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I have a BS in Economics and I have no clue where to go. (Send Help!)


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It is as dire as I make the title out to be.

I am 23, Asian and speak English as a First language.

I graduated with a B.S in Economics from Drexel last year and Currently work at a job that employs none of the college level skills I have earned. On top of that, I feel the program at Drexel has left me insufficiently prepared for graduate work also and left me with a weird set of skills and interests.

I took economics as a subject because I enjoyed the philosophy behind it when I took AP Macroeconomics in Highschool. Since then I have learned alot and experienced alot. The Economic Collapse of the Housing Market, The Finance Ruin of Banks, The Job Economy right now, Political Fund Raising with SuperPACs, and now Medicare and Medicaid.

Needless to say, I think I enjoy the label of Researcher, Scholar, Teacher, Philosopher, Theory Driven, better than I do over Business man, CEO, Entrepreneur...

I had weird goals of becoming a public worker for the government doing research or becoming a teacher.

The interesting thing I found out though, is a lot of colleges/schools do not offer an A.M or MBA in economics. You are forced to go for the Ph.D track. Along with this, I do not think I have the math foundation neccessary to pursue it. Currently studying for the GREs and I am shooting for 700+ in quantative to at least have a shot at applications.

Any advice for me?

I am open to almost anything at this point.

I dabble alot in technology. I currently do SQL Data Management and Excel work for a company at about 12k a year. A meager income that barely supports my loans and plus I live in tiny accomodations. So if anyone can provide insight into a feasible career/academia path for me, or feel what is right, I will be forever in debt to you.

Thank you for reading.

Edited by Darkenspirit
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Shoot for an 800. 700 would be considered low; 760 may be considered the threshold for many PhD programs to be competitive. I don't know about MA programs.

Take math. Audit a mathematical reasoning/proofs class and then see if you can handle Real Analysis. All the interests you mentioned are highly analytical and real analysis is a necessity to do that kind of work.

This video series has been a wonderful refresher since I've gotten into graduate school. It should also serve as a decent first step into real analysis.

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^^ That lecture series from HMC was a huge help to me in preparation for graduate school!

Funny you should mention all the data management stuff. One of my colleagues in graduate school has a Ph.D. in computer science. If you really like it, have you ever thought of perhaps pursuing that more and getting into something related to finance?

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I have, I just dont know the feasibility of jumping into something like that. I always had an understanding of graduate programs as the next step, not so much a new step. You know what I mean?

Much thanks for the lecture videos, I will take a look at them when I can.

I should stop using the old GRE grading scale since that has been redone but youre saying shoot for 97-99+ percentile instead? I will try to go for that score but obviously there is a stark realization to be had here should I not make those scores.

My experiences so far with finance has been very meager. My minor undergraduate studies relating to it was mostly introductory with advanced studies in financial institutions and markets.

I think I will sit in on a class and try to see if I can follow along. My framework for the kind of analysis I am expected comes from my experiences in my statistics classes and the econometrics class. I did a fantastic job in those so I was not too worried about that kind of work, but I could imagine due to my weak math background (only took up to what I can imagine as an equvilant to calculus II) I could be in for a whole new world.

As for the computer sciences route... I have no clue how to proceed with this. Looking at MSE programs related to it, it seems really far fetched and broad based. Is there Econ related fields of study in Computer sciences? I would imagine so but to what capacity and what programs should I really be looking at?

From further reading of ancetodatal experiences. Many people are stressing to really know what it is you want to do before considering a graduate program, mainly because the debt just isnt worth it. My situation is my parents are pushing me hard to go back to school. They are firm believers that you will figure out what you want to do there and there is some truth to that. Maybe I go and find out I actually dont want to be in acdemia and go back to the work force. Anyways though I think my issues stem from a more general question of where can I go with my undergraduate economics background and what is this path.

So far, Applied Economics, Computer Sciences or possibly Financial analysis or lastly look for a new job thats more in tune with that I learned in school and see if that changes things for me.

Any advice on a goal? I feel I really lack any sort of clarity on actual possibilities here and that could be because there is literally an unlimited number of paths because Economics is incredibly broad in it of itself. I will continue to try to figure out what else is avaliable to me... The AEA website also notes economic consulting as an opening job for undergraduates before considering graduate school does anyone know about this area and how to tackle it?

Edited by Darkenspirit
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Darkenspirit -

I think you are putting the cart before the horse. You need to find out "what you want to be when you grow up" so to speak... at least for deciding on a graduate school path forward. This is important for several reasons:

1) To figure out where to apply to - since different programs have different outcomes. Many MA programs in the US are terminal programs for folks who want to work for banks, etc. and not really as prep for Ph.D. programs (not that you can't go that route - I did. got my MA in Econ and am now entering a Ph.D.

2) To get accepted - you need to be able to write a convincing SOP about the kind of research questions you are interested in.

3) To be successful. You are right - econ is a broad discipline and choosing widely makes a difference in attrition.

I used to attend conferences to see what kind of work interested me - read, read, read... others comments are on target about GRE's - competitive programs are going to want to see a 750/760 minimum to make the cut. So put the time into prepping for your GRE quant.

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