(Not) Getting the job


The difference between pursuing an undergraduate degree and professional degree didn’t hit me until HMP orientation. Never had I talked so much about professional development, networking, internships, and career strategy. It was a much needed, eye-opening experience. And by the last month of my internship while I was still sipping água de coco on Ipanema beach on the weekends, my classmates were frantically posting on Facebook about fellowship applications for after graduation.

After returning to Ann Arbor and reflecting on my summer experience, I decided that I’d like to pursue global health consulting, only to find out that with an MPH I was still unqualified. Most global health strategy firms wanted MBAs or people with years of consulting experience. As expected, I was not asked to interview for any of the consulting firms I applied to. Even as I looked at other job postings for policy analysts, policy research, etc. it seemed like the only positions I qualified for were jobs that required only bachelor’s degrees since other positions required a master’s and 2-3 years experience. It was that or I was qualified for jobs that were similar to the student jobs I now hold. The experience requirements for job postings discouraged me briefly, almost making me believe  I was no more qualified for jobs I wanted than before I began my master’s. To be clear, with my MPH I am confident that I can get a job, but whether or not I can land the job I really want is the question.

My dad comforted me and said, “Yeah, you’ll probably have to start from the bottom somewhere, maybe even in Podunk, Nowhere.”

So not only will I probably not get the jobs I really wanted, but I might not end up in a desirable location? That realization is forcing me to learn to be more open-minded about where I’d be willing to live in the U.S.

As many of my classmates are landing their fellowships one by one, I am looking forward to the cycle of job applications to start again next semester. Accepting rejection can be an ego blow, but talking to my classmates experiencing similar frustrations and supportive faculty members has renewed my confidence.

4 thoughts on “(Not) Getting the job

  1. Hang in there hun,
    I completely understand where your coming from but your dad is right, you may have to start from the bottom but the beginning is minute in relation to the end. You shouldn’t look at where you start you should focus on where you may end. Advanced education may not impact the nascent but instead it diminishes the limits of where you can end up. As I applied to various Hospital Administration Fellowship positions I realized that although im qualified in the circle (Graduate School) im in, there is always going to be someone with far more qualification than me. With that said it pays off to sit down and figure out what you have to offer that employers cant find in just anyone. If communication is you skill, emphasize communication in everything that you do. If organization and political savvy are your niche then let that be known. All you need is ONE yes, just one so dont give up, dont loose hope because all though it may not feel like it you’ve gained alot of experience just making it this far in your academic career as it is. Those rejections, those constructive criticisms, those ” Thanks but No Thanks” ARE YOUR EXPERIENCE. Believe it or not, those No’s is what will make that YES so worth it. Good Luck, and dont loose hope.

    -Jenn Nibo

  2. I understand your frustration, Ine! Global Health consulting is a tough field to break into. We have brought a number of speakers to SPH this fall to address the skills and experiences global health consulting institutions are looking for and to provide students a picture of what the field looks like today (Symposium, John Snow info session, Global Health Careers Panel, Jeff Singer). I hope that you were able to attend some of these events as I think they were very helpful for the students that did attend them. Also, the GPH staff is always more than willing to meet one on one with you to discuss career options. Janet Neice in particular has a lot of global consulting experience and would be happy to meet with you. Keep working at it Ine, you will get what you want!

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