Six Alumni Share Career Advice with Students

Sarah Kups (seated) answers a post-talk question from student Ashley Muchow (cohort '13)

Photo by Kristina Wallace/Pardee RAND

May 30, 2017

The spring quarter saw six alumni — possibly a record! — participate in the Career Development speaker series. We were happy to welcome back to campus David An (cohort '10) and Christina Huang ('10) in March, Hilary Rhodes ('02) and John Fei ('04) in April, and Sarah Kups ('08) in May. Also in May, Min Mao ('11) led a webinar-style career talk.

An, a strategic planner at Northrup Grumman, gave a brief presentation on the organization’s Analysis Center and career opportunities at NGC. He discussed his personal experience at the center and its unique approach to information, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance analysis. Based in Washington, D.C., where he works on a team that includes two other Pardee RAND alumni, An also shared his thoughts on careers in defense and gaining employment in defense as a Pardee RAND graduate.

Huang discussed careers in data science, her experience at the Insight Data Science Fellows program, her role at Facebbook, and generally the field of data science from the perspective of a recent Pardee RAND graduate.

Hilary Rhodes and John Fei talked about what it's like working for a foundation and how the roles in this sector utilize the skills of Pardee RAND graduates.

Rhodes, who was visiting campus from New York, described how she uses her experience in applied research as a senior research and evaluation officer at The Wallace Foundation. In this role, she is leading efforts to fill key knowledge gaps and generate evidence of what works related to learning and enrichment opportunities for disadvantaged youth. Her work managing a grant to the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research, culminated in the report, Foundations for Young Adult Success: A Developmental Framework. She currently oversees foundation investments concerning social and emotional learning, scaling-up social innovations, data use by after-school systems, and collective impact in education, among others.

Fei, who participated by phone from Chicago, served as program officer for the Asia Security Initiative at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. He previously conducted research in the areas of Asian security and political economy during his time at Pardee RAND, and at the University of California-San Diego’s Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation. Fei is now a manager and research analyst at Morningstar, where he evaluates international equity mutual funds and strategies.

Kups discussed careers in economics, her experience at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the application process for economics positions, and life after grad school. She is an economist with the Migration and Skills unit of the OECD Development Centre. Her work currently focuses on analyzing the economic impacts of immigration in developing countries.

Mao called in from RAND's Boston office to discuss careers in World Bank and the Young Professional Program (YPP) application process. She shared insights on what makes for a successful candidate, her personal experience at the World Bank, thoughts on gaining employment as a Pardee RAND graduate, career opportunities at the Bank, and life in Washington, D.C. She was previously a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

Many thanks to all alumni who take time to share their experiences with our students, and to our terrific Career Development staff. Be the Answer!