Economic Consulting Q&A - Past experience at major firms

I’ve worked in economic consulting at one of the major firms for a few years. In that time, I’ve gotten a number of private messages from people asking me about what to expect in the interview process, what the work is like, and so on. I decided that it would make sense to assemble as much of that knowledge in one place, especially given that economic consulting is not always an active topic of discussion. So here it is. I’m going to later copy this info onto the consulting firm once this thread leaves the top page. See answers to questions I've already received below, and feel free to ask more.

What is economic consulting?

For the most part, economic consultants quantify damages and analyze economic, financial, accounting, and statistical issues in litigation. For example, if you’ve ever read about Apple suing Samsung for patent infringement or heard about large payouts that a financial firm had to make to investors, I can guarantee that each side of those cases had consultants providing expert analysis. The final work product that the firm produces will be in the form of an expert report.

Generally in these cases, there will be one “expert” (often a professor at an economics department or a business school) who will be supported by a partner and team of people internal at the consulting firms. These are the ones who actually write the report and do all the analysis. The expert who’s name is on the report rarely does very much in the way of actual work.

Usually, these sorts of cases will settle before ever going to trial, but sometimes the expert will testify in front of a jury.

In addition, many of these firms will work on more traditional strategy consulting engagements that require more quantitative expertise.

You can learn more about economic consulting below.

Who are the major firms for economic consultants?

The big, major, national firms that do very high-profile work include Analysis Group, The Brattle Group, Charles River Associates, Compass Lexecon, Cornerstone Research, and NERA. Berkeley Research Group, which mostly consists of people who worked at the now-defunct LECG, is another big firm.

Going down a bit on the prestige meter you have organizations such as FTI Consulting, Navigant, and Huron. The Big Four accounting firms also all have economic consulting divisions. Many of the firms here do work that is just as big and unstructured as the firms above, but they are also involved with many less prestigious cases as well.

There are many smaller boutiques as well: places such as Criterion Economics, Kenrich Group, MiCRA, and many, many others.

economic consulting jobs overview

What will I be doing there? What’s the structure like?

Most firms will hire analysts directly out of BA or masters programs. It is generally impossible to move up the ladder unless you have a graduate degree, though exceptions exist, especially within the Big Four. The next step will be an Associate type of position for recent MBA/PhD grads. From there, the titles might be something like “senior economist,” “manager,” and “vice president” until reaching a “director” or “partner” type of title.

In a typical case, the partner will be responsible for managing the relationship with the client (the direct client tends to be a law firm), while a manager/VP will be responsible for directing most of the day-to-day research and analysis. As an analyst, you’ll be responsible collecting and cleaning data, auditing the work product of other analysts, building financial models in Excel, and analyzing large datasets in SAS, and creating charts and graphs. You’ll probably also spend a fair bit of time doing more qualitative research, such as going through equity research reports, looking for news items, reviewing academic articles. Then there’s the real boring stuff like putting together binders of supporting documents.

economic consulting firm interview process

The 30-minute screening interview will be very similar to any other screening interview. Expect to be asked why you’d like to work in economic consulting and be ready to walk through any substantive research projects that you’ve worked on. If you wrote a thesis, worked as a research assistant, or mentioned completing some substantive project, be ready to talk about how you approached your work, what sort of problems you encountered with the data, and how you resolved those issues.

What are the exit options like from economic consulting firms?

Economic consulting does not offer the variety of high paying exit options that you’ll get after putting in a few years at Goldman Sachs IBD or McKinsey. Most analysts go directly to business school after a 2-4 years, with smaller but still significant numbers going to PhD programs or law school. Smaller numbers will go to other masters programs, and I’ve even seen a few go to medical school.

Very often analysts will take a lower paying but perhaps more interesting job after working in economic consulting. I’ve known people who have gone on to spend 1-2 years at federal agencies such as the Federal Reserve board or various non-profits.

