Wednesday, September 9, 2020

2021 Admissions Guideline: How to Prepare for Application Season

The fall academic school year is always a busy time for prospective students researching and gathering documents to apply for different graduate programs. We understand how overwhelming this can be, so we've created a list of tips and tricks on how you can start preparing for the 2021 application season.

Tip #1: Relax

We know how overwhelming the information overload can be. Most of us have been in your shoes at one point, and we know how stressful this can be. Our biggest tip for you is to relax, have a positive attitude, and take this opportunity to grow.

 Tip #2: Speak to a current student

 Unfortunately, campus visits and recruiting events are cancelled for now, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get to know the school! Our admissions ambassadors are available via Zoom and email to answer any questions about the school and its programs that you have. The insights gained by speaking to a student may also help you craft your Statement of Purpose later on.

Tip #3: Prepare for an interview

An interview is a unique opportunity to put your best foot forward. Applicants to the MA program in Washington, DC have the chance to do an optional interview with a current student as part of their application. These interviews are evaluative in nature, and offer candidates an opportunity to add another dimension to their application. Slots for these interviews will fill up quickly, so we highly encourage you to check the calendar and pick a date once the calendar is live. 

Applicants to all programs at SAIS Europe are interviewed by a member of the Admissions Committee as part of the admissions process. If you applied to SAIS Europe after the deadline for application, the Admissions Office will contact you to set up an interview, via Skype or telephone. Interviews are a way for us to get to know you, hear your motivations first hand, and provide you with an opportunity to ask us questions

Tip #4: Plan ahead in requesting letters of recommendation 

Thinking about who you want to ask for recommendation letters is a good way to prepare for the application season. If possible, it's always best to request a letter in person from someone you know will have good things to say about you. If going in person is not an option, make sure you send your email request early to give the person adequate time to prepare a well thought-out letter. 

Tip #5: Research funding opportunities 

Johns Hopkins SAIS offers a number of fellowships that students can use to fund their studies. Do your research early to make sure you meet the requirements and stay up to date on deadlines. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

September 2020 Virtual Events


September 2020 Virtual Events

We are so excited to be offering a robust schedule of virtual events, information sessions, taster lectures, graduate fairs, and more. 

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Virtual Information Sessions:

September 04, 2020 (12:30 PM ET):  MIEF Virtual Information Session

September 10, 2020 (12:30 PM ET):  Mid-Career Virtual Information Session

September 14, 2020 (12:30 PM ET):  Spring Enrollment Options at SAIS Virtual Information Session

September 15, 2020 (08:00 AM ET): SAIS Europe Information Session

September 16, 2020 (12:30 PM ET): MA in International Relations Virtual Information Session  

September 17, 2020 (12:00 PM ET): Hopkins-Nanjing Center Virtual Information Session

September 17, 2020 (12:00 PM ET): Diversity Summit (virtual) at Johns Hopkins SAIS

September 18, 2020 (12:30 PM ET): MIEF Virtual Information Session

September 24, 2020 (12:30 PM ET): DIA Virtual Information Session


Virtual Sessions with top IR Grad Schools:

September 16, 2020 (10:00 AM ET): Graduate Schools of International Relations

September 24, 2020 (01:00 PM ET): September Fallfest Forum


Virtual Grad School Fairs:

September 10, 2020 (01:00 PM ET): Virtual Idealist Grad School Fair

September 15, 2020 (01:00 PM ET): Virtual Idealist Grad School Fair

September 17, 2020 (01:00 PM ET): Virtual Idealist Grad School Fair

September 23, 2020 (01:00 PM ET): Virtual Idealist Grad School Fair

September 25, 2020 (01:00 PM ET): Virtual Idealist Grad School Fair

September 30, 2020 (11:00 AM ET): APSIA Online Graduate School Fair II

September 30, 2020 (01:00 PM ET): Virtual Idealist Grad School Fair



Friday, June 19, 2020

Ghoncheh Jafarpisheh-Lee
Master of International Public Policy (MIPP)

