Bakewell intends to bring his skills in finance and accounting to better people’s lives through economic policy.
Headshot of John Bakewell
John Bakewell

Tennessee native John Bakewell graduated from University of Virginia (UVA) with a double major in economics and public policy and a minor in Russian in 2017. Bakewell’s work experience since then, with the public accounting firm BDO in Atlanta, has allowed him to see “the inner workings of multinational companies and their interactions with the policy landscape,” which led to his interest in pursuing his MPP.

“Over time, I realized I wanted to build my career by using economic thinking to do good for the community,” Bakewell said. As a rising senior in college, he interned with the Office of Foreign Assets Control, where he saw the impact that the Treasury Department has on all aspects of life, especially via tax revenue. "I've long been interested in the funding side of government and policy, and in the long run, I hope to return to the Treasury Department as a leader."

While working with BDO, Bakewell found his passion in transfer pricing and experienced a team of colleagues who were inspirational and supportive in his pursuit of an MPP. "Encouragement from both coworkers and family has been instrumental in my decision to pursue an MPP," he said, and his involvement and passion for community service also were key. 

In high school, Bakewell dedicated more than 400 hours volunteering at a homeless shelter, Room in the Inn, in addition to volunteering at a hospital cancer ward. At UVA, Bakewell was Treasurer for the Alpha Phi Omega Co-ed Service Fraternity. "I volunteered four hours every Saturday for four years. The experience reinforced the value of contributing to the greater good.” Since completing his undergraduate degree, Bakewell has continued to devote time to volunteering as a member of Atlanta's Habitat for Humanity.

Now, he plans to take his love of making a “hands-on impact” to his next step as a Harris student.  

“I was interested in Harris specifically because of the emphasis on quantitative skills, data analytics, and ensuring the results of policies are positive and tangible. The MPP will help me use my economic, policy, and critical thinking skills to move discussions on public policy beyond the theoretical into practical application for the betterment of people’s lives.”

Bakewell is interested in Harris’s STEM-eligible certificates in Municipal Finance and Finance & Policy, both of which he believes would be useful for working with (or in) the private sector. “Cooperation between companies and policymakers—private and public sectors—can be a powerful tool to resolve challenges.”

Bakewell is also eager to engage in research and the Policy Labs while at Harris, which he sees as a new opportunity to make a positive impact in his local community. He is particularly interested in conducting research with the Becker Friedman Institute and the Center for Economic Policy.

In addition to his academic pursuits at the University of Chicago, Bakewell said he also is looking forward to balancing studies with some of his favorite outdoor activities. "Whether it's running, soccer, mountain biking, or skiing, I'm excited to immerse myself in all UChicago and the city has to offer."