Some analysts, however, have managed to make careers for themselves at startups, asset management firms, or other economic consulting firms that are less stringent about requiring a graduate degree to advance.

The business school placement from top firms, I should add, is very good. My firm sends multiple analysts to Harvard, Wharton, and Stanford every year with many others going to UChicago, MIT, Northwesterm Columbia, and others. I think that the economic consulting skillset lends itself well to many post-MBA positions. I’ve known people who worked in economic consulting, worked as summer associates in IBD, and came back to economic consulting. They’ve all said that the economic consulting skill set is very easy to sell to the IBs. In addition, I’ve seen people from my firm make successful post-MBA transitions to Asset Management, management con*sulting, marketing—a whole range of stuff
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Basically, I’ve enjoyed working in economic consulting. As an analyst, I’ve had the chance to do interesting, substantive work on some really big cases. I’ve built financial models, became adept as using SAS, and have lightening fast Excel skills. I didn’t need o travel like my friends in management consulting, and though I had more than my fair share of very late nights and weekends in the office, I wasn’t driven to the bone as hard as my investment banker friends were. I think that it’s a great stepping stone to grad school and other jobs.

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Wow, I'm thrilled to see this right now. My interest in econ consulting was recently rekindled, and I have spent all weekend searching WSO for whatever nuggets of information I could find.

1) Do any firms have MBA or other graduate degree (not PhD) sponsorship programs?

2) How much flexibility is there within the firm for analysts to move to other areas? So from securities litigation to antitrust to strategy, perhaps?

3) How much interaction would an analyst have with PhD economists (not just Nobel laureates)? Especially those who could write a good letter of recommendation for PhD programs?

4) Have you seen people move from econ consulting, either pre or post-MBA, to private equity specifically?

5) Do any econ consulting firms have part-time, school-year internships that you know of?

6) When is recruiting season for full-time analyst positions?

7) How much does the prestige of one's undergrad institution matter? For a math and economics major coming from a non-target but with lots of economic research experience (at school and internship), how much of a hurdle is the name (or lack thereof) of his school? (I can PM resume if you're willing :) )

Thank you very much for this thread, it's a huge help!

 
Best Response
Khansian:
Wow, I'm thrilled to see this right now. My interest in econ consulting was recently rekindled, and I have spent all weekend searching WSO for whatever nuggets of information I could find.

1) Do any firms have MBA or other graduate degree (not PhD) sponsorship programs?

Among the major firms that I listed (Cornerstone, AG, etc.) you will likely not get funding for Bschool, mostly because you're expected to move on to something else after a few years if you're an analyst. However, associates are sometimes re-hired out of Bschool at the same firm that they used to work for.

Khansian:
2) How much flexibility is there within the firm for analysts to move to other areas? So from securities litigation to antitrust to strategy, perhaps?

This is wholly dependent on the firm and the particular office. Some offices are purely generalist, and an analyst will be part of an open labor pool. Others silo analysts in particular practice areas. Even in the open/generalist offices, however, analysts will develop relationships with certain managers and do consistent work for them, so if there's someone who's work you like, you can set it up so you mostly work for him/her.

Khansian:
3) How much interaction would an analyst have with PhD economists (not just Nobel laureates)? Especially those who could write a good letter of recommendation for PhD programs?

If the PhD economists are internal at the firm, then you'll likely have a lot of interaction, though it would depend on the level of the PhD in question. I'd imagine that there are offices out there where analysts will have little contact with very high powered PhDs who mostly build client relationships. But for the most part, you'll have the chance to work closely with PhDs who are associates/VPs/managers.

Khansian:
4) Have you seen people move from econ consulting, either pre or post-MBA, to private equity specifically?

Pre-MBA? I'm sure that it's happened, but I'd imagine that it would be difficult to do since those jobs seem to be 100% geared towards ex-banking analysts and a few management consultants. Your networking ability and raw determination will be very important. Post-MBA? I'd imagine that an MBA grad with a few years of economic consulting experience would likewise have a tough time moving into PE. An MBA grad who then worked in economic consulting as an associate for a few years? I'd wager that this would be quite difficult indeed.

