Confessions of a Not-So-Typical Econ Major
According to the Center for Professional Development at Dartmouth, 50% of Dartmouth grads accepted job offers in the fields of consulting or finance last year. And, as an economics modified major, many people assume that I will also pursue a career in one of these fields. However, economics at and beyond Dartmouth is SO much more than this. In fact, the economics department at Dartmouth offers classes ranging from International Trade to Social Entrepreneurship, and basically everything in between! So, in light of the many stereotypes that exist about Dartmouth econ majors, here are my confessions as a not-so-typical econ major that might make you think differently about economics at Dartmouth.
1. Not all of us want to go into finance
Shocker, right?! Sure, there is a Money & Finance track that students can pursue within the economics department, but students can also specialize in Development Economics, Industrial Organization, Labor, Public Economics, International Econ, and/or Advanced Theory. Personally, I have absolutely NO interest in going into finance, but I do find other aspects of economics fascinating. As a Chinese modified with Economics major, the courses I have taken and will take fall into the International Economics track and help me to better understand the impact of China's emergence as an economic superpower on a global scale. Economics is essentially woven into every part of society, so understanding the economics of international trade and social entrepreneurship is an integral part of trying to comprehend and tackle some of the world's biggest problems.
2. Economics CAN be interdisciplinary
Some of my favorite classes at Dartmouth have been about political economics, a field that lies at the intersections of Government, Economics, and Sociology. Classes like "Morality and the Political Economy," "The Wealth and Violence of Nations," and "Religion and the Political Economy," though not counting towards my economics modified major, have drawn on interdisciplinary themes that have allowed me to see how everything is connected! I've learned about the impact of Judaism and Confucianism in economic development, the role of war in attempting to advance both political and economic goals, and how people today morally justify the desire to make money as a primary motivator of society.
3. Collaboration is KEY!
One thing that really surprised me about my economics classes at Dartmouth was their collaborative nature! Problem sets in most classes are assigned weekly, but students are encouraged to work together to figure out the answers, learning from each others' mistakes in the process. For my Economics 39: International Trade midterm two weeks ago, I formed a study group with a few of my classmates and we reserved a room in the library with a huge white-board so we could draw the graphs as we reviewed the material. And, while we were there, we ran into two other study groups doing the same thing and ended up combining to work through some of the more difficult topics. I left that evening not only feeling prepared for my exam, but also feeling happy to have spent those couple hours collaborating and working with some pretty great people!