9 Jobs for Economics Majors Right Out Of College
Dec. 10, 2020
One of the toughest challenges of a soon-to-be-college graduate is becoming aware of career opportunities that coincide with their major.
That’s why we sought out people who majored in economics and who are now thriving in the professional world. We asked them questions like, “What do you do? What’s your title? What advice do you have for other economics majors looking for a job right out of college?”
Here’s what eight former economics majors and business leaders had to offer up in response.
As operations associate for Matrix Trust Company under Broadridge, I reside in the back office processes including trade and cash reconciliation for thousands of accounts. At the beginning of each day, I run a cash reconciliation report to make sure our account’s cash positions are in good order. We do not want to understate or overstate cash availability because this affects their ability to trade and send out contributions and distributions. I then run a trade reconciliation report that makes sure all previous trades have been recorded and accounted for. This includes trades sent a week prior to confirm they have settled with the National Securities Clearing Corporation. If there is an outage related to cash or trades, I need to actively research and identify it. If it is a complicated problem, then I need to work with other departments to find the root cause of those outages.
Graduating from Eller put me in a position where I was ready to take on such a role. Taking diverse classes and working with groups in Eller was essential for my growth and success.
Michael Cipriano ’16 BSBA (Business Economics), Broadridge
Director, M&A Strategy & Execution
As an economics major, I was always interested in understanding the drivers behind strategic business decisions and providing solutions to complex problems. Since graduating, I have aimed to capitalize on those interests and joined EY-Parthenon's Transaction Strategy and Execution practice. As a director at the firm, I have worked on a variety of engagements all aimed on helping our clients navigate the complexities of the entire mergers and acquisitions cycle. Specifically, my experiences have been focused around refining companies growth strategies, conducting buy-side/sell-side diligences and executing on integrations/divestitures.
One of the great things about an economics degree is that it’s versatile and can be applied to a variety of career paths. My advice to anyone looking for a job right out of school is: 1. Figure out what specific areas interest you the most, whether problem solving or a specific sector (eg. technology, energy, etc.) or a specific business function (eg. finance, supply chain, etc.) and try to align your experiences to your interests. 2. Leverage your existing network both internally at Eller and externally through friends and family. That can really help you get your foot in the door.
Greyson Gardlik ’15 BS (Business Economics, Entrepreneurship), EY-Parthenon
Defense Strategy Market Analyst
I am currently the defense strategy market analyst at Raytheon Technologies in Washington, D.C. My team and I use market data from global defense budgets to create strategies that outline opportunities, trends and customer priorities to allow our internal stakeholders to make informed business decisions.To cut through the jargon, I'm basically an internal consultant.
My advice to economics majors coming straight out of college is to use your youth as an advantage! Don't be afraid to apply for jobs you may seem unqualified for—you're bringing a fresh perspective, you're coming out of an environment where you're using new programs that people haven't had a chance to learn yet, you're eager to do new things and willing to put in the work to get the job done. In my career, I've often been the youngest on my team, but I've been able to use that as an advantage to get me where I want to be, faster.
Laurel Kremer ’18 BS (Business Economics), Raytheon Technologies
As a staffing agency, Y Scouts has placed many economics majors in C-Suite positions. Economics majors, no matter what field they go into, tend to be highly analytic and fascinated by how the world works. They are problem solvers and critical thinkers, perfect for leadership positions. If you are graduating with an economics degree, the world of finance will be your best friend. Large finance companies are looking for financial analysts to help to research industries, stocks, bonds and other investment opportunities. This intensive analysis requires the quantitative skills that so many economic majors possess.
Tasha Hock, Y Scouts
Private Equity Analyst
I am currently working as a private equity analyst for a boutique investment firm based out of Santa Monica, California. We focus heavily on real estate but also are involved in entertainment and community engagement. I wear a lot of hats as an analyst at a small firm—I am responsible for the asset management of our property portfolio, as well as the analytics that go into fundraising and acquiring more property.
As an economics major, I would definitely focus on building your financial modeling skills in Excel, understanding pro formas and getting an internship at a private equity shop, investment bank, real estate firm or something capital markets related. Economics is a great major to have, and helps you to dissect and understand the way our world is run with currency, i.e. how the markets work. Do not get discouraged when job hunting you have to be tenacious, persistent and prepared when looking for a job in investment banking, real estate or anything finance related. Build your financial fundamentals and stay updated on the markets by reading the Wall Street Journal.
Brendon Thomas ’18 BS (Business Economics), The Confluent Group
If you’ve chosen to major in economics, congrats! You have chosen an amazing major with a lot of incredible opportunities. I decided to use my economics degree to carve out a career in personal finance. I am currently finishing up my licensing to be a financial advisor with a company in Scottsdale, Arizona, called Pacific Capital Resource Group. The best piece of advice I could give soon-to-be economics grads is to jump head first into any and every opportunity that comes your way. You may feel that you aren’t qualified or that you want to wait for the perfect job to fall into your lap, but I would recommend that you go for that job that seems out of your reach or may not be exactly what you want to do forever. Earning an economics degree sets you up for anything you want to do in your life; you have just got to be willing to take that first leap!
Nick May ’17 BA (Business Economics), Pacific Capital Resource Group
My first role as a financial analyst was for a financial services startup helping small- to medium-sized brands in cash management, budgeting and forecasting. I’ve since transitioned to the corporate sector, but for a global consumer goods and merchandising company. The key to finding a job directly out of college is to start applying early and be persistent. As the job market continues to evolve into a skills-based economy, I cannot stress enough the importance of learning a variety of programs unlikely to be taught in any undergraduate course, yet many of them will be the holy grail of most jobs in economics or finance. Whether through official online classes or self-studying in your free time, the sooner you’re able to learn programs like SQL, Tableau, VBA, RStudio, Python, etc. and especially Excel, the more opportunities you will have as knowledge in these programs is becoming more highly lauded than degrees.
Michael Tralli ’15 BS (Business Economics), Stage 1 Financial
Chief Marketing Officer
I help organizations grow and deliver revenue. My current role is Chief Marketing Officer at Cadence Education. Cadence is a private preschool organization with a footprint in 26 states, specializing in early childhood education. I’m responsible for the overarching marketing strategy and heavily involved in the sales role within the organization. I didn’t take the traditional path to the CMO role, but I think my roots in Economics helped set me on the path to get here.
When I think back to what drew me to an Economics degree, it was Microeconomics, and then at the time, a niche area called Behavioral Economics. I loved trying to figure out why people made decisions and what factors influenced them. I’ve always had a knack for data and analytics, and over my career combining an interest in humans, analytics and why/how people make decisions, landing in Marketing is the best of all worlds. Being at the top of the revenue funnel is entertaining, challenging and continuously changing, which keeps me fully engaged.
Follow what interests you and find your own path. When I was studying Economics in school, I had no idea where I’d end up. But I love where I am and wouldn’t change a thing.
Jeff May, ‘93 BS (Economics), Cadence Education
I’m an executive assistant to the CEO and founder of multiple companies. My role includes heavy scheduling and calendar management, accompanying my boss to business meetings, coordinating travel arrangements, etc. The best advice I can give to economics majors looking for a job right out of college is to keep an open mind when applying. There’s such a wide variety of career paths available to you, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to land the perfect job right away.
Sarah Colandreo ’18 BA (Economics, Business Administration)
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