Economics graduates are hired for a wide variety of careers, several of which are described on this webpage together with a list of the most relevant upper-division electives for each pathway. Please note that although some employers will be interested in the specific classes you have taken, many will not. The generic skills gained through an economics degree, including analytical thinking and the ability to interpret data, are relevant for many different positions.

Business and Consulting

Business leaders strive to find strategies that allow their firms to enjoy sustained growth in profits. Market regulators strive to maintain free and open competition in the market so that this pursuit of profits brings benefits for society as a whole. Economics graduates are employed in a wide range of careers in which they are faced with the challenge of advising or managing firms and/or working on the design of appropriate laws and regulations to shape the business environment. Such careers include positions in management of firms themselves, management consulting firms, and/or economic consulting firms. Students wishing to pursue these or similar careers should be able to understand the economic drivers of the competitive structure of firms and markets.

The most relevant upper-division electives for this career pathway are:

  • Econ 106P (Pricing and Strategy)
  • Econ 106T (Technology and e-markets)
  • Econ 106E (Economics of Entrepreneurship)
  • Econ 106G (Introduction to Game Theory)
  • Econ 106I (Organization of Firms)
  • Econ 148 (Behavioral Economics)
  • Econ 170 (Industrial Organization)
  • Econ 171 (Industrial Organization: Policy and Regulation)
  • Econ 173A, B (Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship)

Anderson offers a minor in entrepreneurship

Data Analytics

Innovation in the business world is increasingly making use of large databases made possible by the widespread use of computing resources. Businesses like Amazon, UBER, Ebay and others systematically collect and analyze data to provide key insights into their operations and to innovate. A broad range of government agencies have also started to make available large-scale administrative data sources for research and policy analysis. Students interested in working in data analytics may wish to master the use of traditional and cutting edge data analysis methods and be able to use statistics, econometrics, and machine learning methods to manipulate, describe, and analyze large databases. The use of software like R and Python, in combination with statistics and theoretical insights from economics will prepare students to careers as analysts in for-profit business and not-for-profit organizations.

The most relevant upper-division electives for this career pathway are:

  • Econ 143 (Advanced Econometrics)
  • Econ 144 (Economic Forecasting)
  • Econ 147 (Computational Finance and Data Analysis for Financial Engineering)
  • Econ 130 (Public Finance)
  • Econ 131 (Health Economics)
  • Econ 132 (Taxation and Social Insurance)
  • Econ M123 (Foreign Exchange Market and Exchange Rate Forecasting)

The statistics department offers a major in statistics, a major in data theory and a minor in statistics

Government and Policy-Making

Those interested in working in government, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and in industries that interact with the government, both nationally and internationally can benefit from learning to think about why and how government intervenes in economic activity— asking whether it should, how it can most efficiently affect a desired outcome, and what the intended and unintended consequences of intervention are. This is relevant to all economic activity that is regulated by the government in some form including environmental regulation, tax policy, health care, urban design, growth, industrial policies and others. Careers include positions in state, local, and national governments, organizations like Federal Reserve banks, RAND or Mathematica, and international organizations like the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund. Students interested in pursuing these and similar careers should be able to understand the rationale for various forms of government interventions, assess their costs and benefits, including the individual and firm responses to these policies.

The most relevant upper-division electives for this career pathway are:

  • Econ 130 (Public Finance)
  • Econ 112 (Policies for Economic Development)
  • Econ 131 (Health Economics)
  • Econ 132 (Taxation and Social Insurance)
  • Econ 134 (Environmental Economics)
  • Econ 137 (Urban Economics)
  • Econ 148 (Behavioral Economics)
  • Econ 150 (Labor Economics)
  • Econ 151 (Topics in Labor Economics)
  • Econ 170 (Industrial Organization)
  • Econ 171 (Industrial Organization: Policy and Regulation)
  • Econ 183 (Development of Economic Institutions in the US)

Accounting

The main task of accountants is to prepare and examine financial records. They make sure that records are accurate and that taxes are paid correctly and on time. Accountants and auditors perform overviews of the financial operations of a business to help it run efficiently. They also provide the same services to individuals, helping them create plans of action for improved financial well-being.

