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Career Services at Bren

As your personal career coaches, we help make your environmental impact a reality—empowering you with the skills, resources, and connections to land your ideal job and excel throughout your career.

88%

LANDED THAT DREAM JOB

88% of the MESM Class of 2019 said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the result of their job hunt

$62,475

AVERAGE STARTING SALARY

Average starting salary of the MESM Class of 2019 within 6 months of graduation

75%

STAY CONNECTED

Over 75% of Bren alumni are on BrenConnect, our exclusive networking platform

 

As your career team, we're fully dedicated to your professional success at Bren and beyond.

At Bren, prioritizing your career development isn’t just an available perk—it’s a way of life steeped into our ethos as a professional program and community of change-makers serious about solving environmental problems, and we have the data to prove it.
 
From day one of orientation, to graduation and beyond, we prepare you to navigate any professional situation and thrive in a competitive, ever-changing job market. We’re here to guide you every step of the way with personalized advising, workshops, online resources, job/internships opportunities, alumni connections, and more.
 
You’re our hope for a sustainable future, and we’ve got your back.

Meet Your Career Team

As the Career Development and Alumni Relations Team, we have a combined 50+ years of collective industry, recruiting, and advising experience. Throughout your student and alumni years, we passionately support you in developing lifelong career skills and maximizing your impact on the world as we solve environmental problems together.

  • Dave Parker

    David

    Dave started the Career Development Program in 1998, using his recruiting, consulting, and corporate experience to establish the vision that’s guided students to meaningful careers ever since. Having worked with every class, Dave brings a wealth of contacts and wisdom to his advising—we even celebrate “Dress Like Dave Parker Day” in March given his signature khakis and black shirt!

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    David Parker

    Director of Career Development and Alumni Relations

  • Kristi Birney

    Kristi

    Kristi helps oversee career development, employer outreach, and alumni affairs, bringing insights from her work in diverse sectors, including state government, consulting, and non-profit as the Marine Conservation Director for the Environmental Defense Center. A proud Bren alum, Kristi is an avid surfer, SUPer, and beach volleyball player passionate about cheerleading students and alumni to fulfilling career success. #BrenStrong

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    Kristi Birney

    Associate Director of Career Development and Alumni Relations

  • Monica Illes

    Monica

    Monica is a Santa Barbara county native and runner, which makes sense because she keeps BrenConnect running, managing much of the valuable content you’ll see there and in weekly career advice emails and (later) alumni newsletters. Dedicated to teaching students to communicate their skills and enthusiasm well, Monica also leads resume and cover letter workshops and provides detail-oriented advising.

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    Monica Illes

    Career Development and Alumni Relations Program Manager

  • Becca Barnett

    Becca

    Becca is a source of enthusiasm for the career team, and students benefit from her motivating advising—as well as the hundreds of jobs and internships she posts on BrenConnect. Becca helps students secure jobs and internships and manages the Summer Internship Funding program, bringing a background in higher ed and true passion for building rapport with students.

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    Becca Barnett

    Career Development and Alumni Relations Coordinator

The Bren Career Edge

We’re committed to helping you build the skills and mindsets to not only land your dream job, but grow throughout your career.

Customized 1-on-1 guidance for your unique career journey
We get to know you, your interests, and your dreams, and we support you every step of the way. With an open-door advising policy (plus 3 built-in resume and mock interview appointments), we pride ourselves on providing a high level of customer service.

Built-in career skills boot camp = lifetime professional smarts    
Through regular career workshops (20+ over two years), guest speakers and recruiting sessions, mingling practicums, and networking events—along with weekly career tip/action item emails, 1-on-1 advising, and online resources—you’ll be prepared to secure a summer internship and network, land jobs, and grow throughout your career.

A foundation in viewing, thinking, and doing things differently 
Behind everything we teach is a goal to help you develop the right mindsets—writing your resume for the jobs you want, not those you’ve done; building a network that transforms you from an outsider to an insider; and confidently negotiating offers knowing employers want you to (to name a few). You’ll not only get results, but you’ll also be nimble, marketable, and strategic during future job hunts, life transitions, and industry changes.

Group of five students making peace signs and smiling

Students in the MESM Class of 2020 during the team-building activities that the career team leads at orientation each year.


Worldwide alumni and employer connections 
We constantly develop and nurture a strong network to connect you to opportunities and people who can help throughout your career. Given our team’s long-term stability and Bren’s highly engaged alumni, this model helps Bren students land summer internships all over the world and rewarding jobs prior to or shortly after graduation (60-70% typically secure positions via the Bren network), not to mention new positions as alumni.

A team with a robust blend of professional insights 
With our combined 50+ years of expertise, we translate our insights from recruiting and corporate training, student advising, and varied environmental sectors into innovative “Bren approaches” such as our 3-tiered job search strategy for success in any economy and our attention-grabbing cover letter format that’s easy to tailor to different positions.

