Rock Career Prep: Julia Alford
Julia Alford, BA ’18, MPA ’19 is currently a Human Capital Business Analyst for Deloitte Consulting LLP. Learn more about how her internship experiences and coursework prepared her for a career in the private sector.
What was one of the most meaningful experiences you had during your time in the MPA program?
In Fall 2019, I took an experiential learning class with Donna Canestraro where we went into the field, evaluated an organization, and presented a business case to them. Donna taught the class as a facilitator or manager and we were in a business meeting. My classmates and I learned project management skills from her, which I still continue to use in my current job. I am so grateful to have been mentored and taught by a true professional like Donna.
Where did you complete your internship requirement and what knowledge, skills and abilities did you develop as a result of this experience?
During the MPA program, I worked for U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer in his Albany region office as a Deputy Regional Director. In this role, I hired and supervised a team of four to eight interns each semester — it allowed me to understand how to train and manage a team. I also coordinated logistics for the Senator’s press conferences, which allowed me to understand how to effectively communicate with public officials and members of the press. In these everchanging times in politics, I learned to be adaptive and to adjust to my audience and my surroundings. I will always cherish my time at Senator Schumer’s office and the friendships I made there.
What specific skills or experiences through the program have prepared you for your transition to post-graduate employment?
While I was employed for the entirety of my time in the MPA, I did make a career change — moving from politics to management consulting. Along with Donna Canestraro, my professors and mentors, including Luis Felipe Luna-Reyes, Dr. J. Ramon Gil-Garcia, and Dr. Theresa and Pardo, from the Government Information Strategy and Management (GISM) program guided and prepared me for management consulting. Their readings, panels, and discussions taught me about how smart technologies and data/information management can help improve governments. I value the advice they gave as I went through the hiring process and my professors left an everlasting impact on me.
Where are you currently employed and what is the focus of your position?
I currently work as a Human Capital Business Analyst for Deloitte Consulting LLP. My focus is in Deloitte’s Government and Public Services sector in the State, Local & Higher Education practice.
What advice do you have for students who are considering employment in the private sector and pursuing an MPA degree?
My advice to students who are pursuing their MPA and are considering working in the private sector or even just looking for jobs right now is to persistently network. Rockefeller College has such a great alumni network and you have all the tools you need to take advantage of it. If there is a company or organization that you are interested in, look it up on LinkedIn, see if there are any Rockefeller alums, and if there are, ask them for an informational interview over the phone. You can also reach out to Yalitza Negron-Rivera and Kelly Hammond from the college to see if they have connections. You never know what’s out there if you don’t ask!