Rohan Kocharekar ('15), Resident fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Boston
Rohan Kocharekar graduated from the Dual Degree Masters in International Affairs with Columbia University in 2015. Now he works for the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Boston, where he works on municipal fiscal health and land value capture. Here he shares his story and provides networking advice for students and young professionals.
What program did you do at Sciences Po?
I did a year study abroad with Sciences Po in undergrad from University of St. Andrews, Scotland. I then came back to do my Masters in International Affairs in the Dual Degree Program with Columbia University.
Why did you choose to work in the United States?
I ended up working in the United States after completing my degree, because I had secured a position at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which is headquartered in New York. I was working on sustainable urban development issues. I have been in the United States for four years since completing my degree.
What does the Lincoln Institute do? What do your responsibilities entail?
I work for a medium-sized policy think-tank. We work in disseminating research, teaching, training policymakers, and holding events around the world. I work partly on research, events, and public affairs management. My research is focused on municipal fiscal health issues and land value capture. The public affairs side of my job is centered on partnership outreach and managing the myriad events we put on throughout the year.
I am constantly learning in my role, which has been great to build on the foundation of learning I acquired from Sciences Po. I concentrated in Urban Policy, and my degree set me up perfectly for my current role.
What kind of challenges do you encounter at work?
I miss the international professional environment that I had at the UN and the diversity of my fellow students at Sciences Po and Columbia. Although I have the opportunity to travel internationally with my current organization every so often, I do miss the cultural diversity of New York, Paris, and the UN environment.
Is this experience part of your long term professional project?
Yes, I recently applied and just got accepted to a PhD program in Sustainable Urban Development at Oxford. My current research on land value capture led me to ask new questions on how cities could leverage land-based financing to pay for green infrastructure.
What advice do you have for Sciences Po students and recent graduates?
Don’t be afraid to reach out to professors and alumni. A “cold” email to Sciences Po alumni or a coffee after class with a professor can go a long way towards securing an internship and ultimately a job. Many people may not respond, but one eventually will, and that opportunity can lead you down a great professional path. Sciences Po also has one of the most globally diverse student bodies. Leverage those contacts and networks to pursue careers outside of your home country.
Yes, the bureaucracy at Sciences Po (and France in general) can be difficult sometimes, but it is all worth it in the end. The teachers, fellow students, and cultural amenities that Sciences Po offers are priceless. My time at Sciences Po was- to this date- the best time of my life.