Khansian:
5) Do any econ consulting firms have part-time, school-year internships that you know of?

I'm sure that some do. You'd be best off contacting the firms/alums directly. This would likely be easier and more common at smaller places.

Khansian:
6) When is recruiting season for full-time analyst positions?

It starts in the early fall, same as banking/consulting. Might run a bit later for the smaller firms.

Khansian:
7) How much does the prestige of one's undergrad institution matter? For a math and economics major coming from a non-target but with lots of economic research experience (at school and internship), how much of a hurdle is the name (or lack thereof) of his school? (I can PM resume if you're willing :) )

You can PM me if you'd like. Going to a school where these firms recruit from is obviously quite helpful, but you can still apply online/network with alums and if you're really good get your foot in the door. Also, smaller places should be more receptive.

Khansian:
Thank you very much for this thread, it's a huge help!

No problem.

 
pktkid10:
Hayek- Thank you for this thorough write up.. This type of work is often not discussed.

In your experience do most folks start here directly out of undergrad, or is it just as probable to transition over after a few years?

Thanks in advance.

gentles:
This might be useful for others to, what are the most sought after skills you see in the industry? I am starting at a Big 4 in Economics but ultimately I would like to move to one of the more specialist firms you mentioned earlier.

Is a graduate degree necessary to progress? Or is it possible to self develop economics skills and demonstrate these to a potential employer?

Any responses are greatly appreciated, as is your time taken to write this thread, SB for you!

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pktkid10:
Hayek- Thank you for this thorough write up.. This type of work is often not discussed.

In your experience do most folks start here directly out of undergrad, or is it just as probable to transition over after a few years?

Thanks in advance.

I would say that the majority of analysts get their job in the fall/winter of senior year and start after graduating from college, but this is by no means universal. I've worked with people who have worked at federal agencies, marketing firms, financial places, etc. for a year or so before making the switch over. I would say that it's best to make this switch with no more than 2 years of experience. At smaller places, they will likely be more open to people with varied backgrounds in terms of masters degrees, work experience, etc.

The most common hiring process is to interview in the fall/winter and get an offer to start in the spring/summer, but ad-hoc hiring does go on at other times during the year, most often around Christmas time, right before or after the new year. Sometimes analysts will leave unexpectedly around this time, or management may decide that more analysts are needed, which will result in a new analyst or two being hired. Although there are fewer slots during these periods my guess is that getting hired is actually a bit easier if you have an interview, since the firm won't have the same large pool of talent to choose from that they might have during campus recruiting, so if you fall above whaever bar they have, you'll be in good shape.

gentles:
This might be useful for others to, what are the most sought after skills you see in the industry? I am starting at a Big 4 in Economics but ultimately I would like to move to one of the more specialist firms you mentioned earlier.

Is a graduate degree necessary to progress? Or is it possible to self develop economics skills and demonstrate these to a potential employer?

Any responses are greatly appreciated, as is your time taken to write this thread, SB for you!

[/quote]

The most important skills, at least among analysts, are:

  • Quant experience and grades: economics major with some math classes and programming experience would likely be the ideal academic background. This is usually necessary but by no means sufficient. Also, I have seen people who majored in philosophy or other soft subject get jobs if they also have some quant classes in their background. I need to emphasize that the top places in particular REALLY LIKE PEOPLE WITH HIGH GPAS. I've worked with multipl 3.9+ people as well as at least 2 4.0+ individuals.

  • Research experience: This is huge; they really like people who write senior theses or worked as research assistants, since this sort of work (data collection/cleaning, emphasis on accuracy, reviewing academic literature) is so similar to the work that you'll do as an analyst.

  • Internships: Consulting, banking, and anything that involves analyzing data.

