On Monday 12 July the Economics and Business Department played host to Murali Satchithananda and Charlie Graham from Future Steps. They delivered two very well received lectures. The first talk was on how we can understand financial markets through the medium of behavioural economics. The second presentation looked at how politics, with particular reference to voting systems, shape the role of the public sector in society. We finished the day with an informative and invigorating question and answer session on life at university and what to expect when studying economics at tertiary level. Both Murali and Charlie were impressed by the quality of the questions being asked. One of the students, Karun K in Year 12 felt moved to write:
'The series of talks by Future Steps on behavioural and public sector economics were insightful into how topical the subject can be. The talks on what Economics at university is really like, versus A-Level were also very useful as the speakers were candid about their experiences at university. The idea of developing your own theoretical insights rather than simply being confined to repeating current theory was the most exciting prospect for me'.
Tuesday saw the arrival of the Adam Smith Institute team. They delivered a series of thought-provoking presentations and in the process got students to think over and above what they believe they know or understand! The sixth formers were treated to lectures on topics as varied as the economics of immigration, aid versus trade, and the regulation of non-legitimate pharmaceuticals. The lecture on 'Why everything is still awesome' provided the audience with much needed up-lift and proved especially popular. The department and students would like to put on record their sincere thanks to Daniel Pryor (who was the main organiser of the day from the ASI side), Matt Kilcoyne, Mathew Lesh, Morgan Schondelmeier and John Macdonald for their efforts. This year's lectures proved that free-market / libertarian perspectives can be powerful tools to aid economic analysis and provide practical application to realworld problems. It certainly sparked some healthy debates in the subsequent post-talk sessions. Student Alex C commented: 'The representatives of the Adam Smith institute put us through our paces with detailed presentations on complex current day economic issues that challenged us to use our current economic knowledge, to apply it to real world examples and come up with an educated and well backed up opinion. My personal favourite was the seminar on trade and aid which demonstrated that providing aid to a country is not necessarily effective unless there are adequate incentives to ensure its effective use.'
In the afternoon, the students were given an insight to post-university careers, internships and networking. Many students felt this to be one of the highlights of the day. In addition, the students as part of the UPP programme have been given the opportunity to enter an essay competition with the main prize being a week's work experience at the ASI.