Friday, August 26, 2016

A Morning at the National Zoo

As part of SGA's pre-orientation week, a few new students met today for a morning walk through the National Zoo. Thank you to Matt Altomare (MIPP'16) for hosting the trip!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What Do SAIS Students Do Outside the Classroom?

Outside of the classroom, students participate in a diverse array of activities. Students attend weekly and annual social events, travel abroad with classmates during study trips and career treks, and join a number of student clubs and organizations.

Traditions and Socials
In conjunction with the Office of Student Life, the Student Government Association coordinates a number of activities that offer students a chance to socialize with classmates, faculty, and staff. In recent years, some of the more popular student traditions have included:

  • Friday Happy Hours
  • Thursday Cookie Hours
  • The Super Bowl Party
  • The SAIS Day of Service
  • The Cherry Blossom Ball
  • Fireside Chats with faculty
  • Dean's Forums
  • Saisapalooza
  • the annual Mr. and Mrs. SAIS Competition
  • Dean's Coffee Hours

Student Organizations
Students join a number of career clubs, regional clubs, activity clubs, sports clubs, and student publications.

Global Career Treks
The Office of Career Services organizes every year 14 sector-focused treks to Asia, Europe, and North America. Through company visits and alumni receptions, students network with employers and gain insights into life as a practitioner. Past career treks have taken place in cities such as New York, London, Brussels, Geneva, Hong Kong, Houston, and Beijing.

International Study Trips
SAIS academic programs offer study trips to students during intersession and summer periods. In recent years, students have traveled to New Dehli, Indonesia, Rio de Janeiro, Vancouver, Ghana, and more.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Recommended Reading on U.S. Standardized Testing

As a Johns Hopkins SAIS applicant, you should be familiar with four different standardized tests: the GRE, the GMAT, the TOEFL, and the IELTS. Depending on which program you are applying to and whether or not English is your native language, you may be required to submit scores for one or more of these examinations. If you are unfamiliar with U.S. practices in graduate level standardized testing, familiarize yourself by exploring the recommended reading below.

2. Standardized Test Scores (Idealist)
3. Preparing Your Application: Standardized Tests (SAIS)
4. Fall 2015 Incoming Student Profile (SAIS)

Official websites:

Questions? Leave us a comment below.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Four MA Students on Why They Chose SAIS

As part of our Student Profile series, we ask students why they chose Johns Hopkins SAIS. Below are answers from four graduates from MA Class of 2016.

Joshua Ahyong (MA’16)
"I chose SAIS over other graduate schools in international relations because of its strength in economics and languages. As future leaders in global affairs, we need to learn about the economic issues and problems every county faces. SAIS allows its students to dig deeper into important economic matters such as monetary policy and international trade. Apart from this, SAIS has an intensive language program which allows its students to develop pertinent language skills. After graduation, SAIS students move into the workforce with global and economic perspective that is often used to face today’s most important challenges."

Lorena Valente (MA’16)
"I chose SAIS due to many different reasons. First, SAIS has a high rank and incredible reputation among academics and employers in the field of international affairs and business. Second, SAIS has an extensive alumni network that is always willing to help. Third, its employment outcomes were outstanding, and when talking to current students, they all emphasized the quality of career services staff and resources. Fourth, its economic focus was very important to me. I wanted to not only learn economics, but also gain advanced expertise that would be recognized in any field. Fifth, SAIS has a wide range of skills courses that focuses on professional skills, such as, policy memo writing, consulting skills, excel, stata, and public speaking, among others. Sixth, its location in the heart of Washington DC was very attractive to me. At SAIS you are just a few minutes from the White House, the World Bank, the IMF, and many consultancy firms, which makes interning and working while at SAIS much easier. Finally, due to its location and reputation, SAIS is able to get a variety of high-level speakers to talk about current events to its students and alumni."

Patrick Molloy (MA’16)
"The international nature of SAIS and the diversity of students backgrounds was a very big positive. It’s wonderful to have people in your classroom who have a personal understanding or a professional experience relating to the coursework you’re studying. You deal with some great professors with great experience. Overall there are fantastic opportunities to get tangible insights into what is really happening in the your areas of interest."

Maria-Alexandra Martin (MA'16)
"The decision to return to academia and pursue a graduate program was tough, I admit, considering that I was already working for several years. I considered SAIS for three reasons. Firstly, it offers a concentration in Conflict Management, which is very much aligned with my career goals and my professional background. Secondly, the program has a strong economic component. For a person without an econ background, working on post-conflict recovery and state building, it gave me the chance to better understand why and how certain policies work or do not work in fragile environments. Last, but not least, the program is well-known and highly appreciated by practitioners in the IR field. The alumni network is incredible and scattered all over the world, creating a strong sense of SAIS identity. When I took the final call and chose the program I will enroll in, these criteria were decisive."

Friday, August 12, 2016

This Day in History: Construction on the Berlin Wall Begins

On the night of August 12, 1961, the government of East Germany began construction of the Berlin Wall. A segment of the Berlin Wall now stands at SAIS. If you've ever wondered how SAIS obtained its segment, you may wish to read this 1999 article from the Johns Hopkins Gazette Online.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

When should I start looking for ways to finance my studies, before or after being admitted?