  • Personality/fit: This is huge, at least in the second round. THEY WANT PEOPE GENUINELY INTERESTED IN ECON CONSULTING. if you have a few IB/finance internships, you really need to work hard to get across why you don't want to go down that path and why econ consulting is right for you. Also, ECON CONSULTING IS NOT MANAGEMENT CONSULTING! I can't tell you how many cover letters I've seen that talked about the candidate's enthusiasm for "working on high level corporate strategy engagements" or "marketing products in new markets." You must know what these firms do and demonstrate interest in it!

Obviously people can get hired with different weights on all of these factors. People with a soft major and a few econ/quant classes can get hired if they have good research/internship experience. A weak GPA can be mitigated with good research experience and being seen as a good fit. And so on. I've seen people that were 3.9 econ majors with a dinky internship and almost nothing else going for them get offers because they demonstrated interest and clicked with their interviewers.

 

Thanks broseph. That's very imformative.

I'm on the pursuit of happiness and I know everything that shine ain't always gonna be gold. I'll be fine once I get it
 

Thanks for posting.

Was wondering if you could talk about what kind of applicants CRA/Analysis Group/NERA/Cornerstone end up taking? Assuming mostly target kids (also what is the GPA cutoff?) but what types of internships do applicants do their junior year if they didn't do economic consulting for their junior summer?

Also in terms of networking and who decides to grant interviews for OCR, would you recommend talking to analysts/associates/etc?

 
option1234:
Thanks for posting.

Was wondering if you could talk about what kind of applicants CRA/Analysis Group/NERA/Cornerstone end up taking? Assuming mostly target kids (also what is the GPA cutoff?) but what types of internships do applicants do their junior year if they didn't do economic consulting for their junior summer?

Also in terms of networking and who decides to grant interviews for OCR, would you recommend talking to analysts/associates/etc?

I covered this in my other responses, but to reiterate, they tend to like high GPA econ majors. Junior internships can vary a great deal. I've seen people to finance, management consulting, paralegal work, RA for a professor...it really runs the gamut. 3.5 is a good rough GPA target but they trend higher than that. And like I said, it depends on your major/minor, classes, internships, and other factors.

I would network with analysts, but if associates went to your school, then go for it. At my place analysts and associates review resumes (mostly analysts though) and the process is generally run by analysts.

 

Thanks a lot on the insight. I came from a bus and comp sci background and don't have a lot experience in research outside my classes and intenrship. Should I put my only high level econ and math class on my resume or targeting my codeing and Excel ability is a better approach?

 

In 2004, I got into NERA with a low GPA. I was Finance major with Econ minor from a Semi-Target and smoked the interview (several very technical econ questions to test my reasoning). They hire about 50% H1-B foreigners for the research associate roles. It's a great starting job. You'll master excel, data analysis, and a rigorous academic approach. But, the attrition is very high and you can't stay more than 4 years without a Masters/PHd. You can get looks from IBD, Consulting, and research firms with limited networking.

 

Hi,

I am currently a PhD student in Econ. Do you know what position a PhD graduate can start a career at in an economic consulting firm or the Big 4? Do economic consulting firms hire intern? If so, how can I apply(as I notice, the online application systems of Big 4 are only for undergraduates or MA...)?

Thank you so much!

 

Hi, I was wondering if you could shed some light on this? I posted this on another forum but you seem like a good person to ask! I've pasted my question below:

I am a senior and have accepted an offer at one of the large econ consulting firms. What's unique about my situation is that I am graduating in Fall 2012, and not summer 2013 and have the option of an early start date (maybe in Feb 2013/Mar 2013?)

I am wondering: If i start in Feb/Mar 2013, do you guys think that will make me a decent candidate for applying to top MBA programs for admittance in 2015? I know there's several other factors to consider besides duration of work experience, but I guess I'm wondering if I'd be put at a significant disadvantage?

From what I understand ppl in econ consulting typically apply to MBAs with about 3 years of experience (about 2-2.5 years at the time of application)

Appreciate your help!

