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12 December 2019
Fourth Edition 2019
26 February 2019
Third Edition 2019
20 August 2018
Second Edition 2018
13 November 2017
First Edition 2017
Griffith Magazine

A Reef Economist


Second Edition August 2018

Emily Hayward always knew she loved economics. What she didn’t was how useful her Sustainable Enterprise major in Business from Griffith University would be in tackling the incessant challenge of how to save the Great Barrier Reef.

As an economist at the industry leading firm Deloitte Access Economics, Emily credits her time in the Griffith Business School as a major driving force behind her love for environmental economics.

“Griffith opened my eyes up to how economics can be used to create meaningful change in a number of different ways,” Emily said.

“It showed me how economics can provide robust arguments in support of environmental protection, which motivated my internship at an environmental consulting firm and led to my honours thesis in environmental economics.”

Emily has since worked on several high-profile projects, including the At What Price? Economic, Social and Icon Value of the Great Barrier Reef report.

The motivation behind the report was to showcase the Reef’s value in order to elevate its significance in decision making.

“My honors thesis was on non-market valuation, so valuing the Great Barrier Reef was really a dream project.

“Since completing the Great Barrier Reef report, I have been given the opportunity to work across various subject matters. Every project I’ve worked on since starting at Deloitte Access Economics has been to create meaningful change,” Emily said.

Her involvement with the internship program offered by Griffith Business School helped inspire her thesis and get her foot in the door at Deloitte Access Economics.

She started at the economics firm a week after submitting her honours thesis.

“An internship is the most important thing you can do while studying,” she said

“To stand out in interviews you have to have relevant work experience, which could be an internship, tutoring or research assistant work.

Relevant experience puts weight behind your resume. Your grades prove that you know the theory, but your experience in the field proves that you understand the application.”

The Griffith Business School graduate explains how her internship and Griffith experience led to her developing skills relevant to her current role analysing the economics of Australia’s iconic tourist attraction.

“The project I worked on for my internship involved finding non-market values that were used in a cost-benefit analysis to support practices that improved water quality.

“The results were hypothetical as there was no proven link between changes in water quality and changes in recreation demand, so when I decided to undertake honours, I decided to establish this link using non-market valuation techniques.”

“I used the travel-cost method in my thesis, which helped me develop skills in survey design, data collection and econometrics, which I then applied to the Great Barrier Reef report.”

“The pathway I followed during my studies was particularly motivated by the lecturers that acted like mentors to me.” Emily advises students to try a bit of everything in their foundational year of a business degree to really hone in on their career calling.

“Find something that you’re passionate about, like a particular area of economics or business and run with it.

When I was doing my interview at Deloitte Access Economics I got to talk about environmental economics and the interviewer said being able to hear how passionate I was really set me apart from the other candidates.”