Tuesdays with a Korbel Grad

Xian, a 2013 MA in International Development Korbel Grad, stops in for today’s Tuesday with a Korbel Grad.



1.       Where do you currently work?

I’m currently in the Southern Africa region of Chemonics International. I would highly recommend the organization for early career professionals, because the company gives entry level employees a great deal of training, opportunities, and responsibilities. As USAID’s largest contractor, Chemonics also offers a vast network of technical specialists and partners whom are experts in their field, and we currently implement a wide array of projects across the world to suit all interest areas, spanning from health and food security to post-conflict rebuilding and governance. I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to Lusaka for the main project I manage, which is a nationwide systems strengthening initiative that serves to improve the decision-making and strategic planning of the Ministry of Education in Zambia, in order to enhance education outcomes, and will be heading to Zimbabwe this week to support our business development interests in the region as well.

2.       Which courses or professors at Korbel do you think best prepared you for this job?

All of Profs. Madiha Abdel-Maksoud and Randall Kuhn’s Global Health Affairs courses were fundamental in introducing me to the key frameworks that shape how we discuss and ask questions of development programming, and the indicators and terms that are currently in use by professionals in the field.

3.       How did Korbel’s location in Denver impact your job search?

The school’s location in Denver did not hinder my job search. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to live in Denver for two years before making the move to DC. I appreciated the Korbel in DC program, which allowed me to make networks here and get a better sense of the culture and job market in Washington, while still being able to enjoy my time as a student in Colorado.

4.       How have you utilized Korbel’s alumni network?

I’ve attended a couple of alumni events, and I find that Korbel alumni continue to be a vital resource during the early years of our careers. We always update each other on upcoming opportunities, and alumni here in DC are currently working across an impressive range of incredible international affairs organizations throughout the government, think tanks, and NGOs. A referral from a former Korbel alumni was essential in securing the job I currently hold, and I could not be more thankful.




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