 

Thanks for the info, this thread is great. I'm looking at going into economic consulting and am really just trying to evaluate my chances. I have solid BA and MA degrees in economics from good schools (the former from the UK), and overall good GPAs for both. My previous experience is a bit varied and scattered - I have some decent research assistant experience (but not in Economics), and have worked in accounting and asset management. I also have a couple of gaps. I can PM my resume if you want.

My problems are, I think, my varied resume, the timing of my applications (I've been abroad, will be returning to the US this summer and so will be applying around now). Are these problematic? Is it problematic that I have some prior experience - about 2.5 years overall?

Thanks again for the great thread.

 
ZDR:
Thanks for the info, this thread is great. I'm looking at going into economic consulting and am really just trying to evaluate my chances. I have solid BA and MA degrees in economics from good schools (the former from the UK), and overall good GPAs for both. My previous experience is a bit varied and scattered - I have some decent research assistant experience (but not in Economics), and have worked in accounting and asset management. I also have a couple of gaps. I can PM my resume if you want.

My problems are, I think, my varied resume, the timing of my applications (I've been abroad, will be returning to the US this summer and so will be applying around now). Are these problematic? Is it problematic that I have some prior experience - about 2.5 years overall?

Thanks again for the great thread.

Feel free to PM me if you'd like. Don't worry too much about your varied experience--you need to work with what you've got and try to network + send your resume to as many places as possible.

 

Awesome thread. Can I ask how is the recruiting process for econ consulting different than investment banking or consulting? Do they have their own list of target schools for recruitment? The reason I am asking is because I am from one of the Big Ten, majoring in economics. Although I do not have a perfect gpa but I do have research experience from my senior honor thesis class last semester. Do you think I would stand a chance for breaking into econ consulting (Can I pm you my resume to have you take a look and possibly give some advice?)?

 

Hayek,

You mentioned that ideal candidates would be econ majors with some math and programming experience. Can you please elaborate on the kind of math and programming skills that are usually used in economic consulting? For instance, do you ever use real analysis or topology?

mk
 
akkk:

Hayek,

You mentioned that ideal candidates would be econ majors with some math and programming experience. Can you please elaborate on the kind of math and programming skills that are usually used in economic consulting? For instance, do you ever use real analysis or topology?

No, you will never use anything even comes close to approaching real analysis or topology.

You'll run some regressions (depending on case/practice area) and do lots of modeling in Excel, and programming in STATA or SAS. The actual math that I use is never more complicated than what you'd see in an introductory econometric class. They like people with math backgrounds because it means that they're likely numerate, quantitatively inclined people. The process of going through a problem set and so on is very transferable to grinding through many of the problems that you'll face, but you'll never actually use calculus let alone having to prove any theorems. Remember, the clients/audience for an expert report are lawyers, judges, and juries. You want to keep the analysis as simple as possible.

 

Great thread, thanks for doing this. A couple questions...

I have a BS and MS in economics, but will have approx 5 years of military experience when I could first make the jump to another career. I realize that networking would be my only real way in, but would someone like me come in as an Analyst or an Associate?

What is typical annual all-in compensation like for Analysts and Associates?

 

Do analysts/associates ever rise up the ladder as they do in IBD? Who brings in the business? Are there VP-type folks? Or is there a clear, insurmountable wall between the partners and the analysts/associates?

What do MBAs do at these types of firms? They generally don't have the stats/programming skills of top undergrad students.

It's very difficult to find information on economic consulting on the internet, so thanks for this thread.

 

Hayek, great post! Really appreciate your input I am about to start work at a Analysis Group/NERA/Cornerstone type firm and am curious a little more about the non-b school exit ops.

Specifically, do you see people transition into some of the big-4 type forensic, litigation FAS support, type roles? And also, could you elaborate a little more on the type of industry switches you saw and what sort of roles/titles those led to?

Finally, I am curious about your experience with the post-mba associate salary increase. Is this increase large enough to justify the cost, the opportunity cost is obviously a consideration for anyone with an econ background.

