It is one of the most important, yet most often misunderstood, industries out there, so let's break down the mystery of economics, and explain why you should study it
You might be forgiven for assuming that economics is simply the study of how to make money, but in fact, it is the study of how our society works. Our society runs on money, with all our goods and services depending on it. As an economist, you'll come to understand the very framework of society; the life blood that keeps the modern world running. If you need further convincing of why economics might be the industry for you, read below to see how vital it is, and how you can become a part of it.
The Importance of economics
Consumer, capitalist societies run on money, and the factors that affect the production and distribution of goods and services. If we didn't have people who understood these things, society simply wouldn't be able to function. It might be fair to thus describe economics as a social science, rather than just a financial one.
Economists have an important say in what society looks like, as their ability to analyse markets, and statistics about the state of the economy and their significance, makes them highly sought after experts by politicians who are constructing policies, and who want to know how a policy might affect the economy and levels of equality in society. The advice of an economist can therefore affect how a country is run.
As an economist you can cut through murky politics and heightened emotions with sharp, uncompromising facts. If people are getting very emotional about immigration, for example, an economist can examine the effects of immigration on the economy, whether positive or negative, and present their findings to help people make a reasonable, rather than emotional decision about it.
Economists also have a better head for a crisis than many other professions, as their knowledge gives them a much deeper understanding of how to deal with a shortage of raw materials, such as gas or oil, and how to tackle inequality in a way that will have minimal negative impact on the economy.
So you know the benefits of being an economist, but what are the benefits of studying it? There are many reasons why economics is a handy degree to have, even if becoming an economist isn't your end goal.
First of all, the job market is, was, and always will be crowded and highly competitive, but economics graduates have over an 80% chance of being in work within the first six months of earning their degree.
While studying you'll find that universities offer a large range of modules to choose from in their economics courses, to reflect the wide ranging aspects of day to day life economics effects. This is great if you like a bit of variety in your studies. Courses also offer fewer contact hours than most other degree subjects, which is appealing to those who enjoy independent work.
Lastly, economics is a degree which works well when combined with a lot of other subjects, with law, finance, foreign languages, politics and philosophy being among the most common.
Getting a taste of what studying economics truly involves can be difficult for a high school student, as not a lot of schools offer it as an A level option. You don't want to commit to an economics degree, only to discover it's not for you, so before you apply to a course, it is worth spending a few weeks at summer school, where you will get a real sense of what economics involves.
Programmes like the Immerse Education summer school in Cambridge offer economics courses taught by some of the best tutors from Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard, among others. They will teach you economics at a university level, showing you what a fascinating, vital subject it is.