Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Thursday, November 7, 2019

Fiona Montie, MPA and Business, Environment & Social Responsibility Certificate

Fiona Monte Fiona Monte

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Marine on Saint Croix, Minnesota

Undergraduate education
Bachelor’s degree in community & environmental sociology with a minor in global health, UW–Madison, 2019

Expected graduation date
Spring 2020

Career goals?
Following my graduation in May, I hope to begin a career in nonprofit/sustainability consulting or communications. After deepening my knowledge within the nonprofit sector, I aim to forge partnerships between the social and private sectors and to assist businesses in becoming more sustainable. I envision a future in which all groups – public and private – have a vested interest in a sustainable planet and human welfare at large. 

How have your La Follette School courses and/or experiences set you on the path to meeting your career goals?
La Follette School courses have prepared me to meet my career goals in several ways. First, La Follette coursework provided the quantitative emphasis that I desired in order to make sounder decisions and develop evidence-based projects. Second, the accelerated program allowed me to pursue a master’s degree in only one additional year. Third, La Follette’s flexibility in its elective requirements has allowed me to take several courses of interest, from Nonprofit Management to Finance.

Teaching assistantship
As a TA for Inter-LS 210, Taking Career Initiative, I am the primary instructor for 60 undergrads in lessons and discussions about their own career development. From LinkedIn to cover letters and informational interviews to personal brand speeches, we cover a lot of useful content. I was drawn to the position because I have always loved encouraging others in their personal and professional development, so it’s pretty sweet being paid to do so!

Summer internship
Product Strategy & Development Intern, Feedback Labs, a nonprofit organization in Washington, DC

Internship experience
One especially exciting project I undertook (amid many others that I juggled in the startup-esque environment) was assisting in the rebranding and planning of the organization’s flagship conferences. This involved qualitative research (interviews, literature reviews, etc.), project management, and regular presentations to the team.

Client-based course projects
In Cost-Benefit Analysis (PA 881), I am consulting with a nonprofit organization in rural Mali to evaluate the net benefits of its community engagement and student enrichment programs.

Advice for prospective La Follette School students
In addition to La Follette coursework, take MBA-level courses in the Wisconsin School of Business – these count as La Follette School electives. These have been some of my most informative learning experiences, and they inform policymaking by providing a perspective that is often overlooked. In particular, I’m a huge fan of the Business, Environment, and Social Responsibility (BESR) certificate.

Furthermore, take advantage of alumni and our career services staff. UW–Madison’s alumni network is pretty incredible, and La Follette School staff are very helpful in the networking and career exploration process.  

How has the La Follette School changed the way you think about public policy?
The La Follette School has simultaneously clarified and clouded my understanding of public policy. I now feel more confident in my ability to decipher and articulate policy issues, and yet I am more skeptical about any one policy’s perfection – there is no panacea in policymaking.

People would be surprised if they knew that I …
am trekking Mount Kilimanjaro in May – wish me luck!