Applied economics and management is the heart of what we do at the Charles H. Dyson School for Applied Economics and Management. After all, it’s in the title of our school and the name of our primary undergraduate degree. But what is applied economics exactly? In short, it’s using data, reasoning, and elements of economic theory to make informed decisions. And it’s relevant to nearly any profession in the public and private sectors.


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What Can You Do With an Applied Economics and Management Degree?

Economics is Everywhere—and It Can Take You Anywhere

Business acumen. Entrepreneurial spirit. Creative thinking. Tech-savvy. You’ll develop all that and more in the challenging, immersive, and engaging academic environment that is Dyson. 

Through an interdisciplinary curriculum—and guided by internationally renowned scholars and practitioners—the versatile, practical AEM degree prepares you for professional success in an incredible range of fields. 

Our distinguished alumni lead, inspire change, and create solutions to the world’s most pressing social and economic issues. They work in finance, management, food and agriculture, sustainability, international trade, and—well, the list of where an applied economics education can take you is seemingly endless.


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What is the Difference Between Economics and Applied Economics?

One of the top questions we see from incoming students and their families is, “What is the difference between economics and applied economics?” Economics, as an academic discipline, is a social science that explores how individuals, organizations, and societies make decisions about limited resources; it’s a broad field that entails investigating everything from income disparity and public health to global trade and supply chain issues. Applied economics is more practical; it puts those theories and ideas into action; you use the theory of economics in order to do the applied work.


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It’s More Than the Economy: What is the Importance of Studying Applied Economics

Economics is embedded in our everyday life, from making a major household purchase to managing a multinational company. In today’s data-driven world, you’ll go far with strong critical thinking skills and a keen understanding of statistical models. That’s why studying applied economics and management serves as a launching point to careers of all kinds.

Applied Economics Careers: What Can You Do With the AEM Major? 

The breadth of the AEM major and immersive nature of the program—coupled with the opportunity to specialize in a concentration area—will prepare you for a career in a myriad of industries including consulting, finance, technology, consumer packaged goods, agribusiness, health care, and public policy. 

The following are just a few positions in which you’ll find Dyson alumni putting their applied economics and management degree to use: 

  • Investment Banking Analyst
  • Sales & Trading Analyst
  • Global Markets Analyst
  • Strategy Insights & Planning Associate
  • Business Operations Analyst
  • Associate Engagement Manager
  • Vendor Manager
  • Acquisitions Analyst
  • Business Development Associate 
  • Product Manager
  • Risk Management Analyst
  • Finance Manager

Our Alumni: The Big Red Network is Doing Big Things.

Rich and immersive learning experiences. Dedicated faculty mentors. A modern, relevant curriculum. Our alumni cite these reasons and more for how Dyson prepared them for meaningful careers in the public and private sectors.

Kate Naldony ’06

Head of Operations, PVH Americas/Head of Innovation
Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
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Biography for Kate Naldony ’06

“The Dyson program prepared me for the real-world business challenges ahead. In addition to the rich classroom experience, the campus life, programming, and extracurriculars allowed me to build soft skills for tough situations.” – Kate Naldony ’06, Head of Operations, PVH Americas/Head of Innovation

Stephanie Evans ’10

Founder of Pamoja, Sr. Product Manager at Tapestry
Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
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Biography for Stephanie Evans ’10

“The analytic rigor of the Dyson program allowed me to differentiate myself when I launched my career in Fashion Retail post-graduation, quickly identifying product trends and opportunities. Today, as an entrepreneur, I find myself utilizing a lot of the things I picked up and learned from the core business courses, from Accounting to Marketing.” – Stephanie Evans ’10, Founder of Pamoja, Sr. Product Manager at Tapestry

Kristina Anderson ’03

Director of Commerce Partnerships, Google
Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
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Biography for Kristina Anderson ’03

“The opportunity to apply core economics principles differentiates the Dyson experience. Learning and applying finance, business statistics, and economics principles to class projects and case studies was directly translatable to my first job as a management consultant.” – Kristina Anderson ’03, Director of Commerce Partnerships, Google

Marc Silberman ’12

Partner at Comcast Ventures
Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
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Biography for Marc Silberman ’12

“From a practical perspective, Dyson prepared me to read and understand financial statements as an Investment Banking Analyst early on in my career. Maybe even more importantly, Dyson prepared me to thrive in a team-oriented environment. As I've progressed throughout my career, the connections to my Dyson classmates have become even more important as I've sought to build new networks, break into new industries, and explore new ideas.” – Marc Silberman ’12, Partner at Comcast Ventures


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Explore Your Interests. Find Your Focus. Customize Your Path.

