What Can You do With a Masters in Economics?

By Barcelona GSE

What Can You do With a Masters in Economics?

You’ve almost finished your master’s in economics – coursework handed in, library books returned and just a few final exams to finish. The first thing that you will turn your thoughts to on completion of your master’s is likely to be: what can you do with a master’s in economics? In short, what are your career prospects? What jobs can you apply for, which sectors should you be searching within, and which employers are likely to be happiest to see your CV in their inbox?

The answers will differ for most of you as not all economics graduates are identical, but we have some practical information that should help answer the question of what you can do with a master’s in economics, so you can reach a decision about your own preferences and plans.

Which types of employers offer most economics jobs?

It may be useful to start by considering which types of organization typically employ most graduates of master’s in economics programs. The chart below shows the most common types of employers for graduates of master’s degrees at Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (Barcelona GSE), based upon this recent survey.

Professional Placement by Industry – Class of 2014

Master Economics

Perhaps unsurprisingly, almost a quarter of Barcelona GSE graduates found employment in banks or other financial services providers. Close behind in proving jobs in economics were consulting firms and research institutes, followed by international organizations and non-profits. For more detailed insights into the kind of employers most likely to take on graduates of master’s in economics programs, you may also want to take a look at this list of institutions that have employed Barcelona GSE graduates in recent years – a good place to look for economics jobs and opportunities if you’re ready to start applying.

It may also be interesting to note that, among those surveyed, around one third found a job outside of their home country – good news for those seeking to combine a career in economics with opportunities to gain international experience.

How about a PhD in economics?

Entering the job market is not the only option for those completing a master’s in economics; you may also choose to enrol in a PhD. This was a fairly popular option among the Barcelona GSE survey group. Among the 94% who responded within six months of graduating, 87% were either working or studying. Of those, 72% were employed, while 28% were studying. The chart below show where this latter group were located – with just under half staying on at Barcelona GSE, and the rest pursuing a PhD in economics either elsewhere in Europe or in the US.

Destination of Graduates Continuing Education – Class of 2014

Destination of Graduates Continuing Education – Class of 2014

If you are considering a PhD in economics, remember that this doesn’t necessarily mean committing to a career in academia. For many highly specialized economics jobs, particularly research-based and advisory roles, a PhD in economics can be the perfect starting point.

If you do decide to pursue a PhD in economics, you may well start by considering opportunities within your current institution. This can mean you’re already familiar with potential supervisors, research specializations and funding availability – as well as both the academic and social infrastructures. If you wish to broaden your horizons, looking further afield could make it easier to find a PhD project which matches your interests, as well as offering the opportunity to gain experience of living in a new place and extending your global network.

In short, whether you decide to start hunting for economics jobs or look for a PhD, there are lots of options for your next step. The real question is: what will you do with a master’s in economics?

Read more about Barcelona Graduate School of Economics

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