| by Jason Warburg

News Stories

Harris, McKayla
McKayla Harris MANPTS ’23 “signed up for every information session recommended for my degree program and specialization” and had a great experience with D.C. Career Exploration Week 2022.

The Middlebury Institute’s annual D.C. Career Exploration Week offers students the opportunity to network with working professionals at a wide range of U.S. government agencies; national and international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); and for-profit companies, often making invaluable personal connections with Institute alumni and other senior leaders in these organizations possible. 

“Career Week has proven to be a springboard for career opportunities for many of our students,” said Director of Employer Relations Bryce Craft, lead coordinator for the 2022 event. “It’s a unique opportunity to network with key staff—many of whom are alumni—as well as to connect directly with hiring managers to hear exactly what they are looking for in candidates, and in some cases, get the inside scoop on upcoming job opportunities.”  

“Hearing from MIIS graduates about how their path has led them to their current positions was incredibly insightful and encouraging,” said participating student McKayla Harris MANPTS ’23. “Every one of them encouraged us to consider them a connection and said they wanted to support and help us pursue our goals beyond Middlebury.” Harris also appreciated the feedback that students received during the session. “The recruiters provided excellent advice on how to stand out with your résumé and in interviews. Even over Zoom, it was clear the professionals who took the time to speak to us were interested in networking and staying in touch with anyone who took the initiative to reach out.”

D.C. Career Week 2022 offered 28 scheduled sessions over five days, mostly confined to 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Pacific time since the featured guests were all working in the Eastern time zone. Many of these sessions were recorded and will be made available to students who were unable to participate in real time.

“The best part of D.C. Career Week is that we’ve built up a relationship with many of these employers,” said Career and Academic Advisor Scott Webb MPA ’07. “They’re used to talking with and hiring our students and are coming back for more because of the high quality of work and professionalism that MIIS students continue to demonstrate.”

For her part, Harris was excited about what she was able to learn in the sessions she attended. “My goal for Career Week was to learn more about private sector jobs that compare to public sector counterparts. I signed up for every information session recommended for my degree program and specialization. I was not disappointed by the diversity of the roles and fields represented, and several private entities stood out to me as having a work culture, mission, and career path that aligns with my ambitions. I will keep these companies in mind for employment opportunities after graduation and throughout my career.”

Hearing from MIIS graduates about how their path has led them to their current positions was incredibly insightful and encouraging.
— McKayla Harris MANPTS ’23

Alumni engagement with current students is a key element of Career Week. Participating student Cory Lowe MAIPD ’22 stressed, “Hearing from MIIS alumni in the field gave me hope and inspiration to be more bold in my job search and application process. I was able to expand my understanding of different career options that I was interested in.”

One of the session speakers, alumnus Bryan Herbert MAITED ’20 of international financial services and consulting firm Deloitte, told students, “Our senior leadership in our practice has identified MIIS as a place they like to hire students from.” He also noted that fellow alumnus Ross Belliveau MAIPS ’12/MBA ’13 was really instrumental in helping him land an internship with the International Trade Administration in the Department of Commerce that led to his current position.

Herbert, Bryan
Alumnus Bryan Herbert MAITED ’20 of international consulting firm Deloitte was a featured speaker in one of 28 sessions hosted for students.

Webb also noted how the Institute’s alumni network continues to grow its reach over time as graduates’ careers progress. “We’re able to leverage our relationships with key alumni and other connections as they move from organization to organization. For example, our all-star alumnus and former student Commencement speaker Orestes Betancourt MPA ’18 used to work at Tetra Tech, which we’ve visited several times, and this year hosted a session for our students on behalf of Abt Associates, where he works now.”

Wide Range of Employers Interested in Institute Students

Other employers represented included government agencies such as the Congressional Research Service, the Counterterrorism Center, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Commerce; intergovernmental groups such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank; private employers such as Cisco and Thomson Reuters; and a range of national and international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and foundations such as the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the World Wildlife Fund.

Both Craft and Webb highlighted the respect employers have for the Institute and its students, citing examples such as the Government Accountability Office, whose director—the functional equivalent of a cabinet secretary—often makes an appearance; the Comptroller General of the United States, who participated in a session this year; and a senior agency staffer who one time gave out his direct number to the entire group of students in attendance.

If conditions permit, the Institute hopes to return to organizing D.C. Career Exploration Week as an in-person event in the nation’s capital in 2023.