EBGN 201 curbs future interest in economics

If you randomly pick a person out of the school’s population, you have a higher chance of finding a woman than a non-engineering major. Since we are the top ranked engineering school in the nation, the question that pops up in some minds is:

“Why would you ever come here for anything else?”

Other than the majors that help build up a good engineering curriculum (Math, Chemistry, etc), it sounds like a fair question. This doesn’t leave many other majors left. What I have in mind are the people who get Economics degrees from Mines.

I’m not going to say anything bad about students who decide to study Economics here. They might have some valid points about their experiences.

There’s only one required economics class here and it has many different names: EBGN201, Principles of Economics, “that economics course that made me hate economics” and “that one course we’re being forced to take for no reason.” I didn’t take that course here, but the general Helpful hints on how to be successful at Fall Career Fair consensus is that many people don’t like it. This develops this bias against the Economics department and the major in general. What everybody seems to forget to realize is that economics, as defined by Wikipedia, “is the social science that seeks to describe the factors which determine the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services.”

With that, one can interpret it in whatever sense they want. I think of it as the study of making the best decisions you can with the information you’re given. It’s a vital skill to have even a basic understanding of and our school does a great job teaching you the analytical side of it all. Instead of asking you how economics makes you feel and what you think is right, the department here takes partial derivatives and uses math to solve for optimal solutions.

You may have had a bad experience with EBGN201. I’m sorry that it turned out that way, but I’m going to tell you something: the higher level EBGN classes are more interesting and are more relevant. So think twice before you say you’ll never take an economics class here again. Try Intermediate Micro/Macroeconomics or Operations Research or Econometrics for the beginning of a semester and see that it’s not as bad as you think.

And for any of you wondering why there are Economics majors here on campus, don’t bother trying to bash them for it. Their field of study revolves around making optimal decisions and they’re making the best one for them. The average salary for an Economics major from Mines is a pretty good reason to be in it, too.

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