In an increasingly competitive job market, especially for graduates; studying for a master’s degree is certainly a wise decision. For myself, studying a postgraduate degree in economics has been a valuable choice in expanding my skillset.
What are employers looking for in graduates?
Basically – something different. As graduates, we are now competing against an increasing number of other graduates, both domestically and internationally. According to the Department of Education, in 2019 the proportion of postgraduates employed in high-skilled roles was 78.9%, compared to 65.6% of those with an undergraduate degree.
How is my degree helping me on my career path?
Studying a postgraduate degree in economics is helping me start on my career path of becoming an economist! There are two facets to why it is helping me on this path. Firstly, it stems from what I wrote above – offering something different. Many job offerings will explicitly state that having a master’s degree is desirable, so with it you already know you are a step ahead of the competition.
Secondly, and I think most importantly; studying for a postgraduate degree has given me experience with more complex problems and statistics. To be an economist, and arguably for many high-skilled job roles, you need to comfortable with data. Over the course of my degree I have used a few different statistical and mathematical software, namely Stata, Eviews and MATLAB. When it comes to feeling confident enough to apply for roles, having experience with software and techniques that are used in real world business does wonders.
How does a dissertation help?
This is probably something I didn’t think about until I started studying for a postgraduate degree. I’m sure many of you will have been asked the question in interviews, “what are your interests?”, or perhaps more specifically, “what are your interests in your field of study?” Researching and writing your dissertation really helps answer this question and maybe even gives you new answers to it.
I am writing my dissertation on inequality. I’ve always been keen to further understand the causes and consequences of inequality as I believe reducing it can lead to a fairer society. This has allowed me to study something that goes beyond my field of study, allowing me to learn about the philosophy and morality behind inequality. I have therefore been able to focus greater on why economic decisions are made. These factors have combined to hopefully make me a better economist as I start my career.
What career development does The University of Surrey offer?
One of the big things that
has helped provide me with new insights and ideas has been through events
organised by societies such as the Surrey Economics & Finance Society.
Despite the pandemic moving many of their events online, they have still
regularly provided networking events and seminars with people from a range of
different fields. Just last Thursday there was an event with a Surrey alumni
who works in investment banking. Being able to interact with people who have
been through the process
that you are going through is super helpful.
In addition to this, the economics department have endeavoured to provide information about job offerings that are ideal to what the course is providing you. This host of information is vital in helping you know where to look to start your career.
Whilst this blog has been very economics focussed, I know it relates to many other postgraduate degrees offered by The University of Surrey. Hopefully, if you have already applied for a place at Surrey, it has reassured you that you are making the right decision. If you haven’t yet applied, I hope it gives you a bit of understanding into why a postgraduate degree can be an important piece at the start of your career.