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. 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. We also
describe the study opportunities at London School of
Economics, as also the scholarships available, along with
training requirements and job prospects.
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
At the same time, one must also discover one's interest in
the various branches of the subject. These are:
a) 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.
b) 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.
c) Government: 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
d) 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
London School of Economics (LSE)
One of the leading institutes of the world for the study of
economics, it has various courses including summer schools
which are for short duration but give an opportunity to
interact with LSE faculty. There are three main courses that
one can take up:
a) 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
b) 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
c) 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.
Eligibility: Entry requirements at the LSE are a master's
degree for entry into a master's programme; exceptionally the
school may consider entry to a master's degree if the
candidate has a first class honours bachelor's degree. In
addition, the student should have a minimum score of 6.5 in
the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
For TOEFL, the minimum score required is 250 in the
computer-based test. For more information about these tests,
please refer to the websites www.britishcouncil.org and
For diploma, the minimum entry requirement is a degree or
equivalent qualifications and experience. For Master's
degree, a second class honours degree from University of
London is acceptable, but for Indian students the requirement
is first class honoursdegree. For M.Phil/Ph.D degree,
normally a master's degree is required.
Financial Help: There is a wide variety of funding options
available for overseas students. LSE itself gives entrance
awards to the tune of 1.4 million pounds. LSE also provides a
number of major and minor awards upto full fees and living
expenses. The department concerned may offer a scholarship on
the basis of academic merit.
The Department of Economics guarantees full financial support
for students who gain Distinction at LSE in M.Sc in Economics
or Econometrics and who accept a place in the M.Phil/Ph.D
programme. Students who are granted financial support are
required to do some classroom teaching in their second and
third years. Further, the LSE grants three scholarships
covering full fees and costs for two years annually to
students who have got admission to the institute. Two of
these scholarships are awarded to undergaduate students on
the basis of exceptional performance. The third scholarship
is awarded to an undergraduate student who has completed the
degree as an external student.
Several other schemes are also available. The Overseas
Research Students (ORS) Awards have been established by the
government for overseas students of outstanding merit and
research potential. ORS Awards do not cover living expenses.
The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan is open to
Commonwealth citizens for post-graduate study or research.
The Rotary Foundation offers scholarships to citizens of
countries where there are Rotary clubs. Details are available
from the local Rotary clubs or from: Rotary Foundation, 1560
Sherman Avenue, Evanston, Illinois 601, USA.
Further, UNESCO fellowships are open to nationals of UNESCO
member States or associate members of those countries where
economic or social development projects are being carried
out. Information can be obtained from UNESCO office in India.
There is an additional source of funding too: every year the
LSE nominates two or three students for the Department for
International Development Shared Scholarship Scheme (DIDSSS),
which includes fees, living costs and air fare.
For Indian students, there is an exclusive source of funding.
The Indian Friends of LSE offer scholarships for students
from India undertaking graduate programmes at LSE. Full fees
are covered by awards from the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office and the Indian friends award a contribution to living
costs. All enquiries should be addressed to: Awards Officer,
British Council Division, British Deputy High Commission.
Mittal Tower C. Wing, Nariman Point, Mumbai - 400 021.
For more details, contact: London School of Economics,
Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE, UK. Website: www.lse.ac.uk
Scope and jobs
There is tremendous scope for economists in various
organisations. In India the scope is limited to teaching,
unless one is qualified in agriculture or business economics.
But 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
The following companies employ economists with international
exposure. Students desirous of getting more information may
European Central Bank, Directorate Personnel, Postfach 1603
19, D-60066, Frankfurt am Main, Website: www.ecb.int
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Human
Resource Services, 33 K Street, NW Washington, DC 006, USA.
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, 10 Bedford Street, London WC2E
9HE. Website: www.robertwalters.com
Standard & Poor's, The McGraw Hill Companies, Wimbledon
Bridge House, 1 Hartfield Road, London SW19 3 RU.
The Economist Intelligence Unit, Recruitment Office, 15
Regent Street, London SW1Y 4LR. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Wbsite:
For jobs with the Indian government appear in the Indian
Economic Services Examination. For details contact UPSC,
Shahjehan Road, New Delhi. Website: upsc.gov.in