Ghoncheh was working for Procter and Gamble as an engineer when she felt the urge to find more ways to make a difference in the world, leading her to leave the corporate sector for the development field. She moved to Kenya as part of the Acumen Fund Global Fellows program and from there worked with several startups and nonprofits in East Africa in various sectors, including education, women’s health, and finance. While in Kenya, Ghoncheh founded her own organization,, which provides at-risk youth the opportunity to return to high school. ROCK supports students by covering school fees, and offering an after-school study center, library, computer lab, and mentoring and tutoring support. To date, it has sent 112 youth back to school and provides various supports to 40 more students from the community.
Eventually, it became clear to Ghoncheh that so many of the challenges she encountered in Africa had a basis in public policy choices that she had limited influence over. Johns Hopkins SAIS’ Master of International Public Policy (MIPP) program became the perfect next step for her. She was thrilled to return to school and learn from incredible faculty in a convenient location.
Since the curriculum and faculty were key reasons Ghoncheh applied to the school, she feels very privileged to learn from world-renown professors and practitioners. She has also really enjoyed spending time with her classmates, many of whom come from very different backgrounds and have similar goals. Additionally, Ghoncheh has benefitted from the various panels and speakers hosted at the school ranging from prime ministers to ambassadors to specialists in the field.
After graduating, Ghoncheh hopes to remain in Washington, DC and work in the development sector in business and human rights or with organizations that support refugee policies. However, she says anything is possible – she could be drawn back to Kenya.

Friday, May 29, 2020

We want to stay connected with you this month! Please follow our upcoming events here.

Virtual Information Sessions
Wednesday, June 17, 2020 (12:30 – 1:30 PM) Master of Arts Virtual Information Session 
Thursday, June 25, 2020, (12 – 1PM) Virtual Information Session - Master of Arts in Global Risk

Friday, May 15, 2020

Expanding My Academic Breadth

Andrew Ho
Strategic Studies
Johns Hopkins SAIS MA/Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth MBA ‘21
Andrew applied to Johns Hopkins SAIS for its academic reputation and advantageous location in Washington DC. Based on the career outcomes of his former college roommates who had attended the school, Andrew was confident that Johns Hopkins SAIS would provide the skills and opportunities to pivot toward his next career. 

While studying at Johns Hopkins SAIS, Andrew served as an elected representative with the Student Government Association (SGA), was a teaching assistant for an economics course, and interned with the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes (TFFC).

Andrew has been impressed with both the diversity of the student community and the employers that recruit on campus. He believes that the experiences shared among the students and the faculty create an engaging and dynamic learning experience. 
Through his degrees at Johns Hopkins SAIS and Dartmouth Andrew hopes to eventually pursue a career focused on enhancing global security and economic sustainability by driving public-private partnerships.

Prior to attending the school, Andrew was an Army officer in the 82nd Airborne Division based in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In addition to being a platoon leader and a company executive officer, he was deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan for six months where he advised the Afghan National Police on logistics and supply chain management. His experiences in Afghanistan were transformative for a better understanding of the relationship between effective governance, economic development, and international security. 

While studying at Johns Hopkins SAIS, Andrew served as an elected representative with the Student Government Association (SGA), was a teaching assistant for an economics course, and interned with the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes (TFFC). Andrew has been impressed with both the diversity of the student community and the employers that recruit on campus. He believes that the experiences shared among the students and the faculty create an engaging and dynamic learning experience. 

Through his degrees at Johns Hopkins SAIS and Dartmouth Andrew hopes to eventually pursue a career focused on enhancing global security and economic sustainability by driving public-private partnerships.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Career Spotlight: Lindsay Jagla MA'20 Latin America Studies

Where are you currently working?

This summer I was a political risk intern at Cefeidas Group in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Cefeidas Group is an international advisory firm that works with clients that operate or invest in Argentina and the Southern Cone. As an intern, I had the opportunity to analyze issues related to the economic and political environment for clients ranging from multilaterals to private sector companies. It was a particularly worthwhile experience working in Argentina this summer because the country has a presidential election coming up in October. As such, there were a great deal of important political and economic changes while I was there, especially after the national primary elections occurred in August.

What was your background before coming to Johns Hopkins SAIS?

