For Max Hammer, not only is a summer working in the nation’s capitol a dream come true, but it’s one spent dealing with a different kind of capital, as well. “OPIC is the U.S. government’s development finance institution — it has roughly $24 billion under management,” Max tells us, “My group is in charge of roughly 20% of that, lending to emerging market private equity and venture capital firms who invest along ESG (environmental, social and governance) criteria.” When outside the office, Max learned firsthand the challenges of life after graduation, while also finding the time to do some sightseeing and summer reading.
What areas of public policy interest you?
With PPRS, I’m studying environmental and energy policy, which hasn’t been at the forefront of this internship thus far, but there definitely have been aspects of it. Generally speaking, the investments here have to pass a screening process to be deemed environmentally and energy responsible. OPIC’s a big proponent of renewable energy, so there’s a bit of a connection.
What is the first thing you do when you get to the office every morning?
The first thing I do is check my email, since interns can’t access email outside of the office. From there, I move on to my project work.
What does a typical day in DC look like for you?
I’m living in Arlington for the summer, so I take the Metro in, grab a working breakfast, and get to work on my projects. I work pretty close to the White House, so a lot of days I’ll walk over and have lunch there. After work, it’s a hodgepodge of things. Some nights, I try to take advantage of the events that PPI and Penn in Washington put on. I’m actually going to the PPI foreign policy dinner tomorrow night. I’ve also been going to museums that have evening hours and the like.
Have there been any surprises regarding living and working as an intern in DC?
It’s a lot hotter than I expected. A lot rainier as well. I think the main surprise, though, is that I set some pretty lofty expectations for myself of all the things I would do outside the office, but it’s tough to do the day in, day out and still have the motivation to take advantage of being in a vibrant place like D.C. It makes you value life at school a lot more.
Name one object that you brought with you to DC that reflects your personality.
I brought George Orwell’s 1984. I thought it’d be relevant to reread it now.
In 30 years, what will you remember about living and working in DC?
Living in D.C. is definitely a bucket list item. I don’t know what the future holds; I may or may not be back here, but being able to say that you’re an employee of the federal government carries a bit of weight. It feels pretty fulfilling.