PhD in Economics Preparation Tips

Doing a graduate course in economics leading to PhD is a very important decision in one’s life. It takes a lot of effort (can be up to 8 years), serious financial commitments and patience. But at the end the rewards far outweigh the pains and that is one of the reasons why number of applicants for this program at top universities always far exceeds the number of students admitted.

Training and mentoring in graduate school is geared towards turning you into an academic economist.  If you don't want this, you have to figure out whether an Economics PhD is really necessary for the job you want.  For many non academic jobs, a different degree - master's of public policy, MBA, etc. - might be sufficient and can spare you from the misery of 5 years in graduate school.

Who should go for PhD in Economics?

  • You should not get a PhD if you are doing it for the money. An MBA has a higher monetary payoff.

  • If you are interested in policy but hate math; a public policy program might be a better fit.

  • If you are not sure whether a PhD is right for you, it is probably best to wait – work for a few years or get a different degree, then revisit the question.  There are number of jobs available with economic consulting firms, government, Think Tanks and International Organizations like World Bank that allow you to do economic research and can help you decide at graduate school, whether research oriented study is right for you. Many students work at one of these jobs for a couple of years and then go for Doctorate Degree.

  • If you are motivated enough to get into a good PhD program then ensure that your GPA, undergraduate research experience and performance in specific math and economics classes are top notch.

PhD Prepares for a plethora of Careers

A Ph.D. in economics can prepare you for a wide variety of careers. You can go into academics (teaching and research at a university or college), work in the private sector (at economic research institutes, consulting firms, investment banking, etc.), or work for the government (the Federal Reserve banks, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census Bureau, Social Security Administration, Federal Trade Commission, etc.). Many leading international development and financial institutions employ Ph.D.-trained economists including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), regional development banks (Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Inter-American Development Bank, African Development Bank Group, etc.), and other international organizations (OECD, ECB, ILO, WTO, UN).
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