Thanks a lot, and keep up the good work!

 
zoomie:

Great thread, thanks for doing this. A couple questions...

I have a BS and MS in economics, but will have approx 5 years of military experience when I could first make the jump to another career. I realize that networking would be my only real way in, but would someone like me come in as an Analyst or an Associate?

What is typical annual all-in compensation like for Analysts and Associates?

Different firms have different categories of people, maybe you would come in as a "senior analyst sort of position." For people right out of school at the big firms (Cornerstone/AG/etc.) analysts probably start at around 65+10% bonus+a few k signing bonus and associates at low 6 figures, not sure about their bonuses. Might want to check glassdoor.com.

 

I just graduated from UVA with a BA in Economics, I don't think I would like to go for a master's. Do you think a MSF or MS Accounting would help me get into this field? I didn't do any research/internships in college so the few interviews I've gotten have gone bad since I have had trouble drawing from experience. Would there be any entry-level jobs that are pretty easy to obtain and could eventually lead to a better consulting position or is education the only way in outside of networking?

 

Scotchy- I did a MS in Accounting and was subsequently hired at an econ consulting firm. Very few people go this route from my experience and I was definitely an anomaly in my master's class. That being said, there has been some growth at some firms in the number of accounting related cases they are taking on. An econ background is definitely a plus, so depending on how many and what sorts of interviews you have lined up you may not need the extra degree. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions related to my experience.

 
scotshy:

I just graduated from UVA with a BA in Economics, I don't think I would like to go for a master's. Do you think a MSF or MS Accounting would help me get into this field? I didn't do any research/internships in college so the few interviews I've gotten have gone bad since I have had trouble drawing from experience. Would there be any entry-level jobs that are pretty easy to obtain and could eventually lead to a better consulting position or is education the only way in outside of networking?

Yes, these degrees can help. Remember the big 4 all have litigation support/valuation practices, and they may like your background.

 

Hayek,

Really great thread. Thank you for this. There isn't much conversation like this going on on the internet. You mind sharing a bit more about your background? Say, your research experience and so on.

I have some Econ research experience and Math classes up to Linear algebra. Since graduating in Fall 2012 I have been working in Business Intelligence (mainly work with structured databases and data visualization). I am really, really interested in the field but am not sure how best to sell my background. Any advice? Much appreciated!

Thanks again for the thread and detailed replies!

 

Hi Hayek, and thank you for taking the time out for this really insightful post.

I currently double as a money market analyst and a treasury bills portfolio manager and I would want to make the switch to economic consulting. My academic background is Economics (BS) and Finance (MS). I would be applying to do a PhD in Economics in 2014 to round me up. Long term plan is to work in a firm with a cross-country bias to analyze deficiencies in macreconomic models and give solutions. How well would you say my background fits this role and what advice will you give to pull my career on the track?

 
logaane:

Hi Hayek, and thank you for taking the time out for this really insightful post.

I currently double as a money market analyst and a treasury bills portfolio manager and I would want to make the switch to economic consulting. My academic background is Economics (BS) and Finance (MS). I would be applying to do a PhD in Economics in 2014 to round me up. Long term plan is to work in a firm with a cross-country bias to analyze deficiencies in macreconomic models and give solutions. How well would you say my background fits this role and what advice will you give to pull my career on the track?

Once you get a PhD you can do whatever you want. I don't think that your plans are too well aligned with the sort of economic consulting we're talking about here though (litigation consulting). You may want to look at firms that do macroeconomic forecasting/analysis, or ratings agencies.

 

I'd like to thank you so very much, I have been searching for a thread like this all over the internet to no avail, until now.

I am aiming for an Economic Consulting job (i'll be fine with starting as an intern or research associate). Since i'm from Europe, I do not really understand the GPA values you have mentionned. Does a cum laude masters degree (from a leading department), majoring in International Organization, Microeconomics and Economics of Competition would qualify my application? I am at ease with STATA (but not SAS nor excel) and econometrics, and did research for my thesis (in which I had a very high grade).

