Scottish Graduate Programme in Economics

Abigail Watt

Abigail Watt was an MSc Economics (Economerics) (Part-time) student during the years 2018/19, and 2019/20.

Photograph of Abigail Watt

Why did you choose the Scottish Graduate Programme in Economics?

The set-up of the programme with lecturers drawn upon from universities across Scotland means that the professors have a greater interest in the subject matter and also a greater understanding of the matter being taught. It also means that the breadth of possible topics you can study in the optional courses in larger and you can really study what you are interested in rather than being constrained by the research specialisms of one economics school.

What attracted you to this programme in particular?

I am particularly interested in econometrics so being able to specialise in econometric modules was what initially drew me to this programme. I was really keen to expand my knowledge of frequentist methods but also extend into Bayesian methods which are not often taught unless sought out. Bayesian methods have become more popular in economics as data availability has increased so being able to learn these skills was very important in staying up to date with the most popular econometric methods.

What did you enjoy most about your time here?

Whilst at Edinburgh I found the study groups to be a real benefit to my learning experience and these certainly helped me to achieve the grades that I did. I really enjoyed the conference at Crieff – being a part time student getting to go twice was a real plus! I feel like I couldn’t comment on the experience without mentioning the time spent in the basement… many an hour was spent discussing problem sets and the econometrics project in the computer labs!

What are your plans for the future?

I am currently a research economist in the research institute at Aberdeen Standard Investments. I was sponsored by the company, so studied part time whilst continuing to work. Since graduating I have published a series of research papers focusing on the participation gap between men and women – drawing upon econometrics skills garnered from the SGPE. I hope to continue to use the skills which I learnt during my 2 years of study in the SGPE to contribute to the thought leadership research agenda within the company that I work for.

If you could offer any advice to new or current students, what would it be?

Do the problem sets for every tutorial – preferably with a study group – but just do them. I found that this was great for staying on top of the material (which is pretty relentless) and also meant that revising for exams in December and May was much easier.