Economics Majors Launch Myriad Careers at the Intersection of Finance and Human Behavior

October 3, 2016


Emily Helming ’12, a leadership gifts officer with Boston Children’s Hospital Trust, enjoyed economics’ human behavior aspect.

What can you do with an economics major? The better question may be: What can’t you do?

“It’s a very versatile major,” says Professor Akira Motomura, chair of the Economics Department. “Recent graduates work in banking and finance, international development, and policy-making roles for government agencies and nonprofits.”

The names of organizations where recent graduates have launched their careers speak volumes about the breadth of opportunities: Partners Health Care, Raytheon, The Atlantic Council, Middlesex District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“Others go right on to graduate school in business, law or economics,” adds Motomura. “There really isn’t a typical path.”

According to Motomura, economics teaches students “analytical skills they can apply to all kinds of fields — things like problem solving, critical thinking and gathering data, and then using that information to draw conclusions.”

Austin Herzog ’17 chose economics because of its flexibility and because it’s so tangible. “I’m a double major — economics and political science. I see the two overlapping all the time,” he says. Last year, when he did a semester abroad in Ireland, Herzog took courses such as the Economic History of Ireland, and Ireland, Europe and the Global Economy. Now, as a senior in Stonehill’s Moreau Honors Program, Herzog is bringing all these experiences together for his senior thesis. “My topic will be on the use of economic sanctions as a tool of U.S. foreign policy,” he explains.

“I was meeting one of my professors in his office when a graduate stopped by to say ‘hi.’ He worked at Goldman Sachs and we just hit it off.”
Dan Doherty ’15, now an analyst at Goldman Sachs in New York

In addition to the major’s analytical skills, Dan Doherty ’15 valued the personal attention in the Economics Department. “I got to know all of the professors and build good relationships with a number of them,” says Dan, now an analyst at Goldman Sachs in New York. Those relationships helped land Dan where he is today. “I was meeting one of my professors in his office when a graduate stopped by to say ‘hi.’ He worked at Goldman Sachs and we just hit it off,” he recalls. The two stayed in touch and Doherty ended up doing an internship at the company, an experience that eventually led to a postgraduation job offer.

Emily Helming ’12 enjoyed economics’ human behavior aspect. “In electives like Economics of Sports and Economics of Healthcare, I liked how you could see that how people think about money and finance plays directly into economic decision making,” she says. Today, she draws on that knowledge as a leadership gifts officer with Boston Children’s Hospital Trust, where she works with individuals and families who are interested in investing their philanthropic dollars in the world-renowned hospital.

And for Emily, it wasn’t just the coursework.

“Stonehill gave me a great mix of experiences I was able to apply,” she continues. “I worked as a research assistant to Professor Motomura and presented my senior capstone research paper at the Eastern Economics Association Conference in Boston.”

Emily took advantage of the college’s NYC Externship Program, where students spend spring break in New York City shadowing alumni at different corporations. She also enrolled in the Development Fundraising Leadership Institute (DFLI) through Stonehill’s Center for Nonprofit Management. “It was like an extra course,” she explains. “We met weekly to hear a speaker talk about different aspects of fundraising. The DFLI was a big draw on my resume when I started looking at jobs in nonprofits. It clicked with hiring managers.”

In short, Emily concludes, “I maximized all of the opportunities Stonehill had to offer. Everything I did helped prepare me for working and life outside college.”

Dan agrees, praising not just the economics major but also the well-rounded nature of a Stonehill education. “I learned to analyze data as an economics major, but that’s only half my job,” he notes. “The other half is soft skills — how are you at working with people? With all of the different things you can get involved in, Stonehill does a great job of preparing you with those soft skills. Put those hard and soft skills together, and you have great opportunities. Doors are going to open for you.”