Degree in Economics – Need of the Hour

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Today’s youth have a plethora of degrees and subjects to choose from. The traditional streams and subjects are there of course, but there are many new subjects like photography, graphic designing, bio medical engineering etc. that are finding its way into the Universities in India and across the world. Given this huge bouquet of courses the students often find themselves on the cross roads more confused than ever regarding which course they should choose for a bright career.

NMIMS has introduced the BSc Economics programme which is fast gaining in reputation and popularity. We interviewed the Associate Dean, Prof. Amita Vaidya who is heading the Sarla Anil Modi School of Economics and this is what she had to say:

Prof. Amita Vaidya, Associate Dean- Sarla Anil Modi School of Economics
Prof. Amita Vaidya, Associate Dean- Sarla Anil Modi School of Economics

Why is Economics  important and what are the future career prospects after having done a degree in Economics?

To answer this question, let me first quote the GM HRMG of ICICI Bank, Mr. Saurabh Singh, he said that what this country really requires in the next 25 years and where the paucity is likely to be felt is not of engineers and doctors, but rather of good economists and good lawyers.

So one of the very attractive options at the end of a graduate course is to pursue a post-graduation in Economics, either in India or abroad, before a student moves on to joining the government or industry.

The route to joining the government in policy- making is either through the academia or through the Civil or the Indian Economic Services. To give an example, the Chief Economic advisor to the  government, Arvind Subramanian, is a reputed academician who taught at Harvard University.

After a degree in Economics, students could also look at options in industry as research analysts with credit rating agencies, market research companies or in other companies. There is a great  scope for students in the financial sector- banks and financial institutions or even in the media- both print and broadcast. Or students could pursue an MBA or other specializations after graduating in Economics. The knowledge of economics provides a sound foundation for further studies in any field.

How is the BSc Economics Programme of the Sarla Anil Modi School of Economics different from other degree programmes in Economics?

To start with, the course has a contemporary curriculum which is benchmarked against the best schools in economics. We have drawn on the graduate and post-graduate syllabi of Schools across the world to come up with a unique offering. The syllabus is periodically reviewed by a Board of Studies consisting of eminent economists from the academia as well as the industry. The course offers a strong, theoretical foundation in economics along with practical applications of the subject. Complex economic theories are brought to life using current, real-life examples. The course offers the flexibility to choose in the 3rd year electives from any one of the distinct streams i.e. Economics, Finance and Business.

The course is devised in a way to include core subjects of Economics, some allied subjects and some skill enhancers. The study of Economics is incomplete without its being grounded in other subjects such as Psychology, Sociology, Finance, Accounts, law, logic etc. that has led to this particular course design with emphasis on all these subjects.

We are striving to make our students stand out from ‘the herd’ so to speak, by equipping them with soft skills which most graduates lack in India. The constant refrain from industry is that India is educating more and more youth who really are not employable. We at this school are striving to correct this, through development of soft skills such as presentation, written and verbal communication, out of the box-thinking etc. Students also, at the end of every year, are required to go for 1 month of compulsory summer internship. This gives them the industry exposure and would give them a big advantage when they finally go for a job.

Drawing on best practices from across the world, our pedagogy uses a variety of techniques and tools to make the teaching-learning process meaningful and interesting. On any particular day in class, you may find a class being conducted through the regular lecture pattern, or students doing a role play, watching a movie, debating or discussing animatedly. You may also hear excited, loud voices as the students go through interesting games and simulations. All this promotes self –learning and peer-learning. Students learn to work individually as well as in groups. A Seminar paper in the Second year and a Research paper in the final year also help in  ‘self-learning’ in a big way.

No teaching-learning process is complete without an evaluation system and the strength of a course can be judged by the effectiveness of its evaluation system. Moving away from the traditional system of one ‘end-of-the year examination’, which may be a poor reflector of the students’ performance, we have a system of continuous evaluation in place. The evaluation has a 50% continuous evaluation component and a 50% end-term exam component. Thus, we ensure that learning is not merely by rote, but rather that students have gained an in-depth knowledge of the subjects.

And last, but not the least, our attempt is not just to create good economists, but also to create mature, honest and responsible youth who have a strong ethical and moral foundation. Though we don’t have a subject of ‘Value Education’, values are continuously imparted through everyday interactions, in class and outside. We know that to err is human, however, we also strongly believe that every mistake can be a learning experience which adds to your life –experiences.