Senior Program Manager
David Jacobstein
Employer: Pact

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

Photo: David Jacobstein
How They Got There

Undergrad degree:  History

Favorite class in college:  Modern Mythologies

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

Graduate degree:  Master's degree in International Relations.

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
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.

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.

Interested in This Career?