Siobhan is an Economics Consultant at PwC. Before that she was an Economic Advisor at the Department for International Trade. She studied Economics at Bristol between 2014 and 2017.
Why did you choose to study economics?
Because my cooler older brother suggested it. He was a few years above and regretted not choosing to study Economics at A-level himself, and he knew I liked Maths so advised me to take it. I had no idea what it was but I didn't care because his word was Bible back then! After loving it at A-level (and having a great teacher, I might add), I decided it would be enjoyable to continue at University.
How would you describe economics?
I describe it as a framework for understanding how society works - how individuals, government and businesses all interact. It is built off learning from history, cause and effect of these interactions and using that knowledge to help individuals, businesses and governments make decisions in the present/future.
If you had a time machine and could meet your 16-year-old self, what advice would you give them?
Pursue the subjects that you enjoy the most - as ultimately you will be focusing on them full time for 3 years at university.
Get as much work experience (voluntary or paid) as possible, anywhere in an office, shop floor, catering - to work out what you do and don't like!
Enjoy yourself, prioritise hobbies or socialising and don't stress too much about university and career - you have plenty of time to do that later.
What is your favourite part of economics?
I prefer applied microeconomics and econometrics, rather than all the heavy theoretical bits. Those were fun at university (up until a point where the maths got too complex!) but now I'm a professional economist I've realised how much I love taking a policy problem, assessing research questions, the data available and econometric methodology which could be used to answer it robustly. This has also sparked my love for data science as a tool for efficient and easy-peasy modelling!
Is there anything you would do differently if you had the chance?
The short answer is no, because all of my decisions felt right at the time and I think it's important to not regret things/missed opportunities when you have the benefit of hindsight. However, as a student I didn't realise the benefits that data science brings to economics and how important they are as a professional economist. Anything that saves time is like gold dust! So, I would choose data science electives at university rather than wasting my time with management and/or finance if I had the chance to do something differently.