Could you please share a brief overview of your educational pathways?

I grew up in Armidale and attended  The Armidale School. In Year 11 I was deciding between doing Business Studies and Economics, thankfully my HSIE teacher, Mr Toakley, convinced me to do Economics. Following my HSC I moved to Sydney to study a Bachelor of Economics (Liberal Studies) at UNSW, where I went on to complete my Honours in Economics in 2012.


Why did you choose to study a Bachelor of Economics?

At school I loved both Economics and Chemistry, but in the end decided to purse economics because I enjoyed it more and it seemed to offer more potential options for a career. I was also interested in politics, finance and foreign policy so economics was also a good way to leverage that.

Economics seemed to offer more potential options for a career.

With everything you know today, if you were a high school or prospective university student, would you have selected economics in high school and/or university and why?

Absolutely, even if I didn’t go on to have a career as an economist! Economics can teach you a lot about how to think and understand the world. Whether it’s understanding financial markets & public policy, developing problem solving skills, or giving you insights into human behaviour and strategy, game theory & behavioural economics are great!.


Over the course of your careers and personal life when and how has knowledge of economics helped you the most?

Working in finance, first at a fund manager and now at an investment bank I use economics every day. Whether you are looking at companies, interest rates or understanding policy, a solid foundation in economics will serve you well. Economics teaches you a way of thinking and approaching problems that has been useful throughout my career. I took some higher-level courses at university which focused on strategic decision making and behaviour, and this has also helped me a lot both ‘corporate’ setting as well as personally.


What does your current position as economist at UBS involve?

As a ‘market economist’ my primary role is to advise clients such as banks, superannuation funds and hedge funds on the economic outlook, and the implications for financial markets. So the biggest part of the role is just trying to understand what's going on with the Australian economy. Doing this sounds easy enough to, it involves synthesising information from a lot of different sources including; the official data, usually from the ABS & RBA, policy speeches and announcements from the Government or RBA, news, company reporting and also who I hear from clients. I find that bringing together all these different sources helps me get a better understanding of what's happening on the ground and which way momentum is moving than just looking at the data alone. Amongst this there is also a lot of other varied work and every day is different. Some days I work with our equity analysts to understand the economic implications for ASX companies, other days I may model the impact of a new policy on our economic forecasts. At the moment a lot of my work is focused in COVID-19, understanding the government policies and tracking the impact on the Australian economy.

I find that bringing together all these different sources helps me get a better understanding of what's happening on the ground and which way momentum is moving than just looking at the data alone


Could you give some insight or examples into how economics is relevant to all individuals despite their career choices?

Economics can help you understand the impact of policy, both on yourself or for the company you work with, it helps you think strategically and understand the trade-offs of different options, but most importantly it gives you a better understanding of the world and how to approach problems.
 

Lastly, at what stage in an individuals life do you think they should consider learning fundamental economics?

For most people, their first real opportunity may be at high school and that is a great time to start, but you don’t need to formally study economics to start getting an understanding. There are a lot of great resources out there, books, youtube videos, and podcasts are all a great way to build your understanding of economics. It's never too early or late to start!

It's never too early or late to start!