Staff in Focus – Tom Goulding

April 22, 2022

The second edition of our “Staff In Focus” series sees us talk to Tom Goulding, Economic Consultant in LE’s Space Team about his experience working in Economics, and why he chose London Economics. If you are interested in working with us, you can find out more about our recruitment process in our Careers brochure here.

 

Why did you choose to study Economics?

In all honesty, my route into Economics was a happy coincidence. I wanted to pursue both Maths and History, and landed on Economics as a good route to combining both. I consider myself very lucky that I ended up enjoying the course as much as I did – so much so I even stuck around for an extra year to complete a Master’s once my undergraduate degree ended!

The value of Economics that I didn’t quite see when applying to study it its utility as a general toolkit to analyse the rest of the world. It turns out there’s a reason you get to study maths alongside history, politics, and the rest – you’re learning to understand how the world works from an economist’s viewpoint – and I think that’s incredibly valuable across almost every domain imaginable. A great example of the breadth of applicability is my current role in Space Economics.

Why Consulting?

Consulting allows you to have direct access to decision-makers and move the needle on genuinely important decisions from the very start of your career. It’s hard to imagine being treated with as much respect and credibility as a recent graduate in many other walks of life – and I really enjoy the opportunity to have such an outsized impact on the world through the interesting projects and valued work that we do at LE.

What attracted you to LE when looking for a job?

The London Economics brand is highly respected (I’d been to my fair share of Economics career fairs before applying!) and I was intrigued by the opportunity to work in Space Economics – an exciting and dynamic area of significant personal interest.

On top of this, after talking to current staff members (who are always happy for you to reach out – including me) about the company I was convinced by the workplace culture and opportunities for supported personal development.

What’s been the most interesting project you’ve worked on since you joined?

Since I joined LE I’ve worked on extremely varied Space projects for clients across the globe, making choosing a favourite really difficult!

One personal highlight was an article I wrote on OneWeb for our Space in Focus series that was subsequently discussed in The Times – highlighting the exposure a junior staff member can have at LE. One particularly interesting project entailed exploring the UK economic impact of losing access to some satellite services. The study was extremely interesting from a theoretical and process standpoint, involving careful consideration of counterfactuals across the full breadth of the UK’s economy and detailed interviews with people on the ground in various industries. LE also gave me the opportunity to take on a project management role despite being quite junior, showcasing how much they care about developing your skills and experience right from the beginning.

What advice would you have for others considering studying Economics or looking to get into consulting?

Economics is a way of thinking about the world as much as it is a set of modules in an A-Level or university course. Try reading some of the popular economics books out there (e.g. Freakonomics, Predictably Irrational) and see if any of the insights discussed are interesting to you. If they are, explore until you find something that you find really interesting and work towards understanding it – this will make your studies a lot more engaging in the long run!

In terms of getting into consulting – do your homework! Figure out whether Economic Consulting is right for you and try to develop an understanding of what different firms focus on. Career fairs and company websites are great for this. Once you’ve settled on what and where you’d like to go, read up on the company and their recent work before applying so you’re able to convincingly explain why you’d like to be a part of that company’s future.