University of North Dakota #ELGLInspire Speaker: Mike Vatnsdal

Posted on October 10, 2019


#ELGLInspire is coming to University of North Dakota on October 10th! Learn more about our event speakers in these brief profiles, and connect with them before and after the event! To find information about all of the speakers, visit the #ELGLInspire homepage.

Mike Vatnsdal

Mike Vatnsdal

Budget Officer, City of Grand Forks, ND

What was the very first paying job you held (that you paid taxes on)? 

Langlie’s Supervalu (grocery store) – Roseau, MN

What was your: undergraduate institution? Graduate institution? What was/were your degree(s) in? 

University of Minnesota (Twin Cities): BSB Finance – BSB Entrepreneurship

University of North Dakota: Masters in Public Administration

What class(es) (if any) are applicable to your job today? 

Finance and Accounting courses, business communications, political science

What’s the best networking advice for job seekers you’ve heard or shared?

Keep your ears open and ask questions.  The more information you can gain about someone you’re networking with, the greater the opportunity there is for making a connection.  Many times you’ll learn about their needs that you can assist with, and vice versa.  More importantly, take the time to continually maintain the relationships you currently have.

What’s the fastest way to NOT get a job or internship with you? (e.g. what should potential applicants avoid doing if they were to ever interview with you for a position).

Saying that you’re unwilling to learn a new task or refuse to do specific aspects of the job you’re applying for.

Why should an undergraduate student consider a career working in local government?

For me, the scope of essential functions which the City is responsible for keeps my job fresh and interesting.  I could be working with engineers in the morning, and police officers in the afternoon. Budgeting for a new fire truck one week, and projecting long-term City building needs the next. 

Another great thing about local government is that you can physically see the impact your work has on the community. You can drive down any street and see a project being worked on that you had a hand in completing.

Do you have a work or life motto? What is it?

One thing I tell every one of my interns is to always learn new things.  Whether it’s continuing your education, learning someone else’s job functions, or taking up a new hobby. You should always be curious and be willing to learn something new.

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