From HBS to the FBI

HBS has prepared me for the most amazing opportunity post-graduation.

Starting two months ago, I became Special Assistant to the Director of the FBI, a position in which I am learning the complexities of managing a federal agency undergoing extensive re-engineering efforts. It is a wonderful privilege and honor to work within one of our nation’s most vital entities, and I really have HBS to thank for it.

The position with the FBI was offered through the school’s inaugural Service Leadership Fellows (SLF) program last year. The SLF program is a recruiting vehicle that thoughtfully matches graduates with incredible opportunities in nonprofit and public sector entities. HBS subsidizes a portion of the fellowship, which removes some of the financial disincentives facing students considering jobs in the social sector. The program is perfectly aligned with the school’s mission to develop leaders for our society – the mission that compelled me to enroll in the first place a little over two years ago.

After having been a consultant for almost four years, I came to HBS wanting to apply business and management skills in non-traditional settings. I was not certain of the trajectory my career path would take but I arrived with an open mind and willingness to research and explore different fields. I came away with a tremendous education and an eye-opening summer internship with a leading venture philanthropy organization.

When considering job opportunities during my second year of business school, I was excited to learn that HBS was preparing to launch the SLF Program. Certainly, 2001 was an extremely challenging year, testing not only the stability of our financial markets, but also the nation’s and our individual resolve. SLF was, I believe, one tangible way that the school responded directly to the immense challenges spiraling within our society.

As I reviewed the various project descriptions available last year, the situation facing the FBI resonated most with me. Following the 9/11 tragedies, the organization became revitalized with a new, urgent mission and set of priorities. The Director and his executive team cast a new vision, but still needed to align the workforce and equip it with the
tools required to accomplish organizational objectives.

I reflected on my own experiences as a change management consultant, and considered how my understanding of workforce planning, process re-engineering, and technology implementations could be applicable.

Although I had never seriously thought about working for the federal government, I could not help but consider the events of the past year, and think about how I might play a role. When I finally got a chance to hear the Director relay his goals for the organization personally, I knew I wanted to be part of his team. As expected, working at the FBI has involved quite a steep learning curve, but I am finding the job immensely interesting and rewarding.

Whether I remain in the public sector long-term remains to be seen. I am open to the possibility, but more than anything else, I am grateful for the chance to be where I am right now.