1. What was your role during your internship?
Oxera is a medium-sized consultancy firm with offices in
Oxford, London, Brussels and Berlin. It started out three
decades ago, advising the British government on how to
organise newly-liberalised sectors of the economy. The
company’s services are mostly centered on transport,
telecoms, utilities (such as water or electricity), although it
has also branched out into other sectors such as health and
intellectual property. Oxera’s aim is to provide high-quality
economic consulting services, and works in finance, state aid,
competition economics, and modelling – among others.
In my time at Oxera I was involved in various different
projects: one involved running econometric models for
cost analysis, and providing outputs and reports that could
be presented to the client; another concerned assessing
a regulated, non-publicly traded company’s returns to
determine whether it was being overpaid by the state. I was
also involved in a more minor role in several other projects,
including Oxera’s work for Gatwick airport, and Ryanair’s
(many) state aid cases.
2. How did your experience at TSE help you on the job?
Without a doubt, the most useful class for me was
Econometrics. Throughout my internship I was very involved
in the modelling team’s work, and the Econometrics course at
the TSE gave me a very thorough understanding of the basics
of the field. This made it much easier for me to understand
what (for example) different tests do, and their implications,
and in general allowed me to be much more comfortable in
discussing statistical properties, etc. My class in Stochastic
Processes also found practical application: Oxera took on a
project that involved constructing a Markov chain, in order to
model the probability of new businesses failing under
certain parameters. Interestingly, something I found
lacking in the M1 that would have been very helpful
was a good course on Competition Economics. Luckily,
I had already taken a course in Competition during my
undergraduate degree; if I hadn’t, I don’t know whether
I would have gotten the internship, as I wouldn’t even
have known what a natural monopoly was.
3. How did you get the internship? Do you have any
advice for students looking for a job in a similar field?
I actually first found out about Oxera through the TSE’s
Business Networking Day. I attended the presentation
they gave and was left with a very positive impression
of the company’s culture and the type of work they
engage in. In fact, I would quite recommend attending
the company presentations at the BND, as they can
give you a very good idea of whether the company
is the sort of place you’d enjoy working. In my case, it
certainly worked out very well.
My advice to students looking to do an internship is the
following: first off, don’t be afraid to sell yourself in the initial
application! Be sure the company knows what sort of value
you can bring. Secondly, you can never be too prepared for
an interview. For my interview with Oxera, I investigated
all of their sectors and services to make sure I had a decent
understanding of what they consisted of (this proved useful
as I was asked a question on state aid, which I hadn’t heard
of before applying), and read a few of the company’s recent
publications. It’s also a good idea to think about the answers
to the more obvious questions – things like “why do you want
this internship?” and “what made you choose this company/
institution?” – beforehand, in order to have a cohesive answer
in mind. Finally, relax! Being calm and confident goes a long
way towards making a good impression.