A journey from undergraduate student to Federal Reserve employee
While double-majoring in economics and political science, Haley Chinander (BA ‘21) worked as an intern at the Minneapolis Federal Reserve. Here, Chinander reflects on her time at the U of M and shares some advice for students.
Why did you choose to be an economics major?
As a freshman at the University of Minnesota, I knew I wanted to major in political science because of my interest in learning about public policy, but I did not have an actual career path in mind.
After I took an intro to microeconomics class, I realized that an additional major in economics would provide me with a whole new set of skills and teach me a different way of thinking that would pair perfectly with my interests in public policy. The beauty of an economics degree is that it … prepares you with the skills necessary to be qualified for a variety of careers.
What is your favorite memory from your time at the U of M?
My freshman year macroeconomics class with Professor Fahima Aziz. Professor Aziz decided to bring us on a field trip to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis after we learned the basics of monetary policy in class. I was unaware that there was a regional Federal Reserve bank in Minneapolis at the time.
Through this tour, I was introduced to the wide variety of topics the Minneapolis Fed focuses on such as housing, childcare, and education. I ended up spending two years there as a Government Relations intern before entering my full-time role as a research assistant. If Professor Aziz had not brought our class on this tour, my career path would likely look very different right now.
While a student at the U of M, what out-of-classroom experiences benefited you the most?
My most valuable out-of-class experiences came from my job as a student fundraiser at the University of Minnesota Foundation. Through it I learned to become comfortable asking for donations over the phone, building rapport, and connecting with complete strangers. My call center experience was also one of the main reasons my original manager at the Minneapolis Fed wanted to hire me as an intern because she knew I would be comfortable making phone calls.
What advice would you give to students looking to explore an economics major?
Because there are a lot of different career paths that can result from a degree in economics, I would encourage students who are interested in the major to start reaching out to alumni from the economics department for informational interviews.
When I was on the fence about my career interests, I started speaking to those with economics degrees who were in different fields. I spoke with alumni who were employees at the Department of the Treasury, graduate students in public policy, and researchers at think tanks like the Brookings Institute. [That] helped me gain a better understanding of what opportunities were available after graduating.