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Should I get an Economics degree?

Hi, I am going into university soon and need to decide whether to study Economics or Law. Do any people with an Economics degree regret getting one? How hard is it to get a job within that industry? I don't want to spend three years of my life getting a degree to then just teach in schools.
Reply 1
Original post by Rocky11111
Hi, I am going into university soon and need to decide whether to study Economics or Law. Do any people with an Economics degree regret getting one? How hard is it to get a job within that industry? I don't want to spend three years of my life getting a degree to then just teach in schools.
your options arent just 'job in field you studied' or 'teaching' don't worry, plenty of options afterwards eg graduate jobs/schemes in anything related to finance, grad jobs/schemes in other fields eg management consulting, civil service; if you decide after your econ degree that you do want to do law, there are 1 year conversion courses to pivot into that field
https://www.graduate-jobs.com/degree/economics
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/jobs-and-work-experience/job-sectors/law-sector/law-conversion-courses
Hi @Rocky11111

You can go into a wide range of careers with Economics whether that be in finance, the civil service, consulting, investment banking, IT etc. In addition, you do not need to have a law degree to be a lawyer. So, you could still become a lawyer with an economics degree,

In addition, one of the main factors for getting a job after is not the degree you get but rather, the work experience you have as well as how you perform in their interviews. Many students undertake placement year or summer/easter internships which boost their employability. University Career departments can give alot of support with finding placements. Some students, having finished the placement, then get a job offer (from the place they did a placement with) for after they graduate.

Best Wishes,
Gulcin
2nd Year PPE Student
University of Southampton
Original post by Rocky11111
Hi, I am going into university soon and need to decide whether to study Economics or Law. Do any people with an Economics degree regret getting one? How hard is it to get a job within that industry? I don't want to spend three years of my life getting a degree to then just teach in schools.
I wouldn't say there's a meaningful difference between the competition for good law vacation schemes and training contracts vs good banking/consulting/finance internships and graduate schemes.

There's a balance between the notion that you can do banking/consulting/finance grad schemes after a law degree, but you cannot get onto a law training contract immediately after an economics. But equally, you can study economics, then just do a short conversion course afterwards.

So I think you have some flexibility to just do the one which you think you'd enjoy more. I've studied economics at all levels, and from conversations with various lawyer friends, it feels like a law degree requires a lot more work than an economics degree generally - the workload isn't super high in economics, it's more about mathematical ability instead (it's very different to a-level economics) and there's less scope to brute force it.
Reply 4
Original post by BenRyan99
I wouldn't say there's a meaningful difference between the competition for good law vacation schemes and training contracts vs good banking/consulting/finance internships and graduate schemes.

There's a balance between the notion that you can do banking/consulting/finance grad schemes after a law degree, but you cannot get onto a law training contract immediately after an economics. But equally, you can study economics, then just do a short conversion course afterwards.

So I think you have some flexibility to just do the one which you think you'd enjoy more. I've studied economics at all levels, and from conversations with various lawyer friends, it feels like a law degree requires a lot more work than an economics degree generally - the workload isn't super high in economics, it's more about mathematical ability instead (it's very different to a-level economics) and there's less scope to brute force it.
Thanks for your advice. What level maths would you say id need to meet in order to persue a high ranking economist position? Would you reccomend an A level in maths or could i go straight into a course for uni? Im thinking of maybe doing a law conversion course if it doesnt suit me.
Reply 5
Original post by Pedr0
your options arent just 'job in field you studied' or 'teaching' don't worry, plenty of options afterwards eg graduate jobs/schemes in anything related to finance, grad jobs/schemes in other fields eg management consulting, civil service; if you decide after your econ degree that you do want to do law, there are 1 year conversion courses to pivot into that field
https://www.graduate-jobs.com/degree/economics
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/jobs-and-work-experience/job-sectors/law-sector/law-conversion-courses
Cool thanks for the help!
Reply 6
Original post by Uni of Southampton Students
Hi @Rocky11111

You can go into a wide range of careers with Economics whether that be in finance, the civil service, consulting, investment banking, IT etc. In addition, you do not need to have a law degree to be a lawyer. So, you could still become a lawyer with an economics degree,

In addition, one of the main factors for getting a job after is not the degree you get but rather, the work experience you have as well as how you perform in their interviews. Many students undertake placement year or summer/easter internships which boost their employability. University Career departments can give alot of support with finding placements. Some students, having finished the placement, then get a job offer (from the place they did a placement with) for after they graduate.

