Meet the Lecturers: Matt Aldrich

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Matt Aldrich: Intrepid Labour Economist

Can you tell us a little bit about your background and main interests in economics?

Throughout my A-levels I planned to study engineering at university; a late change of heart (because I enjoyed economics more than physics!) led me to studying Economics here at UEA. I was inspired by a research project in a 3rd year module – Labour Economics –  which I chose to do on job prospects for graduates,  to stay on for a Masters and a PhD, both here at UEA, in order to research the graduate labour market in more detail. I was lucky enough to get a lectureship here when my PhD finished. My main interests in economics are the labour market, social policy and welfare. I’m currently doing research into fatherhood which covers all three of these areas!

What do you think makes studying Economics at UEA special?

I think that the feeling of the place, the atmosphere within the School, and the relationship between staff and students is really special. For a student to have the reassurance that s/he can knock on our doors at any time to get support, advice on academic matters or on their employability, or just to say hello, makes the School of Economics a great place for a student to study. It also makes the School a great place for the staff to work.

How does a degree in Economics prepare you for your future career?

The variety of skills you develop during an Economics degree means that you can choose any number of career paths: we push students further by integrating the assessment of these skills into our courses: you will develop numerical, technical, problem solving, teamwork, communication, and leadership skills, amongst others, during your studies. This means that you can choose a career path that interests you, whether that’s working for government, in investment banking, accountancy, economic consulting, regulation, or something completely different.

 What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love all parts of my job, so it’s a difficult question! However, one thing stands out: I’m lucky enough to teach 1st years and 3rd years, so I get to see students develop throughout their time at UEA. Reflecting on that journey with students, particularly at graduation, and knowing that our students will go on to do some great things, contributing to society in all manners of ways, is the most rewarding part of my job.

 What should students expect from their first year?

The 1st year does involve a ‘bedding in’ process, and adjusting to university teaching – where we place a lot of responsibility on the student for independent learning – can take students differing amounts of time. As a school, we provide lots of support to help students through this process. However the importance of the content cannot be underestimated; right from the start we link economic theory with real world issues and situations, and use it as a tool to examine what is going on in the world around us. In short, your development as an Economist begins very early on!img_7510

What are your interests away from academia?

I have a passion for food – cooking relaxes me and I’m
always on the search for new cookbooks (I probably have more cookbooks than books on Economics!), equipment and learning new techniques. I love going to restaurants as well – I have a long list, most of which I’m yet to tick off! I have recently picked up a taste for travel, and have been lucky enough to go to some amazing places and see some wonderful things, but there is so much more to see. I’m also a big sports fan, and would love to combine that with the travel a bit more than I’ve been able to so far.

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One of the many new friends Matt has made on his travels

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