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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of Economics

Current Students

MA Graduate Degree

Alumni Profiles

Amanda Gould 

Year Graduated: 2010

Thesis: Modern Slavery: A Regional Focus--an examination of predictive factors of modern slavery in various regions throughout the world including economic factors

Current Employer: Data Scientist/Senior Analyst, Client Analytics, Consumer Packaged Goods at Oracle

How did you become interested in studying Economics?
I famously told an undergraduate professor that I was only taking economics because I was being forced to by my degree program.  But once I started taking courses and realized I understood the concepts I was hooked.  After the first year of my MA in International Development, I realized I wanted more depth in the economic and analytical portion of my degree.  Through DU, there was an option to pursue a dual degree that would allow me to pursue both interests.  That’s when I decided to pursue the MA in Economics.

Why did you choose to get an MA degree at DU?
I was already at DU for the International Development program, so it made sense.

What knowledge and skills that you picked up in our MA program have proven most valuable to your job?
The most valuable thing for me has been comfort in using analytical programs and comfort writing code.  While I no longer work in STATA, my experience writing queries in STATA allowed me to easily pick up other statistical software query languages and SQL, which are huge in the analytics world. 

Further, while I did not always love writing about economic theory, the ability to take complicated concepts and break them down into understandable chunks has really benefited my career.  My job (and past jobs) have often required that I explain complex methodologies or theories to people without technical backgrounds so they can feel confident about their business/marketing decisions.   

What unique aspect of our program do you most appreciate now?
I really appreciated the ability to do a dual program, which allowed me to pursue two very strong areas of interest for me.  This might not be unique to DU but since DU as a whole is a very quality school I never had to worry about one program being top notch and the other being bottom tier.

What was your favorite Class at DU?
Two: Urban economics because it was fascinating from a sociological and economic perspective and Econometrics because I really felt I got hands on experience answering key business issues with math which is all I do now in my career.

What advice would you give to someone considering getting an MA in Economics from DU?
Be determined and know why you are pursuing the degree.  I had some really rough (and some really fantastic) days in the program particularly during my first quarter, and it was tempting to give up.  I am a bit stubborn though and refused to let setbacks get in the way of my goal (i.e. finishing the degree).  Also, my Thesis was untraditional for an economics program, but I knew where my interests were, and I pushed for it.  Pursuing my interests through my thesis opened many doors, and was a key reason I had the opportunity to live and work in Switzerland for a year and a half researching and analyzing data on human trafficking trends (former employment).  Getting an MA in Economics was not easy, but I have had a fantastic career thus far, and none of it would have been possible without this degree.