The Oswald Program in Economics is diverse and an important part of the college of liberal arts and sciences at KU. It consists of about 350 undergraduate majors, who can receive a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of General Studies, or Bachelor of Science degree. Classes in this program are small, under 30 students per class, to ensure the best learning environment possible. While in the program, students will examine why some countries are rich and others poor, how governments affect economic choices and welfare, and how globalization affects both individuals and societies.
According to the university website, the mission of the Department of Economics is to create new economic knowledge and disseminate economic knowledge to our students and colleagues, the citizens of Kansas, and the world.
We spoke to Blane Williams, a University of Kansas graduate, about his experience in the Economics program. Here is what he had to say about his favorite professor, his career path, and advice to current students.
What program were you in at the University of Kansas and what degree did you graduate with?
I kind of jumped around a bit at the beginning of my college career. I originally wanted to study biology and pre-med, but I changed my mind a bit after the first semester and I switched to accounting. I stayed in the accounting program for the first couple years because that’s what I thought I wanted to do, but then I ended up finding my place in economy between my second and third year. I graduated with a degree in economics, with a business minor.
Did you always know that you wanted to study economics? When did you realize it?
I didn’t really have a great idea of what I wanted to study right out of high school. Business always appealed to me because of the plethora of opportunities that would be available after college. In going through all the business courses, I found what I really excelled at was economy.
What was your favorite class at KU and why?
My favorite class at KU was probably my Psych 101 class. It didn’t really have anything to do with my area of study, but I learned a lot and the teacher was really fun and made the material interesting. The professor had a great attitude and made the class fun and entertaining.
Who was your favorite professor at KU and why?
My favorite professor at KU would probably have to be labor economics teacher. He really got me interested in Economy and made me realize that economy encompasses a great deal of all business. He’s the one that steered me toward an Econ major.
Did you have any internship in your field while you were in school?
I did not have any internships while I was in school. I had a few jobs throughout my time at KU, mainly to pay the rent and afford groceries.
What is your current job?
Currently, I work at Epsilon in the billing department as a billing coordinator.
What is your dream job and why?
I think my dream job would have to be a financial advisor, and/or owning my own business of some sort. I think the freedom to make the decisions and build a company would be a great experience.
What does being a Jayhawk mean to you?
It all starts with tradition. The University of Kansas is steeped in tradition, and I think that gives KU its prestige. Once a Jayhawk, always a Jayhawk. Even walking around in Boulder or Louisville with my KU shirt, people are always giving me a “Rock Chalk.” Jayhawks feel like they’re a big family.
Do you have any advice for business/economic students at the University of Kansas?
My main bit of advice would probably be to study and focus on the coursework as much as possible. Every class, every grade, every test matters more than you think when you first start out. Make good decisions, and don’t slack off too much. Make sure you strive for some balance.
Undergraduate requirements for a degree in economics include classes in microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, math courses along with electives. To view the full list of requirements, view the university website.
Students who graduate with a degree in economics from the University of Kansas can lead to a career in academia, business, finance, industry or government.