Studying Economics at LUMS – Nathan Nabil

My name is Nathan Nabil and I am a postgraduate student in Economics at Lancaster University. I come from Hertfordshire, which is a county located just outside of North London, but I made the decision to move to Lancaster University due to its outstanding academic reputation. I initially chose to study Economics as I had studied it for my A-levels, although I was unsure of what direction I wanted to take in the future. Economics opens up so many pathways for one’s future, and if I’m being completely honest, the job prospects and opportunity “to obtain wealth” definitely made economics stand out over other fields. In addition, this subject offers a plethora of opportunities to specialise in a wide range of fields, meaning choosing economics doesn’t require you to choose a set career path straight away.

Over the course of my education in undergraduate and postgraduate economics, I have taken a particular interest in the modules related to Game Theory and Behavioural and Experimental Economics. Whilst I have enjoyed the core modules (micro/macro/econometrics/maths), behavioural economics and game theory allowed me to see the world from a different perspective. Learning about how consumers make certain decisions, and delving into the psychological aspects of why they make certain decisions, really intrigued me. Not only was it really interesting in terms of the learning, but I have also been able to apply it to other aspects of my life. The way economics is able to model the decisions individuals make, and in many aspects predict these decisions in advance, is knowledge that I believe is very valuable to have when going into the real world.

After completing my undergraduate course, I knew my time in education was far from over. Whilst a huge part of this was due to my interest in the subject and my desire to learn more, the main influence has come from the department itself. The Lancaster University Management School and Economics Department is well renowned for a reason. University studies can be very stressful at times, but the economics department provide so many amenities to make the experience a lot easier and pleasurable. The whole department was so friendly that I no longer felt like I was a student and they were my superior: the lecturers and admin become your friends/colleagues, happy to help you with your education as well as other aspects of university life.

My master’s dissertation is on the analysis of individual risk preferences in pathological gambling (gambling addicts). In layman’s terms, it means using economic models to understand why gamblers become addicted, and how their decision-making faculty re-acts differently than non-gamblers. The concept of risk preferences, how pathological gamblers visualize certain gambles/bets, and how this differs from non-gamblers is such an interesting topic: certainly not something I would have considered before university.

This area is of such particular interest to me that I have decided to continue my education in the form of a PhD, as I believe there is still so much to be discovered, with regards to policy implications as well as in the treatment of pathological gamblers. I believe economics is the way forward in dealing with this problem, as modern econometrics and economic modelling have the means to tackling the problem in a way that takes into account the economic benefits of gambling, the risky choices that gamblers make, as well as the moral/ethical aspects of the problem.