Best Wishes,
Gulcin
2nd Year PPE Student
University of Southampton
Thanks for your feedback! I have some real world law experience already but will make sure to continue searching. Would you reccomend joining a law society, if so, would it help in boosting my portfolio?
Original post by Rocky11111
Thanks for your feedback! I have some real world law experience already but will make sure to continue searching. Would you reccomend joining a law society, if so, would it help in boosting my portfolio?
Yes, being part of law society is a good idea as these societies often have networking events as well as chances to learn more about careers within law. In addition, university career departments often have information about getting into law for both those studying law and non-law degrees. For example, in the University of Southampton, there was a week which was all about getting into a law and involved lots of speakers coming in to discuss their experiences.

Hope this helps,
Gulcin
2nd Year PPE Student
University of Southampton
Original post by Rocky11111
Thanks for your advice. What level maths would you say id need to meet in order to persue a high ranking economist position? Would you reccomend an A level in maths or could i go straight into a course for uni? Im thinking of maybe doing a law conversion course if it doesnt suit me.
What do you mean by a high ranking economist position? As in a good university course, or a good economist job after graduation?
Original post by Rocky11111
Hi, I am going into university soon and need to decide whether to study Economics or Law. Do any people with an Economics degree regret getting one? How hard is it to get a job within that industry? I don't want to spend three years of my life getting a degree to then just teach in schools.
Hey @Rocky11111,

Sorry I'm a bit late to the chat. I thought it would've been better for an actual professional to respond, but I realised I can also lend some of my own experiences with the alumni here at the University who have given talks on their work to help you out.
The great thing about Economics is it's versatility. You can study a broad range of topics from historical economics, to development economics, to financial and policy economics, to the economics of science, behavioural economics, environmental economics, and so on! It's broadly applicable essentially everywhere.

During my time here, I've attended talks from alumni who went on to careers in diverse sectors, far beyond just teaching! Here are just a few examples:

β€’

Finance: Many alumni landed jobs in the heart of the financial world, working in investment banking, risk management, and financial analysis for major companies in London or even abroad. Of course these are some of the classic jobs people think of when they hear economics.

β€’

Government and Regulation: Economics graduates are highly sought-after in government agencies dealing with economic policy, regulation, and international trade. The thing to note though is that there are a huge number of these departments, not just ranging from the Treasury or Business, but essentially all of them will require economists to help out with balancing priorities and understanding where to invest time and energy into different projects. The Competition and Markets authority also gave a talk here, demonstrating the modelling they used for a high-end case in questioning a possible case of a company monopolising.

β€’

International Development and Sustainability: Some alumni as well as professors have channeled their economic knowledge into tackling global challenges. They now work for agricultural organizations, NGOs, or even travel the world for international development projects and environmental ones as well.

β€’

Think Tanks and Policy Analysis: Economics provides a strong foundation for analyzing complex issues. Alumni have gone on to work at think tanks, research institutes, and consultancies, shaping policy decisions.

β€’

Healthcare: The NHS is also a huge employer of economists if you can believe it. Again, there are questions on how to properly manage hospital resources, but beyond that, questions on how to give insurance companies more clients and have consumers in aggregate pay less, how to incentivise healthier lifestyles, how to prevent predatory, discriminatrory pricing for disabled people for example. Again, many more questions to be asked, and thus more need for economists to be involved.

β€’

Technology: The tech industry thrives on Data Analysis and understanding user behaviour. Again, economists are incredibly useful in these sectors as well, as a major component of economics is econometrics, essentially statistics but less theoretical, and moreso applied in an economic environment. I know alumni who have gone on to help and work for small technology start-ups, again just proving that understanding the holistic importance of data, from the maths to the meaning, is invaluable!


Honestly, I could go on and on about more sectors and industries where economists are helpful and needed, but I wouldn't want to bore you anymore than I already have!
Nevertheless, I hope this helps you out, even if just a little!

