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David Jacobstein

Bio photo of David Jacobstein

Senior Program Manager @ Pact

Build the skills of civic organizations overseas to contribute to better development.

How I Got Here

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Undergraduate Degree(s): History
Graduate degree(s): Master's degree in International Relations.
Favorite class(es): Modern Mythologies
Changing majors:

Originally undecided, at the time I was considering Anthropology as a major.

Moving from college to career:

My degree was somewhat important, because it gave me a sense of the world that helped me get interested in the area, but I had no real background in what I started doing (working at the ABA on legal reform). The most important thing about my undergraduate experience was learning to think critically and analyze what I read.

Career influences:

A class on the Balkans (while the Yugoslav war was going on) helped me to consider work that benefitted the wider world. I thought it would be a short stint, but I have stuck with it for a longer career. A great first boss also showed me that with common sense and dedication, I could make a real contribution.

The Ups and Downs

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Pros: Travel to Nigeria, Kenya, Malawi, El Salvador, Tajikistan, and Moldova in the last few months; meeting cool people; feeling that my work makes a difference, doesn't just pass time.

Cons: Not many options for a longer career in the field; it's a non-profit area, so salaries are moderate.

Recommendations

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I wish I had known how much professors are happy to chat with students; when I did that in graduate school, I learned a lot and built some good relationships.

MAJOR ≠ CAREER

Your major does not always determine your career path. Many graduates pursue careers outside their field, depending on their interests and experiences.

EXPERIENCE + DEGREE = CAREER

It’s not just your major that matters! Make yourself marketable by gaining a variety of experiences in college. Read a few inspiring stories by professionals whose experiences led to great careers.

Contact a Vick Center career counselor today to find out how you can turn your major into a career.