By Fergus Cleaver
Picture an economics major. What do you see?
Please, don’t hold back.
Let’s face it—the discipline of economics is not exactly the paragon of cool. Its practitioners are nerdy, and proudly so. “Flashy” is a foreign concept to them.
Do they care? Nah. They’ve got the last laugh.
Turns out, economics is actually a pretty great field to be in. Sure, not every economics major will grow up to be a celebrity central banker or the head of a big Wall Street firm. But economists—and, yes, economics graduates can call themselves economists—enjoy an unusual, uncanny perspective on the world. When it comes to finance and business, they’re like sharks swimming in a millpond filled with minnows. (The rest of us non-economists are the minnows.)
So, even if they don’t make millions, economists tend to come out on top—or, to borrow a phrase, ensure that the odds are ever in their favor. Here are five concrete reasons to ditch your current career plan and become an economics major.
1. It’s Great for Aspiring MBAs
Surprise, surprise: Economics is one of the most popular majors for aspiring MBAs. (Which, in turn, is one of the most popular graduate degrees for people who aspire to join the global 1 percent.) By the transitive property of majors, economics is a not-quite-sure ticket to the top of the, er, economic heap.
2. It Teaches You How the World Actually Works, Not How It Should Work
Economics is real. It’s not always right, and it’s wracked with more differences of opinion than you can shake a stick at, but it’s nevertheless based in time-tested theories backed by empirical data. Not every major can claim to offer such a coherent theory of reality.
3. It’s a Concrete Application for Mathematics
Are you good at math? (Or even just passable?) Economics is a great outlet for your passion. As an economics major, you can expect to use advanced calculus and statistics to illuminate opaque financial concepts.
4. It Teaches the Value of Goods and Services
Ever wonder how much something is really worth? Economics doesn’t quite give you a master cheat sheet for buying and selling everything under the sun, but it’s apt to boost your confidence in your ability to tell good deals from bad.
5. It’s More Than Just Numbers
Economics does involve some tricky math. But it’s not all zeros and ones here. Economics majors encounter a slew of softer disciplines too: sociology, psychology, anthropology. It’s often said that economics majors are better rounded upon entering the workforce than finance, accounting or business majors. It’s not hard to see why.
Not Everyone Can Major in Economics
Not everyone can major in economics—there aren’t enough economics professors, bless their hearts, to go around. Nor should everyone major in economics. If you’re not a fan of crunching numbers and peering into the muddied depths of economies large and small, you’re likely to burn out on the discipline before long. So, if your interest is piqued by any of these five concrete reasons to get into economics, by all means investigate further. Just don’t dive in head-first until you’ve checked your depth.