Should my Daughter study economics?

My eldest daughter – 15 years old – is doing some long range career planning and she’s been really struggling to find something she really likes.  It’s not that she doesn’t enjoy school – she likes most subjects, and is predicted to get a good crop of A and A*’s.  Her problem seem to be:

  1. She likes to see fast progress – so she has ruled out pure science
  2. She doesn’t like to design/make new things – even though she has won a national award for her design – so she has ruled out engineering
  3. She doesn’t like working with people that much, although she likes giving presentations – so she has ruled out management and the social sciences

What does she like!

  1. She likes research
  2. She likes maths
  3. She likes social and economic geography
  4. She likes ecology
  5. She likes report writing
  6. She likes producing and delivering presentations
  7. She likes doing analysis and interpretation

So right now she seems to be settling on economics.  We’ve found this great site, and I particularly like this blog post and I’ve bought her a few copies of the Economist magazine.

Anyway – if anyone reading has any other hints, tips, good sources of information or good contacts in the field of Economics please post a comment.

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

4 Responses

  1. Rob Glazier says:

    Steve,

    Your daughter may also want to consider market research / market planning. I’ve made a nice career working for two large companies ($2B / year healthcare company and now a $50B / year pharmacy chain) in their market research and market planning departments.

    My job is to analyze market potential and make recommendations as to where the opportunity for growth is (where we should put our stores). The job requires that I understand supply / demand and competitive market forces. I work in small teams, at times, but mostly independently. I too am a homeworker (4 x week). I also spend time in the field “casing” competitors (anonymously visiting their sites and determining their competitive strengths) which is one of the fun parts of my job.

    I draw heavily on spatial analytics (where they are, where we are and where the customers are) using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as my tool of the trade.

    My recommendations are ultimately presented to senior leadership. The market planning department’s mission is to pro actively guide the company’s growth and we are compensated accordingly (well compensated).

    My peers have backgrounds ranging from economics to geography to history. A strong analytic mind and creative approach to problem solving are prerequisites.

    I would recommend your daughter research market research / market planning / location planning & analysis / GIS for ideas. Her current interests are in line with the people we recruit.

    The other point I’d make is that market research / market planning provides experience in so many parts of the business that we are generally prepared to move into a myriad of other opportunities within the business world.

    Sorry for the long post but I wanted to give thorough background. I would be happy to elaborate if interested.

    Best regards,

    Rob

  2. Steve Richards says:

    Thanks Rob, that’s a great suggestion. Stephie has had a read of your comments and she’s definately going to consider it.

    She’s currently having a good think about how much she enjoys maths, because everyone says don’t bother with economics unless you really like maths.

    Steve

  3. Doug Neal says:

    My wife, a Ph. d. economist, says that the economics viewpoint of things is one that is useful in a variety of situations. This is independent of whether one wants to be an economist or not.

    Economics provides models and frameworks that can be helpful in business discussions, even where the topic is not primarily about business. For example, when considering options to improve the environment, one question that comes up is, what is the economic impact of a proposed policy?

    So, literacy in the language of economics is quite helpful, even if you don’t want to live in that country.

    Doug

  4. Sarah Niblock says:

    Hi Stephen

    I acutally studied Economics at Hull University. Economics has 2 sides, macro and micro. I enjoyed maths but there really wasnt much of it in the degree.

    Micro economics is about supply and demand, and the concepts can be used in the labour market, industry, as well as town planning, etc. It also helped me understand politics better, with the left and right approaches i.e. competition versus monopolies and the ranges inbetween.

    Macro is about the economy, and what most people think of when they think of economics i.e. interest rates relationships with investment, expectations etc.

    The Micro might be better suited to your daughter is she likes geography.

    Obviously, I did not follow a career in it going into IT, but it has really helped me analyse situations and develop a well thought out response, looking at cause and effect etc. I would recommend it but think about whether to do it as a science or as an arts subject at uni. Science mixes it with maths and accounting, arts with politics and the like. And Hull Uni – the only one I could find that did it as a science. Very cold, very cheap and lots of fun.

    Any questions, please feel free to email me.

    Good luck

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