Hello everyone, A professor of mine told me I should apply to several of the Federal Agencies that require Economist (the Central Banks, the BLS, etc. ) He claims that once I get my masters in Finance/Mathematics I should be able to enroll in such a position (assuming I wish to not pursue academia further), and will probably be competetive. I was looking at the description and some of them seem intresting. However, as careers go, once I become a goverment Economist for a few years and gain that experience, is it possible to jump to private industry/Investments? Again, I’ll remind everyone, I know absolutely nothing about “the real world” so if this seems like 1 = 2, I do apologize. Also: Is there a good list of internships for Economics/Financing/Quantiative work that exists out in the web? I only get fake sites everytime I search for them, and is there any particular internship that someone with a Bachelors in Econ/Math and working in Masters Math/Finance could go for? Thakns Again!.
This is purely my speculation, but a government economist position would be a great way to set yourself up for an economist role at an investment bank and *maybe* a global macro asset manager. Personally, I find the work that our chief economist does very interesting, and if I ever felt like getting a PhD I would love to end up working in that group. But I will never want a PhD, so I suppose thats a moot point. It probably wouldn’t be the best way to get into a traditional investment banking role though.
Hey FIAnalyst, I know you studied Econ undergrad. Is there any good internships that you can think of for this subject? ANything at all? It dosn’t even have to be directly Econ, just something that has good “experience” and pays some? thanks.
Government stuff is not a good career, unless you are motivated by the public policy and public interest aspect of it (I was, but eventually got tired of it). The pay is mediocre, your analysis is subject to political meddling (with the spin and the language, when not the actual results), and the emphasis is on doing good work, but not excellent work (the highest standing nail is the one that gets hammered). Part of the last statement is because a lot of research is actually designed to produce evidence for a particular pre-determined conclusion, and if you think too much or too carefully, you might not come to that desired conclusion. As a result, you get hammered by your bosses. However, if you do land a federal job, the retirement benefits are pretty nice, and the hours aren’t all that bad. With the fiscal deficit the way it is, though, you might not be able to count on those nice perks into the future. With all that said about government stuff not being good as a career, working as an economist at the Fed or something like that is a good “career starter,” meaning that you are not doing government as a career, but you are doing economics or finance or investment as a career and government is just how you start to build your resume. Lots of good people got their start there.
Some of the happiest times of my life were spent working for the Navy…
Joey, were you an economist or a policy specialist for the Navy? I had forgotten that working for the military is also working for the government, and I think the military has a special quality to it that supports being very realistic about things… Even with the mess in Iraq, I think the military is by-and-large realistic about things… it’s just that the civilian leadership keeps sacking any of the top brass that say anything realistic to the President or Congress (which was part of my point in the earlier post, just that the military experiences it a little differently than most federal agencies do) My dad was a physicist, working for the Department of Energy. At that time, he had a wide lattitude on what he could research, and since it was the Cold War, the thought was that any research on this stuff could potentially pay off in military advantage. He loved it too. I worked on international development policy research. That turned out to be very politically sensitive, because no one wanted any research suggesting that existing policies weren’t optimal, so you had to write things that said "these [otherwise cr*ppy] projects were absolutely brilliant, and we can expand on these successes by [completely dismantling them, doing the opposite, and renaming it “Old Project Name, Phase II”]. After a while, it got tiring, because you had to spend more time figuring out how to spin what you are contributing than you did trying to develop that contribution. I’m not bitter about it - in fact, I’m really glad that a good chunk of my life was spent doing that (because I got to travel to neat places and I did feel I was having some small positive impact), but eventually one wants to be able to have a family, a middle class lifestyle, and educate one’s kids, and this wasn’t the career that would lead to that.
