The best of the rest

“The fundamental purpose of an economics degree is to instil and foster an individual’s ability to think outside the box, inside the box and around the box to find the right solution, the relevant question, and sometimes even the right answer. And that is why today, when I am back at the library with my piles of books and journals, sipping my coffee, I know that whatever life throws at me, my economics degree has ensured I can make the best out of any situation.”

“Every economics graduate will remember the day, with almost perfect clarity, when they first flipped through the pages of a microeconomics textbook only to find daunting algebra and mathematical notation. The thoughts that initially run through your mind are ones of despair as you subconsciously accept that this is beyond the limits of your understanding. By the end of your degree, however, you will look back and realise that nothing is impossible to comprehend.”

“Like the potato, economics can be served in many ways. It’s simply up to you to find your personal preference (ideally somewhere along the budget constraint!) To an untrained nose economics simply reeks of numbers, statistics and equations but the more you read into it, the more a true range of qualities come seeping out. Of course, there will always be that association with maths but economics reaches out across many areas; finance, business, politics, international relations and even psychology. This alone shows how useful it can be to give anyone a solid foundation to begin life. It quickly teaches you the basics and then allows you to develop and find your particular strength within its vast scope.”

“This reduction of reality to models was what led Ronal Regan to describe an economist as “somebody who sees something happen in practice and wonders if it will work in theory”. But the apparent jibe at economics strikes right at the heart of what economics does. Economics distils the complex mess that is reality into individual causes and effects and enables each one to act on another in a controlled environment (a model). This allows economists to draw real conclusions about real situations. Without the benefit of ceteris paribus, describing reality may allow us to say little more than that everything causes everything and nothing at the same time, which is about as useful as a chocolate teapot. An economics degree empowers us with this ‘apparatus of the mind’, helping us understand the implications of the decisions we make in life more clearly.”

“In many ways, I believe that studying Economics reflects real life; there aren’t always easy answers to questions and we must each be responsible for the beliefs that we hold. If a little economic knowledge is harmful maybe it is because it can be obtained so cheaply. The greatest lesson that I have received from Economics is the ability to think for myself. As Joan Robinson said, ‘The purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of ready-made answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists.”

“My Economics degree is preparing me for life, but also preparing me to live it well and to succeed.”