Hassaan Rao outside of Founder's in a suit.

CCPA Summer Series 2022: Econsult Solutions

By Hassaan Rao ’24

Funding source: Whitehead Internship Program

This summer, I have been working at Econsult Solutions as a Research Analyst Intern. Econsult is an economic consulting firm that uses economic tools to provide solutions to business and public policy makers. While it may seem to be very economics focused, there are people from different academic backgrounds (mathematics, city planning, public policy) providing their unique skillset to strategize solutions for clients.

One of the projects I worked on was assessing the business potential of Cell and Gene Therapy industry in the Greater Philadelphia region. I was tasked to research different areas of the Cell and Gene Therapy industry: venture capital funding, number of jobs in the industry, number of graduate programs available in Cell and Gene Therapy-related areas, etc. The project helped me learn how to dissect an industry’s growth potential; for example, is there a growing trend in venture capital funding for Cell and Gene Therapy companies? Is there a growing trend among students to study Cell and Genre Therapy-related subjects?

Another project I worked on was creating an index model for the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce to compare the livability standards of eight metropolitan areas, including Philadelphia. The project was ongoing when I joined Econsult, and I was tasked with some data cleaning tasks. However, I took the initiative of understanding the project’s aim and did research to add indicators to the index model. I used basic statistics functions on MS Excel to crunch data from online sources and was successful in creating a model that measured eight cities’ livability based on several criteria such as healthcare, transportation, and air quality. My director gave me the space to use my own research and data analytical techniques to really modify the project as I saw fit!

I also worked on several other small tasks including, but not limited to, research, economic analysis, proofreading and editing reports, and taking client meeting notes. Overall, the internship experience strengthened my analytical skills to structure and implement strategies improving city and state level policy-making. One small example: I was tasked to research the level of film tax credit in Montana that would generate sustained economic growth. When I delved into the research, there were so many mixed opinions from economists and public policy makers about the effectiveness of tax credits on film industry and the opportunity cost of diverting state tax revenue. I never realized there could be so many stakeholders involved in just one sector of a state. The people at Econsult were really helpful and conscious of the workload. I am excited to take my experience forward and discover other roles next year. I am truly grateful to CCPA for making the internship possible through the Whitehead Internship Program. I would recommend this internship for anyone who wants some experience in public policy, city planning, urban development, and consulting.