Oct 14

International Experiences Fuel Interest in Economics

Global experiences can expand one’s perspective in many ways, and present paths to opportunities previously unforeseen. For Teka Lanahan (BS in Economics, 2019), these experiences are exactly what attracted him to economics. Born in Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia and moving to Asheville, North Carolina in his childhood, he became interested in uncovering the mechanisms behind what causes these countries to have such vastly different standards of living. Diving into economics “opened my eyes to an interesting and potentially limitless world,” he states. “Economics has provided me opportunities to travel across the country for various programs, introduced me to famous people in the discipline, and given me the freedom to pursue my wide array of research interests.”

Advocating for Econ

Serving as Vice President of the UNC Greensboro chapter of the National Association of Business Economics (NABE), Teka shared his interest in economics with many of his fellow students and his infectious enthusiasm permeated whatever environment he was in. Whether it was talking healthcare reform at a session of “Econ on the Lawn”, encouraging people to attend the talk given at UNCG by NABE President Kevin Swift, or even simply relating current events in between tutoring sessions, Teka could always be heard on the fourth floor excitedly inspiring conversation among his peers. However, being active in extra-curriculars and placing the pressure of perfection on oneself can take its toll.

“During my undergrad, I faced a number of challenges both academically and personally. Academically, I had placed a lot of pressure on myself to graduate with a double major and a high GPA. This was beneficial, as it compelled me to push myself in my courses, but it also became a detriment if I felt that I was not living up to those high standards.” For students in a similar situation, he has this to say: “Balance is key! Taking time away from everything to work on yourself is necessary sometimes. Self-care is a must!”

Career Goals

His high drive did pay off in the end, landing him a spot in University of Virginia’s Master of Public Policy program. He hopes to work for the Federal government for a few years before going on to pursue a PhD in economics. “I dream of one day becoming a senior economist at an international economic organization like the IMF or World Bank,” he says.

“My time at the Bryan School undoubtedly has helped propel me to this dream of mine, and I would like to say thank you to the administration, my professors, and everyone else who has invested in my future. To future graduates, our field is changing rapidly. The antiquated ways of thinking are giving way to fresh ideas and new faces. Now more than ever, the field of economics needs you and your valuable skills, experiences, and ideas. I fervently believe there is a place for anyone in this field, and the possibilities are endless for those who pursue it.”