It’s almost that time of the year again! ESI’s summer interns are ready to head back to school or graduate and look for full-time employment. Before starting on their next milestone, we asked them to reflect on their time with us by interviewing them about their experience. ESI thanks you for your hard work and wishes you best of luck for your future endeavors!
First, let’s meet our 2021 summer interns!
Brianna Galvin is majoring in Economics, Legal Studies, and Business Analytics at Drexel University, graduating in June 2023.
Unnati Gupta is a senior at Conestoga High School and plans to major in Economics in college.
Jacob Kayser is studying Urban Studies at The University of Pennsylvania.
Lyvia Tan attends Haverford college and is majoring in Philosophy.
Shaum Arora is majoring in Economics and minoring in Philosophy at Drexel University.
Uswa Mutaal is double majoring in Economics and Political Science with a minor in Legal Studies at Drexel University.
What is a key takeaway from your experience interning at ESI?
Jacob Kayser: A key takeaway from my experience interning at ESI is that one must be comfortable with balancing several projects, tasks, and deadlines simultaneously. Personally, I really enjoy the multi-faceted nature of an economic consulting firm like ESI, as it allows me to strengthen a wide variety of professional skills. During my experience I have worked on a myriad of tasks including researching, creating reports, editing documents, utilizing data in excel, and coding in R.
Lyvia Tan: A key takeaway from my ESI intern experience is balancing multiple projects at once. When the caseload increases to four or five projects with different timelines and assignments, you are really challenged and thrown into the thick of it. It can be difficult to manage disparate responsibilities, but I’ve learned to devote time to chip away at each project. Each assignment requires a unique set of skills and way of thinking, so not only have I learned to manage my time more effectively, but I have also learned how to practice mental flexibility to shift gears from one project to another.
Brianna Galvin: My key takeaway would be the insight to how economic consulting truly looks with regards to universities, hospitals, local governments, and other entities.
Unnati Gupta: One of the most important things I learned from this experience is that economics is an immensely versatile field of study that contributes powerful information to so many sectors.
How would you describe completing your internship remotely? What have you learned?
Lyvia Tan: Working remotely was the new normal for the past two semesters at school, so doing remote work for my internship was not too big of a change. However, completing my internship remotely was challenging at times when some of my colleagues were in the office, and I was working at home because we had to work across different physical spaces. To bridge this gap, we utilized technology as a digital space for collaboration. I learned how to communicate more effectively with my team, which is especially paramount when team members are spread across different regions. I also learned how to stay connected to the office even though I worked remotely. One of the highlights of my experience was the social at Dilworth Park in the beginning of my internship. I was able to meet people in person(!) and put a 3D face to the emails, Slack pings, and Teams invites. Even though I completed my internship remotely, I learned how to connect with my team members and broadly with the ESI family.
Uswa Mutaal: Although I was a little skeptical to begin my internship remotely, I was pleasantly surprised at how welcoming the team was. I was given due time and mentorship to ease into my role as a Research Assistant and develop my quantitative and qualitative analysis skills. Among the many things I learned, client presentations, report writing, and data work stand out the most for me.
Shaum Arora: It was similar to my last internship, which was also remote, but this was structured better, as there were weekly check-ins to see what I was working on, if I needed help with something, etc. I learned that a marketing team has several roles and showcases to the outside world what the company really does. Additionally, I learned that a consulting firm can specialize in many fields and has employees who have expertise in different backgrounds.
Unnati Gupta: Completing my internship remotely was a challenge but also a learning opportunity. I learned a lot about communication and collaboration. I found that maintaining clear communication with other interns and the analysts ensured I was contributing my best work to each project.
What is your favorite project you worked on? What did you do specifically?
Jacob Kayser: My favorite task originated from a project that was building data to analyze the relationship between zoning codes and housing affordability. This three-year project consists of analyzing zoning codes from virtually every county in the United States and evaluating how zoning restrictions may impact maximum density, housing supply and affordability. My coursework this past year began to take a more statistical approach as I was introduced to coding, specifically in the language R. While I felt that I had a basic understanding of the program, I wanted to put my new skills to use in a professional environment. Due to the nature of a consulting firm, often times the work does not demand tasks for R. However, after expressing my interest in coding, I was able to complete some tasks in R. Specifically, my work consisted of organizing hundreds of thousands of lines of data and grouping them into specific sections. While it was not the most challenging coding task, I was incredibly grateful for the professional experience of seeing how a consulting firm utilizes coding to satisfy clients’ needs.
Lyvia Tan: My favorite project that I have worked on is a Cell and Gene Therapy project for a university. I researched top cell and gene therapy companies and pulled data regarding top skills, qualifications, and experience areas needed for various jobs within the industry. I helped identify the most prominent clusters of need including good manufacturing practices, lab experience, and regulation and drug approval process knowledge. This project has been the most engaging because I get to contribute to all facets of the project from the back-end research and data collection to the front-end graphic design and narration crafting. It also helps that the project topic is something that I find interesting and enjoy reading about.
Shaum Arora: At the start of my internship, I wanted to learn more about smart cities. Fortunately, I was able to help with a project along this tangent. My favorite project that I worked on was an RFI for Smart City Infrastructure for Richmond, VA. To complete this task, I worked directly with ESI Principals and an outside firm to collect information and compiled it into a document. I also had the opportunity to assist with the reveal of ESI’s new thought leadership arm, Center for the Future of Cities. Lastly, I enjoyed drafting and editing blog posts for Present Value and was able to showcase my passion for smart cities through a post about how cities can be more inclusive.
What advice would you give to next year’s interns?
Uswa Mutaal: I would advise next year’s interns to reach out to principals, directors and analysts whose work intrigues them the most and seek advice for their own professional journey. Everyone at the firm is extremely knowledgeable in their field and always willing to help.
Brianna Galvin: I would advise to always ask questions. Everyone here is extremely friendly and knowledgeable. Ask questions of data work, interests, or career experience. The team comes from such diverse backgrounds and expertise, part of the experience is learning beyond the report.
Jacob Kayser: Working at ESI is a special opportunity that no one should take for granted. The type of work is so versatile that you will be exposed to myriad topic areas, styles of work, and tasks. However, it is important to reach out to supervisors and make sure that you are exposed to a variety of projects. This will allow you to learn more about the consulting firm and will keep you mentally engaged as you switch between researching, editing, coding, and working in excel.