January 19, 2018

Recap: Washington, D.C., Career Conference 2018


SIPA’s 42nd annual Washington, D.C., Career Conference — held this year from January 10 through 12 — once again gave students the chance to take part in a series of activities designed to give them a leg up in finding a job in the nation’s capital.

Participants attended panel discussions among alumni, took part in informational interviews, made site visits to notable employers, and enjoyed a networking reception.

Organized each year by the Office of Career Services, the event takes place as students and staff are gearing up for the start of the spring semester — the home stretch for those who expect to graduate in May.

The capital region remains a top destination for new graduates, one that draws more than any location outside New York, said Meg Heenehan, executive director of OCS.

“It’s not just the federal government,” she said. “It’s all the NGOs, the multilaterals, and increasingly private companies, too.”

On the first day of the conference, Washington-based professionals took part in 18 panels that offered insight into a wide range of potential career paths: economic development and financial inclusion, foreign and civil service, technology and cybersecurity, Capitol Hill, international trade and finance, and many others.

The day concluded with a happy hour with students from two local policy schools, Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service and Johns Hopkins SAIS.

The next day, small groups of students visited private companies, public agencies, and multilateral organizations. They heard from officials at diverse employers including Facebook, Booz Allen Hamilton, the State Department of State, the World Bank Group, and others.

That evening, Dean Merit E. Janow discussed “Global Challenges in the Year Ahead” with David Sanger of the New York Times and Stephen Sestanovich, SIPA’s Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor for the Practice of International Diplomacy. The event, which was held at the Four Seasons Hotel in the Georgetown neighborhood, concluded with a networking reception attended by 120 alumni and 200 students.

On the conference’s final day, students met up with alumni who had agreed to make themselves available for informational interviews.

The career conference is one of the biggest student-focused events that SIPA does away from IAB, Heenehan said. Over 20 years or so, she added, the event has doubled in size to accommodate more students, more participating alumni, and more panels and visits.

“Our alumni in the region are really supportive of the event,” Heenehan said. “They come together to help students get a foothold. There’s a real investment in the students, and in SIPA as an institution.”

To view highlights from the discussion "Global Challenges in the Year Ahead," click here.