Monday, April 1, 2013

Student Spotlight: Haitham Jendoubi

This week, we’ve chosen to interview Haitham Jendoubi, a second-year M.A. concentrating in Japan Studies.  In 2008, Haitham received his B.A. in Cognitive Science from Yale. Prior to enrolling at SAIS, Haitham taught English in Japan, served as Education Director for a tech startup, and was a researcher and translator for a Japanese newspaper.
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Your academic and professional background isn’t in international relations; why did you choose to pursue a career in international affairs?
Although I studied cognitive science in undergrad, I developed an interest in foreign policy during my time teaching English in rural Japan after graduation. The experience of communicating with other communities at a grassroots level was edifying, and brought into focus my interest in foreign languages and communities. I decided I wanted to contribute to the formulation of U.S. policy as its relationships with traditional allies and trade partners continue to evolve, and made the decision to apply to policy-oriented Master’s programs.
Can you tell about your concentration, and why you chose it?
My concentration, Japan Studies, represented a chance to take a series of in-depth courses about Japan’s diplomatic and economic ties with the United States and its neighbors. At SAIS, I’ve been able to explore contemporary Japanese policies, keep up my Japanese through advanced language courses, and bolster my knowledge of international economics in a range of areas. I am also specializing in International Finance, which has included a range of courses in corporate finance, financial regulation in developed and emerging markets, and development finance, taught not only by professors but also practitioners from the legal and finance professions.
We heard you spent your spring break in Japan - how did your spring break trip compliment your SAIS experience?
I was in Tokyo during spring break conducting research interviews for the capstone paper in my U.S.-Japan Relations course, which I’m writing about the impact of Japan’s new monetary policies on its bilateral relationship with the United States. The opportunity to interview government sources and civil society observers has been invaluable, and brought to life the concepts I’ve studied in both my regional and international economics courses.
What type of work do you hope to do after graduation?
I hope to work in the public policy sphere in an international financial regulation or macroeconomic analysis role. I was fortunate enough to intern at the East Asia Office of the Treasury Department last year; a similar role would be an ideal first step after SAIS.
What are some of the skills you’ve learned at SAIS that will help you in your future career?
I think the hard skills I have acquired through economics courses–time-series econometrics, financial modeling, etc.–will be the most relevant in my chosen field, but I am also grateful for the extensive group work and public speaking that many of my classes have required, which have honed my communication and teamwork skills and should prove quite useful as well. I’ve also had the opportunity to study Chinese and Portuguese at SAIS, which I hope to apply to my career in the future.
Thanks for reading!
— Erin Skelly Cameron, Associate Director of Admissions
To read previous entries in our Student Spotlight series, please click here.