Udayavni Special

Chart strong careers with Economics, Finance and Management


Team Udayavani, Jun 4, 2020, 6:00 PM IST

The last decade has seen an increasing demand for professionals in the economics, management and finance space, both as specialists and as bearers of knowledge in more than one of these disciplines. This has led many renowned institutions to offer interdisciplinary degrees like Bachelor’s in Economics and Finance or in Economics and Management to suit the evolving needs of the workplace. And while this can sometimes make things confusing for students, you can rest assured that whether you enrol for the traditional single-specialisation programmes or the newer dual-discipline ones, you will learn skills that will stand you in good stead even in a rapidly changing labour market.

Careers in Economics

Economics is a sought-after specialisation among recruiters. This is because it is a highly analytical social science, and thus equips students with strong mathematical skills as well as the ability to communicate effectively. It is also the discipline out of which the areas of Finance and Management have emerged as more specialised areas, and so an Economics graduate has a good foundation for careers in these allied areas too.

Among the most popular Economics careers are research and policy-making. You could become a researcher and academician and go on to advise the government, become a central banker or get involved with national economic planning with NITI Aayog. Or you could get a job in policy-making as a bureaucrat, by writing the Indian Economic Service (IES) examination. You could also aim to work towards international policy at organisations like the World Bank or International Monetary Fund (IMF).

As an economics researcher, you could also work for think thanks or for development sector firms ranging from United Nations agencies and large private foundations to civil society organisations and non-government organisations (NGOs). A corporate career in economic research is also very lucrative and intellectually stimulating, as your skills will be valued in sectors ranging all the way from banking to e-commerce.

Finally, one could use one’s qualification in Economics to branch out into Finance, Management, Data Science or other allied areas, as mentioned above. Careers in these allied areas would include investment banking, actuarial science, consulting, fin-tech, marketing, digital marketing, business analytics, market research and data analytics, with Economics providing a strong foundation for success.

Careers in Management

A high-quality undergraduate programme in management will typically leave you adept at project management, communication and soft skills such as presentation, persuasion and negotiation. You could, from here, chart careers in consulting, marketing, branding, communications, business analytics, market research and entrepreneurship.

Those with strong people skills tend to start in sales and business development, with the aim to graduate to marketing in due course. The traditional Holy Grail here has been Management Trainee programmes at fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies like Unilever, Dabur and ITC. The coveted roles in this space in today’s time are often in the e-commerce space, with players like Flipkart and Amazon, or in digital marketing agencies, both of which require good quantitative ability too. The more analytical management graduates can also find roles as Analysts, with consulting firms like McKinsey & Co or Ernst & Young, as well as with technology-based firms like Netflix and Google, almost as in-house consultants.

Another analytical role is that of market research, where the leading employers are the likes of Nielsen and Kantar IMRB. If human resource management is your calling, talent acquisition, compensation & benefits and training & development are interesting roles that can be found in any sector at all. Your coordination and organisational skills as a management graduate could also help you make a promising career in operations or project management. Of course, if you’re only pursuing management studies at the postgraduate level, you could also unlock options in related areas, depending on your field of undergraduate specialisation.

 Careers in Finance

Demand (by companies) far exceeds the supply of finance professionals. One of the main reasons for this is that finance is hardly taught to any great depth in Indian programmes, either at the undergraduate or at the postgraduate levels. International undergraduate programmes offered in collaboration with Indian institutions, therefore, seem to be one’s best bet. Once equipped with rigorous training in finance, one can aim for careers in the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) sector, among the highest paymasters in the world (Glassdoor) and in India (Monster).

Careers here could include investment banking or financial research at Goldman Sachs or UBS, all sorts of other analytical banking roles in full-fledged banks like Citibank or HSBC, or investment management with non-banking financial companies like Franklin Templeton or Reliance Capital. Many of these paths lead to working in private equity or hedge funds, considered the most complex work in the financial sector. You could also work as an actuary with insurance firms like Max or Metlife, with fin-tech firms like Paytm or PhonePe in cutting-edge finance, or with financial consulting firms like Oliver Wyman, Grant Thornton, Deloitte or Ernst & Young. Alternatively, you could carve a career working in corporate finance for practically any non-BFSI firm, ranging from Facebook or General Motors to Walmart or Apple.

The above is just an overview of various career paths available today in these fields. With innovation and disruption changing the nature of jobs every day, what is important to note is that the skills that these disciplines inculcate in graduates are here to remain valued, even as the nature of work changes. That is why you should place a premium on a strong undergraduate training, because this sets you up to excel at the best postgraduate programmes in the world, which in turn is the surest springboard yet for charting a successful career.

 

By Chiraag Mehta, Associate Director at Indian School of Business & Finance (ISBF), current educationist and former World Bank consultant, investment banker and advertiser

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