Having just completed my Masters in Economics, I was keen to explore the nexus between economic theory and reality – to understand how, and to what extent, I would use the rigorous theory I had studied to help solve a real world antitrust question. I was also certain that I wanted to work in an environment that would motivate me to go outside of my comfort zone while simultaneously offering me the opportunity to familiarise myself with the essential empirical tools. The summer internship at CRA not only provided such a conditioning environment but further supplemented it with various other learning opportunities.
Throughout the eight weeks of my internship, I was tasked with various stages of different projects – from background research at the start of a project to data collection and analysis using statistical software. Having a range of tasks for a variety of projects gave me the opportunity to work closely with junior and senior staff, keeping each day challenging. I was quite anxious from the outset about the (dis)utility of my elementary Stata skills in project work. However, in addition to training sessions on Stata, I was given ample time to develop my coding skills, which proved to be a key takeaway from the internship. Simultaneous to the project work, I also had the chance to get involved in a research project which introduced me to Python and the econometric tools used in damage estimations!
Besides the skills gained from project assignments, CRA had organised a Case Study project where interns across practices and global offices worked together in teams to solve a hypothetical merger case. One of the tasks involved identifying an appropriate data analysis methodology given the raw data. Although it was a very simplified form of the actual question facing competition economists daily, this proved to be a valuable learning experience. Through some memorable brainstorming sessions, we realised that the simplified assumptions that help us manoeuvre around econometric estimation problems came at a cost. This highlighted the need for an adopted methodology that best fit the data at hand and the industry under study.
As exciting as these takeaways are, the opportunity to work on high-profile cases with experienced economists was overwhelming at times! Luckily, CRA offered all the support and route-maps I needed to help guide the transition from the classroom to the workspace. The collaborative work environment, the intellectual pedigree of the team, and the rich learning experiences truly set apart the summer internship programme at CRA!
“Try & Hire” internship experience at CRA Zurich amid the COVID-19 pandemic
José Bila is an associate in the Life Sciences Practice based in Zurich. He joined CRA in June 2020 as part of the Swiss “Try & Hire” program, where...