Economics is the study of decision making under scarcity, and it permeates almost every facet of political, commercial, industrial and even familial behavior in society. Do financial markets reflect rational behavior? Will Google, Apple and Tesla displace VW, GM and Toyota? How has the birth control pill affected women’s education and labor market decisions? Does corruption grease or sand the wheels of economic development? These are just a few examples of the full range of questions that we discuss in class at Washington and Lee.
Student Activities: Co-curricular activities sponsored by the Williams School include the General Development Initiative, Mock Convention, Real Estate Society, Student Consulting, Venture Club and the Williams Investment Society.
Visiting Scholars: The W&L/VMI Economics Seminar series features local scholars as well as researchers from other universities who present original research from all fields of economics. The H. Parker Willis Lecture presents a prominent Federal Reserve official, and speakers have included Ben Bernanke, Frederic Mishkin and Eric Rosengren. The Executive-in-Residence is someone who has excelled in business and is invited to spend several days on campus meeting with students, visiting classes and providing one-on-one career mentoring.
Field Experiences: The Career and Professional Development Office has organized trips to locations such as Washington, D.C., that offer economics students the chance to explore careers in the field. The Economics Department offers Spring Term study abroad courses to locations such as Brazil, Denmark, Ghana and Nepal.
Research: W&L’s prestigious Summer Research Scholar program provides opportunities for students to work in the summer on faculty research projects.
Employment: Graduates work in consulting, government, policy research, investment and commercial banks, nonprofits, businesses and start-up companies. Recent employers include Accenture, Barclays Bank, Berkeley Research Group, Economists Inc., EY, Facebook, Fulbright, The Federal Reserve System, Heritage Foundation, Marriott, Uber, JP Morgan, and Cushman & Wakefield.
Graduate School: Graduates also go to law school, graduate school for a master’s or doctorate in economics or a related field, and to MBA programs after several years of work. Recent schools include the University of Virginia, Vanderbilt, University of Chicago and University of Maryland.
Graduate Fellowships: Economics majors also enjoy success in competing for national scholarships and fellowships that fund other learning opportunities. Recent awards include the Fulbright Award, the Davis Projects for Peace prize, Venture for America and the Goldwater Scholarship.