Graduate Profiles - Bachelor of Resource Economics

Lisa Olsson

Lisa Olsson, current student

Current Student
Degree: Bachelor of Resource Economics, 4th Year

Lisa began tertiary study at the Stockholm School of Economics in Sweden in 2007, however she soon realised she was drawn more to the practical application of economic theory to environmental issues. “After a bit of research I came across my current degree at the University of Sydney, which I found particularly appealing. Not only would it allow me to learn more about the economics of the scarcity of natural resources and the market mechanisms available to address pollution and climate change issues, but I would also be studying this degree in a country that has one of the world’s highest greenhouse gas emissions per capita, and whose entire economy is dependent on its availability of natural resources.”

The focus of Lisa’s course is the optimal management of natural resources. Over her first few years at the University of Sydney, she developed a special interest in the energy sector. Through a referral by the University’s jobs network ‘Sydney Talent’ Lisa secured a part time job at ‘Energeia’, an energy consulting firm in Darling Harbour, Sydney. This lead to a summer internship at the electric vehicle service provider ‘Better Place’ between her 3rd and 4th year. She participated in some site visits to places where electric vehicle charging infrastructure is being installed, with the rest of her time in the ‘Better Place’ office in the Westfield Tower of the Sydney CBD. “I am now planning on writing my final year thesis on a topic related to the energy sector, which I hope will give me a further competitive edge when I graduate and hopefully enable me to find an exciting career in the industry.” Professional experience and the fourth year honors thesis are part of what makes graduates from the Bachelor of Resource Economics so employable.

Outside of University, Lisa tries to make the most of the great Australian climate by keeping up her interest in outdoor sporting activities. “I am a keen runner and swimmer, and have since my move here completed the Sydney Marathon (twice), the Great Ocean Road Marathon and a number of other running events and ocean swims. I really enjoy the laid back Australian lifestyle and try to seize any available opportunity to explore new parts of the country as well as trying to master the art of surfing!”

Advice from Lisa...
"A combination of my degree’s relevance to many of the major challenges the world faces today and my passion and interest in the area of sustainability have made me extremely motivated and enabled me to perform well in my studies."

Amanda McBride

Amanda McBride Product Development Manager, Westpac

Recent graduate
Degree: Bachelor of Resource Economics (2004)
Current job: Product Development Manager, Westpac

Amanda McBride, former student of North Sydney Girls’ High School, graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor of Resource Economics, First Class Honors and University Medal.
“I chose to do the BResEc because it provided a variety of units of study similar to a combined Economics and Science program, but was only four years instead of five.” She also liked the idea of studying in a small Faculty with excellent industry linkages. “It was offered by a smaller faculty (by University of Sydney standards) which I thought would make the university experience less daunting and more personal. The 18 week professional experience program was attractive, and I was awarded a Faculty Scholarship.”
Amanda excelled at her studies and won awards not only from the University but sponsoring organisations such as the Economics Society of Australia and ABARE (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics). Amanda is now working in the banking and finance industry, with Westpac Banking Corporation as a business analyst in their strategy department. “I attended a number of job interviews in my final year with a wide range of companies. I found prospective employers were always very interested in my professional work experience.”
Amanda intends to work in banking for a period before entering an area more allied to natural resources or agriculture followed by further study. “I thoroughly enjoyed my undergraduate studies in Resource Economics. I would highly recommend this course to students who have an interest in environmental issues, mathematics and economics. It will appeal to students who like variety.”

Advice from Amanda...
“I would suggest making the most of the professional experience program and adopting a proactive approach to studying by asking for advice and help whenever you need it. Sitting back and worrying about a problem you are having does not achieve anything and people in this Faculty are willing to help where ever possible.”

Stuart Kinsella

Stuart Kinsella, Project Manager

Degree: Bachelor of Resource Economics (2004)
Current job: Project manager, Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator

Stuart Kinsella attended St Paul’s Grammar School, near Penrith, where he completed the International Baccalaureate (IB), before enrolling in the Bachelor of Resource Economics degree. He said “I wanted to do economics at university but I didn’t want to get lost in the crowd. Resource economics gave me an opportunity to fulfil all the requirements of an economics degree, gain exposure to issues related to management of natural resources and agriculture, and understand how economics applies to those areas.”

Stuart commuted from Blaxland in the Blue Mountains to Sydney until he graduated with a BResEc in 2004. Stuart said, “The strengths of the degree relate to its focus on management of natural resources, and in particular, to the importance of sustainable development of these resources; the opportunities for students in later years of the degree to specialise in a multitude of areas, from science and geography to agriculture and further study in economics. The work experience program was also very beneficial, allowing students to meet prospective employers and to deal with current issues. The Fourth year thesis gave students ideal preparation and training (under the guidance of supervisors within the faculty) to enter research careers.

“The BResEc degree certainly ignites within you a passion for the beauty of Australia’s natural environment. One of the great things about the degree is that career opportunities are not limited, as you can pursue a career in a number of disciplines including economics, environmental economics, agriculture, science, geography or even education.”

After graduating, Stuart spent time in London, before beginning work with ABARE in their natural resources management section. He is now the manager of the team implementing the Federal Government’s changes to the Renewable Energy Target which were passed by the Federal Parliament in June 2010. He said, “I would love to work with developing countries at some point in the future. Whether this is just on a short-term basis or a longer term placement, I’ll have to wait and see!”

Advice from Stuart...
“Don’t underestimate the importance of understanding natural resource management within an economic framework. Issues such as climate change and water management within Australia will become more prominent. Opportunities for graduate resource economists are only likely to increase in future years.”