Master's in economics will prepare you for many fields

Q&A with Zack Campbell, '13, '14G, Economist at Compass Lexecon
Zach Campbell, '13, '14G MA Economics

Zack Campbell came to UNH Paul College to earn his bachelor's degree. Three of his professors were instrumental in helping him choose economics as a career path and he continued his education to earn his master's in analytical economics. Campbell says the program provided him with "exceptional quantitative training" that has helped him in his career.

How did your program and experience at Paul College prepare you for where you are today?

The Master's in Economics program provided me with exceptional quantitative training in economics that has helped me tremendously so far in my career. In less than a year I learned an incredible amount of both theoretical and applied economics, computer programming and quantitative methods, and the fundamentals of high-quality economic research.

What person, course, or experience most influenced you while at Paul College? How?

Three of my undergraduate professors at Paul College were instrumental in helping me choose economics as a career path. Prof. Reagan Baughman’s Labor Economics class got me interested in economics and policy while Econometrics with Prof. Ju-Chin Huang got me interested in applying quantitative methods to answer interesting questions. Finally, Prof. Karen Conway’s Capstone class taught me the fundamentals of thorough, high-quality economic research and encouraged me to use it to explore issues I found fascinating. I was fortunate enough to continue to work with these professors in some capacity throughout earning my MA in Economics at UNH the following year.

In graduate school, Prof. Mohr’s Microeconomics class became what is likely the most challenging, interesting and valuable course I have ever taken. It was incredibly rigorous and pushed me to accomplish things I did not know I was capable of. Additionally, the econometrics sequence was exceptional. We began by learning the theoretical underpinnings of econometrics and moved onto practical applications, some of which I still use today.

What exactly do you do day-to-day in your current job?

I perform quantitative analyses of large, complex datasets for use in antitrust litigation or other economic analyses

What has your career path been like? How did you end up where you are?

After graduating from the  Master's in Economics Program in 2014, I worked an internship at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and started pursuing economic consulting jobs. This led me to FTI Consulting, Compass Lexecon’s parent company, where I conducted economic analysis related to wholesale electricity markets in the US. For a complex merger case, Compass Lexecon needed someone with expertise in these electricity markets and asked me to help. While working on this case, I grew to love antitrust analysis and decided to come over to Compass Lexecon full time. At Compass Lexecon, I specialize in the quantitative analysis of large, complex datasets in a variety of industries, including technology, energy, healthcare, transportation and manufacturing. I analyze economic issues related to industry competition such as antitrust litigation, Merger and Acquisition regulatory review and damages calculations. I spend most of my day coding in Stata, Python or SQL, or analyzing smaller datasets and creating visualizations using Excel. I also oversee work done by junior staff, including assigning projects, reviewing work, training and mentoring. Finally, I interact with our clients to help them understand the complex subjects and data relevant to the case.

What are some of the things you like most about your job?

I get to work on some of the most high-stakes and high-profile competition cases in the country, and every case has its own unique challenges that make it interesting and allow me to keep learning. I also like that I am able to work in a variety of industries. In just two years I have done work related to technology, transportation, energy, manufacturing and healthcare. We also have a strong collaborative and academic culture. My colleagues are all exceptionally smart and driven people who are also great teammates.

What are some of the difficult things about your job?

Major deadlines can sometimes be quite demanding. We need to find ways to work as a team to get lots of analysis and report-writing completed to meet a deadline set by a court, while ensuring absolutely accurate and error-free work. On complex cases this can be very difficult, but if you enjoy the nature of the work then it can also be fun in a way.

What are some skills that have served you well through your career?

I am a team player and I take pride in being a good guy to have on a deadline. I am also quite meticulous and detail-oriented, which makes me an asset when the quality and accuracy of our work is paramount. My quantitative economic background and programming skills have allowed me to understand complex data and concepts and communicate effectively about them both internally and to clients.