Davis Braun, MPA ’19
Budget Analyst (Presidential Management Fellow), U.S. Dept. of Interior Bureau of Reclamation
Former IPA Graduate Public Administration Fellow, 2019 Legislative Fellow
Q: How did you hear about the Presidential Management Fellows Program? What will you be doing in your role through the program?
A: “I knew from Dr. Lewis’ seminar course, visiting Washington, and speaking with others that the federal government was one of the areas I wanted to look into following the completion of the MPA program. From there, I eventually learned of the Presidential Management Fellows Program, a highly selective and prestigious two-year training and leadership development program within U.S. government agencies. The fellowship is considered to be a gateway for young professionals with an advanced degree into federal government employment. Once you’re accepted into the fellowship program, agencies share roles specific to the Presidential Management Fellowship Program on a job board. There are also some rotational opportunities within the program, but I will be in the Bureau of Reclamation in Washington, D.C., working as a budget analyst.”
“The next two years will really help me find my footing in terms of my career trajectory. I’m interested in it because of my interest in finance, but also because there are travel opportunities available. A lot of the work I’ll be doing in focusing on the U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific region, which is basically all of Nevada north of Las Vegas and most of central California, so there will be some travel. It’s definitely something I plan to do in the longer-term, but I'm not trying to plan out my entire career just yet.”
Q: What do you think has prepared you most for your role as a Presidential Management Fellow?
A: “I would say that the first MPA seminar course and having the opportunity for so many other people to come in and tell us what they do from IPA and elsewhere definitely helped prepare me, as did the trip to Washington, learning about UD graduates who work there, and learning about all of the opportunities you can pursue with an MPA degree. For this position itself, I would definitely say that Dr. Smith’s budget-focused course was very helpful, as well as his teaching methods. There’s no way I would be going into this role without learning any of that because I had no background in that before coming into the MPA program. What I also think really helped was the professional experience through IPA. I did a lot of local comprehensive planning work that wasn’t always directly related to budget analysis position, but it was professional work that I could reference and highlight during my interview and application process. I had coursework in performance management and financial management, and my capstone was all financial or budget-focused. These were all things in the interview that I could point to without having a budget analyst internship on my resume.”
Q: Advice for students who are preparing for the interview process?
A: “I feel like it gets said a lot, but try to take advantage of as many opportunities as you can, especially meeting people and trying new professional things, because that‘s where you can learn more about yourself and what you might enjoy going forward. As I mentioned, I had an idea of what I was interested in, but I really learned more about it and how to take that idea and turn it into a practical job skill that I would enjoy doing.”