Austen Edwards, BS INTA and BS PUBP 2012, is currently working as a Consultant for Capgemini Government Solutions, helping to deliver strategy and technology solutions to federal agencies. In particular, his team focuses on an array of services that help government officials with process alignment, program evaluation, and project acceleration. While Austen’s day-to-day work can vary widely, he primarily designs and hosts facilitated sessions for administrators in national security agencies to develop as-is and to-be maps for their various business processes. These sessions aim to bring renewed collaboration to strategic and operational teams across government in order to help them meet higher demands with slimmer budgets. Whether Austen’s team is working on legacy IT systems in an immigration agency or improved case management for state healthcare and unemployment benefits, Austen’s time with Capgemini has been challenging, educational, and rewarding.
How did Tech and INTA help you get where you are?
My experience in the Nunn School helps me understand the complex pressures within our client organizations and adapt to ever-changing circumstances. The study of international affairs teaches you to see the hidden webs of influence underpinning difficult situations and to constantly adjust your strategy to new developments.
Also, I went on the EU Study Abroad program with Prof. Birchfield, which travels across northern Europe from Brussels to Krakow. The program is designed to immerse curious students in the full complex reality of EU integration and trans-Atlantic relations. It was an incredible opportunity to sit down with a Member of the European Parliament or the Polish Ambassador to NATO to get a firsthand account of European integration.
What advice you would give current students at Tech as well as the Sam Nunn School specifically?
It is undeniably a tough job market at the moment for students hoping to start a career in the public sector. The budgets of federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private think tanks simply haven’t rebounded from the recession yet, and the job market is flooded with highly qualified candidates looking to jumpstart their careers. However, your time in college is an incomparable opportunity to set yourself up for beating the competition and landing that first job after graduation. The two most important things you can do are getting an identity and using your weak connections. Of course, you need good grades and some work experience to strengthen your resume. But, the things that will truly set you apart in an applicant pool are the one-of-kind, adventurous experiences that give you an identity and show your character beyond just the quick bullet points on your resume. Volunteering in a developing country, working for a struggling start-up, or taking a cross-country internship can all be ways to find your identity --- and can also give you the perfect starting point when talking to a hiring officer. Likewise, don’t be afraid to call up your neighbor’s cousin’s wife’s niece’s boss to ask them about their work and any employment opportunities they may know about. If you can talk to someone one-on-one about who you are and what you can do, you will have a far better chance of showing hiring officers that you are the best candidate for them. Remember, organizations don’t hire resumes; they hire great individuals. The hardest part of a job search is making sure they look beyond your resume to see you, the great individual behind it.