Economics graduates pursue varied careers in business, law, banking and finance, government service, education, and private consulting.
While no course of study guarantees an interesting and lucrative job after graduation, a degree in economics more than holds its own. A recent study shows, for example, that the median earnings of both men and women who hold bachelor's degrees in economics are higher than the earnings of those who hold bachelor's degrees in business or other social sciences.
Although a bachelor's degree in economics, unlike an accounting or engineering degree, does not prepare one for a particular job or career path, it opens up a broad range of employment and career opportunities. A recent survey of SCU alumni who majored in economics found that a large proportion worked in one of the following industries: banking, corporate management, data analytics, education (teaching and administration), financial planning and advising, information technology, law, real estate, and sales and marketing.
"Over the next 8 years, demand for economists should come from the increasing complexity of the global economy, additional financial regulations, and a more competitive business environment."
Potential Economics Careers
Below are some popular career paths for SCU economics majors.
An SCU economics major will prepare you well for a job in data analytics; you will learn the programming language R, which is widely used in the private and public sectors. We also offer a concentration in data analysis; courses in this concentration may include instruction in additional programming languages such as Matlab and Python (talk to your faculty advisor about this concentration if you are interested). Data analysts work in almost every industry and are especially in demand in Silicon Valley. As a data analyst, you could work for an established Silicon Valley technology company, e.g., Apple, Facebook, Google, Netflix, or Tesla, or potentially at a less established company such as a Silicon Valley start-up.
Students interested in a career in management need to practice problem solving skills, develop habits of logical thought, and learn to communicate effectively. Economics major are challenged to do these things. A recent survey of SCU alumni who have an economics degree found alumni hold the following jobs: general manager, human resources manager, investment manager, portfolio manager, product manager, and sport and entertainment manager (Portions adapted from the American Economics Association's "Careers in economics" webpage).
Banking and finance
A recent survey of SCU alumni with economics majors indicates that two of the most common industries that our alumni work in are banking and finance. Banking and finance companies located in the Bay Area include Charles Schwab, Fisher Investments, PayPal, Square, Visa, and Wells Fargo. Based on the survey, we found that alumni who work in this field hold the following jobs: financial analyst, business owner, insurance broker, accountant, financial advisor, and private wealth manager.
Graduate school in economics, business administration, or a related field
An SCU economics majors will prepare you well to pursue an advanced degree such as a Master in Business Administration (MBA), or a master’s degree or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in economics or a related field, e.g., business analytics finance, or political science. If you are considering pursuing such a degree, we recommend talking to your faculty adviser about it as soon as possible, as there may be specific electives you should take to prepare you for graduate school.
If you are considering a career in law, an economics major is a helpful undergraduate degree because it teaches analytical skills that complement the skills taught in law school. Further, many careers in law involve shaping economic decisions: writing and interpreting contracts, supporting mergers and acquisitions, dealing with the tax system, and addressing disputes of workers, landlords, and vendors. A recent analysis of scores on the LSAT test for law school admission reported for students who apply to at least one ABA accredited law school shows economic majors earned relatively high mean LSAT scores (excerpted from the American Economics Association's "Careers in economics" webpage).
Spotlight: New Alumni Careers
Our recent graduates from the Class of 2018 are starting their careers at a variety of companies or continuing their education, some of which are featured below:
Duke University MS in Interdisciplinary Data Science
Undergraduate Career Center
Use the Career Center as a hub for employment resources. Among their offerings are: job listings, resume critiques, mock interviews, and even same-day advising appointments.
Graduate Business Career Management
GBCM offers consulting services, skill development programs, recruiting events, and other resources for graduate students to facilitate successful management of one's career and/or job search.
Santa Clara University Alumni Association
The University offers programming for alumni including reunions and University-wide events (e.g. Vintage Santa Clara). See the SCU Alumni Association website for more information.