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Careers After a B.A. in Economics

by Shane Hall

You completed your B.A. in economics. Now comes the challenge of finding a job that allows you to apply the knowledge and skills you acquired from those years of study. Although your degree will not qualify you for an economist's position at the Federal Reserve, a B.A. in economics opens doors to a range of career options, not only in business, but in consulting and government as well.

Business Careers

Although a degree in economics is not occupation-specific, in contrast to a degree in accounting or marketing, it does provide the "big picture" perspective valuable for a variety of career paths in the corporate world, according to the American Economic Association, or AEA. Economics emphasizes analysis, logical thought and problem solving skills valued by large and small companies. Economics graduates find business careers in finance, business analysis, management and marketing, according to the AEA. The degree also is sound preparation for entering a master of business administration, or MBA, program.

Consulting

Economics graduates with strong analytical and communication skills, as well as an interest in strategic planning and problem solving, may find a rewarding career in management consulting. Management consultants work with data, study market conditions, identify business problems and help companies develop strategies for increasing market share and profits.

Government Careers

More than half of all economists work for government agencies at the federal, state and local levels, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Economists in government agencies collect and analyze economic data, and evaluate programs or policies to determine their economic impacts. Then, they prepare reports that guide policy makers' decisions. A bachelor's degree in economics is sufficient for some economist jobs in government agencies; however, an advanced degree may be necessary for more advanced positions.

Research

Not all economics graduates with public policy interests go to work for the government. Policy research organizations known as think tanks employ economics graduates as policy analysts. These individuals conduct research and compare policy proposals. Policy analysts also write books, papers and reports on their research findings and sometimes offer expert testimony to legislative committees. In addition to providing information to policy makers, these analysts also inform the public debate over public policy proposals in areas ranging from environmental protection to counter-terrorism.

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