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How to be a Successful Economist

Vicky Pryce, Andy Ross, Alvin Birdi, and Ian Harwood

01 December 2022

ISBN: 9780198869047

368 pages

In Stock

Price: £19.99

The pocket coach for aspiring economists, providing a hands-on guide to the attributes valued by employers, how to exhibit these successfully, and how to navigate the job application process. Throughout, experienced practitioners and recent graduates share candid views about their careers and their advice for the next generation of economists.



The pocket coach for aspiring economists, providing a hands-on guide to the attributes valued by employers, how to exhibit these successfully, and how to navigate the job application process. Throughout, experienced practitioners and recent graduates share candid views about their careers and their advice for the next generation of economists.

  • Provides unique, invaluable support to those students with aspirations to pursue a career in economics: the authors explore career paths and the aptitudes that students will need to succeed in them
  • Features honest insights and advice from recent graduates and experienced professionals with varied employment history, including notable individuals such as Andy Haldane, Dame Kate Barker, and Lord Professor Nicholas Stern
  • Prepares readers for application and interview processes with examples and practical recommendations
  • Includes end-of-chapter questions and activities to encourage students to reflect on their development and career aspirations
  • Also available as an e-book enhanced with multi-media content to offer a fully immersive experience and extra learning support

About the Author(s)

Vicky Pryce, Visiting Professor, Birmingham City University and King's Collee, London, Andy Ross, Visiting Professor, Birkbeck, University of London and Loughborough University, Alvin Birdi, Professor of Economics Education and Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education Innovation, University of Bristol, and Ian Harwood, Long established City economist and a Fellow of the Society of Professional Economists

Vicky Pryce FAcSS is Chief Economic Adviser at the Centre for Economics and Business Research, previously Director General for Economics at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Joint Head of the UK Government Economic Service, and Partner and Chief Economist at KPMG, after senior economic posts in banking and the oil sector. She is Visiting Professor at BCU and KCL, Fellow and Council member of the Academy for Social Sciences, Fellow of the Society of Professional Economists and Companion of the British Academy of Management. She sits on the Advisory Board of the central banking think-tank OMFIF and on the advisory group of Better Statistics CIC. Her books include: 'It's the Economy, Stupid'; 'Economics for Voters'; with Ross and Urwin, 'Greekonomics: The Euro crisis' and Why Politicians Don't Get It'; 'Prisonomics'; 'Redesigning Manufacturing', with Nielsen and Beverland; and 'Women vs Capitalism'. She is co-founder of GoodCorporation, formed to advise on business ethics.

(Visiting) Professor Andy Ross FAcSS is an academic and practitioner economist best known for his time as a Deputy Director and Head of Professional Development in the Government Economic Service (GES). For many years Andy was Chief Adviser to the GES for their recruitment assessment centre and regularly trained their recruitment assessors. He was an employer representative on the QAA subject benchmarks for economics and one of two employer representatives for the most recent Teaching Excellence Framework pilot for Social Science. He is a Visiting Professor and part-time lecturer at Birkbeck, University of London and at Loughborough University. He is also Economist Advisor to High Oak Enterprises and a patron of the Economics Network. His previous posts include Visiting Professor at the University of Reading, Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Leeds and Trustee and Director of the Academy of Social Sciences, where he serves as Chair of the Practitioner Fellows Nominations Committee.

Professor Alvin Birdi is a leading authority on how and what economics is taught in UK universities. He is a Professor of Economics Education in the School of Economics and Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor (Undergraduate) for Education Innovation and Enhancement at the University of Bristol. He is also Director of the Economics Network, a national body that provides professional development for economics lecturers and promotes high quality and innovative teaching practice in the discipline within the higher education sector. Alvin was a member of the QAA subject benchmarks panel for economics and a lead panelist for economics in the Teaching Excellence Framework pilots. He is also the Director of the Bristol Institute for Learning and Teaching (BILT) and a regular commentator and author on the teaching of economics.

Ian Harwood FAcSS is a leading and award-winning practitioner in the City, specialising in global economic and financial analysis. In recent years he has undertaken a wide range of economics, investment advisory, non-executive, and educational roles. He is currently Economic Adviser at Redburn, a stockbroking firm providing research advice to institutional investors, and is also Investment Adviser to a number of pension schemes and insurance companies. He is a Fellow of the Society of Professional Economists, having served on the Society's Council from 2008 to 2017 where he advocated substantive changes in the way economics is taught in British universities. He also led the creation of the Society of Professional Economists' Continuing Professional Development programme and is the Society's Book Reviews Editor. He has also been a Visiting Professor at Greenwich University and is currently a member of the Management Board of the South-Western Universities' Doctoral Training Partnership.

Table of Contents

    Part One: Before You Start
    1:Why be an economist?
    2:Jobs you can do as an economist: Planning your career
    3:University and practitioner economics
    4:How useful are economics degrees?
    Part Two: Skills For Success
    5:Communicating complexity simply
    6:The importance of quantitative skills
    7:The importance of broader and 'soft' skills
    8:Towards a broader economics and a more diverse body of economists
    Part Three: Planning For The Future
    9:Applying for and passing interviews for economist posts
    10:How to stay a successful economist


"I drifted into economics by accident but have never regretted it. If I had read this book, I would have chosen to be an economist. Unique in its insights into what life as an economist is like." - Sir John Kay

"A comprehensive hands-on look at the world of work from an economist's point of view with an emphasis on opportunities and societal relevance." - Jarkko Immonen, Careers Counsellor, University of Helsinki

"There really is no other text out there like this. It links practical issues to academic work." - Catherine Dolan, Head of First Year Economics, University of Leeds

"The concept of the book is original - there is no comparable text I know of, and the pragmatic issues are covered extremely well." - Dr Matthew Aldrich, Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Employability and Opportunities, and Associate Professor in Economics, University of East Anglia

"To our knowledge, there is no book like it. Unique and much needed." - Dr Chris Wilson, Senior Lecturer in Economics, and Dr Adrian Gourlay, Lecturer in Economics, School of Business and Economics, Loughborough

"This is a comprehensive guide for students who are committed to following studies in the field of economics. It takes you through the journey of working out where your studies can take you, making successful applications and continuing to build a successful career once you are employed." - Samantha Adam, Careers Consultant, Brunel University London

"This book is an excellent resource to prepare economics students for the job market. It will also be an invaluable reference for convenors of modules aimed at employability, and colleagues in the career service." - Dr Sophie van Huellen, Global Development Institute, University of Manchester

"How to be a Successful Economist has some very practical recommendations which can quickly and easily be acted upon to improve practice and employability prospects. I highly recommend this book to personal tutors, careers advisors, and of course to prospective and current students seeking a career in economics in the UK." - Dr Kamilya Suleymenova, Senior Lecturer in Economics, University of Birmingham

Additional Resources

This book is accompanied by online resources featuring video content capturing conversations between the authors and practitioners.

Professionals with different levels of experience from a variety of industries talk to the authors about their career routes, the ways that their degrees have shaped their careers, and what they have enjoyed most about being a professional economist.