A Master of Science in Applied Economics creates graduates who are “T-shaped professionals.” That term refers to those who have both high-level technical skills and refined soft skills, universal competencies that are valuable across all industries.

This powerful combination of technical skills and refined soft skills is in high demand. The Wall Street Journal once referred to T-shaped professionals as “a unicorn of sorts in today’s labor market.” And employers typically list collaboration and communication skills as “highly valuable yet hard-to-find qualities” for new hires.

What You’ll Learn in Applied Economics

Applied economics offers graduates expertise in many areas, including:

  • Learning how to approach problems like an economist or consultant, using analytical strategies that apply theoretical skills in economics and statistics to real-world challenges
  • Learning to carefully consider all aspects of a challenge, then develop the best plan to resolve it, rather than rushing in
  • Developing skills in forecasting and predictive analytics, transfer pricing, measuring business cycles and other in-demand technical skills
  • Developing the ability to work with large data sets, as well as the coding skills needed to do so
  • Refining soft skills such as communication and making presentations

Careers in Applied Economics

The list is long. By earning a master’s in applied economics, graduates have expertise in the areas mentioned above and have developed the soft skills that are necessary for leadership.

For example, an applied economics degree can lead to a career in:

  • Consulting
  • Budget Analysis
  • Market Research
  • Data Science
  • Statistics

All the jobs listed above are areas of growth in the U.S. This may be especially true in Massachusetts. The following are federal government projections for job growth in these careers in Massachusetts by 2028, as well as the mean annual salary for these positions as of May 2020.

The numbers come from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and Projections Central, a BLS-powered site that offers information on occupations at the state level.

  • Budget analyst, 3.1 percent growth, $87,090
  • Market research analyst, 185 percent growth, $74,640
  • Data scientist (no job projection for Massachusetts available, but the related occupation of computer and information research scientist expected to grow 18.8 percent), $114,660
  • Statistician, 31.3 percent growth, $116,180

The BLS organizes consultants into a category called “management analysts.” In that field, the projected growth in Massachusetts is 10.9 percent. The mean annual salary for these positions in Massachusetts in May 2020 reached $113,320.

Specific Jobs

The numbers associated with these career fields speak for themselves. But what about specific jobs that require an advanced economics degree? The following is a sampling of jobs listed on the online job site Indeed in the fall of 2018 that called for candidates to have a graduate-level degree in economics. All are in the Boston area.

  • Senior analyst with expertise in data mining and machine learning techniques for a business analytics consulting company
  • Global human resources analytics officer
  • Business analysts, clinical operations for a healthcare company
  • Quantitative analyst to specialize in enterprise risk management
  • Strategic analyst for a financial consulting company

Those jobs represent just a taste of where a master’s degree in economics is valued. With the combination of technical and soft skills offered through such a program, it can be a key step toward reaching the most rewarding jobs in economics.