Summer Internships

A summer internship at Motu will give you valuable hands-on experience in policy-relevant economic research, guided by internationally recognised senior economists from the top ranked economics organisation in NZ and one of the world's top ten economic think tanks (as ranked by RePEc).

come in were hiring 5Applications for internships beginning in summer 20/21 are now open and will close on 1 April 2020. 

Motu’s internship programme is designed to apply and extend students’ empirical skills and assist with their development as researchers. Its underlying aim is to build research capability, improving the skills of young researchers and the quality of New Zealand research. Motu interns work on research projects led by one of the Senior Fellows, and are encouraged to think critically about the public policy and research issues involved. Internships build students’ skills, as well as providing our researchers with useful research assistance. Ultimately we hope our interns will be better equipped to consider a career in research or public policy analysis.

Early each year, Motu seeks applications for several interns to work within one or more of our major research programmes, which include regional and community adjustment, climate change, human rights, productivity and innovation, well-being, inequality and infrastructure. We are particularly interested in candidates with excellent grades in econometrics or statistics, who are curious about economic or policy questions and are interested in one or more of our main research areas.

We offer a relaxed yet stimulating work environment where you will be challenged and your skills as a researcher extended.

Summer internships are paid full-time positions that usually run for 8-12 weeks between November and February.

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for smart students who are interested in further study and research. The key characteristics we seek are:

  • intelligence,
  • motivation, and
  • interest in the issues we study.

While we mostly do economic research, we are not necessarily seeking economics students. Students should have a strong background in economics, mathematics, statistics, geography or a similar field. For students interested in interning with the Human Rights Measurement Initiative, a strong background in at least two of the following would be required: human rights, political science, economics, philosophy, international relations, law, languages.

Internships typically last around twelve weeks over the summer months, though this is flexible. Interns work a paid 40 hour week at our Wellington office.

Application Forms

To apply for a position as an intern please fill out this form and return it to by 1 April 2020. You will also need to attach a CV along with a cover letter and all your university transcripts. Have a read of this document for tips on how to apply successfully. Answers to some of the frequently asked questions on these positions are listed below.

We welcome applications from individuals who have completed some or all of their tertiary study outside New Zealand. However, if this is you please help us understand your university and how the grading system in your country works. The more relevant information you can provide us with, the better we’ll be able to assess your application. Some examples of relevant information:

  • The economics department at [your university] is ranked second in [country] by [source, with link]
  • My GPA of 5.5 on a 6-point scale puts me on the 95th percentile of economics graduates at [university]. [link that verifies information]
  • HD is the highest grade awarded in undergraduate courses at [your university]. This grade is awarded to approximately the top 5% of students in each course. [link that verifies information]
  • My GPA of [GPA] on an [x-point] scale is equivalent to a New Zealand GPA of 8.5. [link to online GPA converter]

We respect the time it takes to put in an application. We will always acknowledge receipt of your application within a week, and will contact you to let you know your outcome, regardless of whether you are successful. If you haven’t heard anything from us two weeks after the closing date, please follow up to ensure you application hasn’t gone astray, but please don’t follow up to enquire about the outcome earlier than this. I promise you we are working as quickly as possible to fairly evaluate all the applications we received, and will contact you as soon as we can.

Frequently asked questions

Here are the answers to some questions you might have about applying for an internship or research analyst (RA) position at Motu. Isabelle Sin has also prepared a document giving some tips for your application.

Should I apply for an RA position or an internship? RA positions are permanent full-time positions for graduates who will have at least an honours degree when they begin work. Internships are for students who have completed undergraduate studies (or are close to it), and plan to return to study at the end of summer for further study at the honours level or higher. If you’re not returning to postgraduate study then you are not eligible for an internship, and should apply for an RA position. If you already have an Honours or Master’s degree and are returning to study at a higher level next year then apply for an internship.

I’m in my second year of undergrad at university. Can I apply for an internship? Yes, but you’re unlikely to be seriously considered unless you will have completed 300 level microeconomics and econometrics by the time of the internship. If you are aiming specifically for a human rights internship, this may not be an issue as long as you have considerable other relevant experience.

I will have a PhD by the end of the year. Am I eligible to apply for an RA position? RA positions are suited to early career economists who are not yet ready to conduct independent research. If you have a PhD, please apply for a Fellow/Senior Fellow position instead.

Can I work as an RA at Motu while I do my PhD? No. RAs assist Senior Fellows on specific projects for which the Senior Fellows have obtained funding and do not perform independent research.

What are the options for career progression from an RA position? We hope RAs will stay with Motu for two to four years, during which time they will learn a lot about how to conduct economic and policy research. By the end of four years RAs tend to have reached the limits of the position and we encourage them to move on to either PhDs or more senior positions at other organisations. Experience at Motu is excellent preparation for further study or many government positions. There are no direct career progression options within Motu--Fellows and Senior Fellows are required to hold PhDs.

Should I include a photo in my CV? It’s not going to make a difference to your application, but feel free to include a photo if you’d like.

Should I send documents other than the ones you ask for? You should include the application form, a cover letter, a CV, and your university transcripts. If you have letters of recommendation should you include those? Additional documents you send will not count against you, but neither will omitting them. We may ask for references if you reach the final stage. Feel free to include additional documents if they are pertinent. For example, you might want to send an essay you’ve written as part of your university coursework to demonstrate how well you write.

I’m a foreign student and I don’t currently have permission to work in New Zealand. Do I need to secure a work visa before I apply? No. If we decide to make you an offer we will help you to secure a visa.

How many applications do you get for these positions each year? We usually have more applicants we would love to hire than we do vacancies, so if we don’t make you an offer it doesn’t mean your application wasn’t good.