Each year the SIPA Office of Career Services hosts a Career Fair in Washington, D.C. It is a two day event featuring panel discussions, a reception, and a day dedicated to informational interviews in the D.C. area. The Office of Alumni Affairs also is involved in planning the event and helps to ensure strong alumni participation. Dan Perez is a SIPA student that attended the event who volunteered to write about his experience.
The Washington D.C. Career Conference was a superb event and was incredibly helpful for my ongoing internship search. The first day of the event was broken out into four different information sessions organized by career sector. I attended four sessions that day, including National Security, Consulting, Capitol Hill / Govt, and Research / Advocacy.
In all four cases, the panels were well organized with alumni showing breadth of experience in those sectors. During each session, the alumni discussed their current positions, a bit about their time at SIPA and how the two were related. In all cases, they were very open about how SIPA had positively influenced their career prospects. Each session concluded with some spare time to approach the alumni individually, ask more specific questions and inquire about ongoing opportunities.
The first day was capped by a reception held at the glamorous Four Seasons Hotel in the Georgetown neighborhood of D.C. With more than a hundred alumni in attendance, it provided opportunities for mingling both with new alumni and those at the earlier sessions. I followed up with an alumnus from Bearing Point from the session and asked him in-depth questions about the company’s work and culture. I met younger alums only a year out of SIPA whom confessed of their longing to be back in New York City. I also talked with older alums who provided a great outlook on the D.C. job market and how great a time it was to enter government service.
The second day of the conference provided time for scheduled informational interviews as well as previous site visits. I utilized the time to reach out to two alumni, one from my previous employer, the other from the Office of Management and Budget in the White House. In both cases, the alumni were very eager to chat about their careers as well as to catch up at current developments at SIPA. I left the conference very renewed in my job search.