Hailing from Nashville, Tennessee, Abigail Biesman was initially undecided as to her Hopkins major: “I was attracted to the warm student body, the strong humanities and social science departments, and, as many classes are small, the opportunity to build relationships with my professors.” Abigail ended up double majoring in International Studies and Economics. “Prior to attending Hopkins, I had very little exposure to economics, and actually only took it because it was a requirement for International Studies. After taking the introductory courses, I realized that economics could help me understand major crises and current issues. I wanted to learn more about decision-making and the allocation of resources to better inform my opinions on financial markets and public policy, and so I declared a double major.”
Abigail’s most memorable class? “Sex, Drugs, and Dynamic Optimization: The Economics of Risky Behavior,” a behavioral economics class taught by Prof. Papageorge: “Professor Papageorge pushed us to use precise language and understand fundamental economic principles so that by the end of the semester we could read an economics article and critique the model and assumptions behind it. For our final paper, we each had to model a dynamic decision, and then propose policy solutions.” Professor Papageorge also advised Abigail’s senior thesis on Women in Economics: “Female voices are important in economics both for policy decisions and gender equality, and there are steps that can be taken to make economics a more inviting field for women.”
Extra-curricular activities were an important part of Abigail’s Hopkins experience. She held positions of increasing responsibility as Staff Writer, News Editor, Chief Business Officer and Alumni Manager at the Newsletter, the campus paper. She joined the Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium staff sophomore year, and served as finance chair for the 2017 symposium. Hopkins Hillel was a home away from home during college.
Abigail interned at Citigroup in the summer after her junior year, where she learned how debt, equity, and foreign exchange markets operate, and precisely how these markets respond to economic events. After graduation, she will be working as an Investment Banking Analyst at Stifel in New York City. But, says Abigail: “I am not sure what I ultimately want to pursue. I will see where my job takes me!”
What advice does Abigail have for potential Economics majors?
“I suggest taking a diverse set of economics courses so that you expose yourself to many areas of study. Economics is not just a channel to Wall Street! There are many fields of study such as labor, behavioral, and health economics, to name a few. These disciplines are applicable to a variety of career paths such as consulting, academia, think-tanks, and more. So, you should still consider economics even if you are not interested in finance!”
We could not agree more, Abigail!