If you’re considering graduate school, the obvious path might be a program in economics. However, an economics degree is good preparation for continued studies in other disciplines including law, public policy—and, after a few years of experience in the corporate world—MBA programs.
An economics degree is excellent preparation for a variety of graduate programs that emphasize problem-solving and analytical skills. Thus, it is not surprising that economics majors, on average, score very high on graduate school admissions tests.
The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is the main admissions test for graduate economics programs (as well as many other social science disciplines). Economics graduate programs look most closely at the analytical and quantitative scores. The GMAT is generally the main admissions test for MBA programs. The LSAT (Law School Admissions Test) is the national exam used by law schools to assess candidates
Preparing to Apply
Application processes and timelines are similar among most graduate programs. Application deadlines may range from mid-December through February. The typical program requires an application, an essay, test scores appropriate for that discipline, an official transcript and three letters of recommendation.
You should ask for recommendation letters from professors who know you well, and in whose classes you’ve done well. Give the professors at least a few weeks’ advance notice before the letters are due, and make sure to provide them with your transcript, test scores, resume, a list of schools you are applying to, required recommendation forms from the schools, and envelopes that are already addressed and with correct postage.
Most recommendation forms allow you to waive your right of access to the letter, so that it remains confidential. Whether you sign it is your decision, but the vast majority waive their access to the letter to enhance the credibility of the recommendation.