Before coming to SAIS, I prioritized doing service and gaining international experience. I studied History, International Studies, and Spanish at Northwestern University and decided to work for a few years before attending graduate school for International Relations. After graduating from Northwestern in 2015, I joined Teach for America and taught high school Spanish in Washington D.C. for two years. After that, I moved to Manizales, Colombia, and taught English for 10 months through the Fulbright program. My experience in Colombia led me to choose Latin American Studies as my concentration upon enrolling at SAIS.

How do you think SAIS prepared you for the role you accepted?

In my internship, I had to write many reports for clients related to political or economic developments. These were very similar to the memos or briefings that I have had to write for a variety of my classes at SAIS. SAIS prepared me to be able to write a variety of reports depending on the clients’ needs and under strict deadlines. Additionally, my role included a fair amount of economic analysis and research. Due to the many economics courses I had taken at SAIS, especially those related specifically to Latin America and emerging markets, I found greater success in looking at Argentina’s economic issues for my clients. I would also not have found this internship in the first place without the Latin American Studies summer internship program. Previous SAIS interns had spent summers working at Cefeidas Group, and Anne McKenzie, the head of the LASP internship program, was able to connect me with the company and set up an interview.

What advice would you give prospective students considering SAIS?

Have goals in mind for your time in grad school and identify the resources you can utilize to achieve these goals early on. There are so many opportunities and resources to take advantage of at SAIS and it will help you get a head start on achieving your goals if you already have ideas in mind when you come in. If your goal is to spend your summer interning abroad, then reach out to the SAIS program or career advisor to see what your options are early! If you are considering SAIS, it is important to identify all of the great opportunities awaiting you.

Monday, April 27, 2020

So, you’ve been admitted to SAIS – congratulations!!
                                       Allison McNeill (SAIS Class of 2020)

Now, how do you pick a concentration? There are certainly many options – regional or thematic? Major versus minor? And what about specializations? You might have already given it some thought, but if you have, this blog post outlines some important factors to take into consideration when making this decision. If you already have an idea of what you’re interested in (even in you’re deciding between a few), great! Then you’re a step ahead. If you don’t, no need to worry, we will cover that.

If you are deciding between a few concentrations and feel unsure which to choose, it is helpful to reach out to the various departments and speak to the administrators. Not only is it useful for obtaining information about program-specific financial assistance, academic and career opportunities, and program requirements, it is a good idea to establish a relationship early, since you will likely be in contact with your program often over the next two years.

In addition, it is useful to review SAIS course offerings. On the Student Information System website (SIS), a quick search brings up all classes that are offered at whichever campus you select, along with a brief description of the class. For this purpose, you can ignore core and economic requirements, as those are available across the board. Focus mostly on electives and take note of which classes interest you most. Note which program or department those courses fall under. Currently, students receive priority registration in classes classified within their programs. This means that you will essentially have guaranteed registration in those classes. In order to give yourself the best shot at taking classes that appeal to you, it is helpful to be enrolled in the concentration in which you find the most classes of interest. For example, if you are trying to decide between the Latin American Studies and Conflict Management concentrations, review which classes are offered under each department, and if you find more classes of interest listed under the Conflict Management department, it could make more sense to elect the Conflict Management concentration, and explore other options (such as a minor) for the Latin American Studies concentration. Note that you are in no way precluded from taking classes outside of your major concentration, but you will not receive priority enrollment for those classes.

If you have no idea what you would like to focus on while at SAIS, or your interests are truly varied, don’t worry! In addition to the steps outlined above, you can also choose a more general concentration that will allow you to take a variety of courses, such as the general International Relations, Global Theory and History, or the American Foreign Policy concentrations. Alternatively, there are more options to add a minor concentration, which is a good option for those who are interested in an area without having to meet all of the requirements of a full concentration. However, not all departments offer the opportunity to minor, so this would need to be confirmed with program administrators.

Remember that it is possible to change your concentration once you have started. It is recommended to do this earlier rather than later, in order to ensure there is sufficient time to meet all concentration requirements. Lastly, make sure to put SAIS’ greatest resource to use – its students! We are here to help answer any additional questions or give personal perspectives on various concentrations, so feel free to reach out to us! We hope this has been helpful and from all of us on the admissions team, best of luck!

