Studying at the Barcelona GSE as a non-economist

Choosing a Master’s degree can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you want to study a subject that you have little academic experience in. If you are thinking about studying at the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics, but you are worried that your previous academic experience will make it more of a challenge, this page is for you!

Below, some of our alumni who did not have a strong background in Economics explain what it was like to study at the Barcelona GSE. They also provide some tips and share what additional support is available to you:

"The program challenged me immensely, but I received a lot of support from the Barcelona GSE and from my peers."

alumniIlaria Tucci '19 studied Law before she joined the Competition and Market Regulation Master’s program. From extra maths sessions with the teaching assistants, to supportive chats with the program coordinator and productive career advice sessions with the Career Services team, Ilaria felt like she support from the Barcelona GSE. She also mentioned that the community of people and the organized social events helped her to enjoy the year and take a break from studying, even though her primary instinct was to run regressions in the library!   

"Barcelona GSE pushed me out of my comfort zone as nothing I have ever experienced before, and I will forever remember the challenges it posed and how it made me grow into a better person and a more skilled lawyer."


"The most important preparation is psychological."

alumniGabriel Chaves '19 studied the Economics Master’s program, having graduated in Business Administration the year before attending the Barcelona GSE.

"My previous exposure to Economics was not great. Yet, I think that it is possible to survive without an economics background. To prepare for the Master's I took some courses on Math (Linear Algebra and Real Analysis) as well as the Econometrics sequence offered at my school. This was very helpful. The most important preparation is psychological. The degree is highly demanding and it is very easy to get caught up in the moment...I recommend students to find study techniques, search for tranquility of mind and have an efficient work ethic. And rest wisely."

Especially for the program in Economics, Chaves recommends that "the best background for thriving might be anything related to math (Physics, Engineering, Mathematics itself) as the courses are highly mathematical, at least in the Advanced Track [of the Economics Program]...I would recommend those students who have not been exposed to math to prepare for mathematical logic by reading textbooks such as How to Prove It by Velleman or Simon and Blume from the Barcelona GSE summer reading list. Also, papers from Journal of Economic Perspectives are good preparation."


"Start going over the basics before coming, and build up intuition."

alumni

Having a background in math can certainly be an advantage. Economics Program alum Corentin Lemaire '19 commented that "what saved me overall was my background in maths, and the friends I made who took some time to explain to me some concepts or gave me some material and books to go over."

"If I had one piece of advice to give to new Barcelona GSE students who who don't have a background in Economics, it would be that they start going over the basics before coming, and build up intuition on what they are going to do (Econometrics in particular)."


Built-in support from the Barcelona GSE

Brush-up courses

Brush-up courses are given in late August to review the skills students will need before the program officially starts in September. Topics vary by program but may include:

  • Advanced Mathematics
  • Calculus and Linear Algebra 
  • Probability and Statistics
  • STATA

Faculty and teaching assistants

The faculty members at the Barcelona GSE are very approachable and encourage students to ask for help. Due to the small class sizes in the Master's, students can have personal contact with professors during class and in one-to-one sessions during office hours. They will also be glad to have a quick chat in the cafeteria over coffee! 

Program coordinators

Each Master's program has a Program Coordinator. This person is a member of the Barcelona GSE administrative staff who takes care of administrative and logistical details of the program, and also a friendly face for students. Students can speak with their coordinator to find out about resources for any challenge that they might be facing, academic or personal.

Career advisors

The Barcelona GSE has a dedicated Career Services department who provide training and guidance throughout the year. They have experience working with students from a variety of academic backgrounds to help them achieve their professional career goals.

Community events

Social events are organized by the Barcelona GSE throughout the year to help students switch off for a few hours and connect with their peers on a social level outside of the library. Events range from barbecues with traditional Catalan food to hiking trips, indoor football tournaments, and networking events with Barcelona GSE alumni.


Still not sure if Barcelona GSE Master's are a good fit for you? 

If you still have further questions about whether your academic background is suitable for studying at the Barcelona GSE, please do not hesitate to contact our admissions team.