Now that I’m in my final year of my undergraduate career, I’m finding a lot of things I wish I would have at least been told about early on. I often find job postings that require skills that I don’t even learn in college unless I take a class that isn’t in the economics department or take the time to learn it on my own. Personally, I believe that advisors should be more upfront about this and should also be more proactive in asking about a student’s career aspirations. Until this happens, here’s a list of skills (based on my experience) that economics majors should start working on immediately, even if they’re a freshman or senior.
Most, if not all, of these skills will make you more competitive in many fields. But they are absolutely essential for many jobs in finance, research, analytics, and data management.
Why would a department want to make their major harder to obtain? While it sounds a little backwards, making it harder to earn a degree in economics not only helps the reputation of your school, it helps the reputation of your department. Think about the psychology between reputation and academic rigor: Ivy League schools are extremely hard to get into, but their courses aren’t necessarily harder (if they’re harder at all) than anywhere else. Since most people don’t know the second part, many believe an Ivy League graduate has some sort of mythical power in their field. The ugly truth: Half of the time, it’s just brand loyalty.
I’ve come to notice that at the University of Oregon (UO), economics isn’t the most popular major. At least, not the most popular primary major. Much of the time, I’ve noticed that accounting, general business, and finance majors are usually the ones double majoring in economics (economics being the secondary major). Of course, this makes me quite sad.
Why would this matter to me? Well, in a way, it really doesn’t. It matters to me not because I love economics and I think everybody should study it. It matters to me because I know how useful of a major it can be. However, it really doesn’t matter to me because it just means that I get more time with professors and that’s less competition later in life. But what’s more interesting than this is why economics isn’t popular.