Friday, April 17, 2020

A Word from John Harrington, Senior Lecturer of Economics

Professor Harrington
Professor Harrington has been working as a lecturer at SAIS for over 27 years and is considered, by his students, as one of the Pillars of the International Economics department. He sat down, virtually, with a former student for a conversation about the expectations for the economics coursework at SAIS so as to dispel some of the myths and anxieties incoming students might have.

Question: Professor, what would you say is the best way for prospective students to prepare for the economics coursework at SAIS? Particularly for those who have minimal background in the field.
Professor Harrington: A good portion of the incoming class each year has been away from quantitative work, as their primary focus and interest might be in IR and humanities. The key to really making Economics exciting, fun, and doable is having an ideal amount of mathematics background. SAIS provides all matriculated students access to two self-study, interactive courses that I put together over 10 years ago. These two courses, Precalculus, and Calculus for Economists are specifically meant for students that have been out of school or away from Math for a few years; this is a fitting description for many SAIS students. These classes bring back mathematical concepts they have previously learned, in a way that is more logical than what they remember them to be. Having taught Math to economists for years, I structured the courses such that it is a systematic and step by step process of reviewing high school and college-level calculus; I find foundational to succeed in the SAIS economics coursework.

Question: What would you say is the biggest misconception about Economics?
Professor Harrington: Many consider Economics courses to be high-level Math but that is not true; we are simply using Math to understand basic concepts in Economics. Understanding functions and graphing is fundamental to understanding economic theories of, for example, supply and demand. I would say, with a modest level of Mathematics, Economics all of a sudden becomes doable, exciting, and fun.

Question: From your experience, what is the most common concern you hear from your students?
Professor Harrington: A recurring theme I have noted is one I humorously coined as “fear of symbols.” Oftentimes, most people attracted to SAIS are in the general IR space, they are eloquent and efficient writers, and have high verbal skills. However, their quantitative skills don’t often match, this is primarily due to lack of practice, not aptitude. As symbols make-up words in any language, so do symbols in Math and Economics. Just as with any language, one can attain proficiency through practice. This paradigm shift suddenly makes Economic concepts, like Price (P), Quantity (Q), Consumption (C) less intimidating. As I previously mentioned, part of the discipline of going through the online calculus and pre-calculus courses is re-acquainting yourself to symbols and their usage.
Once familiar with Symbols, students start to build logical connections between concepts and disciplines in Economics. Mathematics is basically a logic. Many students who have completed the online self-study class, tell me that they found it to be more logical than what they remember in high school or even college. To emphasize, the Statistics for Business and Economics class, as well as the online prep-courses, provide a framework and structure to help students excel in their economics coursework, not just perform adequately.

Question: What is the best part of teaching stats to confused beginners like myself?
Professor Harrington: Seeing my students grow their passion for Economics is rewarding. Although SAIS requires four Economics courses as part of the curriculum, I remember that the mean number of Economics classes that a typical SAISer took was seven. In the present day and age, it is invaluable to have an intelligent understanding of economic pressures in the world, be it developmental pressures, pressures due to or climate change, or others. I believe that finding creative solutions to current socio-economic and political issues requires a thorough understanding of such economic pressures. Similarly, it's just as incomplete for economists who do not have an adequate understanding of political pressures. In my 20 year tenure at the State Department, particularly the latter half where I was heavily involved in Latin American Economic affairs, I found that it is nearly impossible to divorce political issues from economic issues.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Internship Spotlight: Huma Qadir, MA '20 International Development

This summer, I wanted to experience working in a multilateral, international bureaucracy before I graduated so I could base future career decisions accordingly. My internship at the international Trade Center- a joint mission entity of the WTO and the UN- provided me exactly that opportunity. As I got on to the plane for Geneva, I only had a small inkling of what I was getting myself into for the next 3 months.

