Alex Swope

At the time of of this interview, Alex worked as Senior Manager of Foundation Relations at American Enterprise Institute.

Why Econ? 
I started out as a politics major, and that’s how I got my interest in economics, as the two are closely linked, especially in policy. While being asked questions like, “How do we know if this policy is right or good? How do we know we are doing the right thing?” I realized that I wanted to learn more about how to answer those questions. Ken Elzinga’s micro and antitrust classes were both amazing Econ courses, and I particularly remember Lee Coppock’s Public Choice class as the perfect mix of economics and politics. I think if I could go back in time, I would have taken an accounting class too.

My career path: 
Before AEI, I did some campaign work for my local government and interned at a home-automation startup. During my fourth year, I worked at the Economics Career Office as the first-ever student staff member. I got my job offer from AEI in spring, and, yes, companies are still hiring in the spring and summer of your fourth year!

I started at AEI right after graduation in the summer of ’15 working on foundation relations. I really enjoy my work, which provides an opportunity to work directly with scholars and senior staff to plan and execute projects for the Institute.  

Attributes I look for in coworkers and team members:
Good attitude, good at giving constructive feedback and even better at taking criticism.  Hard workers who know how to get things done.

Advice for current students:
Don’t be afraid to look outside the box, AKA outside of the career paths that everyone else is doing. Particularly Econ students. As you apply, do your homework. People can tell when you’ve mass-applied. Be mindful about how you’re presenting yourself. You don’t fool people as well as you think!