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The ESSA Exchange

Education Podcasts

Everything economics! Brought to you by the Economics Student Society of Australia (ESSA), The ESSA Exchange is a podcast run by the University of Melbourne and Monash University. Discover fascinating economics research or learn about the day-to-day life of an economist. Featuring professors, industry professionals, alumni and more, we're so excited to have you along for the ride!


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Everything economics! Brought to you by the Economics Student Society of Australia (ESSA), The ESSA Exchange is a podcast run by the University of Melbourne and Monash University. Discover fascinating economics research or learn about the day-to-day life of an economist. Featuring professors, industry professionals, alumni and more, we're so excited to have you along for the ride!




Game Over for the Competition: The Microsoft-Activision Merger with Professor Simon Vande Walle

As one of the top distributors of video games seeks to partner with arguably the most well-decorated creator of successful gaming franchises, this deal was deemed by many to be one that will reshape the present and future of gaming forever...unfortunately including the competition law authorities around the globe. With the deal recently closing on the 13th of October in the UK, join us in retracing a conversation in late September with competition law specialist Professor Simon Vande Walle from the University of Tokyo, discussing the regulatory scrutiny around this literal game changing deal and its potential impact on gaming as we know it. Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are solely those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any institutions or organizations they represent.


Joel Fernando and the Honours Rollercoaster

Do I need to be good at maths? How do I pick my thesis topic? Can I choose what subjects I take? How will an Honours year help me in the future? Joel is a current Honours student at UniMelb. And he's writing about a cricket rule change for his thesis – cool, right?! From Friday night drinks with the tight-knit Honours cohort, to trudging through macro algebra, hear him chat with Renee and Diego about what an Honours degree is REALLY like. Joel offers some amazing advice you do not want to miss!


Enjoying online classes? Brush up on your knowledge of education policy and advisory with William Gort

Did you know that the education policy team at Deloitte Access Economics has a combination of economists, policy researchers, evaluators, social scientists and former teachers? Hear from William Gort, a Director at Deloitte Access Economics and his career journey which started from choosing to study an Economics Honours degree at ANU (over a career in film industry!!). How do policy makers balance conceptual modelling with the practicality of implementing a government policy? How has the education landscape has changed over the years? Are components of online learning here to stay? Tune in with Renee and Olivia for an episode packed with knowledge you wish you had known earlier.


From economic Honours to the Productivity Commission: A reflection with Nick Fransen

Accounting? Consulting? Or even post-grad medicine? These were just some of the pathways Nick Fransen considered before undertaking Honours in economics. Now, he's an economist at the Productivity Commission working on exciting research in water policy, mental health policy, housing policy, and more. Join Ivy and Hachins for an unmissable conversation about moving interstate, the importance of having like-minded friends, and why co-curriculars are so important at uni – "Go 80% into four things rather than 100% into one."


3 life lessons I wish I had known earlier with UniSuper's Derek Gascoigne

This episode is oozing with liquid gold advice from Unisuper's State Manager Advice: Derek Gascoigne. Do you need to have your life plan sorted by 3rd year? What's the juicy goss from inside one of Australia's largest superannuation funds? Are soft skills actually the secret key to success in the professional world? Join Ellen and Thanh for an engaging, informative episode you do NOT want to miss!


'Networking' 101: Network economics and key players with Prof. Yves Zenou

Tune in with Renee and David to listen to French-Swedish economist and professor, Yves Zenou, discuss his research and application of network economics. What is a key player? How is research applied to theory – i.e. how can we help the Swedish police target criminal activity? Yves also explores the pros and cons of overseas study, life as a researcher, the importance of having a mentor, and tips for students considering a future in economics research.


Becoming a master: Post-grad studies and development economics with Shabeeh

Joining us all the way from Pakistan, Shabeeh Haider Raza is a recent Masters of Economics graduate specialising in Development Economics AND an ex-ESSA writer. Join Ivy and David as they chat with Shabeeh about the ups and down of his Masters journey, some fascinating Development Economics research, and why he has decided to relocate to work in Pakistan. Trust us when we say that Shabeeh has some words of wisdom you do not want to miss!


Career Surplus: Economics in Politics

In this episode, we interview Jasmine Nguyen who is the Mayor of Brimbank. We discuss the interaction between federal, state and local governments in the formulation of economic policies for the nation, look at the budget constraints faced by local councils, and gain an understanding on how policies are debated and voted upon. We also cover Jasmine's time as a university student and what inspired her to run for Mayor.


Hear it from the experts: A deep dive into the Productivity Commission with Catherine De Fontenay

Are Australia's supply chains weak? How has new data and technology shaped the future for debt financing? Do airports have too much market power? These are all the saucy topics that Catherine De Fontenay, Commissioner with the Productivity Commission (and former Associate Professor at Unimelb!) tackles on the day-to-day. In this episode we take a deep dive into the work-life of a full-time economics researcher and hear about what the Productivity Commission is all about, some of Catherine's favourite projects she's worked on, and how she approaches different research topics. We also get the tea on the best parts of being a researcher, receive some hot tips on how to survive university, and much much more!


