Drishti Lalwani is an economics alumni. She is also one of the past presidents of UW Economics Society.
Q: Why did you choose to study Economics? Why Waterloo?
A: Honestly, economics was not always my first choice. I was originally set on studying Psychology. In my second year I took ECON 221, where we were introduced to conducting analysis using statistical software. I was and still am extremely fascinated with the idea of examining data and conducting research through models. Being someone who always stuck to safe options that came easy to me such as art and other subjects in the field of humanities , studying economics gave me a different perspective that has improved my analytical abilities.
I picked Waterloo as it offered me an option to take a social science course of my interest along with business, while picking universities I applied for several psychology and commerce programs separately. However, the Arts and Business program seemed unique and provided a broader platform than taking one specific route.
Q: What was your favourite economics course at Waterloo? Why?
A: Most of my undergraduate career involved completing pre-req & mandatory courses, and if I had the mental capacity to take more than 5-6 courses a term I would have loved to explore more of the econ courses that piqued my interest. One summer, I had a free spot and took ECON 452 – Topics in Labour Economics with Professor Chris Riddell. The models we analyzed were very theoretical and this course explored extremely interesting topics within the labour market. I enjoyed getting the chance to conduct analysis on areas such as wage discrimination. It sparked a new area of interest for me, as I never expressed much interest in labour economics prior to this course.
Q: What did you decide to do after graduation?
A: Moving to Canada for my undergraduate journey was an incredible experience; however, I did not get to explore the country as much as I would have liked to. So after graduation I traveled to Montreal & Alberta with my family and was blown away with the beauty of this country. A much needed break after hustling for 4 years! I moved back home, Dubai, and at the beginning of this year I was fortunate enough to get a chance to be a part of the Finance Graduate Program at L’Oreal Middle East. My work involves a lot of analysis, which is very similar to us examining empirical models in our statistics courses. The ability to interpret data and figure out a logical reasoning has proved to be extremely helpful. My finance courses as well as ARBUS 102 have provided a foundation of theoretical knowledge, which I am now applying in the real world.
Q: What was the best part about being involved with the Economics Society?
A: Being more connected with the department & students! I always felt a bridge between myself and the people who were a part of my program. I would go for my lecture and that was the end of it, I never interacted much with the class or professors beyond lectures and office hours. Being a part of EconSoc gave me a sense of purpose, and introduced me to some amazing people! I definitely wish I joined earlier, but better late than never right?
Q: Do you have any special or interesting talents?
A: I have always been fond of art and drawing, specifically stylized art and portraits. I spent most of my time at university executing regressions, and channeled my creativity and artistic skills towards drawing edgeworth boxes and graphs….which I have yet to perfect after 4 years. At the beginning of this year I began drawing again, and I am definitely a bit rusty!
Q: What would be the best piece of advice you would give students?
A: This is a list of things I would want to tell my first year self, and wish I did more of:
● Invest in your skills as per your goals- being in economics gives you access to a diverse range of topics, which give you various ranges of opportunities when you are looking for full time work. However, work on your skills set on your own time. If you are looking to work in policy or at a bank showcase your technical knowledge my learning R, STATA, and other programs. Work on a project of your own. If you want to get into another field for example, marketing study the current trends such as SEO or work on blogs/instagrams. Taking initiative makes you standout, and is great for those who are not part of the co-op.
● Speak up & network – join clubs, go for events, interact with students and professors. University is more than going to lectures and doing well, and I realized this a lot later in my academic career. I was not a part of the co-op program, and learning from my peers about their jobs and interviews helped me a lot while I was looking for full time work after graduation
● Attend classes & enjoy your time at university. I struggled with a balance towards the end, and its important to have a work-life balance. Your time at university is precious and filled with great memories so make the most of it!