Curriculum Economics Ex-Students and University Comments

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1 Curriculum Economics Ex-Students and University Comments Jack Holder (writes in February 2013) Since leaving BWS in 2009 I have continued to develop my passion for economics and global financial markets, a passion largely influenced by your effective teaching style. Whilst I don't regret choosing to study mathematics, there has always been a question in my mind about what it may have been like to study economics at a top university. I graduated from Exeter with a first in maths back in June, and have been working at J.P. Morgan since October - in the equities division. I am working in a team that writes market commentary on macroeconomics, we also discuss possible upcoming risks with our traders and clients and advise on likely market impact. The role is seen as a stepping stone towards a career in trading, and has made me realise how much of my knowledge stems from units 3 and 6 of A Level economics! I guess I just wanted to thank you for being so passionate about the subject; it really did make a difference and has led me to a job I love. I cannot recommend the Economics department at BWS highly enough. The dynamic and relevant teaching style is what initially sparked my intrigue in global capital markets and ultimately led me to a career in finance. Despite reading mathematics at university, the understanding of macroeconomics I gained at school has meant I have felt on a par with those who studied the subject for a further three years. When I think back to my time at BWS one of the fondest memories I have is my time studying economics - I always looked forward to the lessons and that is entirely down to the effective teaching style. I believe studying economics at BWS would be beneficial for anyone, from people who have an artistic background but want to know more about how the world works to those who are dead set on a career in financial markets Bobby Jackson (BWS ) 3rd Year Economics student at Royal Holloway Choosing to study economics at A-Level was one of the best decisions I ever made. I found the course so enjoyable and intellectually stimulating that I decided to continue with it into university and am currently in my final year. The two years spent in the economics classrooms provided a perfect grounding for the subject. This was especially evident when my A-Level work proved helpful for refreshing my mind during the first year at university. Even now in third year I find it surprising how often Mr Alonzi s acronyms spring to mind when doing my work. As a whole, economics at BWS is an extremely interesting, current and well taught subject; a subject I would recommend to everyone. Robin Talbot (BWS ) Oxford University, BA Economics and Management Through studying economics to A level I developed a great passion for business, finance and economics. It was very well taught, and led me to study Economics and Management (E&M) at Oxford University. Many E&M students (more than half) have not studied economics at A level, and instead predominantly have A levels in maths and science. Economics A level does however give you a head

2 studying management, and it provided a welcome rest bite from the maths involved in the economics course. In management you will spend your time reading journals and writing essays on subjects such as marketing, strategy, organisational behaviour and employment relations. You can also study courses such as accounting and finance which give you an excellent practical foundation if you are looking at a career in finance. Many of the tutors at Oxford pride the E&M course as one which gives students a very wide portfolio of skills, from mathematical modelling and statistical analysis, to essay writing and practical finance. I (of course) would argue that this course is broader, more varied and more interesting than say the straight economics course offered at Cambridge. The majority of E&M graduates move to the City after graduation and pursue jobs in banking, consultancy, or economics, whilst the best may be more tempted to stay in academia. Being very original in my career choice, I am starting work as a strategy consultant in September (2:1 dependent!). Studying A level economics at Bishops without a doubt encouraged me to study the subject at degree level, and has ultimately led to me taking up a graduate position at one of the City s leading financial institutions. David Bissington to 2005 writes: I choose to study economics because I had always had an interest in the subject and both the AS and A level syllabuses seemed of great interest and also gave both a broad and detailed background to the subject as a whole. The subject also tied in well with my other A-level choices of history and politics. The way the subject was taught in my opinion was very thorough and informative and the use of topical examples made the subject matter relevant and easy to follow. There were also regular class tests which may not be the ideal situation for everyone but it made the material easier to follow and by the time of the AS and A-level exams the papers seemed second nature and everyone s exam technique was much improved.

