Lauren Kesselring (MPA ’16) didn’t set out to become the newest Budget and Management Analyst for San Antonio’s budget office, at least not initially. Through the Martin School network, Lauren heard about San Antonio’s fellowship program. “Through my research for the Fellowship application process I discovered how well managed the City’s finances were and decided to see what other jobs were available... Luckily for me, the budget office was hiring,” she recalls. One thing led to another, and she was offered the job!
In her role, Lauren Kesselring creates and monitors the budgets for four departments: Police, Library, City Auditor, and Historic Preservation. While the departments don’t change, her day-to-day work absolutely does! There are so many moving parts in budgeting—it is not just about the numbers. Funding requests often must take federal and state mandates in to account.
When asked about what she loves about her job, she says, “My work is challenging, and you never do the same thing twice!” The pace of work, though, depends on the season. Lauren is constantly having to juggle deadlines on emerging projects, like one of her favorites—creating a personnel projection model. However, there are ebbs and flows. Budget season is, naturally, busier. “I recently worked on a group project to improve the monthly budget monitoring process,” which gave her flashbacks to Dr. Jennings’ organizational theory class!
Lauren is well equipped to meet the challenge. The MPA curriculum exposed her to both the technical budgeting fundamentals and more general policy background she needs to be successful, particularly working alongside leadership across city departments. “Being given the opportunity to work on a lot of extra-curricular policy projects,” like policy challenge competitions, “and having the support of the professors throughout the program” were also particularly valuable. Her ability to speak to internship projects and her Capstone research really made her stand out when she interviewed for her current job.
One day, Lauren hopes to be a budget director at a mid-sized municipal government. In her spare time, she loves exploring the local hiking trails with her fiancé and dogs. It’s great to see our graduates doing what they love!