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Graduate Staff Profiles

  • James Reilly

    James Reilly

    Assistant Economist

  • Bachelor’s degree: University of Bath – BSc (Hons) Economics with Placement Year
  • Capital Economics Graduate Scheme: September 2021 – Present

Why did you apply to join the Capital Economics graduate scheme?

Capital Economics came to my attention during my placement year because of its reputation for clear and insightful analysis, as well as its strong media presence (being cited daily in major news outlets). Upon looking into the graduate scheme, one thing which distinguished it from other schemes was the emphasis placed on further training – in particular, the fact that Capital Economics sponsors graduates to pursue a part-time Masters. Another key attraction for me was that the Graduate Scheme comprises four rotations; not only does this ensure that graduates develop their breadth of knowledge, it also helps them to identify which positions they enjoy most (something that isn’t always clear when starting your career).

What have you worked on while on the graduate scheme?

My first six-month rotation was on our Emerging Europe service, covering Central and Eastern Europe. One of the earliest pieces of research I published was on the region’s auto sector and the disruption it faced from a global shortage of semiconductor chips – this led to my first call with a journalist from a well-known media outlet, who wanted to learn more and to reference my work in their own article. My other responsibilities during that rotation included helping to devise, and write-up, market and macro forecasts for the region as it suffered from a currency crisis in Turkey and, of course, war in Ukraine.

What is the most rewarding or surprising aspect of your role at Capital Economics?

The main surprise for me has been the trust that Capital Economic places in graduates right from the start. Rather than spending months performing background research or data collection for more senior colleagues, graduates are encouraged to propose their own ideas and publish their own research within a few weeks of joining. This touches on a broader point, which is the flat organisational structure of the Economist team; for instance, even Chief Economists’ work is run past any graduates in their team before being published, and any feedback – however major or minor – is genuinely welcomed.

What has been your biggest challenge?

One of the trickiest experiences so far has been writing “rapid responses” (quickfire notes that we send out to clients immediately after an important data release) when the data, or central bank decision, has not been as expected. The example that springs to mind involves Romania’s central bank who, for my first ever “rapid response”, opted to surprise investors with a particularly unexpected policy decision. This was, as you can imagine, a tricky proposition for a relative novice on Romanian monetary policy. Thankfully, the rest of the team was on hand to help me out and the response gained some traction – after all, such surprise decisions are often the best opportunity to add genuine value for clients.