Much of the material required for the CFA level 1 exam is taught in the following classes:

CFA Level 1 Topic Most relevant UCLA Class
Study Session 1 Self-study
Study Session 2 Econ 106F
Study Session 3 Econ 41 and 103
Study Sessions 4 and 5 Econ 101 and 102
Study Session 6-9 MGMT 1A, 1B, 120A and B
Study Sessions 10 and 11 Econ 106F
Study Session 12-19 Econ 106V

Other useful classes include: 106M or Econ 160, Econ 121 and Econ 122

Anderson offers a minor in accounting

Finance: Value Investing in a Market Economy

One of the central functions of investors in a market economy is to direct capital to its most productive use. Economics graduates are employed in a wide range of careers in which they are faced with the challenge of evaluating investment opportunities and making active decisions to direct capital to enhance value. Such careers include high level executive positions within companies, careers in alternative investment firms such as private equity or distressed debt firms, or in actively managed mutual funds. Students interested in pursuing these or similar careers should be able to understand the full set of fundamental economic and strategic forces that favor or disfavor a particular investment opportunity from both a theoretical and historical perspective.

The most relevant upper-division electives for this career pathway are:

  • Econ 106F (Corporate Finance)
  • Econ 106P (Pricing and Strategy)
  • MGMT 180 (Real Estate Finance and Investment)
  • MGMT 126 (Financial Statement Analysis)
  • Econ 165 (History of Capitalism in the American Economy)
  • Econ 181 (Development of Economic Institutions in Western Europe)
  • Econ 187 (History of Financial Crises)
  • Econ 187-2 (Value Investing) William Simon
  • Capstone Course:  Applied Value Investing:  Econ 187-3 William Simon
  • Econ 167 (Victims and Villains; Panics and Bubbles)
  • Econ 168 (Introduction to Principles of Value Investing)
  • Econ 169 (Applied Value Investing)

The Economics department offers a Concentration in Value Investing

Financial Economics & Banking

Investors in a market economy strive to maximize returns while sharing risks efficiently. Economics graduates are employed in a wide range of careers in which they are faced with the challenge of advising or managing investment portfolios. Such careers include positions in the rapidly growing asset management industry and/or careers as wealth management advisors. Students interested in pursuing these or similar careers should be able to understand the basics of portfolio management and the full set of macroeconomic forces that drive the risks investors face.

The most relevant upper-division electives for this career pathway are:

  • Econ 106F (Corporate Finance)
  • Econ 106P (Pricing and Strategy)
  • MGMT 180 (Real Estate Finance and Investment)
  • MGMT 126 (Financial Statement Analysis)
  • Econ 165 (History of Capitalism in the American Economy)
  • Econ 181 (Development of Economic Institutions in Western Europe)
  • Econ 106M (Financial Markets and Institutions)
  • Econ 106V (Investments: Portfolio Theory)
  • Econ 141 (Mathematical Finance)
  • Econ 144 (Economic Forecasting)
  • Econ 160 (Money and Banking)
  • Econ 161 (Monetary Theory)
  • Econ 122 (International Finance)
  • Math 174A (Financial Economics for Actuarial Students)
  • Econ 187 (History of Financial Crises)
  • Econ 147 (Computational Finance and Data Analysis for Financial Engineering)

The Economics department offers a Concentration in Value Investing

Global Economics

Development economics is a growing field and employs economists for analytical and research positions, as well as policy design and evaluation, among other roles. Furthermore, globalization of business and finance over the past forty years has had a profound impact on the lives of people around the globe. It is likely that this global economy will continue to evolve at a rapid pace in unexpected directions and various career paths will require an understanding of the forces shaping these process and that ability to evolve with them over the course of careers lasting 40 or more years.

The most relevant upper-division electives for this career pathway are:

  • Econ 111 (Theories of Economic Growth and Development)
  • Econ 112 (Policies for Economic Development)
  • Econ 113 (Globalization and Gender)
  • Econ 121 (International Trade)
  • Econ 122 (International Finance)
  • Econ M123 (Foreign Exchange Market and Exchange Rate Forecasting)
  • Econ 164 (Economic Growth)
  • Econ 165 (History of Capitalism in the American Economy)
  • Econ 181 (Development of Economic Institutions in Western Europe)

Other Career options

UCLA Economics graduates go onto a huge range of careers that we cannot possibly do justice to. Moreover, many careers involve different steps, from law to technology, or from marketing to entrepreneurship. For a taste of what our alumni go on to do, have a look at our alumni interviews.

We also have classes like Econ 185 (Career Development) that is useful no matter which field you plan to go into.