Archive for OCS

Jumping from NYC to DC; My advice to students who want to work outside of NYC

Note from Admissions: Congratulations to the eight SIPA students selected to join the Presidential Management Fellows Class of 2019! Only ~8.7 percent of applicants were selected to become finalists in this prestigious U.S. government development program for 2019. We thought this would be a good opportunity to check in with other SIPA students who are heading to Washington D.C.


When I first considered applying to the State Department’s Pickering Fellowship, I was unsure whether it was worth my time. I assumed that students from D.C. studying International Affairs would have a considerable advantage, since I attended a small liberal arts college in Los Angeles where I studied History and Government. However, when speaking with alumni of the fellowship, I was told that my non-D.C. background could help my application for the State Department and other employers throughout my career. After receiving the fellowship, and having worked in D.C., I would agree with this sentiment.

Ultimately, I believe that employers look for talent and people with new and interesting ideas, regardless of where an applicant is from. Therefore, I would urge anyone considering SIPA to apply, even if they want to pursue a career in D.C. afterwards; here at SIPA, you’ll learn and grow in ways that will make you competitive for any job in any city.

SIPA’s greatest resource is New York City. As a student of policy, you will have endless opportunities to engage with experts and leading organizations in your field who are working in arguably the world’s most dynamic city. Because of SIPA’s location, you will also have access to world class faculty and students who are pursuing careers in everything from finance to humanitarian work.

SIPA also offers a very holistic curriculum and attracts students from the around the world who want to study in a global city. I can honestly say that I have learned as much from my peers as I have from my classes.

In turn, you may actually have an advantage over students who are in D.C. or any other city, partly because of everything that SIPA students are exposed to in New York.

Personally, I know of many students who are fully committed to working in D.C. after graduating, myself included. Many of these students use their summer in between their first and second year to pursue an internship in DC, as an opportunity to build a relationship with a potential employer and to get an idea of what they would ideally like to do full-time.

SIPA has relationships with almost every major organization in D.C. and therefore students are made aware of internship and full-time job opportunities available in D.C. all the time. Almost any employer in D.C. will recognize Columbia University and SIPA, and you will not be at a disadvantage during the recruiting process.

In terms of community in D.C., SIPA students end up all over; some work for the State Department, some work for think tanks like The Brookings Institution, and others end up at NGOs like Human Rights Campaign. Since SIPA’s Office of Career Services has strong relationships with alumni and organizations with heavy SIPA representation, it is easy to get in contact with alumni, who are always happy to offer advice or maybe even an opportunity at an interview.

I always tell people, living and studying in New York is never a bad choice. If you are interested in SIPA’s program offerings and think it is a good fit academically and socially, then consider applying/enrolling, even if you don’t plan to be here long-term!

Solution Providers Case Study Event

Irene Coffman from the Office of Career Services (OCS) in coordination with the Consulting and Finance Club at SIPA hosted Solution Providers, a boutique Management Consulting firm headquartered in Switzerland. The consultancy was founded in 1996 and has since grown to 160 professionals globally with offices in Switzerland, Germany, Singapore as well as the USA.  It officially opened an office in New York this year. Earlier in the semester Solution Providers hosted a well-attended information session about the firm, the professional opportunities and how policy students from SIPA may add great value by advising renowned international financial services companies that seek support in the whole process from working out strategies and realizing these operationally through technical implementation.

Solution Providers is looking for well rounded, curious, and intelligent Senior Consultants, who understand and are ready to advance their knowledge within Financial Services firms and how financial regulations and policy may impact the sector in order to serve the client best. As Daniel Zelkas (Senior Consultant) said, the “start-up” culture is a great opportunity for students with various backgrounds to get involved, contribute towards the firm’s success generally and in New York particularly.case competition Maerki pic for blog

Solution Providers has organized similar “Case Study” events at other prestigious academic institutions locally and internationally to seek talent and last Monday at SIPA. After some refreshments and a short presentation about the team, the culture and the firm’s mission (Passion, Process, Progress), there were 4 teams with 5 students each gaining insights in the life of a management consultant by practicing their casing skills. Each team approached the case differently to manage the case that was number heavy and represented a typical challenging situation of gaining new business, by not neglecting the existing clients and by having a cost-efficient operation to support the firm’s growth.

