Sana Jawa ’23

Milken Institute Asia Center, Singapore

This summer, I interned at the Milken Institute Asia Center (MIAC) in Singapore on the Events and Communications team. MIAC is part of the Milken Institute, a U.S. based public policy think tank. It convenes government officials, NGO workers, and prominent individuals from both the private and public sectors to propose solutions to large-scale socio-economic issues related to healthcare, aging, and finance in Asia-Pacific. While at MIAC, I worked on two main projects, both relating to the food and agriculture sector.

The first project was a video on alternative proteins; I drafted a script explaining alternative proteins, the opportunities and challenges in the market, and its future. The second project was a research paper on the ways the global food system could become more sustainable post-Covid-19. I researched and drafted a detailed outline of the paper’s four key issues namely food insecurity, small-holder farmers, sustainability, and investment.

This internship changed my perception of the private sector significantly. I had the misconception that working in the private sector had no other explicit value other than financial security. Through the Internship Speaker Series, a webcast providing career advice to the interns, I interacted with many successful industry leaders in private equity, investment, and banking, all of who assigned great importance to their private sector experiences. I realized that I could experience substantial growth from working in the private sector and gain several valuable and transferrable skills. Thus, I have widened my job spectrum to include finance and venture capital.

I was also able to identify my major. I have been deliberating between a prospective major in economics or political economy. However, as I became more enthusiastic about the opportunities the private sector offered, I became excited about the prospect of working in private equity and consulting. These career choices lend themselves to a major in economics.

This experience also opened me up to the start-up culture and entrepreneurship. While writing the script on alternative proteins, I learned about dedicated start-ups that responded to the disheartening environmental and consumer health data proactively, proposing new and unconventional solutions. They displayed an incredible level of innovation and ingenuity. This has gotten me excited about a career in start-ups. It will be exhilarating to be a part of a small, yet vibrant start-up that can make a positive impact on the food and agriculture space.

I also experienced substantial personal growth at MIAC. I took the lead on both my projects. Hence, I made independent and thoughtful decisions about the structure and the content of my drafts. I would like to give my sincere thanks to the ’68 Center for Career Exploration and the Class of 1974, as without their support, I would not have had this enriching experience. I am more self-assured and have greater clarity about my future because of this experience and the opportunity provided to me. Thank you!