Michigan Economic Society (MES) isn’t your typical undergraduate club. There are no dues or mandatory meetings and you aren’t required to attend events (although attendance can earn you prizes and a competitive edge when applying for associate positions within MES). All you need is a desire to learn what economics has to offer those interested in continuing work within the discipline as well as those pursuing careers in alternate fields. This is exemplified by two upcoming events, a screening of Poverty Cure that is followed by a discussion with one of the film’s producers, Assistant Professor Dominick Bartelme and Associate Professor Hoyt Bleakley, and welcoming Fisher Investments to campus to speak about opportunities within the country.

MES is a large organization on campus that is sponsored by the Department of Economics with a mission to create an economics community. Alice Yu, President of MES, put forth an initiative to create a philanthropy chair to reinforce that goal. Having the means to raise money for donation and create an opportunity for faculty, club members and the board to contribute their time to the community is a great benefit of MES. Alice explains, “right now we are trying a new endeavor where we reach out to different high schools in the area and give a crash course curriculum on basic personal finances. This includes talking about how much college costs, creating awareness for expenses that can occur, covering things that your parents might have to pay for and just making students more aware of similar costs.”

This increased campus and community presence would not be possible without the help of UM Economics Lecturers Ed Cho and Mitchell Dudley, the MES faculty advisors. The combined efforts of the advisors and the organization have led to increased connectivity between students and faculty. This strengthened relationship “is the best way to learn. A lot of the time I think its interesting to see someone who has an economics degree and what they are doing later in life. Not everyone is interested in going into business. Some people want to see what other areas of economics they can pursue. Talking to faculty that have done a variety of things, building these relationships and seeing role models we can follow after graduation is really important,” explains Alice.

Alice is an economics major who transferred to UM in search of a well-developed economics department with a supportive community and faculty. Upon her arrival, she got involved with MES immediately in an associate position as Director of Alumni and Faculty Relations. This was the community she was looking for that was missing at her previous school, “a lot of people in the business school and economics really weren’t sure of the variety of things that they could pursue. Many of the students were disillusioned by the media. They were being told that they could only pursue careers in finance and academia. Careers as an economist at Ford and Google aren’t that popular. I think that spreading this awareness to the entire community is important for us and also important for the economy as a whole. Having more participants in the labor force in a variety of different areas relates directly back to economics and its something that’s important for all of us.”

She is now president, a role she pursued because of a desire to “be involved with the community of economics students, giving back and helping them really discover the different things they can do with an economics major. It’s so broad and you can apply it to almost anything and that’s why it’s so great.” Alice was drawn to economics because of that broad appeal, “you can learn so many different things. It’s more of a conceptual topic. I like learning about big picture things like macroeconomics and learning how to apply them later. That’s how my brain has always worked.”

To become a part of MES, visit their website here and email them at mesboard2015@umich.edu!

Upcoming MES Events:

  • The Jackson Group @ Morgan Stanley with Darnell Jackson - Wednesday, March 15, 5 pm
  • Fisher Investments - Tuesday, March 22, 7 pm
  • Pizza with Professors - Wednesday, March 23, 1-2:30 pm, Foster Library
  • Poverty Cure showing - Thursday, March 31, time TBD