Wichita State University
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Wichita State University: Preparing aspiring economists for tomorrow’s challenges

Wichita, the largest city in the US state of Kansas, is famous for many things including being the “Air Capital of the World.” It’s a city where advancements in technology, highly-skilled talents, data analysis prowess and that special Wichita spirit converge to make it a thriving commercial, financial, medical, cultural and entertainment hub for the state.

It’s this great combination that offers a wealth of opportunities and invaluable experiences for Wichita State University. Known for its stellar academic programmes and unmatched industry connections, WSU is where students in every major can learn both in the classroom and the real world — preparing them for success before graduation.

The Master’s in Economics and Quantitative Analysis exemplifies this best. The programme takes a diverse set of approaches to the study of economics. The focus is on the critical interaction among quantitative economics and their industrial and analytical application. Students can choose from three specialised tracks: data analytics, financial economics, or international economics.

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Students receive tremendous support from faculty, staff and fellow students. Source: Wichita State University

Whichever track you choose, each will arm you with a broad understanding of the overall economic environment. You’ll have a solid foundation and the confidence to advance your career or pursue your PhD in economics.

“I chose economics as a major to gain technical skills, learn more about the role of central banks, understand capital markets, and increase my job prospects,” says Noah Kirkland, derivatives analyst at US Bank and graduate of the WSU programme. “Economics at Wichita State gives you tools to be flexible in the workplace, opens doors for lucrative salaries or academic research, and helps you understand how the world works.”

“The professors in the economics programme are top-notch and helped me understand and internalise complex ideas and theories,” says Robert Freeman, senior technical consultant at Salesforce, an American cloud-based software company.

Students like Kirkland and Freeman have good employment opportunities thanks to this programme. Their degree is awarded by the W. Frank Barton School of Business, which is fully accredited in business and accounting by AACSB International (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business). AACSB International is the accrediting agency for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programmes in business administration and accounting. Only 20% of all colleges of business have earned this dual accreditation — the W. Frank Barton School of Business at Wichita State University is one of them.

Success is not built on technical skills and reputation alone. It needs a good dose of confidence too – the kind that can only be nurtured by supportive and caring lecturers. Graduate Dr. Jiji Osiobe, now Assistant Professor at Baker University, says when he first arrived as an international student at Wichita State University, he didn’t know what to expect.

“It was a new world and cultural shift. Nevertheless, I was excited,” he says.

It wasn’t long until Osiobe settled in thanks to the full support he’s received from day one. Faculty, staff, students, and community members helped and guided him to navigate the American system.

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Each track chosen has applied learning or research experience built in. Source: Wichita State University

“The supportive faculty and advisers at the Economics Department [Dr. Cheng, Dr. Pelkowski, Dr. Wolcutt, and Dr. Craft] and the skills I learned from the Barton School of Business have been instrumental in my academic and analytical career,” he says. “Every day I remember their saying(s); always put your best foot forward.”

Career trajectories like Osiobe’s are what students can look forward to with their Wichita State University degree. Since the graduate programme is classified as STEM, international students can apply for an extension of their optional practical training (OPT). OPT refers to temporary employment that is directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study. Those who receive science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees may apply for a 24-month extension of their post-completion OPT.

It’s set to be a great couple of years for international students who choose the Master’s in Economics and Quantitative Analysis. Not only do you receive an excellent education with great career prospects, you get to live in Wichita too. Sitting in the centre of the US, this is a city with low cost of living, a growing economy and excellent quality of life.

The climate is mild for most of the year, but not the food, culture and entertainment scene. Wichita has been named one of the Top 10 Surprising Foodie Cities by Livability.com and has plenty of restaurants, brewpubs, food trucks and coffeehouses. With more than 10 distinct shopping, dining and entertainment districts as well as a thriving local arts and music scene, there is always something happening in Wichita.

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