Tying Your Shoes and Budgets, Too

Brett Jones closed his eyes and tried to remember how to tie his shoes. He looked around the room and decided to go with the bunny ears method.

“I realized the best way to answer was to answer it simply, and go for a laugh at the same time,” Brett Jones said. “The whole room laughed, and they told me no one had ever used the bunny ear method before. It was the last question of a 90-minute interview and I think it perked people up while endearing me to them.”

It worked. He got the job.

Jones graduated from UCF in 2016 with his master’s degree in Political Science. He studied economics as an undergraduate, and worked as a graduate research and teaching assistant while earning his master’s. He currently works for the City of Tavares as a budget analyst.

“I forecast revenues and expenditures,” he said. “My degree in economics taught me any of the concepts I use on a regular basis, and my political science degree enhanced my statistical background.”

Jones’ unique combination of degrees has added to his success. He still is in touch with many UCF professors, one of whom he is working with to publish a manuscript. The subject is presidential power, executive orders and approval ratings. Together the pair estimated two presidential job approval ratings models to test the relationship between the president’s issuing of executive orders and subsequent job approval ratings.

“We found that the executive orders of all types (salient or not) are associated with a decreased job approval rating,” he said. “We theorize this is the case because the majority of the public, in general, disapprove of the president acting unilaterally in the form of issuing executive orders.”

This type of post-graduate work wouldn’t have been possible without his relationships at UCF. While his favorite memory was when his master’s thesis passed, Jones has made it a point to stay involved.

“Do your best to make connections with professors and mentors from your college career that can be wonderful assets and friends,” he said. “When you graduate do not give up on your job search. Opportunities may be right around the corner.”

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