Devan RawlingsDevan Rawlings credits his studies in economics with opening doors in his career.

Economic research skills valuable in job market: grad

Devan Rawlings (BA 2020) says a plethora of career doors opened for him thanks to the solid foundation of economics knowledge he built in the Faculty of Science.

As an undergraduate student, Rawlings earned a double major in economics and political science, with a minor in mathematics. After his bachelor’s studies, he went on to complete a Master of Arts in Economics at the University of British Columbia.

“Economics was the focus for me going forward,” says Rawlings.

“Answering bigger questions about how the world works using mathematics, logic and reasoning — this thinking outside of the box, it is really rewarding to me.”

After completing his master’s, he veered off the academic path to travel for a year before settling on a private sector job at Revelio Labs, a tech startup based in New York City, working as a labour economist.

“I wore a lot of hats,” he says.

“A benefit of being in small tech company was they gave me tons of opportunities to learn different things. It was a very exciting experience.”

The tricky thing with an economics degree, says Rawlings, is understanding what kind of jobs are available and being able to sell yourself as qualified for those jobs.

“I recently came back to UWindsor’s Department of Economics to talk to graduate students and the major takeaway was how quantitative research skills are really strong among economists and as long as you can sell that, there are a ton of jobs available,” he says.

In July 2023, Rawlings returned to academia and labour economics. He is now in a pre-doctoral fellowship at the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at the University of Chicago.

“I’m assisting a team of professors on a variety of academic papers by coding, reading and collaborating,” says Rawlings.

He sees a PhD program in his future. Likely in the field of labour economics.

“Labour economics asks questions that really inspire me. A big question for me is how can I help people who are struggling because they lost their job and don’t know what to do next? What policies could help address that?”

His grandmother earned a Master of Education degree at the University of Windsor and that was an educational inspiration for Rawlings. But he says it was Because of Science at UWindsor that he considered pursuing a graduate degree himself.

“By the end of my degree, I knew most of the professors by name and could talk to any one of them. I wasn’t considering grad school until professors said I’d be a good fit and that mentorship was the nudge I needed to move forward.

“I think an economics degree is incredibly powerful, and there is a ton of work out there that is very relevant to my field,” says Rawlings.

“Economics is a field that more people need to consider as viable, and I think undergrad econ is a great preparation for that.”

—Sara Elliott

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