3 Having not taken A-level maths I was advised against taking straight economics which turned out to be a very good decision. I have graduated with a BSc Business Economics from Cardiff University which was less mathematical and in my opinion gave the best of both worlds having core modules in micro and macroeconomics but also allowing for choices such as accounting and marketing. I am currently applying to study for a PGCE in Business and Economics which speaks for the impact the great teaching has had on my own career aspirations. I would fully recommend A-level economics even if you are not thinking about taking it to degree level as the syllabus is very interesting and the teachings are continually becoming more relevant to everyday life. Peter Donson (Bishop's 1996 to 2003) writes: Having always had an interest in the financial and business world I decided that economics would be useful for me to get an understanding of how these areas work in a broader context. Whilst studying economics at A-level I was provided with a theoretical grounding of how and why businesses and government behave in the way they do. When undertaking my course in Accounting and Finance at the University of Exeter (Peter achieved a First), I found that the economics I learnt at A-level was very useful for all the modules I studied, even though not directly related, because everything business related links to the wider economy in some way and therefore was a useful foundation. Whilst the economics introductory module (which all business and economics related degrees do) covered most of the A-level material, I found that I constantly was referring back to A-level work because in the degree they went over the topics quite fast and therefore, like some of my friends who did not do A-level, you may not develop as good a theoretical understanding to then use later in the degree. Therefore I would recommend that anyone interested in a career in business and finance should look to do economics at A-level because of the influence the theory has on these areas. Steve Smith (Bishop's ) writes: Studying AS and A Level Economics at BWS was extremely beneficial. I enjoyed the lessons and the material so much that I decided to do a BSc Economics degree at the University of Manchester. I found that what I had studied at A-Level was very similar to what I went on to learn in the first year of my degree. Upon speaking to fellow course mates it turned out that Mr Alonzi had taught me economics (Macro especially) to a level beyond their understanding. The only fundamental difference between A-Level and degree level Economics is the amount of maths that is required to back up the theory. However I was told that BA Economics was less mathematical than its BSc counterpart.

4 Most Economics degrees are broken down into 10 or 12 modules a year and at least four of these modules will be microeconomic theory and macroeconomic theory. I found that my A-Level Economics lessons had prepared me well for the micro and macro modules and that my A-Level Mathematics study had helped with statistics and econometrics. As far as I remember, Mr Alonzi set at least one piece of written homework every week. If you can get into the habit of doing the set assignments and fully understanding the basics such as supply and demand equilibrium then it will put you in a good position for degree economics. One tip that I learnt at uni is not to be afraid of asking questions, even if you think that it is a silly question you can ask Mr Alonzi after the lesson and he will help. I didn t ask questions in one of my modules and I got by far my lowest mark. Your other classmates are also an excellent source of knowledge. I graduated from Manchester this Summer with a First Class BSc Economics Degree with honours, specialising in Accounting and Finance and it pains me to say that this is partly due to Mr Alonzi s lessons! Laura Wood (Bishop's student ) writes: Having always wanted a career in accounting, I chose Economics A-Level as I thought it would be a very useful subject to learn for a degree in finance and my future career options. However, through the two-year course, my enjoyment of the subject changed my thoughts on degree subject, and I am currently in my final year at Cardiff University studying for a BSc Accounting and Economics. The course was enjoyable as we were taught a lot more than was expected of us and gained a greater knowledge and understanding of economics, which has also been very useful in my University degree. Naïvely, I assumed that my University degree would be very maths based for Accounting, and essay based for Economics -yet it is the complete opposite! It has made all of my Economics modules, especially statistics and econometrics, easier having studied A-Level Maths and I would advise studying this if you are thinking of carrying on with Economics to University. If you are undecided as to what to choose for A-Levels, I would highly recommend Economics. Even if you do not wish to study it at University, the modules in the course are interesting, topical and give you a greater understanding of issues that affect our everyday lives, (and you may surprise yourself and actually enjoy it!) Maria Thorne (Bishop's student ) writes: I m studying Economics and Management at the University of Bristol and am in my second year. I chose Economics A Level because it was something new and I wanted to take the opportunity to try a different subject area. I was not disappointed and found Economics to be the best choice of my A level subjects because of the high quality of teaching and the way the course was organised. Having enjoyed the subject at A level I decided to choose an Economics degree but opted not to do straight Economics. I certainly benefited from having the A level background at the start of my course but the degree obviously goes a lot deeper and is largely theory based for the Micro and Macro elements which are new and often hard to grasp at the beginning. My course is also quite mathematical and I found that a good understanding of A level maths is a necessity. If you are considering a degree in Economics I would urge you to look into the units you will cover in the first year because they are often always compulsory and therefore may or may not suit your interests. My units were introductory micro and macro, two maths units applied to economics, including statistics and econometrics, and two accounting units. This type of information is certainly available on university websites and when you go for open days do ask questions because it is the next 3 or 4 years you are considering. Tom Bray BSc (Hons) Economics and Social Policy (graduated 2006) writes: I took economics at A- level by chance really as I chose my subjects without much guidance. It turned out to be the most rewarding, interesting and most thoroughly taught of all my A-levels. Economics A-level is a fantastic way of incorporating theoretical models with everyday current affairs. Therefore it gives young people a chance to make informed opinions relating to wide ranging political, social and economic situations. My studies at BWS gave me a desire to learn more about the subject, and i was accepted to read Economics and Social Policy at the London School of Economics. My Economics grounding from A- level proved to be priceless and even if you do not wish to study Economics at university an economics A-level is a perfect starting point for creating credible and valued arguments in many academic areas. I thoroughly recommend taking Economics A-level at BWS.