Warm regards,

David :smile:
University of Kent Student Rep
Reply 10
Original post by University of Kent
Hey @Rocky11111,
Sorry I'm a bit late to the chat. I thought it would've been better for an actual professional to respond, but I realised I can also lend some of my own experiences with the alumni here at the University who have given talks on their work to help you out.
The great thing about Economics is it's versatility. You can study a broad range of topics from historical economics, to development economics, to financial and policy economics, to the economics of science, behavioural economics, environmental economics, and so on! It's broadly applicable essentially everywhere.
During my time here, I've attended talks from alumni who went on to careers in diverse sectors, far beyond just teaching! Here are just a few examples:

β€’

Finance: Many alumni landed jobs in the heart of the financial world, working in investment banking, risk management, and financial analysis for major companies in London or even abroad. Of course these are some of the classic jobs people think of when they hear economics.

β€’

Government and Regulation: Economics graduates are highly sought-after in government agencies dealing with economic policy, regulation, and international trade. The thing to note though is that there are a huge number of these departments, not just ranging from the Treasury or Business, but essentially all of them will require economists to help out with balancing priorities and understanding where to invest time and energy into different projects. The Competition and Markets authority also gave a talk here, demonstrating the modelling they used for a high-end case in questioning a possible case of a company monopolising.

β€’

International Development and Sustainability: Some alumni as well as professors have channeled their economic knowledge into tackling global challenges. They now work for agricultural organizations, NGOs, or even travel the world for international development projects and environmental ones as well.

β€’

Think Tanks and Policy Analysis: Economics provides a strong foundation for analyzing complex issues. Alumni have gone on to work at think tanks, research institutes, and consultancies, shaping policy decisions.

β€’

Healthcare: The NHS is also a huge employer of economists if you can believe it. Again, there are questions on how to properly manage hospital resources, but beyond that, questions on how to give insurance companies more clients and have consumers in aggregate pay less, how to incentivise healthier lifestyles, how to prevent predatory, discriminatrory pricing for disabled people for example. Again, many more questions to be asked, and thus more need for economists to be involved.

β€’

Technology: The tech industry thrives on Data Analysis and understanding user behaviour. Again, economists are incredibly useful in these sectors as well, as a major component of economics is econometrics, essentially statistics but less theoretical, and moreso applied in an economic environment. I know alumni who have gone on to help and work for small technology start-ups, again just proving that understanding the holistic importance of data, from the maths to the meaning, is invaluable!


Honestly, I could go on and on about more sectors and industries where economists are helpful and needed, but I wouldn't want to bore you anymore than I already have!
Nevertheless, I hope this helps you out, even if just a little!
Warm regards,
David :smile:
University of Kent Student Rep

Hi David,
Wow thank you for such an extensive and detailed response. Sorry I did not get back sooner! Your advice has been incredibly useful so I do really appreciate it. A lot of answers I've been given recently in person have said it's a very diverse and versatile field without really getting into the specifics and I didn't know just how wide reaching it is.
Your advice has been very useful and I am definitely considering economics as a degree now!
Cheers,
Rocky.
Original post by Rocky11111
Hi David,
Wow thank you for such an extensive and detailed response. Sorry I did not get back sooner! Your advice has been incredibly useful so I do really appreciate it. A lot of answers I've been given recently in person have said it's a very diverse and versatile field without really getting into the specifics and I didn't know just how wide reaching it is.
Your advice has been very useful and I am definitely considering economics as a degree now!
Cheers,
Rocky.

Hi @Rocky11111,

It's my pleasure! :smile:
Thanks for your kind reply.

Absolutely, I completely understand. Truth is, at least from what I understand so far, economists are very valuable not necessarily because they can solve the most difficult algebra (though the algebra does eventually become really interesting!), but because it's a subject where you are always challenged to be learning more about the world, whilst giving you the skills to be healthily doubt answers and statements which are given to you, as well as think through practical solutions.

This definitely applies to the financial side of the world (which is a major part of the world), but also in general to other parts of work, whether it be statistical research (forecasting variables, looking for anomalies, imputing lost data, etc.), ways of strategising and coordinating (not just in companies, but think logistics sectors of the military, optimal railway routes, how to reduce crime in a neighbourhood or help grow a city), and it honestly does change the way you view your own personal life as well (I swear for the better!).

Hopefully that does help explain though that the people you talk to aren't trying to waffle, but it can just be too big of a subject to summarise, especially as no-one's experience in economics tends to be the same. Usually, I find the best questions are more personal ones, understanding how economics has shaped the specific persons work and experiences, but again, it's a bit of a catch 22 as you need to know some economics to ask good questions, but the point of asking questions is to know more economics haha.

