Official economic forecasts have failed to predict nearly every recession since the inception of macroeconomic modeling. Given this, you may wonder why I chose to work in economic policy this summer. Like many (but not all) who venture to D.C. in the summer, the primary purpose of my participation in the program was educational. I came to arguably the most powerful city in the world to gain a better understanding of how the government worked while also exploring my interest in economic policy (BTW, there are a lot of problems economists are much better at than predicting recessions). Though I definitely achieved these two goals, WLP helped me learn about something more important: the power and practice of relationship-building.
The individuals we met through WLP were incredible to say the least. From beginning the summer with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to ending the season with Beeck Center founder and social entrepreneur Sonal Shah, our class met many esteemed individuals and gained invaluable advice from our speakers and mentors. Among many consistent themes, the one that resounded with me most was just how important relationship-building is to your path and success in life.
Having grown up in one town where I knew most people for the first 18 years of my life - West Lafayette, Indiana - I always found the idea of networking somewhat arcane. Though I had some exposure my first year of college, the massive whirlwind that was our WLP events took me by storm. Before this summer, I always had a somewhat negative view of networking. In reality though, it makes sense that relationships hold such importance in a town driven by competition and cooperation. Finding people you trust, know, and like helps facilitate successful groups - and networking provides exactly this type of information. Unlike the world of tech where one can land an interview through passing a coding test, the world of politics has less objectivity which lends itself to a whole new set of relevant skills that can be quite fun! Indeed, I have found myself thoroughly enjoying meeting all the incredible people here in D.C. and inquiring about their wide-ranging backgrounds.
More personally, WLP introduced me to some of the most inspiring individuals I have met to this point. Coming from a small community and knowing many of my friends going into college, this summer was my first relatively independent experience. My mom wasn’t here to wake me up, and my roommate wasn’t here to get me to class or work either. Though I ended up losing half my clothes (it’s a long story), I am certain that I grew as an individual and my WLP family was a huge part of that. From teaching me about Bollywood music, to educating me on the wonders of Captain Cookie, each and every member of this year’s class contributed something unique to my experience. One prediction this budding economist is certain about: WLP will continue to create amazing relationships, both professional and personal.
Council of Economic Advisers (CEA)
Stanford University, ‘21