Economics for a meaningful career

By Dr. H.K.Mankad, Visiting Faculty, WSB

Perhaps the greatest of all economists, John Maynard Keynes asserted that “the ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed, the world is ruled by little else”.

How right he was!

Economics drives all human activities. As the world moves on to higher and higher levels of growth and riches, more and more of wealth, newer forms of money and greater ease of dealing with money one becomes more and more aware of how economics occupies the center stage in personal and professional life.

For building up a career, a student of business may have grounding in his or her specialization of marketing, finance, logistics or HR, but to provide the right push to the career, a general understanding of economics – both macro and micro – is absolutely essential. Economics helps you build your career in your specialization.

And independent of your specialization, economics help you make a rounded, and well grounded, manager. Microeconomics provides the base for pricing, market structures, consumer behavior and marketing. The cost, revenue and profits make you understand finance better. The discipline of logistics is based on the fundamentals of optimization that you learn in microeconomics. Microeconomics provides you first lessons in incentives and behavior that form the subject matter of theory and practice of Human Resources.

Macroeconomics provides you with the exposure to the larger world. It makes you appreciate globalization, foreign exchange rates, international trade and fundamentals of GDP and economic growth. Macroeconomics makes you aware of and helps appreciate the VUCA world, volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous as it is. It takes you to the global arena, to the world of dollar and American dominance, to the world of China and ongoing power shifts, it explains the impact of everchanging technology and challenges of rising population, changing demographic structures and issues of resource scarcity. It helps you understand imbalances in the global economy, may it be of few countries amassing large reserves, or large areas suffering from poverty and deprivation. Macroeconomics makes you sensitive to issues related to environment degradation of increasing inequality of wealth, income, and regional inequality, inequality of opportunity reflected in imbalances between groups based on race, gender, age and like.  It helps you understand money and banking to make more sense out of personal, corporate, national and international finance.

Economics – micro and macro – helps you understand the public finance, the stock or commodity markets or monetary policies of central bankers.

And all the above understanding and exposure provided by economics helps you make more sense out of your career pursuits in your chosen specialization area.

Economics provides independent career opportunities as well. An appropriate grounding in economics provides for a career in administrative services and becoming a well groomed national or global bureaucrat. Economics helps you make a career in the development sector, either with the government or with national and international development agencies. In the corporate world, after a few years of hands on experience in your chosen specialization career, economics helps you to take larger corporate role in general management. Or you may begin your career as an executive assistant to one of the top bosses and grow within the organization. Higher level jobs in your later professional career in strategy, in operations and in leadership roles requires keen understanding of economics.

Economics is all about choices and your choice of careers has a great deal to do with your understanding of economics.