Some groups divided the tasks immediately to quickly focus on specific areas and others discussed the issues as a whole team to get a good handle on the challenge the case study offered and potential solutions that may be recommended. Felix Gniza (Senior Consultant) mentioned that this case was from a real client; however slightly modified to make it manageable to be solved within 45 minutes and to follow compliance standards to assure confidentiality of the actual client’s identity. After an intense team work session and a 15 minutes break that was used to finalize the team’s presentations, each group made their case by identifying the issues that were discovered during the analysis of the case and the various recommendations that the students recommended to senior management, represented by the 4 Solution Providers professionals present. Ilya Usorov (Consultant) shared that this “case study” represented the actual process he and his fellow colleagues face to provide the best solution possible under a tight time schedule and with the information available.

The students experienced this challenge firsthand through the follow up questions posed by the consultants and other students to the presenting team; however the students appreciated the valuable learning experience and the feedback on what to emphasize on during the next time a case or actual client study is worked on. The official part of the 3 hour workshop was concluded by a general feedback from Ahrum Pak (Associate Consultant) and the aforementioned Solution Providers representatives. A casual commingling between the students and the Consultants followed, where business cards were swapped and future career plans were enhanced.

Please feel free to reach out to SIPA’s career office (OCS) or to me if you want to learn more about this case.

SIPA students and Solution Providers professionals after the presentations

SIPA students and Solution Providers professionals after the presentations

Posted by Andreas Maerki, MPA ’14, IFEP

What’s new in Career Services?

As most of the second year students can tell you: time flies at SIPA. Just when you are starting to feel that you know every building on campus you will find yourself in your last semester and looking for your next job. As we all know, the transition to the professional world can be difficult and discouraging, this is why the Office of Career Services (OCS) has been developing new initiatives to support students in their quest.

The Office of Career Services (OCS) is in charge of providing students and alumni with tools to manage their professional development. Throughout the semester, they organize several activities and services aimed at informing students about their options in terms of internships and full time jobs. As a first year student, you will profit from the professional panels where you can learn about possible employers and the procedure to apply to future positions. Some of the employers that have participated in these panels are: the Federal Reserve Bank of NY, the Central Intelligence Agency, Human Right Watch, Deloitte, Goldman Sachs, and Eurasia Group.

Along with the professional panels, OCS has put in place the SIPA Career Coaching Program where students can receive part-time coaching from SIPA alumni working in their field of interest as well as OCS assistance on resume, cover letter writing and salary negotiation strategies. A SIPA second year student, Henry Fernandez, has used OCS services in the past for polishing up his resume.  In a recent interview, he said “OCS helped me translate my experience in sustainable development into energy markets. The office does a great job at preparing students to launch their careers post SIPA.”

Finally, OCS offers a database of current positions, including internships, for both current students and alumni in a variety of professional fields. The database, which can be access through SIPAlink, has proved to be quite useful to current students in helping them to find internships.

If you are curious on what other things OCS does, visit our past blog post or go to the SIPA OCS website: http://new.sipa.columbia.edu/careers/career-services.

 

Ever wonder what SIPA’s Office of Career Services offers?

SIPA’s Office of Career Services (OCS) provides students and alumni with the necessary tools to successfully manage their immediate internship and full-time job search as well as their professional development throughout their careers.  Among OCS’s services are individual advising on a range of career-related topics; a required professional development course; career events; recruitment and employer outreach programs; and professional networking opportunities.  Students and alumni are encouraged to partner with OCS and dedicate time to independent research and networking to build bridges with the professional world.  (See more)

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT REQUIREMENT

The Professional Development class, which is administered through OCS, heightens the awareness and involvement of students in career planning.  This mandatory half-credit course develops the skills needed to compete effectively in the international and public affairs job markets.  Instructors provide direction on writing resumes and cover letters, job search tactics, successful interviewing, networking, negotiating employment offers, and other key career topics.

INTERNSHIP REQUIREMENT

Students are required to conduct an internship as part of their degree requirement, and this is also administered through OCS.  The internship is typically done in the summer between the first and second year, although it can be completed at any time during the program.

INDIVIDUAL SERVICES

On an individual level, OCS career advisers provide students and alumni with career advice, job search strategy tips, resume and cover letter reviews, and general career information.  OCS also maintains the SIPA Career Coaching (SIPACC) program, which is comprised of alumni working in a variety of jobs who provide industry specific information and advice.  Students can arrange appointments once they have registered for classes in August through SIPAlink, our recruitment software.  (See more )

WEEKLY ONLINE NEWSLETTER

To update students on programming and services, OCS compiles a weekly newsletter that lists information on career events, fellowship opportunities, upcoming recruitment visits, job/internship postings, and other essential information for their job search.  (See more )

 

"The most global public policy school, where an international community of students and faculty address world challenges."

—Merit E. Janow, Dean, SIPA, Professor of Practice, International and Economic Law and International Affairs

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