Getting an Economics Internship

Interested in working in economics? Here’s how one Queen Mary student gained an internship at the Government Economic Service (GES), before landing a graduate job at KPMG:

How did you get the internship at GES?

From an early point I had an interest in policymaking and applying economics to a wide range of disciplines beyond what is the norm. This led me to attend a talk at the university by a senior economist at GES and to find out about their internship opportunities.

I submitted the application for the internship early as I was well aware of the competition involved in getting a placement with the GES. After passing an initial sifting stage, I was informed that I had been allocated to a department that best met my skills which was the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). I was asked to attend an interview with a senior economist and two graduate economists. I was asked to complete an economics based numerical exercise, a competency interview and separate interviews with each graduate economist on macro and micro concepts. Following this I was informed that I had passed the interview and had the placement.

What you were doing during your internship?

The first week was dedicated to ensuring that I knew the structure of what I would be doing, as well as providing an in-depth look into the UK Justice System and current and future plans for the MoJ.

Following this I was assigned a report to create from scratch on the driving factors for re-offending in the UK. As well as this main project I was assigned weekly task on assessing the social impacts of crime. The report required cross-departmental collaboration across the GES to source the relevant data and utilised existing research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies. My work offered new and innovative insights with regards to a greater emphasis on socio-economic, behavioural and geographic factors.

How useful did you find your time at GES?

Ultimately the placement with the GES was an unparalleled opportunity that has benefited me in many ways: it has broadened my abilities whilst developing skills related to everyday work and at the same time I met a large number of individuals who I am still in contact with that have offered considerable advice.

And after your internship?

Working at GES helped me realise what I wanted to do as a career, so I then put together a plan as to how to get my ideal job. I decided to try for KPMG. The skills I had developed during my time at GES (meeting clients, producing reports and critical thinking) were all incredibly useful during the KPMG application process and the assessment centre itself. I believe I was able to stand our during the recruitment process and was ultimately offered a place on their graduate scheme. I think this success was in a large way due to my experience as an internship at GES.

Zeeshan Arshed

Queen Mary Economics Student

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