Economics student discusses the importance of graduate community

Maira Asrar

MA | Economics

Maira Asrar, a Master of Arts students in Economics, took a leap of faith by coming to Canada after finishing her undergraduate degree in Turkey. She knew she wanted to continue her study of economics, and with so many universities and programs to choose from, she was drawn to Waterloo because of our unparalleled co-op program.

“I chose to pursue graduate studies because I have always enjoyed learning new concepts and applying them to situations in academic and personal life. Knowing that I can gain work experience while completing my degree through the co-op program is what helped me choose Waterloo.”

During her undergraduate degree, Maira studied international politics and trades. Since starting her graduate studies at Waterloo, her focus has shifted to data and economics. Hoping to pursue a career in data analysis, she knows that Waterloo’s program will set her up for success. Not only does the economics program provide a theoretical framework and background in economics, but it also gives hands on experience with data and in-demand skills with programs such as R and Python.

As a coursework student, Maira doesn’t have the traditional research background that many people expect as a part of graduate degree. Rather than completing a thesis, Maira is able to focus on completing courses that will help her in her career aspirations after graduation. And while she doesn’t have a direct supervisor, she’s still found a mentor through Economics Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, Dr. Phil Curry, stating that he has always been available to answer questions or help work through problems. She also highlights the strength of the graduate community and the incredible friendships that she’s formed.

“My favourite part of grad school is my fellow graduate students. My graduate experience has been so fun because of the bond I have with my classmates; they have become my family.”

MAIRA ASRAR, MA Candidate, Economics

Maira in Hagey Hall
Maira's enthusiasm for learning, along with the university's robust co-op program and exceptional faculty, promises a bright future after graduation. When asked to reflect on the start of her degree and give advice to prospective students, Maira assures new students that the graduate community will be there to support them during their degree.

“The faculty is amazing, the people are amazing, and the lectures and assignments are designed to help you succeed after graduation.”

As Maira continue her graduate studies, her experience serves as a testament to the strength of the MA graduate program. The unique combination of theoretical knowledge, practical experience, and a strong sense of community in the Department of Economics ensures that students like Maira are well-prepared to excel in their careers and make a meaningful impact in their chosen fields.