Updated on Wednesday 27 February 2013
Careers in economics are as well paying as they are rewarding. They allow you to follow your passions, while at the same time make a difference in the world. If you are good with numbers and complex real-world problems, a career in economics may be right for you.
International students looking for jobs in economics have a lot of options. From government and non-profit jobs to business and teaching, the skills you gain from a degree in economics will open the door to all kinds of well paying and fulfilling careers. Below, we will examine only a few of the many careers in economics.
Most careers in economics end with the word "analyst". These jobs include operations/data analyst, business analyst, pricing analyst, and market research analyst. Because they are all similar in job description, we will go over them here all at once. Generally speaking, analysts look over data and try to find trends. They then try to use the information to find links and associations, analyze results, predict and publish findings. A financial analyst helps businesses like banks, insurance companies, and hedge funds make financial investment decisions. Using software to compute large amounts of public and private data, a financial analyst looks for trends in order to predict what the best investment decisions will be.
Another of the many jobs in economics is that of an economist. Economists study and predict the distribution and production of different kinds of resources. Some economists work for businesses and attempt to find trends in order to maximize profit for the company, much like the above mentioned analysts. Other economists work for the government or non-profit organizations and look at things such as energy use, health care and government spending.
Students who are more interested in economic theory than practice may find teaching more rewarding. With a Ph.D. in economics, international students can get a job as a professor and pass valuable knowledge down to generations of students. Although this job requires quite a bit of school, the hours are almost as great as the pay. And if you don't feel that a Ph.D. is right for you but still want to teach, you might also consider teaching on a pre-college level. Many elementary, junior high, and high schools (or the equivalent in your home country) only require you to have a bachelor's degree along with some classes in education in order to teach. Teaching students at such a young age will really give you the chance to inspire children and put them on the right path. It is important to explore the minimum requirements of teachers in your home country as the qualifications vary by country.
International students with a degree in economics can also go to law school. Understanding how economics works will provide you with a good framework to understand the legal system. The analytic skills you gain will allow you to think abstractly about complex arguments, and the ability to read and comprehend academic papers will also allow you to make sense of the often dry and complex legal text you will be studying. Law school is expensive, hard, and not for everyone, so make sure the subject is something you are passionate about before deciding on this career path. Having said that, many find that being a lawyer is one of the many extremely rewarding and worthwhile careers in economics.
You can also use your understanding of economics to start your own business. As an entrepreneur, you can mix your passion of economics with another area of interest. If you love cooking you could start a restaurant, or if you love interacting with people you could start a real estate company, it is up to you. Although starting a business is risky, your degree will give you a heads up on other business owners and the foresight to know what risks are worth taking and what risks you should avoid.
When you graduate with a degree in economics, you will graduate with a future. If you are focused, hard working and passionate about economics, you will be an asset to almost any employer.