Frequently Asked Questions

Job searches can take an average of 3-6 months. For career changers, it may take longer. We encourage students to sign up for Career P.R.E.P. after your first semester, and to follow this step-by-step job search process.

The best resumes and cover letters are targeted to the position, accomplishment-driven, and focused on the value you can bring to the organization. In addition, it is important to use “key words” from the job description so that online HR systems will “pull” your resume from the hundreds they may receive. To schedule an appointment for resume and cover letter review, and any other general career advising, please contact sphcareeroffice@bu.edu.

You will have the opportunity to meet and network with SPH alumni throughout your time in school. In addition, we encourage students to meet with alumni during your job search for “informational” interviews. These can be invaluable as you fine-tune your career goals and seek to build networks in your chosen field.

Career Services has a web-based Career Library broken down by field-specific career paths. Please visit our Career Library.

Employers post jobs on SPH Handshake. This tool also allows employers to search for resumes of SPH students and graduates. Most jobs stay posted for 30 days, unless otherwise noted.

Generally speaking, larger consulting firms who recruit MPH candidates tend to require applications (resume, cover letter and/or transcript) in mid-late September.  Selected candidates often start with a phone screen in early October, and if selected, conduct in-person interviews through the fall (behavioral and case interviews).  Job offers are extended in last fall for full-time positions that start the following summer.  For summer internships, application deadlines vary from fall to early January, with interviews and offers extended by February.  Sample large consulting firms include Deloitte, Ernst & Young (EY), McKinsey and PwC.  For smaller “boutique” consulting firms, generally speaking, recruiting can be on an as needed basis and/or January-March for summer positions including internships.  Sample boutique consulting firms include Abt Associates, Advisory Board, Boston Healthcare Associates, Evidera, GfK Consulting, John Snow, Inc (JSI), Management Sciences for Health and Public Consulting Group.  It is highly recommended to:

  • Network with alumni and other connections to learn about individual firms’ expertise and work cultures, and express your interest — internal referrals can go a long way.  LinkedIN is the #1 resource to find contacts.
  • Attend Employer Info Sessions and Career Fairs to learn more about firms and meet with representatives face-to-face.  All dates are posted on Handshake and updated regularly.  Additionally, attend external networking events featuring consultants as guest speakers.  Propel Careers and Boston Young Healthcare Professionals often host great events.
  • Check each individual consulting firm website for specific recruiting timeline information.
  • Participate in Career Services workshops and schedule a mock interview to prepare for both behavioral and case interviews.  Also, please visit our Career Library under the General Career Resources/Interview Section for additional resources that include great tips and techniques.

No. The practicum must align with 5 School-wide learning competencies. Of these 5 competencies, 1 is already pre-selected for you in the Practicum Portal.   The other 4 will be selected by you.  Your deliverables should be connected to these learning competencies and ideally align with your Functional Certificate.

Yes, the Career Services Office has many resources available to help students with their practicum or internship search. Please visit the Practicum Section of our website for more detailed information.

Fellowships are for SPH graduates, and often feel like a cross between an internship and a job. They are designed to give you additional training in the field of public health, and may lead into a permanent position with an organization. Read more about fellowships.

  • Be thorough-government applications can be long. Don’t forget to fill out every part of the application.
  • Include all of the attachments you are asked for (resume, cover letter, writing sample).  Leaving any off may get you overlooked!
  • Know your KSA’s (the Knowledge, Skills and Abilities) of the position. Fit your experience to meet the KSA’s of the job. Use the language of the job listing as a way to talk about your experiences.
  • Network with your federal friends and acquaintances. Finding someone who has been through the system can be helpful with the application and interview process.
  • Meet the deadline application. Miss it and you will miss out on this opportunity!

Unfortunately, many organizations do not have the resources to follow up with every job candidate who applies to their openings. If you have a personal or professional networking contact there, it can be helpful to ask them for an update. Some Human Resources departments are open to receiving a follow-up call or email. While you may try that route, do not take it personally if you don’t receive a response.

It depends. While the organization may not consider you at first, if they don’t receive a lot of applicants of interest, they may decide to consider you despite your being less experienced. If it is a sought-after organization, then likely they will not consider you since they will have many qualified applicants from which to choose. The best strategy here would be to use your networks to refer you.

  1. The writing sample needs to be your own work (unedited).
  2. It generally is 3-5 pages.
  3. This could be something you have written professionally (job or internship) or course work.
  4. The topic should be as relevant to what you are applying for as possible.
  5. If it is part of a larger document, the section you use should make sense on its own.
  6. Samples include research paper, strategy document, policy brief, grant proposal, donor communications, and marketing content.

There are many temporary and permanent staffing firms that specialize in administrative, clinical research/affairs, and healthcare management types of positions. See a few listed below: