Today marks the launch of a new undergraduate course: Economics at Work (ECON 108). Conceived by Senior Lecturer Jan Gerson, an ECON 101 instructor and advisor for the major, Economics at Work is a speaker series in which Economics alumni tell the story of how their economics major has defined their career path and speak on economic topics related to their work. “We [advisors] get asked all the time, ‘What can I do with an econ major?’. The answer is hard. We’re not teaching you accounting so you can be an accountant…You’re getting a liberal arts degree; you’re learning how to think, how to learn…for some students that’s not concrete enough. I often tell stories about my former students and what they’ve done to give more concrete examples,” explains Gerson. The Economics at Work series is an opportunity for young students to be exposed to a variety of these stories, told from distinguished alumni who reflect the diverse array of career opportunities available to economics majors. In this way, students will not only get to hear real-life examples of the role economics has played in the speakers’ careers, but also the personal journeys they took to get there.
While the series is listed as an underclassman class, the lectures are open to the public and upperclassmen concentrators are highly encouraged to attend. Gerson reasons, “You don’t know what career moves you might want to make in the future – even if you have a job lined up.” In addition to providing valuable career insight, the series will give students networking opportunities, as well as foster community within the major.
The lectures kick off today with Diane Swonk, AB ’84; AM ’85, Senior Managing Director and Chief Economist for Mesirow Financial. Upcoming speakers include financial journalist Anna Bernasek, AB ’90; Michael Beauregard, AB ’86, Partner at Huron Capital Partners LLC; Dan Braga, AB ’97, Partner at McKinsey & Company; and Christopher Cramer, AB ’93, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Bath and Body Works Ltd. Lectures take place Fridays in 140 Lorch Hall from 1-2:30pm, and are open to the public.