Though it has only been three weeks, I have developed a deeper appreciation of the arduous, extremely detail oriented work the ITC, WTO and the UN are trying to do in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. At the ITC, I am working with a team invested in ensuring more sustainable global trade practices; encompassing environmental, social, management, and ethical principles. As opposed to feeling like a lonely cog in a distant system, there is a belief in achieving something greater togethereven as an intern who will be parting ways in a few months. I am working on validating standard setting organization and synthesizing the proliferation of standards across the globe in a more graspable form. Also, I have immersed myself in additional work that interests me. My additional passion project (close to home and heart) is creating value chains for livestock farmers and horticulturalists within two provinces in Pakistan.

Besides work, I spend many evenings with a book; surrounded by the immaculate beauty of the tranquilizing lake, Jet d'Eau and snow peaks visible in the distance. Geneva allows me to be mobile across Europe, especially to France and its small towns nearby. I have opted for French proficiency at SAIS and coming to Geneva has helped my speaking dramatically. Having mistakenly ordered cow tongue in place of steak pushes you to take the language more seriously! Being with the interns is another highlight of this experience. My intern cohort is diverse, yet our interests, paths and goals connect us. I am certain lifelong friendships will come out of our evening visits to the UN beach and eating the famous burgers together at the UNHCR cafeteria. 

It was refreshing to realize that the SAIS alumni network is strong here in Geneva as well. I have connected with multiple alumni within the ITC itself and plan to do so across UN organizations and elsewhere. The SAIS global footprint is real. The most valuable part of this experience will be the relationships I am able to forge during my time here. 

This experience has been rewarding and empowering thus far, and I’m certain that I will be returning to SAIS with a new sense of perspective about many varying aspects of work and life. It is with this that as I will return to SAIS end of summer, and I will pursue my international development work, with a vigor and commitment that I see here every day.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Energy, Sustainability Studies Fuel Job Opportunities for Grads

This article was featured in Foreign Policy Guide, 2020
Graduates of Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies have been branching out into employment sectors beyond their traditional targets. In addition to filling positions in government and at foreign policy–related think tanks, Johns Hopkins SAIS graduates are increasingly drawn to the energy and sustainability sectors.

“There is more diversity in this field than there was a few years ago,” says Julie Nussdorfer, associate director of global careers at Johns Hopkins SAIS. “Energy resources, the environment, electricity markets—it is a big field right now. There are a lot more options in the renewable energy industry than there were two years ago, as renewables become more financially viable and people are looking for more sustainable options. At the same time, the oil-and-gas space continues to grow.”

“Our goal is for our students to leave the school and work in a field they are really passionate about.” –Julie Nussdorfer, Associate Director of Global Careers, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University
The Energy, Resources, and Environment career track at Johns Hopkins SAIS prepares students to address complex issues in the energy sector, from decarbonization to increased energy demand to urban sustainability. And SAIS offers various other career tracks as well—for those interested in economics and finance, conflict management, strategic studies, energy, and international development, for example—to give students an edge in the job market. According to Nussdorfer, employers seek out candidates with specialized knowledge and expertise who are “engaged in cutting-edge research.”
The school’s main campus is in Washington, DC, but students are exposed to potential employers and industries around the country and internationally through Johns Hopkins SAIS’s global career “treks.” During the treks, groups of students visit employers in their target industry, in cities such as Hong Kong, San Francisco, Houston, London, and Rome.

A solid alumni network also prepares students for their careers, by mentoring them one-on-one, connecting them with accomplished colleagues across sectors, and helping them come up with their perfect elevator pitch.
Johns Hopkins SAIS uses the Life Designing Model, implemented throughout the university, to guide students’ career exploration. Pioneered at Stanford University, the model makes career planning an integral part of the school, so that it is not confined to a career counseling office. “With this model, we are helping students find jobs that really inspire them,” Nussdorfer says. “Our goal is for our students to leave the school and work in a field they are really passionate about.”

The majority of Johns Hopkins SAIS students pursue its Master of Arts degree, and 92 percent of 2019 MA graduates were employed or pursuing further studies six months after graduation. Forty-six percent work in the private sector, 19 percent in the public sector, and 18 percent at nonprofits.
Career ServicesJHU SAIS Global Careers:
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