Jack Simon

Jack Simon
2nd Year, BSc Economics
I'm a first year economics student at Queen Mary University of London. Originally from Sheffield (that's in the north of England), I moved to London in order to study and experience life in the greatest city on earth. After university I hope to work in the city, possibly in insurance, possibly in asset management or maybe somewhere totally different... Who knows?

Studying Economics at Queen Mary

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In this post I’d like to talk about what it is like to study economics at Queen Mary, more specifically from the viewpoint of a student who had never studied economics before.

First, I’ll provide a little bit about my educational background and how I feel it has helped me. I studied Mathematics, Chemistry and Biology at A level, and Applied ICT up to AS level. Apart from Maths, which is required for BSc Economics at Queen Mary, my A Levels might not seem like they would be of much use in a university economics course. But I think that they have made the transition to university study much more smooth, as the way in which you study for a chemistry or biology exam is similar to how one would revise for an economics exam. You have a textbook full of rules, key terms, equations and diagrams, which you have to make sense of to be able to answer exam questions.

You’ll notice that there is no A Level economics listed above, and it turns out that this is the case for around 25% of the students on my course this year. Do I feel that this has put me at a disadvantage? No, not at all. You will in fact find that all the students on the course seem to be on a level playing field, and that the required concepts are covered in a way that makes them easily accessible to anyone. The differences, however, come from your mathematical ability. A good knowledge of differentiation and good all round algebra skills will really help in all modules. If you feel you need to brush up on any maths skills, the ‘maths for economics’ textbook has you covered. The book ranges from more advanced topics such as matrices and constrained optimisation, to the very basics including adding two positive numbers together.

The Principles of Economics module starts from the basics of economics including concepts such as supply and demand, as well as explaining what the subject of economics is actually about. The modules at Queen Mary will demonstrate to you just how wide ranging economics is, and this will further your interest in the subject.

So what advice would I give to a student who was looking to make the most of their economics course at Queen Mary?
-Make sure that you are confident in your mathematical ability, and practice any areas that you are unsure about
-Get used to revising with a textbook and making notes from one, as this is where most of the economics content is learned
-Do some background reading on economics issues; this could be newspapers, books, or online sources
-Enjoy your course and have an enthusiasm for your subject.

If you have studied economics before, you’ll see some familiar concepts. If you haven’t, within the first few weeks you will have all the knowledge you need to study the remainder of the course!

Why I Believe Queen Mary is Unique

As a student, it makes a lot of sense to study in the place best suited to your subject. Clearly then the best place to study economics and finance is in London, often seen as the financial capital of the world. But you may have already considered that point, and instead you want to know what makes studying at Queen Mary unique.

Firstly, Queen Mary is unique in its location. It’s just a three minute walk to Mile End tube station, which means you are just minutes from the centre of London. For example, Tower Hill is just 10 minutes away on the underground, in 20 minutes you can get to Covent Garden. This creates a feeling that the whole city is on your doorstep and this encourages you to go out and explore. Having such easy access to London means that you’ll never be bored, and living in the relative peace and quiet of the campus means you’ll be able to sleep at night.

Leicester Square, just 20 minutes from Queen Mary.

Leicester Square, just 20 minutes from Queen Mary.

Queen Mary has a self-contained campus. This means that the accommodation, lecture theatres and various other facilities are all contained within one location. Not only does this eliminate the need to commute, it also creates a more sociable environment and a better overall university experience. For example, if you feel that you need to leave your flat in order to be more productive, the library is a two-minute walk away. If you have questions whilst studying, you can get access to help much more easily. It’s things like this that will allow you to make the most of your time at Queen Mary (which I’ll admit, seems to go quickly!).

Chinatown near Covent Garden.

Chinatown near Covent Garden.

However, I feel that the most unique aspects of Queen Mary is the international feel to the campus. A large proportion of the students here are from places outside of the UK, which enriches the diversity of the university and creates a culture of acceptance. Personally, I find it incredible that I now have friends from all over the world and I look forward to getting to know even more. This international aspect is not just about students coming to Queen Mary, it’s also about you having the opportunity to travel abroad while studying for your degree. There are two programmes that Queen Mary offers that will allow you to do this; the International Exchange programme and the Erasmus programme. I encourage you to look into these!

In summary, life at university is not just about the degree you are studying for. It’s also about meeting new people and making the most of what’s around you, if you can balance the social and academic aspects of your university experience you will find it highly rewarding. I can’t imagine being able to experience such a balance anywhere except Queen Mary, and that’s why I believe it is completely unique.

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