CLAgency Alumni Spotlight: Grace Brang
When did you graduate and what did you study? What were you involved in?
I graduated in the spring of 2018 from the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts with a bachelor of science in economics and a minor in statistics. While I was in college I worked as an account executive with CLAgency for two years and for one year as a research assistant for Dr. Ellen McGrattan, a professor in the economics department. I was a member of Phi Beta Chi National Sorority, Tau Sigma National Honor Society, and Economics Student Organization.
Tell us about you! What do you love, what do you like to do outside of work?
Outside of work, I love to explore the city with my friends, try new restaurants, hang out at coffee shops, do yoga, knit, and play tennis!
What is your current position? What do you enjoy most about where you're working and what you're doing?
I am a Research Assistant at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington, DC.
I found the transition from graduation to a full-time job to be a lot different than I was expecting - so often, I have heard that the "real world" hits when you graduate, and it’s time to start being a "real adult" once you get a full-time job. I expected there to be a drastic difference between life in college and life in this “real world,” and I thought it would be really overwhelming since I already felt so busy and overextended in college. However, after moving to DC and starting my new position at the Fed, I realized that life as a recent grad with a full-time job was indeed drastically different than life as a college student, but in all the ways I wasn’t expecting! I have so much free time now!
Looking back on my four years in college, I realized that I truly never stopped working, studying, or thinking about one or the other, and I really didn’t let myself have any free time. It was very weird not to have homework, meetings to attend, or anything work-related to be stressed about outside of business hours! While that may sound nice, it was really difficult to adjust to the new pace of life here and make a new normal. At first, I couldn’t remember what kinds of things made me happy and feel productive outside of work and school, so finding fulfilling activities to keep me busy was a huge adjustment. While it was hard at first, now I am so happy and thankful to be where I am - I’ve made great new friends, joined fantastic communities, and learned so much about myself in the process.
I love so many things about where I’m working and what I’m doing, but what I enjoy most is the culture of the Federal Reserve System. I found this to be true during my past internships with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, and I’m grateful that I can say the same about the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. I love that the work we do at the Fed is important and determines our country’s monetary policy while also having global impacts. When I catch a glimpse on the news of something the Fed has released or announced, sometimes I know the people that have done work to support that decision, and sometimes it could even be my fellow research assistants or me that have gotten to assist in the work. I don’t think that novelty will ever wear off, and it motivates me to want to do the best job possible and help out on as many projects as I can while I’m there. I think the Fed is great because the atmosphere is overwhelmingly welcoming and collaborative. The people there don’t just want to produce economic research and affect monetary policy quickly, but they truly want to find the right answers, and it’s an honor to be a part of a place like that.
How did CLAgency prepare you for life after graduation?
CLAgency definitely helped prepare me for life after graduation, specifically in preparation for a job after graduation. Through CLAgency, I was able to interact with people at all different levels throughout the U, and I got fantastic experience writing professional emails to faculty members, coworkers, and fellow undergraduate students. Learning how to write engaging pieces while also tailoring my writing to align with the university’s style was challenging, but so incredibly useful. I learned how to manage my time efficiently and handle multiple projects at once. One of my favorite parts about CLAgency was learning how to develop friendships with coworkers and have fun at work while also being productive and professional.
Do you have any advice for us?
My advice would be to always give 100% to the work that you’re doing, because fostering the relationships that CLAgency creates can only be mutually beneficial in the long run. Regardless of whether or not you want to do this type of work in the long run, the skills we gain in CLAgency can be applied to any career and any first job after college. Be close with your colleagues, because the CLAgency family is growing stronger and tighter by the semester, and they are a fantastic resource and group of people to lean on. I’m so grateful to have been a part of CLAgency during my time in college, and I hope to remain close with the organization and give back now that I’m an alumna!