Alex Myers spent four weeks as an intern with WPI Economics in late 2018.
“The opportunity came two months after graduating from Newcastle University with a degree in Geography. I was fortunate to find a role that aligned perfectly with my interests in economic geography, especially as it was my first employment opportunity. The experience was both interesting and rewarding as it introduced me to the world of economic and public policy. The team at WPIe were hugely welcoming, and I felt I fit in with the team (even though I was only in the office for five days of my internship).
Crucially, senior staff ensured that the role and project on offer suited my interests perfectly. The project linked well to my passion for economic geography (developed throughout my degree) as well as economic policy and place making regeneration that was the focus of my dissertation. Thus, the bulk of my time at WPI Economics was spent researching, analysing and summarising both academic and grey literature on the topic of innovation districts and their role as drivers of innovation. This would then be used to inform the creation of a policy document surrounding a local case study. The fact that the research linked so closely to my interests enabled me to enjoy the opportunity that much more.
From a logistical and geographical standpoint, the team were hugely accommodating when offering me this opportunity at WPI Economics. They understood that I was located in Middlesbrough, and it would be difficult for me to move down to London for four weeks during the internship. Thus, they suggested that I travelled down for a week, to meet the team and to understand the project. Then I could complete the research back in Middlesbrough, while communicating through email and phone calls during the remaining three weeks. Ultimately, this was hugely rewarding as it gave me the independent experience of travelling down to London, and working with the team at WPIe. It was a huge success, and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity.”
Raphael Gregorian worked as an analyst at WPI Economics in 2017-18. In September 2018 he joined the civil service as an economist on the Fast Stream programme.
“I worked as an analyst at WPI Economics for just over a year after graduating from university. The experience introduced me to the world of economics, research, stakeholder engagement and policy. I have worked on projects such as exploring the need to improve opportunities for looked-after children; how to incentivise the greater uptake of cleaner vehicles; UK Fintech, immigration and Brexit; and how the built environment can impact mental health and wellbeing, amongst many others. The experience has proved invaluable for three distinct reasons: I have learned a great deal; I have enjoyed learning about and working on a variety of topics across public policy; and I have felt like an integral part of the team.
Firstly, I have learnt a huge amount over this past year. Beyond using Excel for economic modelling, or conducting effective literature reviews, I have also developed my soft skills of stakeholder engagement, structuring and writing documents for policy readers, working under pressure with a team and delivering for clients. The level of responsibility I was given as an analyst was refreshing and exciting while not becoming intimidating.
Secondly, the range of projects really exposed me to the breadth of uses of economics in public policy. This ranged from how a benefits system could ethically use a sanctions regime, to the creation of a new set of poverty measures, to how Brexit could impact homelessness (both services and service users). I found that this kept me engaged on the tasks and projects at hand, and gave me a more in-depth understanding of current affairs and contemporary policy debates.
Finally, I felt very welcomed as an integral member of the team. My contributions were valued, sought after and respected. I felt that my work was of tangible value and significant to the momentum and direction of projects: I could see how my work mattered. Moreover, alongside formal weekly catch-ups, I was given constructive feedback and assistance to progress my learning, and my development was always taken seriously. The team are genuine, down to earth, and very easy to get along with. I would greatly recommend working at WPI Economics.”
Meghan Meek-O’Connor worked as an analyst at WPI Economics in the summer of 2017.
“I worked at WPI Economics in the summer between my first and second years of a Masters in public policy. It was an extremely positive experience for me, as I was able to work on projects that I was interested in, I was allowed a considerable amount of responsibility, and the team was friendly and dynamic.
My main focus while at WPIe was on the Social Metrics Commission (SMC), developing new ways of measuring poverty. This project was exactly aligned with my academic and professional interests and experience, and I appreciated that the team took this into account when hiring me. They both remained interested in ensuring that I enjoyed and learned from my work throughout my time at WPIe. They included me in projects they knew would interest me, explained some of the technical aspects which are not my area of expertise, and made sure I attended talks and meetings relevant to my work.
The work was interesting, but also felt challenging, and important for WPIe. I appreciated that I had a considerable degree of responsibility, even though I was only there for a few months. I produced five literature reviews for the SMC, and attended regular meetings with SMC staff. I felt like I was incorporated as a full team member very quickly, which made my time there much more enjoyable. The amount of responsibility I was given while at WPIe meant that I learnt a lot. By the end of the summer I felt happy with what I had produced, and that I had made a significant contribution.
I felt welcomed into WPIe very quickly, and enjoyed my time in the office. I liked the friendly working environment, and it also felt exciting to be part of a small and growing team. This meant that my role could be quite varied, and I learnt about identifying new areas of work, and pitching for different projects. Overall, I would definitely recommend working at WPIe. I got to work on interesting, important projects with a friendly and passionate team.”