By Peter Baroff ’20
Over my summer break, I am spending ten weeks at Econsult Solutions Inc, an economic development consulting firm based in Center City Philadelphia. ESI specializes in urban policy, transportation, real estate, development, and finance, serving a wide range of clients based both locally and nationally. Over my first three weeks as a research assistant, I have been tasked on a wide range of interesting projects that complement my academic interests and have been helping me develop new skills.
The wide array of projects that I have been tasked with have made each day interesting and extremely helpful in developing my multi-tasking abilities. Each day there are a number of different projects that are assigned with varying levels of priority. Assignments range broadly from institutional research on universities or museums, data collection and cleaning, fact-finding on cities spread around the globe, administering surveys, to market studies. Despite a lot of work that is time-consuming, as a group, each project has really interesting conclusions and as the summer has gone along, I have been tasked with more and more interesting work.
As a Political Science major and Growth & Structure of Cities minor, ESI has allowed me to focus on certain projects that align with my interests and skills that I have gained in my course work. One such project relates to Opportunity and Promise Zones which are federally implemented areas with special tax breaks and incentives to bring development to struggling communities.
ESI has also made it a priority to expose their interns to a number of different data sources and analytical tools. Over the summer we have had and will have a number of different trainings that aim to develop our skills in the MS Suite, how to use different basic and advanced data sources, mapping and visualization software, and more. This is an incredibly valuable experience as the vast majority of what we have been taught has been helpful on a day to day basis at ESI and will surely be helpful in my future job search.
Despite the amount of work that is expected each day, the experience has been rewarding both inside and outside the office outside of the learning experience. Located at 15th and Market St in Center City, the office is centrally located and just minutes away from Rittenhouse Square and Dilworth Park at City Hall. Alongside these great outdoor spaces are many great restaurants and stores providing lots of interesting things to do. Each of these attractions make great places to get out of the office for lunch or after work and experience the city. Alongside the great location, I am working alongside nine other interns. Not only do they all serve as great resources to get help with work from, but as all of us work in the same space, it has been really fun to get to know and make the experience that much more enjoyable.
Finally, from principals, to directors, to analysts, the staff at ESI has been incredibly welcoming and helpful. Everyone is happy to lend a hand to help with a project or work through a software problem when they arise. This has made for a really positive workspace that encourages collaboration.