The Tufts Economics Society is hosting a lecture by Professor David Dapice about how nations grow fast for a while and then get stuck before becoming rich, and how that illuminates the shortcomings of standard development theory. The event will be happening on Wednesday April 4th at 6:00pm in Braker 001. Feel free to come check it out—it’s open to all Tufts students, and we’ll be serving Dave’s Fresh! This post is an interesting introduction to the middle-income trap, using China as a case study.
A few weeks ago the World Bank Group released a 400-page long report on China’s future economic prospects, termed “China 2030: Building a Modern, Harmonious, and Creative High-Income Society”. In the report economists analyze China’s current economic conditions as well as various risks that pose a threat to its economic growth. The report proposes a series of broad recommendations that should help China shift from a middle-income country to a high-income country, thus avoiding what is commonly termed the “middle-income trap”.
What is this so-called “middle-income trap”? Well, theories of economic convergence state that it is natural for low-income countries to grow faster than high-income countries, eventually allowing them to catch up in terms of per-capita income levels. Part of the reason is because an abundance of cheap labor in poorer countries and inward flows of advanced technology from advanced countries help propel rises in productivity and output. The middle-income trap occurs when developing economies, for some reason or another, run into difficulties after a certain point (say, when poorer countries approach the technology barrier) and growth in per-capita income levels stagnate, trapping these countries in the so-called middle-income category.
In an internship or summer job, people expect you to generally be competent, but they usually understand that you’re still a college student. For many Tufts students, beginning the networking and interviewing processes is the first time that we really need to act professionally. Being professional isn’t a skill that any class at Tufts teaches, but it’s invaluable in one’s career. Here are some tips about communicating professionally in your internship or job search.
The most convenient way to get an internship/job is through on-campus recruiting, i.e. companies that deliberately come to campus to interview candidates. Yet you should not solely depend on Tufts Career Connect for opportunities. Why? In case you haven’t noticed, not that many companies actually come to Tufts to recruit. And when they do, they oftentimes will only hire 1-2 Tufts candidates, depending on the size of the company. Some of the more selective ones may not hire any. Additionally, most of these positions are concentrated in the northeast, which won’t help if you’re trying to get a job in Chicago or in San Francisco. Also keep in mind that Tufts has a large population of economics majors, with economics being the second most popular major behind international relations. Tufts is a liberal arts college; many F500 companies and banks would rather hire from schools with undergraduate business/finance majors or Ivies, though consulting firms tend to have more respect for a liberal arts degree.
To simply put it, there is a lot of competition for these interview slots. And if you don’t have a top-notch GPA, strong extracurriculars, and/or valuable internship experience, your chances are probably slim. (but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try). Additionally, if you’re a freshman or sophomore looking for an internship you may be out of luck since most formal, structured, paid internships tend to recruit juniors. So what do you do if on-campus recruiting isn’t looking great for you? A common method that many new job-seekers utilize is to just apply directly to companies’ websites, or to apply through job aggregator sites such as monster.com. But these methods are oftentimes futile because companies can receive hundreds and even thousands or tens of thousands of resumes, and oftentimes they have automatic screening criteria that will only consider candidates above a certain GPA threshold. It is often said that sending your resume in through online applications is the equivalent to sending it to a black hole; no company’s human resources team has the manpower to go through that many resumes thoroughly and chances are yours won’t get read. This is also why cover letters sent to large corporations don’t get read as well.
So what can you really do? The answer is to NETWORK.