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Economics was the course to help me pursue the career path I really wanted

Ishaan Gupta shares his experiences studying MSc Economics, realising his passion to look at solving the affordable housing crisis in India.

Ishaan by the coast
Whilst studying for his MSc in Economics, Ishaan made the most of his time in the UK by visiting other areas in his free time.

My motivation to study an MSc in Economics and what I'm doing currently in my career stems from seeing the divide between the rich and the poor in Mumbai. During the pandemic I saw the plight of migrant workers who had to return to villages because of lockdowns; that is when I realised my interest lay in affordable housing for all and therefore in economics. I had already studied some economics units as part of my undergraduate degree in engineering and that is when I became interested in development which drove my interest towards a master’s in economics. That was a transition point for me.

All of my combined experiences motivated me to find solutions for affordable housing in the future. I wanted to work in the real estate industry, on the finance side and work towards affordable housing solutions for the future. Working in finance, in private equity in real estate, was my ambition and economics was the route to it.

I now have a role working with directly with the Chief Finance Officer in a fairly new company with 6,000 employees worldwide, a great experience to start my career.

The University of Bath attracted me for multiple reasons

I chose Bath both for both academic and personal reasons. I always wanted to study my master’s abroad as I knew that I wanted to get a better global outlook and different perspectives. And with the UK of course there is also no language barrier issue.

I was interested in statistics and the theoretical side of economics and one of my professors from my undergraduate studies knew one of the professors of game theory in Bath and recommended Bath to me.

I also found out that Bath has an excellent network of visiting lecturers from around the world including the United States and India, such as Professor Daron Acemoglu from MIT and Professor Kaushik Basu, who's a very well reputed economist in India.

Because I had studied in big cities such as Mumbai and in Canada before, I knew that I wanted to spend time in a smaller town but still be close enough to a big city. London is reasonably close to Bath, just 90 minutes away by train, and I realised that Bath is an absolutely fantastic city to live in. The campus itself is beautiful. The whole ecosystem gives you a very happy vibe, so I was attracted to come to the University of Bath for academic reasons and because of the city itself.

The course is rigorous, but you do get free time as well to develop other skills, which I also felt was important. I love the trips I took with friends and the treks to nearby places that we did. We went to Cardiff and we went to Salisbury Cathedral, for example. I mixed with a lot of students during my time at Bath, not just from economics but other streams, and where I lived at the university accommodation.

I think that those are all factors that make Bath a good place to study.

Gaining a global outlook

I’m not the only person who made this switch into economics (from maths). For instance, I met another very accomplished businessman in his 40s and he said he just wanted to stop everything and do a master’s in economics and I thought wow, you've got some guts, gentleman!

Economics and studying in Bath gave me a global outlook and I am currently working in a multinational firm which has operations globally. Studying in Bath helped me grasp the outlooks of people with different perspectives and thought processes. I think that really helped broaden my outlook towards approaching problems, so it did really help me professionally.

There are people from different academic backgrounds and different cultures coming here, generating a fantastic learning experience. The close-knit community also really helps, you walk to the market and you meet someone from your course or your accommodation and can chat. I think it’s important when you’re studying to be in a place you feel happy in, and I did.

Taking my studies forward

My tutor, Prof Ajit Mishra, was my guide for my dissertation and he inspired me to take up the topic I wanted. Many students tend to focus more on macroeconomics, but I wanted to do something more theoretical. The department were very supportive and I’m happy to say it turned out to be a good dissertation in the end!

I did initially struggle to grasp some concepts in macroeconomic theory because my background was more in maths and statistics, so I had never studied this area before. Initially I spent a lot of time reading articles and background literature in the library. I was eager to grasp everything and tried to make the most of my experience. I interacted with professors and had the opportunity to sit in on their classes even though I was not formally taking their course.

You never know how these things will help you in the non-economic sense as well, so I wanted to seize every opportunity. In business, in finance, everything, it’s all very closely related, and it all really helps with the bigger picture. It brought me closer to the area of development economics where I look to continue to work in the future.

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