Support after Bren
It doesn’t stop after you leave! The Bren career team directly supports our grads during the months after graduation as you start the next chapter of your career. And, as an alum, you retain 24/7 access to our Bren-specific online career resources and networking tools, including 100+ articles, a robust alumni database, job announcements, and more via BrenConnect.
 

 

Matt Panopio stands with green hillside in background

Career training is one of the many reasons why the Bren School ranks among the nation’s top. I benefited most from the career team’s personalized feedback on my cover letters, which improved them into highly focused, results-driven documents that landed me multiple interviews during my internship and job search. I would not be in my current job without the Bren career team!

– Matt Panopio, Program Manager, Energy & Sustainable Operations at Amazon (MESM 2019)

Woman leaning against tree holding acoustic guitar

Bren's career team sets you up for success. From in-person consultations to helping you build your network, their coaching is a main reason why Bren students excel. Looking back, my first internship (WWF, Vienna), first job (Environmental Investigation Agency in DC), and entire career trajectory are due to the tools I learned, connections I built, and career advising I got at Bren.

– Anne Middleton, Executive Director at ECOLIFE Conservation (MESM 2008)


BrenConnect

BrenConnect links you to hundreds of alumni and jobs.

Your go-to resource for career development and networking, BrenConnect is a one-stop platform for current students and alumni to stay connected and access career resources. More than 75% of Bren’s 1,400+ alumni are BrenConnect users, meaning you can find and connect with fellow Bren change-makers working on environmental solutions in all industries, from global NGOs and Fortune 500 companies to government agencies and alumni-owned businesses. 

No wonder BrenConnect was recognized as a finalist for a Salesforce Higher Education Overall Excellence in Innovation Award and as a case study in alumni networking platforms. Ultimately, BrenConnect enhances career advising and networking opportunities for students and alumni, helping strengthen the connections within and impact of the Bren community.

Six people link arm in arm smiling


BrenConnect offers:

Environmental job and internship listings shared by alumni, staff, students, and employers (3-10+ commonly posted each weekday, especially during peak search seasons). Wondering how to get your foot in the door? Alumni often include inside info and/or offers to speak with anyone interested. 

Powerful alumni finder and search tool to query Bren grads by location, sector, specific employer, or name. Looking for a job with a certain public agency in a certain city? Find a Bren alum who can open that door.

Bren-specific career resources available 24/7, including how-to guides and examples covering our tried-and-true steps for networking, searching for jobs and internships, applying, interviewing, negotiating salary, and more.

Your personal BrenConnect profile, which you can update throughout your career to make your job and contact information available to fellow classmates and alumni looking to connect, collaborate, or catch up.

Bren Grads Change the World

  • Smiling man in front of a beer tap

    Jaime Dietenhofer, MESM 2002

    Using the management and problem solving skills learned at Bren, Jaime Dietenhofer has co-founded a successful -and sustainable- Central Coast brewery.

  • Woman stands in front of landscape with windmills and water

    Roxanne Diaz, MESM 2018

    Roxanne Diaz used the power of networking to land a dream job in the Netherlands working on global freshwater issues with the World Fish Migration Foundation.

  • Woman riding bicycle on dirt trail

    Elissa Foster, MESM 2005

    At Patagonia, Elissa Foster helps the company make responsible decisions to meet their high standards for sustainable apparel.

  • Man places head next to model of "neanderthal man" at museum

    Adam Jorge, MESM 2015

    From studying agricultural pollution to working as a coordinator for the Clean Water Act, Adam Jorge talks about the journey to an EPA career.

Bren Alumni Solve Environmental Problems in Every Sector

Employers never stop raving about Bren graduates—we have a reputation for preparing students who excel as employees. As a Bren student and future alum, you’ll be inspired by the careers of our 1,400+ network of alumni—and you’ll be able to connect with them on BrenConnect to talk internships, job opportunities, and career advice.

Non-Profit

The Nature Conservancy
Conservation International 
World Wildlife Fund 
Natural Resources Defense Council 
Environmental Defense Fund 

Corporate

Levi Strauss & Co.
Tesla 
Google
Patagonia
The Walt Disney Company  

Public Agency

Environmental Protection Agency 
NOAA
US Forest Service 
US Fish and Wildlife Service
California Department of Fish and Wildlife 

Research/Think Tank

Center for Ocean Solutions 
National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis
Resources for the Future 
Natural Reserve System
Public Policy Institute of California 

Consulting

AECOM 
ICF
Rincon Consultants 
Woodard & Curran
WSP

Entrepreneurship

Bren-founded companies:
The Hurd Co.
EVmatch
Salty Girl Seafood 
Martin & McCoy
Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.

As an environmental professional, I can attest that Bren School students are more prepared for the workforce than students from any other school I’ve seen, their cover letters are on point and personalized, their resumes relevant to the position sought, and their interviews strong and compelling.

— Mitchel Morrison, Environmental Scientist/Planner, Envicom Corporation & Ventura County Programs Representative, AEP Channel Counties Chapter

Two students designing an educational game on paper

How will you solve environmental problems?

Request more information, get to know the Bren School, and start planning your application today.