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A Second Interview with NERA: Insights into Economic Consulting

Updated: Oct 4, 2023



As an organisation, we recognize there are a multitude of career paths out there for women studying economics. This includes economic consulting. Last year we talked with Leonie Janisch of NERA Economic Consulting to hear about her experiences and understand more about the field (find the interview here). Now, we’ve had another chance to talk with Dr. Tuba Delibasi and her experiences in the world of economic consulting and NERA. NERA Economic Consulting is a leading economic consultancy with more than 25 offices around the world. They have a wide variety of practice areas including Antitrust and Competition, and Energy, Environment, Communications and Infrastructure. NERA consultants apply quantitative, economic and finance techniques to tackle their client’s complex business and legal challenges. NERA is currently a sponsor of the Women in Economics Initiative. Here’s what we learned: Can you provide us with a short summary about how your career path has been at NERA? How have your responsibilities and tasks changed over time? My career at NERA has been an enriching journey marked by diverse experiences and increasing responsibilities. I joined NERA as an Economic Analyst in 2019 after a 6-year academic career and have since progressed to the role of Consultant. During this time, I have been involved in a wide range of projects, including strategic advice in various industries, regulation, litigation, arbitration cases, and disputes. My responsibilities have evolved significantly, as I have gained over 4 years of experience in applying economic analysis to various fields, with a special focus on the transport sector. My tasks have ranged from analysing demand and supply, assessing competition issues, identifying optimal pricing, and forecasting demand and cost to project management and client relationships.

How did your Masters/PhD help you to achieve your professional goals and help you in your job at NERA? My academic journey, including a PhD in Economics from Toulouse School of Economics, has been instrumental in shaping my career at NERA. The rigorous training in econometrics and industrial organisation provided me with the analytical and quantitative skills essential for economic consulting. These skills have been invaluable in conducting complex analyses in interesting and complex questions of clients from a wide sector. I also had extensive opportunity to work with the industry during my studies that allowed me to build an understanding of how to identify and approach the needs of industry. These qualifications have enabled me to apply economic analysis effectively to complex real-world problems, contributing to my success in my role at NERA.

What types of projects have you worked on? Are you specialised in specific areas or do you work across several topics? I have had the opportunity to work on a diverse array of projects at NERA. These projects have encompassed areas such as economic appraisal, competition, regulation, litigation, arbitration, and disputes. While my specialisation lies in the transport sector, I have also worked on projects related to other sectors including energy, hospitality, and water, focussing on quantitative modelling, forecasting, inflation assessment, emissions, competition analysis, optimal pricing, welfare analysis, regulatory and price regimes. My experience spans across various topics within the broader field of economics.

Which is the most challenging thing about working at NERA and what is what you like less? One of the most challenging aspects of working at NERA is the high level of rigor and scrutiny that our analyses are subjected to. Our clients rely on us to provide accurate and defensible economic insights, which means that our work undergoes intense scrutiny. While this ensures the quality of our work, it can also be demanding and requires excellent skills of the 3R (reporting, reviewing, and recording). There would be occasional long hours and tight deadlines that come with the territory of economic consulting. However, the satisfaction of delivering impactful solutions to our clients outweighs these challenges.

Which recommendations or comments would you give to an economics student who may consider economic consultancy as a career path? Economic consultancy can be an incredibly rewarding career for economics students. Here are a few recommendations:

  • Develop Strong Intuitive and Analytical Skills: Invest in building strong economic intuition as well as analytical and quantitative skills, as these are the foundation of economic consulting.

  • Teamwork: Effective teamwork means respecting diverse viewpoints, actively listening, and contributing your specialised skills to achieve common goals. Clear communication and a collaborative spirit are the keys to success. Additionally, always be open to learning from your colleagues and sharing your knowledge to create a dynamic and productive work environment.

  • Gain Practical Experience: Seek internships or entry-level positions that allow you to apply economic concepts to real-world problems. Practical experience is invaluable.

  • Stay Informed: Stay up-to-date with economic trends and developments in your areas of interest. Being well-informed is essential in economic consulting.

  • Network: Build a professional network in the field of economics. Networking can open doors to opportunities and collaborations.

  • Adaptability: Economic consultants often work on diverse projects. Be adaptable and open to tackling a wide range of economic challenges.

  • Communication Skills: Develop strong written and verbal communication skills. The ability to explain complex economic concepts to non-experts is crucial.

  • Ethical Conduct: Maintain the highest standards of ethics and integrity in your work. Trust is essential in consulting.

Economic consultancy offers a dynamic and intellectually stimulating career path, and with dedication and continuous learning, you can thrive in this field.

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