Written by Benenden Senior Katarina (H/E2022)
To summarise all of what I love about economics in words is an impossible task. If I had to pick one thing though, it would be the way economics integrates into our lives. The economic cycle is a prime example – just like our journey in life, it has ups and downs which are inevitable, but jumps back from a recession with the use of behavioural economics in public policy.
As a philosophy student, I gravitate towards the qualitative side of things. Why inequalities occur, how we can solve them using developmental economics, or how climate inaction can be explained by game theory are vital questions which economics provides fascinating answers to. I am particularly excited to go into studying the philosophy of economics in my third year.
University economics is very different from what you study at A Level. At the London School of Economics (LSE), our courses are fast-paced and very quantitative. Economic concepts are brought to life through the illustration of mathematics, which aids your essays and research with numbers, making them more persuasive on an academic level. The best part, though, is getting to listen to top tier economists give their thoughts on current affairs, or give book launches in lectures or society events which the public might not have access to. It’s like getting front row seats to an exclusive interview!
When studying LSE100, LSE’s flagship course, I explored ideas around doughnut economics and degrowth – two topics I was very passionate about during my A Levels – on a vigorous academic level. I think Economics itself is very insightful, but it becomes an even more powerful tool when used in conjunction with an interdisciplinary perspective.
The way you view and learn economics will affect how much you can get from the subject. To fully understand the concepts, look around you and see how economics integrates in your daily life. Try to make economics as fun as possible – I incorporated my love of Disney when it came to understanding businesses and mergers and that really helped! Be flexible, because economics is modelled after human society, meaning concepts are ever-changing. There is never a one-size-fits-all answer, so be sure to know what assumptions, branches of thought and contexts you are looking at.
Economics gives a useful perspective when it comes to analysing events, so having a good foundation of it will set you on a great path. The workload may be heavy, but it will be all worth it in the end. My own interest lies in ESG (environmental, social and governance), and ideas like social bonds, degrowth economics, green finance, etc all have economic implications. So, I am hoping to work on developmental and environmental economics, and continue my investigation on doughnut economics!
Currently, a lot of my work involves ESG. This includes work with Urban+, looking to collaborate with the DEAL (Doughnut Economics Action Lab) to hold activities that are doughnut economics related, and Green Finance, analysing companies from an ESG perspective. I am also part of a team in a Global Circular Challenge where we look at how we can incorporate the ideas of a circular economy into the fashion industry.
Outside of ESG, I am also exploring my paths in finance and consultancy. As part of the committee for AIBC (Asia Banking conference), we are also planning on hosting an in-person banking conference for those looking to join the finance industry – which might be of interest to current economics students!