Alumni Advice

Jack Keil 91′

Many people are good technicians, meaning they understand regressions, machine learning, etc. It helps in the corporate world if you’re both a good technician and a good communicator. A great idea won’t be adopted unless you can explain it simply.”

Alli Jakubek 18′

“Forge relationships with your professors (they will be your biggest advocates), be fluent in at least 1 computer programming language (AKA take at least 2 computer science classes), be intentional when you apply for jobs (don’t mass apply), and don’t be afraid to reach out/ask for help.”

Heather Kelley 04′

“Economics provides a solid base for many professions. Learning how to think analytically, write concisely and become proficient at technical writing will help you develop skill sets that you can use in many fields.  Try out as many internships as you can to figure out what you like and don’t like. Find what you are passionate about and then figure out how you can turn that into a career. You spend most of your week at work so make it something that you enjoy and can still pay the bills.  The more money you make the more money you spend. It doesn’t mean we “need” that income. Use your economics background to understand budgeting, saving and investing so that you can make do with less if it means pursuing a career that you will enjoy and will give you a good work-life balance.”

Elyse Menendez 11′

“If you have room in your course schedule, take Accounting 101 and 102. Having the basics of accounting under your belt will dramatically increase the jobs available to you when you enter the job market. Economics is a great major because it has a wide variety of applications, but one thing that I’ve found is that a basic understanding of accounting, when added with an Econ major, is enough to get your foot in the door at nearly any entry level job that normally requires a business degree.”

Nick Ross 07′ 

“When looking at graduate programs, I wish I had looked at operations research, systems engineering, or industrial engineering instead of economics because I found when applying for jobs, many HR types tended to lump economics with finance, budgeting, and accounting. The other fields I listed cover many of the same problems as economics (i.e., analyzing trade-offs and data analysis), are not particularly more technical than economics, and appear to open doors to more challenging work.”

Lesie Hortum 80′

“Work hard and earn your way up.”

Anna Skarin 98′

“I was too focused on finding the right path, rather than finding MY path. Find someone who will listen to year dreams without saying anything about their feasibility. All kinds of cool things can happen if we don’t limit ourselves.”

Tim Gottgetreu 03′

Take and Python Computer Science class and learn Pandas. Its an open source data science package built on top of Python. It is       AMAZING and free. I won’t hire anyone who doesn’t have some programming exposure. Advanced excel is dinosaur land. No one uses Eviews/Stata or SPSS. R is limited and SAS is too expensive.”

Casey Dunlap 13′

“Get pertinent internship experience starting in your junior year.”

Kevin Ely 97′

“Take a wide range of courses outside of Economics and read broadly in other academic disciplines. You’d be surprised by how much other areas of academics can teach you about your own major. Read and be intellectually curious. Learn how to write. Your great ideas won’t make a difference if you cannot communicate them. I am an investor, and people are always surprised at how much of my time is spent just reading and writing.”

Ethan Fenichel 06′

“Take math classes, learn to code, find time to read for fun/personal enjoyment, be kind to each other, your options are unlimited. Enjoy your time at UMW.”

Geoffrey Hart 96′

“Do not stress too much. Mary Washington has truly prepared you for great things. Just embrace the path you have set upon and enjoy the journey.”

Amanda Kent 07′

NETWORK!! Every job that I have held since my first job out of college I have either gotten through a past colleague or I have brought a past colleague with me. Building good working relationships has been invaluable in my success. In fact, my current position is working with a company that is owned by the Program lead on the contract that I first worked out of college, and my immediate manager at that job is the Managing Partner! They built this company and called me up to see if I wanted to work with them again 8 years later!”

Jay Martin 89′

“Math and the ability to solve difficult problems should never be underestimated as top job skills.”

Dustin Hilton 10′

Become as strong as possible in your analytical skills. Take math and CS courses if you can. Consulting firms like hiring economics majors with demonstrated skills in statistics and modeling because they are better at explaining concepts to non-experts than math majors typically are. As someone who now interviews new grads for junior level positions, be able to talk about projects that you’ve worked on that were heavy on statistics or Excel. It can be hard for interviewers to tell if you’re strong or not in the areas they are looking for, so have specific examples to point to. During the interview for what became my first job out of undergrad I explained my final Econometrics project to my future boss. He even asked me to send it to him after the interview.”

Lynne Williams Neave 61′

“Take advantage of summer internships while in college.”

Carmond Robbins 79′

“Look at the big picture.  Read, then read some more.  Feed your brain. Understand current events and think about them in economic terms.  If Economics is your major, it should be your interest. If not, find a major that intrigues you.”

Julia Behrmann 08′

“Keep an open mind!  Economics underlies so much of the world– a thorough understanding of economics is a great foundation for life and career!”

Greg Novak 11′

“Don’t be afraid to get outside of your comfort zone.”

Susan Leavitt 83′ 

“Broaden your scope – your skill set will apply to many areas that you have not even thought of – just follow your heart and passion – your basic skill set will benefit you in ways that you had not imagined / look for niches.”

Brandon Shapiro 08′

“Take a wide variety of courses in economics, math, and in other departments to become well-rounded.  Reach out to former UMW students and others who have since graduated from a university to learn about job industries to see what might interest you.  Professional networking is important because it might help you land a job interview a bit easier!”