bchadwick Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Joey, were you an economist or a policy specialist > for the Navy? Well… So there were two Congressmen whose sons got rejected by the Marine Corps because they got lousy scores on the AFQT (an IQ-test). The Congressmen complained to the CNO who had to do something to counter the Congressmen’s assertion that nobody was too stupid to be a grunt and carry a gun. So they hired me and some other guys to define what it means to be a good Marine Corps infantryman, figure out how to evaluate it, and see if we can predict it from the AFQT and other data known at recruitment (education, grades, fitness measures, socio-economic stuff, etc). I got to travel around and meet the super-competent, “I-can-tear-your-heart-out-with-my-pinkie” master sargeants and test Marine Corps guys on firing weapons like Dragon missiles (I sucked), navigation skills, weapon maintenance, etc. and then go back to DC and do statistical analyses. I was young and I got to be on macho mountain all the time even though I was a geek. > I had forgotten that working for > the military is also working for the government, > and I think the military has a special quality to > it that supports being very realistic about > things… Even with the mess in Iraq, I think the > military is by-and-large realistic about things… > it’s just that the civilian leadership keeps > sacking any of the top brass that say anything > realistic to the President or Congress (which was > part of my point in the earlier post, just that > the military experiences it a little differently > than most federal agencies do) > > My dad was a physicist, working for the Department > of Energy. At that time, he had a wide lattitude > on what he could research, and since it was the > Cold War, the thought was that any research on > this stuff could potentially pay off in military > advantage. He loved it too. > > I worked on international development policy > research. That turned out to be very politically > sensitive, because no one wanted any research > suggesting that existing policies weren’t optimal, > so you had to write things that said "these > projects were absolutely brilliant, and we can > expand on these successes by . After a while, it > got tiring, because you had to spend more time > figuring out how to spin what you are contributing > than you did trying to develop that contribution. > > I’m not bitter about it - in fact, I’m really glad > that a good chunk of my life was spent doing that > (because I got to travel to neat places and I did > feel I was having some small positive impact), but > eventually one wants to be able to have a family, > a middle class lifestyle, and educate one’s kids, > and this wasn’t the career that would lead to > that.
Interesting… did you conclude that any dork can carry a gun, or did you conclude that the kids should not have been admitted after all?
bchadwick do you know of any internships/entry level full/parttime position that I should look at for goverment Economist?
The most likely place to look is at the Federal Reserve, and it’s probably the most direct route to other finance or asset management jobs. You might also look at places like the Congressional Budget Office, the Department of the Treasury, Department of Commerce, which are areas that require a certain amount of economic forecasting talent. After that, you might look at state and local government. There’s also the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, International Finance Corporation in the World Bank Group. There tends to be a bit of an anti-american bias there (I’m assuming you are a US citizen), because there is a perception that, true or false, the american influence in the world is too strong and therefore the staff likes to try to counterbalance it. If you are female or a member of a historically discriminated group, that helps mitigate the impact of being american.
bchadwick, just curious, I’ve been told that Federal Reserve and IMF etc., take people almost exclusively from the ivies / elite schools. Is this true?
I don’t know for sure, but government organizations are as name brand conscious as anyone else. On the other hand, I do know of at least one guy with a math Ph.D. from a good-but-not-stellar University of California campus got his start at the Fed and is now doing very well for himself managing a fund inside one of the country’s largest pension plans. So it can be done.
Just to clarify, my friend from a UC university is very smart - it’s just that the university isn’t one that is usually thought of as “name brand”
Certainly, I don’t presume “name brand” means intellect, I actaully stated that in a previous thread. Also, what is consiered “name-brand” within an academic subject may not be consdiered “name-brand” to the general populace… but what the general populace thinks is superflous so I guess it’s hardly worth mentioning. I’m hoping with excellent grades in the masters program and a published paper in a leading research jounral, should give me some leverage. But I’m not kidding myself, experience is the best leverage; which is why i"m looking for entry-level positions. Does anyone know what these positions often pay?
World Bank and IMF have programs called Young Professionals for people under 30. They have their own sections in the larger websites there. The typical profile of a successful candidate is pretty impressive. The Fed has many jobs that financial analysts can do. This has been discussed on this board before. However, to be a Research Economist usually requires a doctorate from a well known university. The Fed also has profiles of the skills they are seeking.