Open Society Foundations (OSF) Career Talk at CEU

December 19, 2017

Members of OSF’s global recruitment team recently spoke to an audience of CEU students and alumni about career opportunities within the philanthropic organization. They were joined by CEU alumna Rahiela Mustafovska (DPP ’08), a Program Specialist with OSF.

Michael Davidson, Director of Global Recruitment, described OSF’s global reach and thematic programs. Since 1984, OSF has spent billions of dollars to promote public health, defend human rights, and fight discrimination, among other causes. With operations on every continent except for Antarctica and Australia, OSF has three hub offices in New York, London and Budapest as well as local operations in many countries.

Davidson made special mention of OSF’s work in Hungary, where the foundation has spent $400M since 1984 supporting a wide range of projects in areas including education, civil society and human rights, public health and arts and culture. OSF’s Budapest office is its second largest globally.

Akin Martins, Global Recruitment Manager, outlined specific positions within the organization. OSF staff work in four main areas: grant making, advocacy, human rights litigation and research. Martins focused primarily on roles that support the grant making process. The Program Officer role requires 7-10 years of experience working within organizations similar to the ones that apply for funding from the specific program. Program Officers are decision makers with responsibility for making decisions about grants. The Program Specialist role requires between 3-5 years of work experience in the relevant field. This position includes research, analysis, report writing and the ability to nurture relationships with potential grantees.

Martins also described roles within OSF’s administrative track, explaining that “a strong administrative backbone” is crucial for positive functioning of the organization, sharing details about the Program Administrative Specialist role (3-5 years of experience) and the Program Administrative Assistant role. Additionally, Martins briefly mentioned OSF fellowship programs including the Aryeh Neier Justice Initiative Fellowship.

Mustafovska wrapped up the presentation by describing her career path since her graduation from CEU. As a public policy student in 2008, she came across a vacancy posting shared by her academic program coordinator. Her advice? “Always keep an eye on vacancies posted by your coordinator and Career Services.” Nearly ten years later, she is still with OSF and looking forward to the tenth anniversary of receiving her CEU degree. “Everything I learned at CEU I apply in my work at OSF,” she said. Mustafovska also builds on experience and knowledge gained prior to studying at CEU, including legal studies and work in non-profit organizations. In particular, the ability to create and maintain relationships with people working in a range of organizations is crucial in her work to support the OSF grant making process.

During the Q+A session at the end of the event, Davidson advised members of the CEU community not to send generic applications to the organization, which receives hundreds of applications for most of the vacancies it posts. Rather, he advised audience members to watch for positions for which they are qualified and to invest time in crafting tailored application materials.

Students had a further opportunity to speak with Davidson, Martins, Mustafovska, and other members of the OSF team during a reception immediately following the session.

by Kenan Sadovic (LEGS ’18)