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Warwick Economics students meet employers to discuss future career options

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Warwick Economics students meet employers to discuss future career options

Last week Warwick Economics students had a unique opportunity to meet with representatives of 19 organisations who were invited on to campus for our annual Careers in Economics Event to talk about internships and career opportunities specific to Warwick Economics students and graduates.

Professor Caroline Elliott, Deputy Head of Department (Teaching and Learning) opened the event by welcoming the employers and current students and wishing them a productive networking opportunity. It was good to see and chat with many of them, including our former students who talked about specific skills gained during their time at Warwick and how they apply them now in their current jobs.

As part of the event five organisations delivered short presentations about specific roles they were recruiting to, and highlighted the skills and experience they were looking for in economics graduates:

Cornerstone Research presenters, Vijay Krishnan and Kanishka Chhabra, outlined the role of Analyst in an economics consultancy and provided an overview of their application process, stressing the importance of preparation and practice. They explained that the purpose of a case interview was to assess candidates’ analytical and problem solving skills and test their knowledge of economic analysis. They advise candidates to read major news publications, conduct a thorough research on the firm’s website, practise interview technique with a friend and come with a list of prepared questions. For more information visit Careers at Cornerstone ResearchLink opens in a new window.

Compass Lexecon’s talk, delivered by two Warwick alumni James Forster (MMORSE 2017) and Lars Martinez Ridley (PPE 2020) focused on a day in the life of an economics consultant and provided examples of how they apply economics to real- world issues. It emerged that the company employs 750+ economists with areas of practice including antitrust and competition, damages, international arbitration, IP, policy and regulation, state aid and econometric analysis. They said that the graduate trainees should expect a steep learning curve, there are lots of opportunities for training, secondments and attending conferences. Lars also talked about the importance of their culture and values:

“We work together to produce honest, exceptional economic analysis with positive impact on real world issues. Diversity, inclusion and a sense of belonging are important to us all.”

For more information about working at Compass Lexecon, visit their Careers webpageLink opens in a new window.

The South West Water’s presentation focused on how the company operates within a regulatory framework set by Defra, the Environmental Agency, Natural England and Ofwat, and how they balance a range of challenges such as climate change, population growth, urban creep, net zero targets, storm overflow reductions, water resources and affordable bills. The graduate trainees cover 4 placements over 2 years in the areas of regulation and strategy, asset management and performance, innovation, natural and water resources. Their tip for succeeding was to do some industry research and being able to outline the relevant skills and knowledge gained during a degree course.

For more information about careers at South West Water visit their GraduatesLink opens in a new window webpage.

NERA Economics Consulting presenters, Ricardo Paccioretti (MSc Economics 2020) and Kardin Somme talked about NERA’s practice areas: antitrust and competition, auctions and bankruptcy, with the largest in-house team of economists in the economic consulting world spread in offices in North America, Europe and South East Asia. Typical projects involve conducting regulatory due diligence, market design, regulatory support and international arbitration. For their graduate roles, they are looking for economics or finance background and the ability to apply academic economics to real world markets, capacity to adapt and commitment, with a focus on learning how to communicate economics to non-specialists.

For more information about opportunities at NERA Economic Consulting visit their CareersLink opens in a new window webpage.

The Competitions and Markets Authority presenters, Elizabeth Evans, Adhish Sawant and James Hicks (BSc Economics 2021 and MSc Economics 2022) explained how their economists utilise the economic theory they’d learned at university and apply it to the real world, working closely with colleagues from many different professions. They then gave an outline of their case work in merger control, market studies and investigations, competition and enforcement, consumer enforcement and regulatory appeals. They also explained what the role of economists at the CMA involved: to understand how particular industries and markets work, to identify key economic issues, obtaining and analysing a range of quantitative and qualitative evidence, drawing conclusions, making an economic assessment and presenting an analysis to both economists and non-economists. The key skills they are looking for in applicants are: evaluating incentives, structural thinking, evidence gathering and analysis, flexibility and adaptability, creativity, verbal and written communication, and time management.

For more information careers at CMA visit this page: Working for CMALink opens in a new window.

The final part of this successful event was a keynote lecture delivered by John Burn-Murdoch, Chief Data Journalist at the Financial Times, on the topic of Quantitative Social Science in Action. This was hosted jointly by the CAGE Research Centre and introduced by Prof Mirko Draca, the Centre’s Director.

During the Covid-19 pandemic John became well-known for his clear and trusted analysis of the latest public health data, through charts and tables published on the website and also on Twitter. John’s work informed public debate and influenced decision-making across all sectors of the economy and public life.

Prof Draca welcomed John, speaking briefly about the challenge of misinformation in the public sphere and the need for high-quality analytical content to challenge it.

Taking the podium, John began with a simple question - Why do we make charts?

For John, charts are a vital tool because research shows that they can change people’s minds far more effectively than the written word alone. Done well, data visualisation is powerful and helps people make sense of complicated information.

Speaker talking to audience

John explained that a successful chart needs both numbers and words – well-thought-out text annotations, good use of colour, and clear titles help people read and understand the data.

The logarithmic scale proved a challenge to public understanding at the beginning of John’s COVID-19 series. John showed a sample of tweets challenging his work because the vertical scale was not uniform. Many people found this confusing and some thought it was a deliberate attempt to minimise the size of the pandemic. Taking advantage of the two-way nature of social media, John recorded an explainer video about what a log scale is and why he chose it – and was delighted when his followers began posting the link in response to puzzled tweeters.

John encouraged the researchers in his audience not to be afraid of bold headlines, citing a famous aphorism from “data rock star” Hans Rosling - ‘You have to be like the worst tabloid newspaper in the front and the Academy of Science in the back’

While COVID-19 has not gone away, John has turned his attention to the question of whether ill health is driving economic inactivity in the UK. He presented some snapshots of his work in progress and concluded with time for questions from the floor.

If you missed the talk, you can watch it on YouTube: Quantitative Social Science in ActionLink opens in a new window.