When Tyler Olson thinks about his degree in economics, he doesn’t think of the money he could make with it; instead, he thinks of how he can use it to better the world. Olson, a senior graduating this fall, and recipient of the Economics Alumni Scholarship and the Loren W. Crabtree Liberal Arts Scholarship, is double majoring in economics and international studies with minors in business administration, Spanish language, and international development. He sees economics as a combination of so many things he enjoys—history, philosophy, international relations, aspects of business, and natural resources. For him, economics is “a culmination of everything. It has a very applicable nature, and it incorporates so many things I enjoy.”
Though he now has two majors and three minors as he prepares to graduate from Colorado State University, he certainly didn’t start so big. Olson entered CSU as an economics major and picked up the others along the way as these separate areas of study began to converge into a single intertwined education.
The practicality of the major doesn’t always come on its own, according to Olson. He said that the biggest piece of advice he has for prospective economics majors is to couple economics with a focus or concentration, a requisite within the major itself. He suggests math and statistics as great areas to take into consideration. “Understand why you want to go into econ,” he says, “and have some sort of career path or vision in mind.”
This applicability to everyday life is one of the things Olson appreciates most about economics. “It really shapes your world view and how you understand the world around you,” he says. “Being economically minded allows you to make better judgments on government and provides an insight to the psychological aspect of everyday choices.” Overall, according to Olson, an economic mindset “just makes you more informed.”
Though he has found economics to affect his daily life, Olson does much more than studying and economics. He has been a full-time resident assistant for the last three years and an active member of CSU Navigators since his freshman year. He enjoys fishing, climbing, skiing, mountain biking, and being outdoors. Olson said that his motivation to accomplish so much has been a particular Bible verse from Ecclesiastes 9:10: Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might. “I’d rather do things with all my might than a half job that just leaves you in a mediocre state,” he says. Another key to his success has been the joy he finds in what he does. “Do something you enjoy,” he urges. “I really enjoy all the things I’m doing this year.”
Upon graduation, Olson has a few plans he intends to pursue. In the long run, he wants to use his degree in economics for philanthropic ends. “I don’t want to use it on Wall Street or big business,” he stated. “I want to ultimately work for an NGO or nonprofit, working in country development.” In the immediate future, however, Tyler has a job with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City lined up when he graduates. To get this job, he was very persistent: “I did an internship over the summer, attended three career fairs, went to their booth five times, and applied twice.” His job with the Federal Reserve Bank is not the only thing he has in mind, though. Tyler plans on attending graduate school in Kansas City through a tuition reimbursement program the Federal Reserve Bank offers. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in either business administration or economics. As for a Ph.D., Tyler says, “I don’t even want to think that far!”