Career Conversation with David Uejio

MLDP W13 Week 6

Read a student's account of a Career Conversation lunch with one of our speakers for the Management Leadership and Development program below. For more information, about MLDP, click here.

Prior to his presentation before the students of MLDP, David Uejio offered several students the opportunity to learn about his experiences working for the Federal Government and to ask questions regarding the recruitment process for public sector employment in his Career Conversation presentation. Uejio began by offering a refreshing perspective on both the federal government and federal employment. He asked students to think of the federal government not as a political institution, but as a large firm. This firm provides the “biggest stage for solving the most intractable problems which the private sector has no incentive to solve.” Due to its large scope, government work offers its employees the ability to directly address the nation’s most substantial and fundamental problems which the private sector fails to resolve. The immense scale of government may lead to inefficiencies in operation, which is why talented individuals as well as private sector practices, which focus upon efficiency and effectiveness, are needed in government.

In addition to his broader perspective on government, David provided stories of his own personal experiences working for the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and discussed the government employee recruitment process. While discussing his work experience, David suggested that the ideal government employee for the CFPB where he currently works is not a hyper-specialist, but a “brilliant discipline generalist that can adapt to multiple things.” While this assessment looks favorably upon liberal arts students such as those from Dartmouth who are adept at multiple disciplines, Uejio stated that the primary reason that more students from Dartmouth do not pursue government work is the government’s self-image problem in its recruiting. Many federal agencies do not actively pursue high-profile students from schools outside the Washington, D.C. area. This tactic is partly due to a lack of government ambition and partly because the government does not trust that such students will actually enter government work. However, Uejio is attempting to change this hiring practice by encouraging more students from high profile schools outside the D.C. area, as well as employees already in the private sector, to enter the public sector.

In spite of the flaws in the current recruitment process, there are many viable ways for Dartmouth students to enter government work or to advance in the management chain. Uejio cited several new programs for recent graduates to seek federal employment as well as training programs such as the Next Generation of Government and Young Government Leaders Education Program for aspiring new government employees. He also provided critiques of the management of several federal agencies and departments and assessed the differences in worker satisfaction and the type of work performed in these various departments. Lastly, Uejio lastly touched upon life in Washington D.C., and discussed some of the differences between public and private sector employment, such as the differences in work hours. Overall, Uejio provided a new perspective on civil service work to Dartmouth students and an alternative to the typical corporate recruiting in which Dartmouth students frequently participate.

-By Kevin Schorr ‘15 Winter 2013 MLDP Student Participant