Bush School Recent Alums Work on Economic Development for USAID Projects

February 20, 2018

Andy Hall

Andy Hall

Ben Fain and Andy Hall, both graduates of the Texas A&M Bush School of Government and Public Service Class of 2017, are now working side by side in the nation’s capital. Graduating with the Master of International Affairs in the International Development and Economic Policy track, both sought work in similar fields and ended up finding work at Macfadden and Associates, a contractor for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

As a USAID contractor, Macfadden works extensively with Food for Peace, a program that provides emergency food assistance to those affected by conflicts and natural disasters. At Macfadden, Fain and Hall work as information officers, providing support to the in-country teams and providing the public and other governmental branches with information about the work being done on the ground.
In a talk with current Bush School students, both said their education at the Bush School was instrumental in preparing them for work in the development field. In an interview, Hall expanded on this and gave advice for graduating students soon entering the job market.

“Talk to people in the field you want to be in every chance you get,” he said. “Get business cards and follow up with an email. Don’t ask for a job, just be on their radar, and ask for insight into their career.”

Ben Fain

Ben Fain

He added that in such a saturated and ruthless job market, recent graduates should not hesitate to apply for a job that does not seem like a perfect fit. The Washington, DC, job market is tough, and there is nothing lost by casting a wide net, he said.

Before Macfadden and before the Bush School, Hall worked as a bartender, painting in his free time after earning his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Houston. His then-girlfriend, now-fiancé helped encourage him to apply to the Bush School, convinced there was a more noble calling for him than tending bar. Hall still contends, though, that bartending is a public service.

Knowing he did not want to resume his career as a bartender, with graduation approaching, Hall began searching for work in the field he now had a degree in. Hall landed in his current position at Macfadden after hearing about the position from his classmate and now fellow coworker Fain.

“I really lucked out that I got this position,” Hall said. “There are so many qualified candidates that you’re competing with for any one job.”

He said the Bush School played an integral role in preparing him for his current job by providing him with endless opportunities for personal development. Hall and Fain both noted one professor specifically that helped prepare them—Professor Andrew Natsios. A former administrator of USAID, Natsios pushes his students to write clearly and succinctly—important skills for anyone in this line of work.

“The Bush School did a good job preparing me for a career in public service and with USAID,” Hall said of his time at the School.

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