Will Abele '20

Will Abele Headshot

First, economics at Pomona encapsulates so many interesting and distinct topics in one major, including economic theory, math, research, business and finance. Each of these aspects of the major interests me, and I have been fortunate to take at least one class in each. I have been able to apply much of what I have learned as an economics major to developing my professional career and research interests. Second, the economics faculty at Pomona is truly fantastic. As is true across the board at Pomona, the economics professors are extremely intelligent and are helpful in and out of the classroom. In addition to being prolific scholars and experts in their field, the faculty are kind and humble people who want to foster a learning environment as best they can. Third, I have made several friends in the Economics Department and have really enjoyed learning and working with such motivated, bright and collaborative students. 

The above holds for this answer as well, but I’ll also add that economics is a useful subject to know, regardless of where your other interests lie. As mentioned above, Pomona economics touches several different fields, including health, politics, law, consulting, psychology, sports, etc., and the faculty does a wonderful job at merging these topics with economics to create an engaging and appealing experience for all students.

As a research assistant to Professor Pierangelo De Pace last year, I assisted him with his ongoing research project on the broad topic of empirical macroeconomics and finance. We specifically analyzed and identified the segments of U.S. fixed income markets that represent the initial developments of financial distress and their subsequent propagation across markets during the Great Financial Crisis of 2007-09. We used statistical models to identify occurrences of unstable behavior, which are evidence not only of financial distress, but also of catalysts of turmoil across other markets. We found that six of the eight yield spreads exhibited mildly explosive behavior and that such behavior initiated first in short-term funding markets and eventually migrated to more volatile medium and long-term markets during 2007-09. Finally, we also concluded that the initial financial panic in 2007 that spread to other U.S. fixed income markets in our sample began with segments of the ABX market, specifically with the downfall of the synthetic market and its sub-prime residential mortgages. I thoroughly enjoyed my research with Professor De Pace. He is extremely intelligent and kind, and I was able to learn so much from him – about economics, research, and what goes into writing an economics paper. I am so thankful for the opportunity to have worked one-on-one with Professor De Pace in topics we are both extremely interested in.

I also had the wonderful opportunity to work with Professor W. Bowman Cutter in his Applied Econometrics class to write a research paper of my own, which examined how youth participation in high school sports affected youth antisocial (contrary to the laws and customs of society) behavior. After a semester of collecting data, conducting research, and running statistical tests, I was able to find conclusive evidence that participation in youth sports did in fact decrease youth antisocial behavior. Finding such conclusive results was certainly special, but I really enjoyed the entire process – learning how to do an academic economics research paper with Professor Cutter, who was beyond helpful throughout the entire process.

I am currently working in investment banking for my summer internship, and I have already found my economics classes at Pomona to be extremely helpful!

Leisan Garifullina '20

Leisan Garifulina

I have always been interested in how humans make economic decisions given the constraints we face. I am specifically interested in how these decisions can affect communities we live in and the world as a whole. So, majoring in economics seemed like the best idea for someone like me. In addition to being very applicable to everyday life, this major allows me to directly impact communities with the organization I created with my economics knowledge. I always use the economics knowledge I get at Pomona College in my marketing activities, especially at the Unovator Junior Enterprise at The Claremont Colleges that I founded. I fell in love with the subject and the faculty from the very first economics class that I took in my first semester at Pomona College.

What I love about the Economics Department is the support I receive. I feel I can always stop by the office of my academic advisor, Professor Eleanor Brown. Her door is always open, and those times when I walked in to share my fears, happy moments, or doubts with Professor Brown have shown me that professors truly care about me as a person. Even during my study abroad and summers, Professor Brown and I kept in touch.

Department liaisons, who are students who also study economics, introduced me to the world where I can apply my economics knowledge. Before I declared my major, I did not know any of the big U.S. and international companies. During the events that were organized by the department, I learned that students interned and worked at Goldman Sachs, Accenture, BCG, Deloitte, etc. This allowed me to get to know the corporate world, to which I had never had access before. With this knowledge, I also got an internship at one of the "Big Four."

Equipped with the knowledge of how humans make decisions and act in the world full of economic constraints, I started the Junior Enterprise at The Claremont Colleges called Unovator. We provide marketing and public relations services to small companies all over the world. After we had our first client from Asia, I decided it was time to use my knowledge to help the business world in Asia too. With the help of the Pomona College Internship Program (PCIP) International, I interned at the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore during the summer before my junior year. Inspired by this, I took a course in Behavioral Economics and I am planning to take an advanced course in Behavioral Economics during my senior year.

Bryan Diangson ’21

Bryan Diangson headshot

Economics is all about decisions and, for me, majoring in economics was an easy one. I love the fact that economics offers me a mix of quantitative analysis and qualitative thinking, while allowing me to work on meaningful projects that affect everyone in real time. This, along with the career versatility that economics offers, is why I chose to major in the field.

Our economics department is fantastic and filled with wonderful, caring, and brilliant professors. Though classes can be challenging at times, our department really strives to prepare students for anything that the world throws at them. This dedication to students is something that has been significant to my college experience.

I have been fortunate enough to take my economics major into the real world by interning at CBRE Global Investors this summer. So far, it has been such a rewarding experience. At CBRE GI, I spend my time working on different investments, across all of the asset classes, the fund strategies, and the risk-return spectrum. I have definitely been able to implement my economics knowledge while working, as the firm is always concerned with current and future macroeconomic trends.

Advice to incoming students: Even if you aren’t sure about economics or your passion lies elsewhere, I highly recommend taking at least Principles of Macroeconomics (Econ 51) course because it will give you a great foundation and help you in many aspects of your career and life!