The following is an interview with Kirsten Bokenkamp, Head Organizer of SIPA’s Office of Career Services Washington D.C. Career Conference which takes place each January.
What is the Washington D.C. Career Conference?
The Washington D.C. Career Conference has taken place annually for the last 33 years. As SIPA is located in New York, the Conference allows students to learn more about job and internship opportunities in the Washington D.C. area. The Conference also allows students to get to know alumni and potential employers in the D.C. area.
Which employers participated in last years conference?
There was a wide range of employers represented at the Conference. This past year’s employers included: AECOM International Development, Americans for the Arts, Ashoka, Bearing Point, Booz Allen Hamilton, Brookings Institution, Brookings Institution, Business Civic Leadership Center, Carbon Finance Unit, World Bank, Catholic Relief Services, Center for Naval Analysis, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, CGAP, Chemonics International, Chevron, DAI, Deloitte Consulting LLP, ENOUGH Project, Export-Import Bank, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Garten Rothkopf, Institute for Defense Analyses, International Civil Society Action Network, National Democratic Institute, National Democratic Institute, National Geographic Magazine, NPR, Office of Congressman Steve Israel, Office of Management and Budget, Peterson Institute for International Economics, QED Group, RAND Corporation, Refugee Protection Program, Human Rights First, Refugees International, Roll Call, Search for Common Ground, Sentinel HS Group, LLC, Society for International Development, The Advocacy Project, The Cohen Group, The Stella Group, U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Government Accountability Office, U.S. State Department, US Green Building Council, William James Foundation, World Bank, World Resources Institute
How does the Conference work? What is the process that the students go through?
Interested students must register for the Conference in advance. At the time of registration, students pay the fee (this year it was $60), and sign up for the panels they would like to attend. The Conference takes place during winter break, on the Thursday and Friday before classes start. On Thursday, there are usually about 15 panels, with 3-5 speakers each. Panel topics include all of SIPA’s functional concentrations, in addition to career paths such as consulting, microfinance, and corporate social responsibility. The Conference also includes the Alumni Networking Reception on Thursday evening, where students and alums are able to socialize in a less formal environment. For the past two years, the Networking Reception has been at the Four Seasons Hotel, in Georgetown. On Friday, students have the chance to schedule informational interviews with alums and participate in employer site visits. This year employer site visits included the World Bank, the U.S. Department of State, and Treasury, USAID, and American Development Bank.
Overall, was the Conference well attended? Did participants and employers seem pleased with their experience? Any comments you received from them are welcome.
Each year the Career Conference is well attended by about 160 students and 150 alums. This is one of the most popular programs that the Office of Career Services offers.