Written by Namit Mahajan, a second-year undergraduate student from Ramjas College, Delhi University
All of us grow up listening to terms like GDP, Unemployment, Inflation, etc. – but never get to study them in-depth unless one studies economics in high school and above. This article describes the basics of having a career in economics (and related fields), including prerequisites and the dos and don’ts.
To start with, economics is a vast field – fit for those who want to enter into research and those who wish to venture into finance, business, marketing, and related fields. What’s more, economics and data science are closely related – so for someone wanting to learn more about statistical models and getting into coding and more profound research, it is a good fit. Economics is the subject if you have an excellent quantitative aptitude and feel comfortable with a practical education setting and loads of graphs (of course!). The article details the honours courses in economics.
First off, a strong quantitative aptitude is a must for economics. You will have compulsory ( and additional) courses in mathematics, which will have advanced calculus and topics ranging from matrices to linear algebra.
Further, there are a lot of mathematical applications in the study of microeconomics and macroeconomics. It is essential and, in most cases, mandatory for students to have mathematics in their classes 11th and 12th. Even though some colleges do let people without maths, most government institutes, including the University of Delhi, require you to have mathematics as a core subject in school until 12th grade.
Secondly, it is not compulsory to have studied economics in +1 and +2. Prior knowledge will help, but all economics courses have introductory portions in the first year, which is an extended study of what we learn in high school economics.
What you’ll study
In an honours course, you study microeconomics and macroeconomics on an introductory and intermediate level. There is also a compulsory two-part course on mathematical economics. Microeconomics covers consumer behaviour, theories of choice, and preferences and production – including trade, taxes, market structures, externalities. It also covers parts of game theory. Macroeconomics covers models of the economy – basics of supply and demand, equilibrium, unemployment and inflation. It also includes economic growth and policy effects. Moreover, we have compulsory courses on statistics and econometrics, where we learn how to make economic models and analyse data. Other courses include Indian Economy, Development Economics, Money and Financial Markets, etc.
Finding internships and building skills:
As an economics student, your internship opportunities largely depend on your interests and skills. As previously stated, one can venture into almost anything – from research to corporate. For Research roles and internships, you need to have excellent data analysis skills, including MS Excel knowledge, programming languages, and packages like R, STATA, etc. A command over writing skills is a plus. For Corporate roles, industry-specific knowledge is a must. You need to know basic skills related to Finance if you want to gain more experience in that field. This is the same for roles in HR, Marketing, Consulting, etc. To build these skills, find your niche, explore, see what fits you, and then upskill. You can find multiple online courses and other resources to build knowledge and skillset. Further, you get various opportunities to write and publish a research paper, which can help you with your master’s applications.
What college to choose?
Many government and private colleges offer excellent and comprehensive programmes in economics in India. Some of them (in no particular order) are:
- University of Delhi
- University of Mumbai
- St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata
- NMIMS, Mumbai
- CHRIST (Deemed To Be) University
- Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Pune
- Jamia Milia Islamia, Delhi
- Ashoka University
After your economics degree, you can choose to further study – do a masters in economics, even in specific economics courses like health economics or development studies, or an MBA with a specialisation that you are interested in. Many people choose to work after their bachelors. Based on your skill set, you can apply and work in various corporate roles – in finance, strategy, operations, etc. There are multiple roles in public policy and think tanks, primarily based on research.
Economics as a discipline is very vast and needs consistency and continuous efforts. It offers you a fresh and deep perspective on how the economy works and how people and producers make decisions. However, it also provides one with a very practical and open environment for one to find themselves.
Hope this helps! I am currently an Honours student of Economics at Ramjas College, University of Delhi. Feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any queries!
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