5 Jake Anders (2009) writes: Doing Economics at A-Level certainly helped preparing me for doing at at university. Although there are some new key concepts, such as individual welfare maximisation, much of what you learn at A-Level can be applied in understanding the intuition behind re new method. Additionally, some material from A-Level is very similar, such as theory of the firrm, to what is done at university, and it is very easy to move up the complexity to the new level. Alex Foss writes: My decision to take Economics at A-level was based mainly on a short presentation given by Mr. Alonzi shortly before we had to finalise our A-level subject choices. Furthermore, I had started to take an interest in the world of finance a short time before and thought that A-level economics would provide an excellent grounding for a degree in Economics, with the ultimate aim of starting a career in the City. I found the Economics A-level course at BWS to be very enjoyable and informative. Mr Alonzi was very thorough in the way in which he taught the course, making sure to always use real life examples and to demonstrate applications of the theory which we had learnt. By the time I had completed the AS-level, I was already applying to do a single honours Economics degree and on completion of my A-levels in the summer of 2002, I moved on to the University of Bath to study Economics. Having completed the A-level course, I found the 1st year at University to be relatively straight forward. The course at Bath had a strong bias towards a more quantitative approach to the subject which I found easier to cope with having also done A-level Mathematics at BWS. This bias was more evident in the 2nd and 3rd years given the rigorous treatment of Economic theory, and as such, if you are looking to take Economics as a single honours degree then A-level Mathematics is highly recommended. As part of my degree at bath I undertook a year s placement at HM Treasury in Whitehall, where I worked in the Debt and Reserves Management team covering policy in the UK government bond market (Gilt market) and FX (foreign exchange) markets. I then moved on to complete a summer internship in 2005 in FX spot and STIRT (Short-term Interest Rate Trading) at a large Investment Bank, who I then subsequently joined after graduating from Bath in I currently trade European Interest Rate products having taken up the role in May 2007 following the completion of the bank s graduate training scheme. In summary, I would highly recommend taking Economics at A-level even if you feel that you are more likely to read a different subject at university. You can either choose to take the route which I did and move into a career in finance, or at the very least, you will have taken (and hopefully enjoyed!) a subject which can be applied to many different everyday situations. Jonathan Shaw writes: Mr Alonzi's Economics classes were concise and covered the breadth of the AS & A2 syllabus while always referencing real-world economic situations and news (especially Woolworth's stock price). I read History at university having studied History, Economics and Physics as my A2s. The Economics grounding I gained at Bishop's provided an excellent foundation for my understanding of the macro economy and easily enabled me to continue self-study of Economics. I'm now a credit trader for an investment bank in London and recommend Economics AS/A2 to better understand the world around you -even if you're not planning on entering finance.

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