Careers for economics students

Careers for economics students

Economically sound

Careers for economics students

Since time immemorial, economics has been the guiding force of the society, not only in its formation but also in its development through the passage of time. Writings of the earliest thinkers, whether it was Aristotle’s Politics or Chanakya’s Arthashastra, allude that there was a class of elite scholars devoting their energy to understanding and improving with conscious efforts. Even at the mundane level, a farmer selling his crops or the household leader allocating his income under various heads, everyone unwittingly laid down and made use of the laws of economics.

However, it was not until Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations that economics was recognized as a separate discipline that can be practiced or preached by the general public. Since then there have been innumerable authors that have attempted to improve as well as expand the scope of this discipline.

 As the scope of economics has improved on the theoretical front so has the scope of its practical applicability. Even if we compare the avenues available to students of economics after independence with those available today, we find that there is a sharp expansion in the size and quality of work available. Earlier, students of economics were either destined to be a part of the public administration or were assumed to join the teaching profession. However, with the enlargement of the scope and significance of the private sector, as well as advent of globalization, fresh opportunities have cropped up for the students of economics. Basic knowledge of economics, if not specialized one, has become a prerequisite to enter any sector of the economy.

 If we look at the current Indian economy, various opportunities are available for economics graduates and post-graduates. The public sector, as always, opens its arms for the economist to join administration in the form of IAS and IES, or otherwise at its various organizations.

Lovers of monetary economics have opportunities to aim at a career with the central bank. Research lovers can pursue research at various governmental as well as non-governmental think-tanks, based on their aptitude and research agendas. At the same time, the growth in the size and sophistication of the private sector, in particularly the financial sector, lays down new career paths for the budding economist. Banking sector now has complex sub-branches consisting of investment banking, retail banking, commercial banking and so on, which require the expertise of analysts at various levels for their functioning. Recently, there has been an exponential growth in the number of consultancies, economics, and otherwise, that require students with economics background as research analysts.

 On a world-wide front, we indeed see that as a result of globalization, the global village offers similar job profiles to the students of economics, with minor variations depending on the location. With such harmonization, increasing number of students are now to applying abroad for a job and internships right after completing their graduation, to take advantage of a global exposure. Although, there is a slight disadvantage to the Indian student in the form of outdated curriculum at various universities, it is a good idea to keep oneself well informed about advanced curriculums from better universities available within India.

 Realizing the role of economics in almost every social field, there has been an increasing trend towards gathering the basic knowledge of economics at the undergraduate level and combining it with further specialized knowledge of other fields. A Bachelors in Economics is combined with L.L.B to make successful corporate lawyers. Undergraduate degree in economics is followed by an M.B.A to make top level managers for various corporate organizations. Similarly, specialized courses in finance are undertaken, with economics as their base, by those aiming to become traders or work with a variety of funds at the stock markets.

 On these lines, there has been a significant development, especially in premier institutions abroad, in combining various disciplines, even at the undergraduate level, with economics as its base to provide a holistic and comprehensive knowledge to the students. There is BSc in Economics and Management for the future CEOs, BSc in Economics and Finance for those aiming at the financial markets and the banking sector and so on. Although, such developments are yet to reach the curriculum of the public universities of India, they are now available closer home. To meet the growing demand for quality education, leading global educational institutions are setting up their centers in India.

When it comes to choosing a career in economics, it is only a matter of specialization, given the niche marketing habits that have entered the economic sector as well. The more you specialize, the better your growth potential in an ‘economically’ sound career.

(The writer is a faculty at Indian School of Business & Finance, New Delhi, an Affiliate Centre of the University of London, LSE)

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