I should warn you beforehand, University economics, probably for the first 2 years is not going to be much like the more interesting economics I've talked about here with you. That's just due to the nature of teaching unfortunately. So, you might find in first year, you're learning the basics of economics and maths, because some people did Alevel maths and not economics, and some Alevel economics and not maths, some neither, and some both. So 1st year is usually getting everyone up to speed. Then 2nd year will teach you the basic tools to help you at your foundation, how to create basic models, understanding assumptions, how to search for optimal regions, etc. This is said to be quite a boring stage, but since I'm sad, I've loved it! It is what you make of it ultimately. 3rd year will get more interesting, and that's where you'll branch off and learn specific modules and read literature on current topics, but honestly, I find that the most interesting economics is the one you teach yourself and work on yourself. You can start reading up on different topics straight away in your first year (ask your lecturers for good books [And I mean good books, interesting books, not dull, textbook, maths-equation books]), whilst second year you can start looking over some data, reading relevant literature, play around with models, and even start small projects.

I understand you're not sure if you want to follow through with this path, but I'll input a few good resources here if you want to see different things to look at. I'll try and give a mix of different things:
Youtube Channels: Underrated way of learning imo. The best way to learn isn't to just read, or just revise, or just picture, or just watch videos - it's a mix of all of them. These typically lend quite well to conversations about economics, especially with lecturers, as they can help complement your academic studies with real world examples.

Money and Macro: https://www.youtube.com/@MoneyMacro - General Macroeconomics
Patrick Boyle: https://www.youtube.com/@PBoyle - More focus on Financial Economics
Economics Explained: https://www.youtube.com/@EconomicsExplained - General Macroeconomics
How Money Works:https://www.youtube.com/@HowMoneyWorks - More focused on Business Economics
h0ser: https://www.youtube.com/@h0ser/videos - More Geographical and Political Economics (though honestly watching him is just a guilty pleasure)
Professor Gruber: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLUl4u3cNGP62oJSoqb4Rf-vZMGUBe59G- Microeconomics.
This is quite helpful for understanding how 2nd year Micro will look. Though my course didn't go through everything he taught, and his course doesn't include some things from mine - they are still quite similar, and helpful during revision.
Dr Abdel-Latif: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLNKHLr7tsvPyJaat8WYbrCfyAgoeyoie7. -2nd year Macroeconomics. I'll admit, I haven't watched this, but having given it a look, it was similar to the lecture slides at Kent here. Though I wouldn't recommend revising his version, as the equations he uses will probably not be the same as the equations you'll learn if you go to another University. Nevertheless, it doesn't hurt to see how Macroeconomics will look like when studying.
Professor Glaeser: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLswroYMOEWFYdAtnmcM3HLiiGvy9PFTEW - Urban Economics. Final thing I wanted to input. If you type X Economics, for example, Urban Economics, Industrial Economics, Health Economics, Statistical Economics, Transportation Economics, you'll probably be able to find good or interesting videos (or even series) like these which help give you a nice casual introduction to the specific sector. You can always then go on to read more academic literature by searching "Interesting X Economics Books" or something like that, if you want.
These are by no means the only good channels out there, but they are the ones I regularly watch (apart from the macro guy), and who knows, maybe if you find some other good ones you can share them with me :wink: ! (I know, I'm a nerd)

Of course, there are also documentaries about historical economic events, or crises that occured, always a plethora of good books to read up, news organisations which have entire segements on economics and markets, and lots of data to look at. I won't really input too much of that here though, as I find these tend to be more personal - i.e. some people love reading about debt or theoretical digital money, whilst others fall asleep to that and would instead read about identity, behavioural, or health economics, and some might hate that ... etc. etc.
Anyways, those are just some good, easy YouTube channels to watch which can help interest you in economics and help you understand what it's about, what learning it would be like, and also just general things which may interest you even if you choose not to follow through with the subject.
Once again, sorry for writing a lot!

Again, I hope this helps, even if just a bit.

Warm regards,

David :smile:
University of Kent Student Rep
Original post by Rocky11111
Hi, I am going into university soon and need to decide whether to study Economics or Law. Do any people with an Economics degree regret getting one? How hard is it to get a job within that industry? I don't want to spend three years of my life getting a degree to then just teach in schools.

Hello,
Depends on your career goals and what you hope to achieve after you graduate. If you want to be economist, then an economics degree at BA level and masters is necessary to get into the top economics consulting firms.

Both law and economics are very good degrees to pursue.

Having studied economics at A level, and then graduating in economics, I highly recommend it.

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