This is an excellent question we received yesterday during our online information session.  The short answer is: begin your search now.

Because a number of awards offered by outside organizations have deadlines in the summer and fall, it is good practice to begin researching funding opportunities before submitting your SAIS application. If you wait until you receive an admissions decision from us to begin your research, you will have missed several outside funding opportunities.

If  you are not sure where to start your search for outside funding, you may wish to begin with APSIA's Fellowship & Scholarship search tool. If you would like to learn about fellowships funded by Johns Hopkins SAIS, visit our financial aid website here.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Student Profile: Julia Hermann

Name: Julia Hermann
Program: MA'17
Concentrations: Foreign Policy, Latin American Studies
Languages: Spanish, English
Current Occupation: Department of State Intern

What has been your favorite SAIS course so far, and why?
I really enjoyed Financial Crises in Emerging Markets with Professor Monica de Bolle, which covered theories, frameworks, and case studies of different types of financial crises—currency, balance of payments, liquidity, etc. I took this course at the same time as Corporate Finance, so the pairing of the technical skills I learned in Finance and their practical application in this class was incredibly beneficial. While the course has a loose focus on crises as they relate to Latin American markets, there is room to cover any emerging market in each of the two memos and term paper. I enjoyed this format because the short memos allowed me to delve into topics and countries that I was interested in, but couldn’t include in the theme of my term paper.

Tell us about your concentration and why you chose it.
I am in the American Foreign Policy Program, and also minor in Latin American Studies (LASP) and am informally focusing on international finance classes. I chose this combination of programs because they allow me to pursue a breadth of topics along my core interest: U.S. financial and economic policy toward Latin America. My LASP courses provide the political framework for economic policy decisions within the broader context of American foreign policy. I enjoy being a part of the Foreign Policy program not only for this context, but also because of the program’s flexibility with class options—the program has really allowed me to personalize my study.

What are some extracurricular activities you're involved in at SAIS? 
My very favorite SAIS activity is being a part of SAIS Global Women in Leadership (GWL), a student-run career club and fabulous community of women (and men). I am the marketing chair on this year’s executive board. GWL puts on a variety of events throughout the year to promote women in international careers and provide career-related resources to our members. Our events range from coffee chats with experienced professionals, panel discussions, and networking events, to our annual conference. We are really looking forward to welcoming new members! I also work as a TA in the SAIS Writing Center, which has been an amazing learning opportunity; I edit papers written by my fellow students on regions and topics that I would otherwise not have the chance to study.

What do you hope to do after graduation?
I hope to pursue a career in consulting or the private sector. SAIS has been incredibly helpful in linking the more technical classes, like stats, finance, and econometrics, with classes concerning their practical application, so students can immediately see the relevance of those technical skills for their career.  Career services also offers online and in-person skills courses throughout the year to develop more specified skills that are also extremely useful and marketable. The SAIS network—the SAIS Mafia, as they call it— is also invaluable for both career advice and opportunities.

Monday, August 1, 2016

5 Things To Do in August & September to Prepare for Application

With applications going live in about a month, we've been receiving a lot of questions from prospective students about what actions they can take to prepare for application season. Below are five things you can do in August and September to ensure you're prepared when times comes to submit your application.

Visit campus.
The best way to know if a program is a good fit for you is to visit campus, to speak with current students, and most importantly, to visit a class. The insights gained by visiting campus will help you craft your Statement of Purpose later on. To sit in on a class, you will need to register in advance via our online calendar. Like the interview calendar, this will be made available in September. The first week of September, check here or give us a call to see if the class visit calendar is posted.

Attend recruiting events.
If you haven't already done so, we highly encourage you to attend online an on-campus events hosted by our office. Click here to learn more about the types of events we offer, and what they can offer you as an applicant. If you can't make it to Washington for an in-person event, you're always welcome to attend one of our online informational sessions.

Begin planning to interview.
In the first week of September, check to see whether our MA interview calendar is posted. For those who aren't aware, MA candidates have the option to 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 fill up quickly, so we highly encourage you to check the calendar and pick a date as soon as the calendar goes live. For some tips on preparing for your application interview, click here.

Begin planning to take your standardized tests.
Depending on which degree program you will be applying to, you may be required to submit GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, and/or IELTS scores. If you are not familiar with US standardized testing practices, you may want to begin researching them this month because you will need to register in advance and pay a testing fee. It should also be noted that applicants can take standardized tests multiple times without hurting their application. The earlier you take the exams, the more time you have to retake them if you are unhappy with your scores.

Begin researching graduate school funding opportunities.
Though Johns Hopkins SAIS offers a number of fellowships, many of our students fund their studies with fellowships, loans, financial aid, and scholarships offered by organizations outside of SAIS. Often times, the application deadlines for outside fellowships are in September or November. The Charles Rangel Fellowship Program, for example, has a deadline of September 19. Now is a good time to do some research on funding opportunities you may like to apply for.