A student reflection on the DC Career Conference

The SIPA Office of Career Services hosted SIPA´s 39th Annual Washington, D.C. Career Conference from January 13 – 15. SIPA alumni and other professionals based in the Washington, D.C. area participated in the conference, which introduced attendees to the capital and informed them of employment opportunities. This three-day event consisted of 16 career panels, various employer site visits, an alumni/student networking reception, and a day for informational interviews with alumni.

Pablo Bejar (PEPM ’15) attended the event. Pablo attained his Masters in Business Administration with an emphasis in Economics from California State University, where he graduated with honors and published his thesis on Corporate Social Responsibility and Financial Performance.

Here, Pablo offers his reflections on the conference and its professional value for PEPM students.

Tell us about your experience at the Career Conference.
My experience at the career conference in DC was an incredibly valuable one in terms of setting a professional network in the in the field of international policy and development economics in the Washington D.C. area.

What should PEPM students know about the Career Conference?
In order to be successful you have to reach out to contacts of interest at least three weeks in advance. That will give you plenty of time to make your schedule and coordinate with people in areas or organizations of interest.

One big advantage of attending the conference was the opportunity to build relations with former SIPA alumni and, most specifically, PEPM alumni in the D.C. area, with whom you can have a more informal and relaxed conversation on career opportunities and on how they got their current positions. PEPM alumni know exactly where we come from and their related experience going through this very same process makes conversations with them very constructive.

In D.C. and Virginia I was able to schedule more than a dozen informational interviews with key people at all levels within multilateral, consulting, and international organizations.

What aspects of the trip most impressed you?
The informational interviews were very valuable because they give you information from an employee perspective that is not easily provided on the institution’s websites. They also can guide you in terms of how your skillset matches the organizations objectives and what you can learn from the organization as well.

In D.C. and Virginia I was able to schedule more than a dozen informational interviews with key people at all levels within the organization. The people that I was able to have in depth conversations came from organizations such as, the Inter-American Development Bank, IMF, World Bank, Albright Stonebridge Group, Nathan Associates, CEB, Deloitte, ICF International, and the World Resources Institute to name a few.

How would you sum up the event?
Overall, the D.C. trip was an extremely beneficial experience that definitely helped align my future career objectives. In fact, it provided me with intimate information about the different organizations and their operational, cultural, and work perspectives.

This trip is something that I would recommend to every PEPM student because it helps create a good preliminary foundation of contacts for the annual PEPM February trip to Washington.   .

Prior to PEPM, Pablo was a Business Analyst at Thompson Enterprises in California, a Junior Market Analyst at the International Institution for Economics and Business in Bolivia (IIDEE), and an emerging market research assistant at the Center for the Study of Emerging Markets (CSEM). In addition to English, he speaks his native Spanish and is proficient in Portuguese.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Program in Economic Policy Management (PEPM), click here. And don’t forget that your applications to the MIA/MPA program is due Feb. 5. Finish your application today so you can be a part of next year’s career conference!