Alumni report: Tomas Houska, AlixPartners

1.What is your position today?

I currently work in the London office of AlixPartners. We are a large management and restructuring consulting firm with a strong economic consulting practice. Our economics team focuses on antitrust and competition consulting. I’ve been at AlixPartners for over a year and in that time (among other things) assisted several telecoms companies with economic analysis required by sector regulators, supported clients during cartel damages claims, and provided economic assessment of dominant firms’ behaviour. I was also temporarily seconded to one of UK’s mobile operators and helped their economics team with issues ranging from spectrum auctions to net neutrality. As you can see, my work is very diverse. Every case I work on requires a different instrument from the economics toolbox, which I find very enjoyable and intellectually stimulating.

2. What was your path from graduation to your current position? What would you say were the key elements that helped you make your choice?

I am not a regular TSE alumnus and my career path was slightly different from what is standard at TSE. I did my master’s degree in economics at home in the Czech Republic. During my master’s degree, I worked as an intern in the Chief Economist team of the Czech competition authority (Office for the protection of competition). I stayed there for three years after graduating on a full-time basis – it was a great place to learn how competition policy works in practice. I later enrolled in a PhD program to further improve my economics. As part of my PhD, I spent two years at TSE as a visiting researcher. After finishing my PhD, I worked for two years at Ofcom (the UK telecoms regulator) and then moved to AlixPartners. Many of my career choices have been influenced by inspiring people I met along the way, who have kept me excited about economics and provided invaluable career advice. When making important career choices, I still find it helpful talking to more experienced and senior people, who often have slightly different perspective on things.

3. Could you tell us about your time at TSE and what you learned here?

TSE has been instrumental to my doctoral research. Because of TSE’s emphasis on industrial organisation, I spent two years in what was undoubtedly for me an intellectually very stimulating environment. I used the ample opportunities offered by TSE to improve my economics and met many great researchers who I discussed my research with. Big thanks go to Marc Ivaldi, who was my adviser during my time at TSE. In the two years I spent at TSE, I worked hard but gained a lot back. The strong economic knowledge acquired at TSE has given me confidence when addressing new economic questions at work or professionally debating other economic consultants.

4. What advice would you like to give to students at TSE?

There are two things I would highlight. Firstly, people you work with will have an immense impact on your career. When choosing a job, don’t forget to consider this element. Having a line manager you can develop a good relationship with and someone who will support your career will speed up your professional progress more than needlessly working crazy hours. Secondly, don’t be afraid to use the TSE alumni network. It is a great and valuable resource. TSE alumni understand well the quality of TSE students and are often “TSE champions” within their firms. It might not give you an explicit advantage during the recruitment process, but it will certainly open many doors for you.


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