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Eligibility and Course Duration Industry Size Industry Growth Individual Growth Best Colleges
Bachelors in Economics, 2 years for Masters in Economics - - Asst manager to Member of planning comission Delhi School of Economics
London School of Economics

There is a quite a lot of interest among students to make a career in Economics, thanks to the world-wide fame gained by Amartya Sen. If the word Economist fills your mind with frames of Manmohan Singh, Jaswant Sinha, P. Chidambaram and their sleep-inducing speech on budget day, you need a crash course in the basics of economics. It is indeed a highly academic field and if one has the talent for research and academics, it can offer good a career choice. In this feature we describe the career opportunities available in the field of Economics, both in India and abroad.

Economics is a glamorous career which holds a lot of promise. It inspires interest among students, since the very basis of the profession is changing, thanks to liberalisation and e-commerce. Economists also command respect the world over. For the academically inclined, a career in Economics is promising indeed. However, it is important that a student goes to a prestigious national institute like Delhi School of Economics or an international institute like London School of Economics. Alternately, one should specialise in a branch like Business or Agricultural Economics. A plain BA or MA degree in Economics from most Indian universities will not qualify one to become an economist and one would have to settle for a lecturer's job after clearing the UGC-NET, and even this field is somewhat saturated in our country.

To start with, one must do graduation with Economics as a Honours subject. Most colleges in the country offer BA in Economics. While doing BA, one must get into the habit of reading original papers by reputed economists and develop an interest in the subject. The idea is to go beyond the prescribed course, which is quite unimaginative in Indian universities.

As an Economist your main job would be to:

  • Find ways to distribute these scare resources
  • Study demand and supply
  • Study production
  • Study the cost so as to maximize production at the lowest cost
  • Study the prices of commodities
  • Look into population increase and its effects on food resources
  • Look for newer ways to minimise cost of labour for production of goods
  • Study consumer demand to maximise the production, and so on.
    Branches of Economics

    At the same time, one must also discover one's interest in the various branches of the subject. These are :

    Business and Trade

    Business Economics is fast catching up as a separate career. Several institutes today offer courses like the Master of Business Economics (MBE); the course at Delhi University is quite reputed. The job involves making the business strategy for a companyand undertaking investment or risk analysis. Profit and cost models would be required to be made. International trade issues and policies will also fall in the gamut of a Business Economist.

    Banking and Finance

    The growth of international trade has opened wide avenues for professionals in banking and international finance. Economic information is a highly valuable resource and companies spend a lot of time and effort collecting it. A multinational company would want country reports, while large domestic companies need to be updated regularly on the economic environment. Merchant banking, foreign exchange and companies doing large transactions require the services of an economist.


    Economists are needed by the government for policy making, forecasting and research. The candidate has to appear in the examination of Indian Economic Service or even the Indian Administrative Service to be absorbed in ministries of agriculture, labour,employment or others. The added advantage is that government secretaries get quite a few job offers from the IMF and the World Bank in what is known as a "revolving door" between the government and these agencies. One can move on to international fame through this route.

    Other fields

    An agricultural economist would be involved in agricultural production, marketing, land reforms and social welfare. Labour economists spot labour trends, policies, social insurance and the like. Financial economists are experts in the monetary policiesof various countries.

    A student must choose the area of interest and do extensive reading in it, apart from research. It must be understood that economics is essentially an academic field and only persons inclined towards books and research should take it up.

    Scope and jobs

    There is tremendous scope for economists in various organisations. If one has an internationally recognised degree, one can look for placements with international banks, the IMF, UN and other such agencies.

    Economic intelligence is another area which is acquiring a great deal of importance in recent years, thanks to rapid globalisation. As companies expand all over the world and countries open up, they require authentic information about opportunities and business environment, which are reflected in authentic economic information. The World Bank publishes World Development Indicators while the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) brings out the Human Development Report. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is a member of the World Bank Group set up to promote private sector investment in developing countries. Apart from these, the Planning Councils of many countries in Asia and Africa require trained economists who will help them get over the poverty and development challenges they face. There are many other independent research companies providing analysis on the global macroeconomy and financial markets, and all of them need economists.

    Among the reputed companies gathering economic information is The Economist IntelligenceUnit (EIU), which is a division of the respected magazine, The Economist; Dun & Bradsteet, the world's leading supplier of business information; Morgan Stanley, which conducts global research and provides country-wise analyses of economies and markets. In India, there are such organisations too, like the Tata Consulting Services (TCS).

    The following are the types of sectors where an Economist can find job oppurtunities:

    The Indian Economic Service
    As an officer in this department you'll study, survey, and analyse various economic parameters of the Indian economy and basically make life easier for the policy makers in the Indian government.

    As a Financial Economist in a bank your job would be to study and analyse credit and monetary polices to predict trends in the financial sector. Cost of fund to the bank, the effects of changing monetary policies on the business of the bank, trends in consumer banking, capital budgeting, credit policies, cash flow and all related money matters of the bank will be routed through you

    Corporate Organisations
    These have their own economics department, which advises several other departments and the top managers in making effective business decisions. Business/Economic Journal, Newspaper or News agency: If you want your findings and writing to be viewed by not just your boss, but half of humanity, this is your place. Well known economists like Swami Nathan, P. Chidambaram, Man Mohan Singh and Bhabatosh Dutta are invited to write columns in newspapers and journals. Rajdeep Sardesai of Star News is an economist. All the editors of leading business dailies like The Economics Times have been reputed Economists.

    Export Promotion Councils
    Established by the government to promote exports, this department employs Economists to study trade polices of different countries, trends of international trade, cost economies, transport economies, market trends, etc.

    Government Jobs
    Departments and agencies like Census, and autonomous institutions like insurance companies, Labour Commissioner's directorate, Planning and development organisations, etc. need Economists.

    Non-governmental Organisations (NGO),
    Here you'll work in the field of population control, healthcare, poverty eradication, etc.

    For jobs with the Indian government appear in the Indian Economic Services Examination.

    For details contact UPSC,
    Shahjehan Road, New Delhi.

    Colleges and course details

    The best college in India for study in Economics is the Delhi School of Economics. One of the leading schools in the world for the study of Economics is the London School of Economics.

    Delhi School of Economics

    The Delhi School of Economics supports M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D. programmes. The two year M.A. course, with its large student enrolment, is the mainstay of the teaching programme. It places emphasis on quantitative methods, state-of-the-art economics, and hands-on training in the use of econometric software. The department has been very successful in placing its Master’s graduates in corporate jobs as well as in top Ph.D. programmes.

    London School of Economics

    There are three main courses that one can take up with the London School of Economics:

    Executive and Professional Education
    LSE and NYU Stern Business School have developed a new international executive education programme which is being offered jointly in New York and London. Currently, two programmes are being offered: Corporate Valuation Techniquesand Valuation of High Tech Stocks.
    LSE Summer School
    Courses are offered in the disciplines of Accounting and Finance, Economics, English Language, International Studies, Law and Management, enabling participants to make contact and exchange ideas in an international arena.
    General Course
    A wholly participant undergraduate year for visiting students. Each student is allocated a personal tutor in the LSE academic department, who acts as an advisor throughout the course

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