Wayne Geerling and Squid Game: Teaching economics with pop culture

RED LIGHT! GREEN LIGHT! Gaining media traction for his publication on Squid Game, Wayne Geerling returns to the ESSA podcast once more to talk game theory and the new frontier of teaching. Squid Game sheds light on how people act — not always rationally. The series is about 456 contestants, who are in financial debt, competing in a series of deadly games to win a large sum of money. Wayne briefly speaks about his teaching and more specifically his adoption of pop culture to teach economics and the progress that has been made in this area of teaching. Wayne also talks us through some scenes in squid game where game theory is present. He discusses scenes including red light green light, the marbles game and more and how game theory is (and is not) followed throughout the series! (refer to: If you are interested in contributing to the Squid Game teaching repository or just have a great show that you are currently watching please contact Wayne Geerling on Linkedin or


Where to next? A look into completing an honours year

In this episode we interview Rob and Sao about their experiences in the econometrics and economics honours program at Monash University. We demystify the mysterious honours year, the application process, the job prospects after completing honours, and how to get a supervisor. Come join us in this all encompassing episode which may help you decide if honours is for you! For the summary and information sheet please find the copy here (


Career Surplus: Economics in the Private Sector - Part 2

In this episode we interview Warwick Davis who is an economist for Frontier Economics. We discuss Warwick’s time as a university student and his experience as an economist in the private sector. He also describes the three main categories of projects taken on in this sector as well as some of the exciting projects he has worked on. This podcast then concludes with insightful advice for economics students, consulting in the future, and a few book recommendations!


Career Surplus: Economics in the private sector

In this episode, we interview Emma Grey who is the Manager of the Macroeconomic Policy & Forecasting Team at Deloitte Access Economics. Emma speaks about her career journey so far, starting from her studies at Monash University, to being a graduate at Deloitte and working her way up to Manager. She also unpacks what life is like working at Deloitte and more specifically, her role as an econometrician. Finally, we cover Emma’s opinions on how COVID-19 has impacted her role and the workplace, as well as any advice she has for young students looking to pursue economics as a career.


Career Surplus: economics in the public sector

In this episode we interview Anthony Rossiter who is a Senior Economist for the Department of Treasury and Finance, Victoria. Anthony talks us through what work is like in the public sector and the various aspects of his job. Included in this episode, Anthony also describes the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the process of creating public policy. To conclude, Anthony explains what has been learnt from dealing with COVID and what can be done to combat a future crisis.


Career Surplus: economics in higher education

This is the first episode of a 4-part series where we gain insight into a career in economics and where a major in economics could lead you to. For this episode we interview Wayne Geerling who is a senior lecturer in economics at Monash University. From disruptions such as COVID and the increase in connectedness of the world, Wayne speaks about his career and discusses the future of economics education moving on from 2020. To end, Wayne offers advice to students and how they can get the most out of their economics education.


Economics without an economics major

In this episode of Conversations with ESSA, double degree students Orlando and Gabi explore the world of economics from the perspective of a student outside the commerce degree, and how economic skills and thinking can be applied to a multitude of different social, environmental, and political issues. With the goal of allowing you to understand the meaning and reasoning behind using economics to approach these different problems, you will be able to take these skills with you, so that you can become a more well rounded person!


Grad Life: what's it really like out there?

In the last episode of this series, Michelle chats to Suvi an economist at the Productivity Commission. Having started as a grad in 2019 after graduating Monash, we pick Suvi's brain about all things working in economics as a young professional - why she chose economics, what her application process was life, and what a day in her life entails. We also chat about the economics Honours program at Monash and how that fits into the picture. 0:02 Intro 2:11 Why economics? 3:12 Jobs to consider in economics? 4:27 Why the Productivity Commission? 5:39 The graduate application process 8:21 Life as an economics grad 12:09 Expectations of a graduate 13:35 Learning process of a graduate 16:15 What do employers look for? 18:01 Honours in Economics 24:53 Graduate life 29:14 Top tips for future economists or enthusiasts Huge thanks to the ESSA Committee for planning and producing this series!


The nitty gritty of internships (part 2)

What do we wish we knew before applying for internships? In this two part episode on internships, Michelle and Sasha delve deep into everything internship related: what it is, where you can apply, and the application process (start to finish). In Part 2 we discuss our top tips and tricks for daunting assessment centres, how to approach interviews and finally, we reflect on our internships - including what you may expect to do in an internship, and how to make the most of it. Time stamps: 00:52 Assessment centres 11:30 Interviews 32:32 How to do well in your internship


The nitty gritty of internships (part 1)

What do we wish we knew before applying for internships? In this two part episode on internships, Michelle and Sasha delve deep into everything internship related: what it is, where you can apply, and the application process (start to finish). In Part 1 we explain the benefits of internships, places you can apply, the pre-requisites (do you really need a HD wam?) and the first stages of your application: online applications and those suspicious psychometric tests. Time stamps: 0:02 Our background/experiences 4:07 What are internships and work integrated learning (WIL) 11:15 Timelines to apply and pre-reqs (including grades) 16:03 Application process outline 24:51 CV and cover letter 33:51 Psychometric testing


How to stand out during uni

What opportunities are out there for us? What experiences do employers look for? In this episode, Rosie and Emma chat about all the different activities that you should get involved in to stand out from the crowd, from clubs and societies, part-time jobs, pre-penultimate programs and more. As mentioned in the episode, make sure to check out Career Connect and their services (including Career Gateway!) to help build your skills and get your applications ready!