The School of Foreign Service is building a reputation that fails to uphold its name.

A Cawley Career Center poll revealed that only 11 percent of the School of Foreign Service’s Class of 2014 entered careers in nonprofit or service, while 6 percent accepted positions in government.

This is an alarming figure that seems contradictory to the school’s mission to “combine theory and practice and instill the values of service to others,” especially when compared with the 25 percent who proceeded to work in consulting and the 15 percent who pursued finance.

Although the fault for the disinterest in service-oriented careers does not fall entirely on the university, it must work to renew its commitment to fostering the ideals of service and better supporting its students in finding such careers, given the statistics above.

The problem itself has many causes. For one, the support for nontraditional internships and jobs, including public service, is lackluster. The Career Center offers more workshops and networking events for big names like Deloitte and Capitol One than for any other service or nonprofit companies. Appointments with deans and career advisers are difficult to come by and counseling geared toward careers in government brings little to light other than the painfully obvious.

With the unveiling of the global business major this fall, the only clearly private-sector oriented major in the SFS — despite assertions to contrary — the SFS has made a worrying statement.

It feels the need to create a major that is reminiscent of many other existing majors with a small added twist of business education in order to stay relevant and maintain its elite image. It is time for some serious soul-searching.

It is time for the school to question when it became acceptable for matriculating students to come in aspiring to make a difference in the world through public service and come out enlisting in the ranks of Deloitte. It is time to change the norm, offer more service and government-oriented classes, workshops and counseling, and return veracity to the SFS’s identity as a school that encourages and supports the dream many students enter college with — the betterment of others through public service.

3 Comments

  1. 1) Counseling geared towards government jobs actually isn’t that bad, Erin Ferree is super helpful
    2) Public positions are actually mad hard to get (interview x999, clearance, waiting period, yada)

    But mostly,

    3) Private sector pays better, and SFS students accepting private sector jobs isn’t wrong – we aren’t all super wealthy and capable sitting on our inheritances
    4) Many SFS students go into private sector with the objective of eventually doing nonprofit/public work – a better scope of statistics would tell the long-term career numbers

    Referring to the original article:
    Zenick said that these numbers do not represent total fallout in the long-term involvement of SFS alumni in public service, citing that many graduates eventually transfer to public service work later in their careers.

  2. The career center hosts networking events with companies that can afford to send recruiters to network. Financial and consulting firms can afford to fly and train recruiters around the country, and so the career center hosts them — nonprofits and service-based organizations just don’t have those resources. That’s why you don’t see them recruiting at Georgetown – NOT because they wouldn’t be welcome!

  3. Funny you mention Deloitte. They do tons and tons of work on government contract, as do many of these other private employers where SFS grads end up. If you’re working for the government or on the government’s behalf, it is still working toward the public good and in the public service, even if your employer is a private company. That should be kept in mind.

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