OBSERVER NEWS

Letters to the Editors

Pradyumna Nadakuduty responds to the story on ‘SAIS Employment Outcomes In’ in Issue 2, Volume 16.

In response to the story on ‘SAIS Employment Outcomes In’ in Issue 2, Volume 16

Dear Editors,
The recent SAIS Employment Outcomes Report compiles great data on the jobs and internships attained by the most recent graduating class, thanks to the efforts of the Career Services Office. The headline of the report, “93% of all graduates sought and found employment, obtained fellowships or internships, or pursued further study within six months of graduation,” highlights the demand of SAIS graduates in today’s marketplace. But how does one develop context to interpret this data point? The answer, of course, depends on your personal level of optimism versus skepticism.

Skeptics may scoff that the metric is insufficient – six months of post-graduation unemployment is too long, and the level of job attainment is less important than the quality of the jobs attained. Short-term opportunities or highly over-qualified positions are not the employment outcomes towards which most SAIS graduates aspire. Questions as to whether the same employment outcome could have been achieved without a SAIS degree also cast doubt onto the value-added by a SAIS degree.

But to clarify, the report only provides data on the near-term employment outcomes of SAIS grads. Long-term, longitudinal studies of the career paths of SAIS graduates would be a fantastic addendum, but remain out-of-scope of this report. The choice of metric is common among APSIA schools, and by this metric SAIS compares very well to peer institutions. Moreover, the 15-year trend highlights the consistency in employment outcomes.

While short-term opportunities may not always be the ideal post-graduation outcome, an enormous portion of the SAIS alumni community can speak to the powerful and personally-rewarding effects these experiences have provided in building their careers. SAIS alumni in fields ranging from financial risk management to foreign service operations have attested to the value-add of their SAIS education late into their careers. The “big picture” thinking of an international relations degree will continue to be in demand in our ever-interconnected world.

After reading the employment report and speaking to SAIS alumni, I remain an optimist. The Class of 2013 has blazed career paths many SAIS graduates aspire to. Here is to much continued success for the Class of 2013, and similarly positive employment outcomes for SAIS graduates in years to come.

Pradyumna Nadakuduty
First-Year M.A. candidate at SAIS Washington

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