Econsult Solutions must once again say goodbye to a highly talented intern. Nehel Shahid (Bryn Mawr College class of ’18) has been providing research support to our Principals, Directors, and Analysts while gaining hands on experience about economics and economic consulting. Her tenure has come to an end, but before she returns to school full-time, we sat down with Nehel to get her take on ESI, economic consulting, and how her time here has impacted her future.
How did you hear about ESI?
I’m currently a math major with a minor in economics at Bryn Mawr College. My initial objective was to enhance my research skills and learn more about the differences in macro and micro economics. Before interning at ESI I had been primarily focused on macro, but learned a great deal about applied micro economics during my internship.
Bryn Mawr College recommended ESI to me. A former student had participated in the Praxis program before me and had similar interests. I saw the firm as a place that would offer a good mix of academic research in a corporate setting.
What is the Praxis program?
The Praxis program is a part-time internship that counts toward school credit. You work part-time and develop skills based around your career interests.
What was it like working for the firm?
It’s a small firm, but that allows for a great collaborative space. I worked with a variety of Directors, Research Analysts, and anyone that needed help. I really liked the informal hierarchy. You have Principals, Directors, Analysts, and interns, but when you’re on a project everyone is equal. You get asked to contribute and participate in the process equally. I also enjoyed the open layout of the staff room. If you had a question or needed help on a project, you could openly connect with the team.
What was a challenge you faced while at ESI?
Something I found challenging but also very rewarding was learning how to understand a complex problem and break it down into manageable parts for me to work on. The feeling of “where do I start” and how do I get to a desired goal. It was a great lesson on the essence of consulting which is figuring out a solution to a problem and conveying that in a very clear and concise way.
What was something you enjoyed about your internship?
I really enjoyed the open layout of the staff room. If you had a question or needed help on a project, you could openly connect with the team. And the staff exchanges between Grant and Ian were always comical.
Who did you work with the most?
I had the opportunity to work with almost everyone, but Andrea was my Field Site Supervisor. She was very helpful and struck a good balance between overseeing my work and allowing me to manage my own responsibilities. Anytime I was lost she would put me back on track. She was always accessible and open with me.
What good advice did you receive while at ESI?
Andrea told me to make sure I get to know everyone. She said it’s a great way to learn more about the type of work ESI performs, but also exposes you to a variety of projects.
How will you use the skills you’ve acquired going forward?
The work ESI performs is focused on applied microeconomics. The projects they work on are interesting on an academic level, but they have the potential to impact communities, policies, and people’s everyday lives. I want to continue learning more about economic consulting.
How will you stay in touch?
I hope to stay in touch with Andrea and all of the other Directors. ESI is so interesting because everyone comes from such diverse backgrounds and levels of experience. The Directors are a great resource and I see them as mentors.
What’s next for you?
I’m an international student originally from Pakistan. Ideally I want to graduate and pursue a Master’s degree, and hopefully stay in the Philadelphia region. I’ve started to consider looking into MPA programs because of my experiences at ESI. The firm is very policy based and many of the Directors and Principals come from that background, so that’s what got me looking into it. They have definitely changed my views on grad school.
What is the biggest takeaway from your experience?
ESI has a nice family-like environment. The firm is small, but everyone’s personalities gel well together. The Principals and Directors take a genuine interest in getting to know you. I remember on my first day, Steve and Dick both came up to me and introduced themselves and instantly made me feel welcome. I was not expecting that. It was a great feeling.
Mike Daly is a Marketing Associate at Econsult Solutions, Inc (ESI). Mr. Daly is responsible for enhancing ESI’s brand and work through traditional and social media, content development for the web, and managing the ESI Blog.