Policy Issues

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  • Meet a Student

    Jackie Kier

    “I feel lucky to have seen first hand how entrepreneurial pockets of government can be, and I’m hoping to encourage my classmates to direct some of their incredible brain power to tackling big problems in the public and social sphere.”

    Jackie Kier, a native of New York City, has spent years exploring her dual interests of politics and financial markets. Both loom particularly large in the Big Apple and both left impressions upon Jackie from an early age. In high school, she worked on Mayor Bloomberg’s first re-election campaign, canvassing several boroughs, navigating the front lines of politics, and learning a little bit about sales in the process. Recently, however, she has discovered public policy and the potential impact she could have in that realm. She spent this summer at the White House after earning a policy internship with the National Economic Council – the next chapter in her story.

    As an undergraduate at Dartmouth, Jackie studied history and economics. After her freshman year, she was offered a glimpse into the intersection of the public and private sectors when she interned at the New York State Banking Department, the entity responsible for regulating NY state banks. She brought this unique perspective with her when she moved over to the private sector after graduation, spending three years as an equity research associate covering banks at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and, later, at Jefferies. “Covering banks from 2009 to 2012 was like having a front row seat to the financial crisis,” and Jackie spent most of her time writing research reports on the macroeconomic trends that influence the banking sector, from aggregate loan and deposit growth in the United States, to the housing market, bank M&A, and the impact of Dodd Frank and government regulation.

    In the months leading up to her first year at Wharton, Jackie switched gears serving as deputy campaign manager for Reshma Saujani’s campaign for New York City Public Advocate in 2013. As one of Reshma’s first hires, Jackie ended up wearing several hats and taking on many responsibilities, including hiring and managing staff, planning and administering the budget, and developing fundraising and policy strategy. Though she remained involved in the final chapter of the campaign, she left to start her first year at Wharton, where, from the beginning, she has set firm rules on how she manages her time. Wharton MBA students have an abundance of opportunities both on and off campus, and Jackie has chosen a few initiatives to which she devotes her incredible energy.

    One of those initiatives is the Wharton Social Venture Fund, a student-run impact investing fund. Last academic year she worked on the financial inclusion team of the WSVF, sourcing and analyzing companies which provide access to capital and credit for under-served communities. She is also a member of the steering committee for the brand new student-run initiative called P3 (Purpose, Passion, Principles). With support from faculty and the Wharton Leadership Office, P3 provides students with a forum to explore their personal and professional goals as well as their own definitions of success and happiness.

    Jackie (center) with other participants of the Fall 2013 Case CompetitionJackie (center) with other participants of the Fall 2013 Case CompetitionAnother particularly important piece of Jackie’s Wharton career has been her involvement with the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative. Last fall, she and two friends entered Penn Wharton PPI’s first annual Case Competition and took first prize. The prompt of the case asked teams to devise policy solutions to spur middle-class job creation, and Jackie’s team developed the clever FUTURE program. She cited this competition as the spark that led her to seek an internship in public policy for the summer.  

    This summer, Penn Wharton PPI provided funding for Jackie’s internship at the National Economic Council at the White House, where she explored policy solutions to some of the nation’s greatest challenges at the highest level. On any given day, she would analyze economic data, research, assess, and develop policy initiatives related to tax policy, retirement security, Social Security reform, pensions, and student loans. Sometimes she’d engage in the early stages of brainstorming policy ideas, and other times she’d engage with stakeholders to execute the programs. As Jackie described it, the NEC is the White House team that advises the President on domestic and international economic policy, often working with various other government agencies and offices to develop and execute programs. It is through legislation, the President’s own executive authority, the power of these agencies, and public/private partnerships that the policy recommendations constructed at NEC actually effect change in the country. “Given the current political environment, the NEC has to be particularly creative in engineering policy proposals.” The dedication and passion for improving the country’s economic standing drove the office’s fast pace and came from a top quality and dedicated staff and group of fellow interns. Her summer at NEC was, as she put it, the highlight of her professional career to date.

    Now back on campus, Jackie is taking her passion for policy, politics, and markets even further, as she recently began serving as the new President of the Wharton Politics & Public Policy Club. She said that the club is intended to provide a forum for students to learn about current events and controversial policy issues, engage with each other and debate ideas. The club will hold several different types of events, including monthly dinner debates and the newly launched lunch and learn series. “MBAs often look at government as a black box where it’s impossible to affect change. I feel lucky to have seen first hand how entrepreneurial pockets of government can be, and I’m hoping to encourage my classmates to direct some of their incredible brain power to tackling big problems in the public and social sphere.”

    Whether Jackie herself swings back to the private sector or the internship at NEC leads to another role in government, her experiences in both sectors have led her to assemble a unique set of perspectives on current policy problems. While she hopes to return to Washington, D.C. one day, she knows that her career will be guided by the issues she is passionate about. However her story ends, it will certainly be worth the read.

  • Image previewOctober 12014 Public Policy Case Competition

    Registration is due Monday, Oct 6, at 5 PM for the Penn Wharton PPI Second Annual Public Policy Case Competition. This competition, open to all undergraduate and graduate students across the University of Pennsylvania, is intended to foster discussion and collaborative research on key public policy issues. One team will win the grand prize of $5000.  Two teams will earn honorable mention awards of $1500 each.

  • Image previewOctober 1New Rulings on ACA Subsidies, Fannie & Freddie

    ACA Subsidy Decision; HHS Funds for Undocumented Children; Fannie and Freddie Ruling; New Manufacturing, Jobs, and Construction Data

  • Image previewSeptember 30New Consumer & Housing Data

    Personal Consumption Grows and Consumer Confidence Falls; Home Prices Fall But Up Year on Year

  • Image previewSeptember 3090-Second Stories Featuring Thirteen Public Policy Interns

    During the Penn Wharton PPI fall welcome back event, thirteen students shared their 90-Second Stories about what it was like to be a public policy intern over the summer.  The audience was comprised of other students, both from the 2014 intern cohort as well as students interested in learning more about internship opportunities.  Each story is unique and provides an interesting perspective of the DC intern experience.

  • Events on Campus

    Image preview Oct3 Coffee Chat with Professor Andrew Huemmler 2:00pm - 3:00pm
    Location: Jon M. Hunstman Hall 418
    Professor Huemmler is a Senior Lecturer of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at SEAS. His areas of expertise are energy systems, climate policy, and electricity markets. For this coffee chat, he’ll be talking with the group about climate policy and energy policy.

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