Following high school, he moved to Los Angeles in 1979 to attend Occidental College. After two years he transferred in 1981 to Columbia University in New York City, where he majored in political science with a specialization in international relations and graduated with a B.A. in 1983. He worked for a year at the Business International Corporation and then at the New York Public Interest Research Group.
After four years in New York City, Obama moved to Chicago, where he was hired as director of the Developing Communities Project (DCP), a church-based community organization originally comprising eight Catholic parishes in Greater Roseland (Roseland, West Pullman and Riverdale) on Chicago's far South Side. He worked there as a community organizer from June 1985 to May 1988. During his three years as the DCP's director, its staff grew from one to thirteen and its annual budget grew from $70,000 to $400,000. He helped set up a job training program, a college preparatory tutoring program, and a tenants' rights organization in Altgeld Gardens. Obama also worked as a consultant and instructor for the Gamaliel Foundation, a community organizing institute. In mid-1988, he traveled for the first time in Europe for three weeks and then for five weeks in Kenya, where he met many of his paternal relatives for the first time. He returned in August 2006 in a visit to his father's birthplace, a village near Kisumu in rural western Kenya.
Obama entered Harvard Law School in late 1988. He was selected as an editor of the Harvard Law Review at the end of his first year, and president of the journal in his second year. During his summers, he returned to Chicago, where he worked as a summer associate at the law firms of Sidley & Austin in 1989 and Hopkins & Sutter in 1990. After graduating with a Juris Doctor (J.D.) magna cum laude from Harvard in 1991, he returned to Chicago. Obama's election as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review gained national media attention and led to a publishing contract and advance for a book about race relations, though it evolved into a personal memoir. The manuscript was published in mid-1995 as Dreams from My Father.
Business International Corporation (BI) was a publishing and advisory firm dedicated to assisting American companies in operating abroad. In 1986, Business International was acquired by The Economist Group in London, and eventually merged with The Economist Intelligence Unit.
Founded in 1953 by Eldridge Haynes and his son, Elliott Haynes, BIC initially focused on American companies and started out with a weekly newsletter (called Business International) and a group of key corporate clients. Offices were established overseas, including major regional operations based out of Vienna (East Europe and the USSR) and Hong Kong (Asia-Pacific), and single-country offices (e.g., Rome, Tokyo).
BI eventually became the premier information source on global business with research, advisory functions, conferences and government roundtables in addition to its publications. It was headquartered in New York City, with major offices in Geneva, London, Vienna, Hong Kong and Tokyo, and a network of correspondents across the globe.
Publications included a family of newsletters (Business International, Business Europe, Business Eastern Europe, Business Latin America, Business Asia, Business China, and Business International Money Report), put out on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. Among the regularly updated reference products covering 40-50 countries were Financing Foreign Operations(FFO), Investment, Licensing and Trading Conditions Abroad (ILT) and China Hand). An international business, politics and economic forecasting service (Business International Forecasting Service, BIFS) evolved from an annual five-year outlook to quarterly and in some cases even more frequent reports. More specialized work covered economic and political risk assessment, and executive cost of living in various cities around the world.
In addition, Business International published book-length reports on a variety of topics, including such titles as 30 Business Checklists, India: Limited Avenues to an Unlimited Market, and Structuring & Locating your Asian Headquarters.
Research and Consulting
BI also conducted specialized research assignments for its clients, some of which involved hands-on consulting, brainstorming and briefings during strategic planning sessions. Although country analysts might be pulled into region-wide or country specific work, the company also had a dedicated team in the Research and Consulting (later, Consulting and Research) division.
BI was perhaps best known outside the United States for its Roundtable Conferences. Begun in the 1950 with topics usually focused on single countries and their governments (e.g., Roundtable with the Government of Mexico), the series evolved in the 1970s to include region-wide, multi-day conferences such as the Heads of Asia Pacific Operations (HAPO) and Heads of Latin American Operations (HELAO) roundtables. Attendees were generally regional C-level executives and sometimes visitors from headquarters' International Division. Most early Roundtables included Heads of State or Heads of Government, and all were structured around a dialogue, rather than monologue format.
A second conference product focused on specific industries, including telecoms and automotive, or on functional operations such as finance or human resources.
More frequent gatherings of clients based in a single city were marketed under the "Country Managers," "Regional General Managers" or "Peer Group Forum" brands. Several competing companies focusing on these services were established by former employees, particularly in Asia.
The company's client base included most major American companies, as well as European, Japanese and Indian companies and corporate groups.
United States President Barack Obama's first job after graduating from Columbia University was with the company. He held a position as a research associate in its financial services division, where he edited Financing Foreign Operations, a global reference service, and wrote for Business International Money Report, a weekly financial newsletter.
The company has been identified as cover organization for the Central Intelligence Agency, e.g. see Lobster Magazine, issue 14 in 1987. According to a lengthy article in the New York Times in 1977, the co-founder of the company told the newspaper that "Eldridge Haynes [the other founder] had provided cover for four CIA employees in various countries between 1955 and 1960".
New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG)
The New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) is a New York State-wide non-partisan political organization. It has existed since 1973. Its current executive director is Rebecca Weber and its founding director was Donald K. Ross. Blair Horner has been its Legislative Director for many years.
NYPIRG is controlled by a student board of directors. Any issue that NYPIRG works on, or stance it takes, must be approved by its student board of directors.  Patrick Krug is the current chair of the board of directors for NYPIRG. NYPIRG is one of the largest of the Public Interest Research Groups, which were inspired by Ralph Nader in the 1970s, which operate at the state level.