This is the seventh entry in our recap of summer internships completed by SIPA students working in the Admissions Office this year. This time we hear from Lacey Ramirez, a second-year MIA student pursuing a concentration in Economic and Political Development with a specialization in Advanced Policy and Economic Analysis.
I am very grateful that there is an internship requirement in the SIPA curriculum. It forced me to take the time to seek out a professional experience in my field, whereas I otherwise would have taken a lovely summer vacation somewhere. In the end this will make me a stronger professional candidate when it comes time to apply for a job after I complete my Master’s program.
When I was narrowing down the type of summer internship I wanted, I decided that I wanted to do international development consulting at a private firm. This was an area of the development world that I had no prior exposure to, and I was very curious to encounter what it was like. In securing this position, I learned the essential value of networking. It was by networking that I was able to make a contact at the private firm called Chemonics and have my résumé considered.
Chemonics is an international development consulting firm. They mainly contract with USAID, and they are implementing and managing projects in all the major sectors in every major region of the world. It was a very exciting opportunity, as it was a paid internship and would also give me the consulting/program management opportunity that I eagerly sought.
My internship was based in D.C. (sadly I didn’t get to go overseas), and my assignments were to work on three project teams. One of the projects was working on public-private partnerships in the Philippines to increase the access to and sustainability reproductive health and family planning care. Another project was a value-chain linkages project in Bangladesh, and the last project was a financial sector information sharing project. I was not intimately involved in the creation or technical management of the projects, but I did learn a lot about program management and the many administrative/client relation tasks that go into project it.
I had many tasks and duties that required a high level of effort and multi-tasking, and most of my tasks were administrative in nature. Some of my daily tasks included: budgeting, auditing, client/consultant relations, editing project deliverables, and grant program development.
Chemonics also provided several training courses to orient employees to the firm and the different work being done in the field. I also had great relationships with my directors who have been practitioners in the field for many years, and they took the time to talk with me about how I might meet my career aspirations and goals.
Over all I had a great internship experience. It definitely helped me to further articulate where I want to work in the field of development, and what knowledge and skills I would need to get there. It also gave me a greater perspective of the type of job opportunities in my field.