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Champion of The Week: Olivia Kelly

Olivia is currently studying towards a Master of Arts in Economics and Psychology at the University of St Andrews. She co-founded "The Board" at University, which aims to inspire and create a platform for women to be successful in business. She is currently conducting research for her dissertation looking to explain why there is a gender gap in the labour market.


Why did you choose to study Economics?

Originally, I chose to study Psychology, however, I was fortunate that my university gives the opportunity to study three different subject fields in first year. I chose Economics as one of my three because I wanted to learn more about the business environment. This choice soon developed into a passion and enhanced my curiosity, and I now enjoy the Economics side of my degree the most.


How would you describe Economics?

Understanding the decision making that determines how resources are allocated to meet demands.


If you had a time machine and could meet your 16-year-old self, what advice would you give him?

Be proud of all your achievements and your abilities. Too often, people, mostly women but not always, belittle what they accomplish by describing their success as “I just did...” or “it was only…”. I used to have lower levels of confidence than I do now, which prevented me from benefiting from some opportunities. Growing confidence in myself and highlighting my abilities was the main reason I was able to secure my internship with Ernst and Young. This self-awareness motivated my dissertation research into explaining gender differences in self-belief through personality traits.

What is your favourite part of Economics?

Behavioural Economics and Game Theory. I am motivated by seeing its application in everyday life, for example, deciding which way to kick to secure the best response in a penalty shoot-out or understanding how irrational behaviour explains the efficiency of sale techniques.


Is there anything you would do differently if you had the chance?

I would have loved to study abroad, there is a type of adventure and an understanding of the world that cannot be achieved without the challenge of living in another country. I desire to be well rounded in my perspective, which studying the International Baccalaureate and three subjects in my first year at University has contributed to, but I think studying abroad would have developed this further.


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