What are the internship and job profiles offered to MA Economics postgraduate? The work is basically about market, business or policy analysis but what are the specific profiles in this field that...

What are the internship and job profiles offered to MA Economics postgraduate? The work is basically about market, business or policy analysis but what are the specific profiles in this field that one can aim at while applying for internship or job in corporate? 

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pnrjulius eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is something I've looked into quite extensively, because I myself have a master's degree in economics (so we might say it was in my rational self-interest).

The option I ended up going with was to continue on for a PhD; I'll probably go into research and teaching at the university level. But you sound like you want to go straight into the job market after the MA; economics is one of a handful of fields where that is actually a viable option. (Business, public policy, social work, and teaching are the only others I can think of off the top of my head.)

If you want to stay in the field of economics, there are a variety of economic research positions available to people with master's degrees; top choices include policy think-tanks (such as the Economic Policy Institute or the Cato Institute, depending on your political leanings), government agencies (such as the Federal Reserve and the Bureau of Labor Statistics) and financial service companies (such as Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs). In addition, large companies always need economists, regardless of what industry they are in---both Walmart and GM hire a fair number of economists simply because they are so huge and complex.

As far as specific profiles, you will want to present yourself as an expert in some particular subfield; not just "economics" but "cognitive and behavioral economics" or "development economics" (those are my two main fields), or "macroeconomics" or "labor economics" or "environmental economics" or "international trade" or "transportation economics" or "econometrics" (and so on).

Obviously there is overlap between fields, and you don't have to pick just one; but if you have a subfield to target to particular employers, you should. The World Bank is much more likely to hire a development economist than a plain old economist, while Goldman Sachs might want a financial economist or econometrician and the Bureau of Labor Statistics would want a labor economist. Think carefully about what really draws you to economics and find a specialized subfield you can focus on to distinguish yourself from the herd, and then focus your applications on jobs that really suit that field.

Since you seem to be leaning toward the private sector, you might want to focus on finance, economic forecasting, or time-series econometrics. Some amount of labor economics and microeconomic theory in general could also help you, but macroeconomic policy and development economics for example might not really be that important to know.

I wish I could say it is easy to find a job, but it isn't, not with our current level of labor underutilization. But bad macroeconomic times are less damaging to the economics profession than most, because people realize that it is we who might actually help businesses and nations recover from such slumps. So overall, economics is a field with a high probability of stable employment and good pay---median gross income for professional economists is over $90,000 per year, which is about what you get in academia; in private finance you'd probably make even more ($120,000 or more), in government or nonprofits you'd probably make less but still quite good money (more like $60,000).

Job search is always hard and never pleasant, but keep trying, and sooner or later you're bound to find a job that is both satisfying and lucrative.