you a lifetime and are looked up to wherever you go. Since most top business schools of the day train their students to land 'high-package' jobs in glamorous sectors like the first few mentioned above, the kind of skills they look for in candidates seeking admission tend to be inferred / back-calculated from the skills sought by the multinational corporations that provide these lucrative jobs. Therefore, the analytical ability, creativity and keen intellect nurtured in you through a degree in economics whips up for  you a disproportionate advantage. This is again something borne out by admissions data from IIMs across the country; in fact the same data also serves to bust the unsubstantiated belief (read: myth) that a Bachelor's degree in business, commerce or accountancy is undisputedly the best platform to gain admission into a top MBA college. And, of course, a first-class degree in economics is the natural and ideal base for launching yourself into further studies, research and policy making or academic life. You will be well-suited for the most rigorous of Master's programmes in economics econometrics, public policy, political economy, international relations, finance and even management. The downside, which you may be looking for by now, is that you tend to have to work relatively harder in completing an economics degree. But not only does that hard work come bear a disproportionate set of rewards, but it also imbibes in you skills that last you a lifetime and are looked up to wherever you go.

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