Economics explained: why you should study it and your career prospects

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University of Surrey Student Rep
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To introduce myself – I’m Joao, an Economics student from the University of Surrey on placement at Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). Economics, at its very heart, is the study of people. It seeks to explain what drives human behaviour, decisions and reactions when faced with difficulties or successes. Economics is a discipline which combines politics, sociology, psychology and history. When you study economics you gain a toolkit of skills, approaches and ways of thinking that you can apply to a wide range of problems. Economics is one of the central disciplines underpinning the study of business and management and public policy.

An economics degree gives you a high level of mathematical and statistical skills and the ability to apply economic principles and models to problems in business, finance and the public sector. More broadly, economic concepts can be applied to understand the logic of complicated data, to see how things relate to each other, and to see the broader context. In terms of new employment areas, economists would be well prepared for roles in ‘Big Data’. This is a new field and is about analysing large volumes of data to identify patterns, and so help businesses or governments make better decisions. This could be, for example, in relation to customer behaviour, the spread of diseases, crime patterns, or trends in financial markets.

There is no doubt that to be a great economist, one has to be able to master the methods used in the profession, and have good maths and statistical skills to do this. You also need to be interested in the world around you from history, to politics, to international affairs and consumer behaviour in your country and worldwide, as these all impact on how individuals, companies and governments behave and make decisions.

If you have any questions, please ask as I am here to help you out
Joao
Economics
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olderforeigngirl
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Thank you for ur post I'm currently thinking of applying for Food Marketing and Business Economics at Reading University and I love ur post.I can choose option with placement and defra sounds very good for my course (of my uni have placements with them).Can you tell me more about what Business Economics does?(obviously something with business-es). and what do u think about Food Marketing? Big Thx
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HoldThisL
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(Original post by University of Surrey Student Rep)
economists would be well prepared for roles in ‘Big Data’.
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(Original post by olderforeigngirl)
Thank you for ur post I'm currently thinking of applying for Food Marketing and Business Economics at Reading University and I love ur post.I can choose option with placement and defra sounds very good for my course (of my uni have placements with them).Can you tell me more about what Business Economics does?(obviously something with business-es). and what do u think about Food Marketing? Big Thx
As an Economist for the British Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, I acquired valuable competencies such as analytical, communication and interpersonal skills while playing a key role in the Analysis and Evidence Team. Most of the economics-related works in the floods team have to do with project appraisal; more specifically, the cost-benefit analysis of different flood defence projects and new legislation. It is a fascinating area where I applied my economical knowledge to take the lead on some very significant projects. During my placement, I developed a cost-benefit analysis of the impact of Small Raised Reservoirs’ regulation which saved taxpayers £65m in unnecessary costs. I also built a tool to assess the economic efficiency of flood and coastal defences across England and drafted new policy options through the development, testing and application of statistical models, which further developed my technical skills, including using advanced MS Excel and R.

My advice is whether you’re looking for a year-long industrial placement or a summer placement, you’ll need to start applying early. There are lots of students looking for placements and it’s a dogfight to land yourself one. You should approach your placement applications as if you’re applying for a graduate job. It’s worth spending more time on fewer applications and tailoring them to individual companies, rather than churning out generic applications for hundreds of placements. Finally, when your placement starts, attend as many events as possible, whether that is a social event with your team after work hours or a talk on how to improve your CV. All these events are beneficial and can both broaden your network and improve your work profile.

I think this will be useful for you if you are considering a placement in the Government Economic service:
https://www.gov.uk/government/public...dent-placement

Business economics: You’ll study core business and management topics as well as specialist modules that will develop your understanding of the working realities of retail management and operations. You’ll learn to apply and evaluate the techniques and frameworks of successful retailing, developing commercially viable solutions that you’ll present back to business leaders, while working on live business issues.

https://www.surrey.ac.uk/undergradua...ness-economics

Food marketing: I know food marketing takes many forms and can involve building relationships with customers, raising brand awareness, developing new products, promoting them through advertising, and even paying grocery stores for prominent shelf space, all with the goal of promoting sales, but I don't know much more about it sorry ...

I hope this has helped,
Joao
Economics
Last edited by University of Surrey Student Rep; 2 months ago
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