Thanks to Shruti Manian MPA ’20 for this blog post in response to a reader request. (Yes, we do read your submitted ideas! You can submit a post request here!) This is for Agastia C., who asked for tips on coping with the rigorous curriculum in the Economic and Political Development concentration, as well as about industry networks for students.

Economic and Political Development (EPD) is one of SIPA’s largest concentrations. Students are required to choose and complete two courses (6 credits) in any one of EPD’s four Professional Focus Areas. Since the four Professional Focus Areas are Economic Development, Political Development, Social Development and Sustainable Development, EPD attracts students with a wide array of experiences and backgrounds. EPD students are interested in careers in international multi-lateral organizations, consulting, government institutions, NGOs and even the private sector to name a few.

EPD does an excellent job of ensuring that it caters to students’ varied interests and allows us the opportunity to explore and engage with fields or organizations we may be interested in.

Every week the concentration organizes anywhere between 1-4 events (usually leaning closer to 4) that are open to all students. Speakers are usually leaders in their fields and organizations and are able to give students in-depth insight into specific and significant projects and help us better grasp trends in the space. Often speakers are SIPA alum and are able to give very focused advice on how we can maximize our time at SIPA and what courses they believe will be particularly pivotal to succeed in certain sectors. Some of our speakers this semester have been from UNESCO, the Grameen Foundation, Women Deliver and many more.

Another incredible professional opportunity is the yearly EPD Career Panel. The Career Panel is organized in conjunction with the Office of Career Services and allows students to hear from a diverse panel that reflects the student body’s interests and expertise. This year, the EPD Panel had representatives from the World Economic Forum, the Global Impact Investing Network and the Economist Group to name a few. The Career Panel gives us a chance to hear about the day to day work of professionals in fields we are interested in and ask them questions and build a network. The Concentration also organizes an internship panel so first year students can gain insight into the internship experiences second year students had.

Lastly, EPD faculty members are always happy to help connect students to their vast and impressive networks both in and out of SIPA. Faculty members will often help students reach out to SIPA alums who work in organizations we may be interested in or often are even willing to use their own personal networks to help us out.

The professional opportunities available to EPD students are numerous and impressive. As long as students are willing to take initiative and are curious to learn, there is always an event, a faculty member or an alum around the corner waiting to lend a helping hand.