Welcome to “3 Questions with …”, a recurring feature on the Career Center blog. We’re asking alumni of all graduation years and career interests to share a bit of their experiences and advice.
Lisa Setrakian, A14, Senior Consultant with Guidehouse
1. In just a few sentences, please tell us about your current job/graduate program/vocational endeavor.
I am a recent 2020 graduate from the Harvard Kennedy School with a Master’s in Public Policy. I am based at Guidehouse in their State and Local Government advisory practice. In my position, I work with public sector clients to enable them to improve service delivery for their constituents and implement new programs and business processes.
2. How did your time at Tufts influence your career journey?
There were several components to the Tufts experience – both within and outside of the classroom – that shaped my professional journey. By virtue of being part of the IR academic community, I found inspiration from my fellow classmates and professors who had a shared passion for applying historical trends, political insights, and analytical thinking to address global challenges across national lines. Furthermore, as a Tisch Active Citizenship Summer Fellow, I learned first-hand what it was like to work in a public sector position. I witnessed the motivation of public servants to serve the most vulnerable populations. I learned about programs, services, and research carried out by government agencies, and the value and challenges that come with their implementation. My summer in D.C. fueled my desire to orient my career toward the public sector. Finally, the Tufts Career Center (shameless plug) offered a space to explore my interests and confront my anxieties about graduating and entering the real world. I leveraged Career Center resources to understand more about my interests and skills, and how to clearly articulate and frame them vis-a-vis new opportunities. I ultimately landed my first job in public policy research, a major step in my professional journey, thanks in large part to the relationships I made through the Career Center.
3. What advice would you offer to a student who wants to pursue a career path like yours?
Network. Network. Network. I thoroughly disliked that word as an undergraduate student. For fellow introverts, networking can feel like an uncomfortable and un-enticing exercise involving overwhelming in-person receptions. However, I learned that networking can also mean a low-stakes, 20-minute coffee date or phone call. The value of networking is it provides an opportunity – at any stage in your career – to learn about what it truly means to work in a specific sector or job, well beyond what one could gather online or in a classroom. In my area of interest, I wasn’t able to fully conceptualize the breadth of opportunities, and what different jobs entail, until I started talking to professionals in a variety of positions and places of work. I also found that people – especially Tufts alumni – are genuinely happy to help, because they too have relied on the support and wisdom of their networks at different stages in their careers.