Also, according to my credentials (and my really young age), do you think that selling myself based mainly on my academic achievements is a good idea? How should I prepare for an interview based on real-life or fictional cases?

Thank you again Hayek!

 
Griffith:

I'd like to thank you so very much, I have been searching for a thread like this all over the internet to no avail, until now.

I am aiming for an Economic Consulting job (i'll be fine with starting as an intern or research associate). Since i'm from Europe, I do not really understand the GPA values you have mentionned. Does a cum laude masters degree (from a leading department), majoring in International Organization, Microeconomics and Economics of Competition would qualify my application? I am at ease with STATA (but not SAS nor excel) and econometrics, and did research for my thesis (in which I had a very high grade).

Also, according to my credentials (and my really young age), do you think that selling myself based mainly on my academic achievements is a good idea? How should I prepare for an interview based on real-life or fictional cases?

Thank you again Hayek!

Your background sounds fine. Yes, I would leverage your academics, but try to get an internship or two as well.

 

Many people have asked me over PM about case study questions. Here's a response that I sent to someone:

"I wouldn't worry too much about the case interviews. A good source is to look for white papers on the website of the firm(s) where you're interviewing. That should give you a good idea about the way of thinking and so on. For example I had a "case" interview at Firm a few years ago about patents (what would make the value of a patent go up, how would it be more valuable, etc.) I knew that the office focused on IP and before the interview I found a great white paper on cornerstone's website that talked about patent damages, the panduit test, georgia pacific factors, etc. and I did extremely well on those case questions. Really they just want to see that you have some baseline of economic intuition/reasoning ability."

tl;dr: best way is to find marketing white papers on different firms websites. They will generally give you a broad overview of how consultants do their analysis in IP, securities, etc. and then apply it to a case study.

 

@Hayek Any recommended reading regarding securities fraud damage calculations? I'm Interviewing for a firm with a solid practice in this area and want to be able to talk the talk and better understand different methods for calculating these (and other) complex damages.

Also would appreciate any recommended reading/guides for learning STATA/R, monte-carlo simulation models for damage calc purposes, derivatives valuation, and any other relevant stats skills for the job.

Awesome thread that is very informative. Thanks so much!

 
J-Man:

@Hayek Any recommended reading regarding securities fraud damage calculations? I'm Interviewing for a firm with a solid practice in this area and want to be able to talk the talk and better understand different methods for calculating these (and other) complex damages.

Also would appreciate any recommended reading/guides for learning STATA/R, monte-carlo simulation models for damage calc purposes, derivatives valuation, and any other relevant stats skills for the job.

Awesome thread that is very informative. Thanks so much!

I would go to all the firms' websites and look for white papers on these topics. I don't have anything off the top of my head to link you to though.

Look into "Financial Modeling" by Benninga, supposed to be a great book, with a CD of Excel stuff.

 
phish:

@Hayek Can you tell me a little bit about the super day process? What kinds of questions do they ask? What is their structure? What proportion of kids usually get hired at an econ consulting super day? Thanks!

Know your resume well and be able to talk about research experience or anything that involves dealing with data. Make sure you're relaxed, and come across as chill and likable. At that stage a huge part of it is finding people that you would actually want to work with. You'll probably meet with a few people, get lunch with some analysts, then meet with a few more people, from a variety of levels in the firm. Not sure about percentages, that will depend on the firm and hiring needs. Most important thing is to be very well rested the night before, have your story down, etc...standard interview stuff.

 

@Hayek I am deciding between two of the firms you had mentioned (FTI and The Kenrich Group). I was wondering if you think that either one has more pull than the other if I were to ever pursue future opportunities elsewhere? I have no intentions leaving anytime soon with whichever I choose. However, I realize that in this day and age, our generation tends to jump from job to job.

 
bandit3:

@Hayek
I am deciding between two of the firms you had mentioned (FTI and The Kenrich Group). I was wondering if you think that either one has more pull than the other if I were to ever pursue future opportunities elsewhere? I have no intentions leaving anytime soon with whichever I choose. However, I realize that in this day and age, our generation tends to jump from job to job.

