Jina John, BPE '13
Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in the suburbs of New York, where my parents settled after immigrating from India. As a first-generation college student, I didn't have clear expectations for college and was thrilled to have the opportunity to be part of a program that encouraged exploration rather than sticking to the confines of a cloistered college campus. Significantly, BPE encouraged me to develop a connection to the community outside the classroom, a lesson I have carried with me. I remain engaged with local politics and my neighborhood's mutual aid organization.
What is your current position?
Assistant Attorney General, Bureau of Internet and Technology, New York State Office of the Attorney General
Could you walk me through your career trajectory?
After graduating from NYU, I spent a year at an international development NGO before attending Harvard Law School. During law school I was engaged with a variety of issues, including housing, community development, and especially consumer protection. I also got a taste of politics through campaign work and internships on the Hill. Through my experiences, I felt that the future of consumer protection would be inextricably tied with technology, especially around issues of privacy. Upon graduating from law school, I did a fellowship at the NY Attorney General's Office ("NYAG") in the Bureau of Internet and Technology. I then spent a few years in private practice in the privacy and cybersecurity group at Cooley LLP. Last year, I returned to the NYAG as an Assistant Attorney General. I investigate companies for a variety of issues, including data breaches, online tracking, and platform abuses.
What stands out to you most about your BPE experience?
I'm grateful to have had what felt like a truly global education, focused not only on exploring different parts of the world, but also on understanding different approaches to economic policy.
What advice would you give to current BPE students?
Try everything you can in terms of internships, student organizations, community organizations, etc. There's no better way to learn what you want to do than by trying different things and figuring out what you like and don't like.
How did the BPE experience influence your career decisions and professional development?
I appreciated that BPE encouraged exploration beyond the typical career paths in finance, marketing, consulting, etc. I especially valued that BPE inspired students to look at both the public and private sectors. My career has already switched between public and private several times, and I suspect that I will have more switches in the future.
How have you found the BPE community, both as a student and now as an alumna?
Our BPE class has remained quite close all these years later. I made some of my best friends through BPE and study abroad - those are bonding experiences that simply can't be replicated.