An Econometrics Perspective from WE Member Jami Guo
As a second year economics and business administration major, I’ve taken both the introductory courses for macroeconomics and microeconomics as well as Macroeconomic Theory and International Economics. This fall, it’s time to tackle Applied Econometrics, a course that blends statistics, math, and economics into one dynamic trio. Utilized in economic research, the course is necessary for a strong basis in theory recognition, theory development, and data usage. Potentially one of the hardest courses economics majors take, students either wait until their last semester to take it or sign up as soon as possible to get it over with to allow a cushion for their GPA thereafter. Applied Econometrics showcases time management skills, organizational skills, statistical skills, and many other proficiencies. I thought it would show potential co-op employers how hard of a worker I really am. Due to the obstacles COVID-19 presented, the structure of the class was still up in the air. Regardless, I was both thrilled for and wary of the course, fortunately I have a wonderful professor.
Through a friend’s recommendation, I opted to take the course with Professor Imke Reimers, an incredibly accomplished woman both in academia and athletics. My first impression of her was deduced from a course introduction video she had uploaded to Canvas. In the video, she went over the outline of the course; I could tell–regardless of how hard this course would be–she would be there to help. After stepping foot into the classroom I had the chance to meet Professor Reimers. The classroom was set up with desks that were properly distanced, while 20 students are registered for the class, 7-8 attend in-person. Professor Reimers wore a clear plastic face shield to keep everyone safe while allowing students to read her lips, which eased the teaching process. Her introduction in class consisted of tweaking technology, reassuring the students, and attempting jokes. She stated several times already throughout the class that she loved showing us “cool datasets and illustrating relationships between variables with data.” Already, I could feel her passion and excitement for econometrics, mathematics, and statistics, which eased my nerves. Professor Reimers said she enjoys teaching econometrics because it “provides the tools for exploring relationships and patterns in the real world, with real data.”
One month into the course, I have already learned how to regress datasets, test hypotheses, review statistics, differentiate data structures, and create and understand Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) Models. Packed with content, the course includes a term paper, which is a major component of the course. Professor Reimers described it as, “probably the most effective part of the class, because it's much easier to learn something by doing it yourself.” Only one month into the class, I can tell that this will be a valuable experience both for co-op and my future courses. On registering for the course, Professor Reimers said...
“You should do it! It might be a little more work than other classes (with homework, exams, and a term paper), but it's also super useful and interesting. And a really good course to put on your resume for your co-op applications. This is one of the few classes that tangibly prepares you for the job market, but you also get to explore topics that you find interesting.”
Some advice from me; don’t stress, a grade doesn’t define you, and the ability to grow and learn from a class is the most valuable takeaway. Choose a term paper topic thoughtfully, because rummaging through numerous datasets for an unfulfilling topic will be gruesome. A final piece of advice from Professor Reimers; “this is one of those classes that you can get a lot out of if you put in a lot of work.” It’ll all be worth it if you put in the work, come to terms with the fact that econometrics is a hard course, and cut yourself some slack.