The AEM major at Dyson enables you to gain a foundation in applied economics and management with your core classes, and you can deepen your subject matter expertise by choosing a concentration area, such as agribusiness management, entrepreneurship, business analytics, marketing, international trade, finance, and more. Plus, you can customize your path of study even more with a minor or second major from CALS. 

During your entire Dyson experience, you’ll develop a range of marketable skills and build relationships that will benefit you not only in your first position after Dyson but also as you grow in your career.


Building Skills: What Do You Learn in Applied Economics Courses?

The World Economic Forum’s “Top 10 Skills for 2025” report lists analytical thinking and innovation, leadership and social influence, and complex problem-solving among the most in-demand qualities and characteristics. Throughout all of your coursework, the Grand Challenges program, your internship, and other campus engagement, you’ll develop and hone many skills critical for today’s competitive marketplace.

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Nothing is ever the status-quo for long. Thanks to client projects, case studies, and other practical learning experiences, you’ll leave Dyson ready to help companies adapt to evolving technology, societal needs, and consumer demands. 

Innovation

Dyson students don’t follow trends. They introduce them. From design thinking and ideation to learning to think like an entrepreneur, you’ll find yourself at the intersection of business and creativity throughout your time at Cornell

Leadership for Societal Impact

Guided by Dyson’s “Our Business is a Better World” ethos, the Grand Challenges curriculum develops students into thoughtful leaders who understand how business decisions can directly and dramatically impact society for good.

Communication and Management 

Interacting with others—in person and digitally—is more than crafting accurate, effective messages; it’s also about listening and showing empathy. You’ll hone these skills and more as you collaborate with peers and manage client relationships.


AEM Earning Potential: Applied Economics and Management Salaries

When comparing applied economics programs, consider your return on investment and choose wisely. The average starting base salary for AEM graduates from the class of 2021 was $79,777. Signing and relocation bonuses average at about $11,000.

$79,777

average starting base salary for AEM graduates from the class of 2021

Many factors impact your earning potential, from type, size, and location of a company to your experience-level and responsibility. One thing is for sure though: the versatility of a degree in applied economics and management prepares you for well-paying, in-demand positions in a variety of fields and functions. 

Hard work pays off for Dyson graduates. Learn how in our most recent employment report.


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Bachelor of Science (BS) in Applied Economics and Management (AEM) Admissions Requirements

Your specific application requirements will vary depending on whether you’re joining Dyson directly from high school, from another institution, or from another college within Cornell. However, there are some requirements common to all first-time applicants.

Explore Application Requirements

What We’re Looking For: How Your Dyson Application is Reviewed

Dyson students are bright, resourceful, and ambitious. That’s why we look beyond your GPA and high school curriculum (although that’s important, too!). Our holistic approach to admissions means we consider many factors, including: 

  • Strong academic performance
  • Community engagement 
  • Leadership experience 
  • Desire to use business for the greater good 

Your completed application package, including your supporting materials and admissions essay, gives you a chance to tell your story, share your future goals, and connect your aspirations to the Dyson experience. 


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Application and Admissions Overview: How to Apply to Cornell Dyson

Is applied economics and management a good major for you and your career goals? If you still have questions about the program or application process, we invite you to take a deeper dive into the admissions requirements at the Charles H. Dyson School for Applied Economics and Management. 

LEARN HOW TO APPLY

Make a Difference at Dyson: Start Your Application Today

If you’re ready to take on society’s biggest issues, innovate the next big thing, lead a diverse team of colleagues, or provide strategic direction to an organization in need—we invite you to apply to Dyson today.