Frequently Asked Career Questions
Get quick answers to some of the Career Advancement Center's most commonly-asked questions.
In order to be eligible for recruitment, you must be a current matriculated student at SIPA. For individual position eligibility, you must meet the employer’s eligibility requirements, which could include a minimum GPA, specific language fluency and/or citizenship status. If you have an F-1/J-1 visa and you plan on accepting a paid position in the United States, you must receive Optional Practical Training (OPT) authorization by applying through the International Student and Scholars Office (ISSO).
Students have access throughout all semesters of their dual degree program. However, students may only participate in recruitment for full-time positions during their final two semesters.
Students who meet any of the following criteria may be eligible to waive the internship requirement:
- Students on leave from their jobs.
- Joint-degree students who complete an internship in another program.
- Students who have worked on a full-time, professional basis (internships not included) for a minimum of four years, prior to enrollment at SIPA, in a field relevant to their concentration and career goals.
To request a waiver, complete the Internship & Professional Development Waiver form. Submit the form and required supporting documents (specified in the waiver form) to the CAC.
Please note that if you waive the internship requirement you will not be awarded any internship credits.
Students who meet any of the following criteria may be eligible to waive Professional Development:
- Students on leave from their jobs.
- Students who have worked on a full-time, professional basis for a minimum of four years in a field relevant to their concentration and career goals.
- To request a waiver, complete the Internship & Professional Development Waiver form.
- If you are granted a waiver, you are required to make an appointment with an adviser at the CAC to review your resume and job search strategy.
Unfortunately, unless SIPA students are invited to a joint presentation by the employer, and it is advertised in SIPAlink, SIPA students are not permitted to attend. If you are invited, you are required to sign up as there are a limited number of invitations. If you do not see a presentation advertised through SIPA CAC, you are not able to attend.
There are numerous ways to search for and connect with SIPA alums:
- SIPA Alumni and Student Network on LinkedIn - A place for alumni, students and faculty to reconnect, network and continue to enhance SIPA. Please note: Incoming students will be approved as group members beginning the week of orientation.
- Columbia Alumni Directory - A database of more than 18,000 graduates living in 153 countries around the world.
- CAC Career Events - Examples are networking receptions, career panels, and employer site visits.
Once you have found an alumus/a that you want to connect with, you may wish to set-up an informational interview. Informational interviewing is the best way to get current in-depth information on a field or oganization, and it provides an opportunity to network with people who have the power to hire. The purpose of an informational interview is not to ask for a job, but to ask for career and job hunting advice and contacts. If the meeting goes well and their work is very appealing to you, perhaps ask if they would allow for you to shadow them on-the-job one day for a few hours.
- Begin with researching careers or jobs that interest you.
- Identify alumni in your field by using the "Find Alumni" and "Groups" features within the SIPA Alumni and Student Network on LinkedIn (of which you will need to be an approved member).
- Research the specific organization the alumnus/a is working with, and learn more about the type of position they hold.
- If you are looking for a specific person or organization, use the "Search for People with Filters" search feature (at the very bottom of the search drop down menu) and enter the name of the person and/or the organization in the appropriate box. Type in multiple versions of the organization name; for example, the UN may also be written as the United Nations.