FTI has a better brand name...it's likely what I would choose but it also depends on the type of work you'd be doing at either place. If you like securities/finance work and you can do a lot of that at Kenrich, for example, I'd say go for it. Need to listen to your gut instinct too.

 

I’d like to make a lateral entry-level jump next recruiting season, ideally beginning the process this fall, into a top economic consulting firm.

I work as a research analyst for a law firm’s internal economic/finance consulting group. I can PM you with further details. Thanks, Hayek. Very informative and much appreciated.

 

I am graduating this coming December (Fall 2015) and am applying to top tier and boutique economic consulting firms. I have an econ degree from a non-target school with a crappy internship and a GPA of 3.9+. Recently, I have been given the opportunity to work for a Business Process Management consulting company as a programmer (I don't know how to code, but the agreement is that they will train me). My question is this: If I took the programming job and decided that I wanted to re-apply to economic consulting positions (fall 2016), would my competitiveness decrease due to the fact that I graduated nearly a year ago? Basically, when are my course work, GPA, major, math classes, and research papers no longer relevant? I've heard it's about 10-months after graduation. I'm curious to know what you think.

Thanks so much Hayek!

(I sent a PM, but decided to make this public in case anyone had a similar question.)

 

They will be much more concerned with economics coursework, and the grades you got in certain courses, primarily econometrics, and any other quant-heavy, statistic-heavy courses you have taken. ECs are much less important, it is almost a straight function of GPA, grades in relevant courses and course difficulty.

The interviews aren't cases per se, but you better be able to show your passion for economics. Also be prepared for heavy stats questions.

 

Well from poking around on their websites, it seems like they all have some form of entry-level college recruiting (I know 1 or 2 of them recruit at my school). Assuming a strong course schedule and a relatively strong undergrad, any ideas what kind of GPA they would be looking for--3.6+? 3.8+?

As an insider, econ consulting is not so bad if you like research and quant. Very little travel, reasonable hours, competitive pay, and most of all, you work and learn from some of the smartest people around. Good experience for b-school. 3.5+ GPA and got to show you like and can handle the work.

 

Thanks for all the info. What's the recruiting schedule like for econ consulting? I'm taking a heavy load of econ classes this semester, including econometrics, and want to have grades for these first. Would January be too late to start applying for these jobs?

 

Can't speak for other firms. But for my firm, recruiting starts in late fall in line with the general fall recruiting schedule. Put your econ/stat classes on your cv including those you are currently taking. Btw, no matter where you work, having some accounting background/courseload would also help. Afterall, you don't work with just any numbers, you will encounter financial numbers the most.

 

Also somewhat of an insider (just completed a summer internship at a pretty well-regarded lit/econ consulting firm). As was said before, grades and difficulty of classes are pretty paramount. They really like people who write honors theses and have some kind of RA position with professors at school, as well as folks who have taken as many econometrics / microecon classes as are offered.

As far as recruiting, they do recruiting in the fall, but are much less regimented than other industry firms. For example, my firm was still doing recruiting in June, and I had friends who found full-time work in March or April.

The interviews are usually case interviews, but much different than a case interview for M/B/B - usually some industrial organization / finance type question which requires you to talk about lines of analysis (what you might look for) rather than suggesting an answer. You might have to interpret econometric output from stata/sas as well.

The pay is extremely competitive (60-65k base, plus signing and performance bonuses), and the hours are very do-able for the most part (9-7/no weekends unless a report is due). The work really is research bitch work, but depending on the proficiency you show, you might get to do some really interesting econometric work and write parts of expert reports. Finally, as far as I know, top firms (NERA/CRA/LECG) place extraordinarily well at grad schools/business schools/law schools - although perhaps its because they don't hire people unless they have really high GPAs.