This semester’s incoming Master of Arts in Global Affairs students got to spend time with their professors in an unexpected setting: over dinner, at a new student orientation.
During this orientation, faculty members shared a meal with students while swapping stories about grad school, alma maters and research interests.
A panel of faculty members also led a conversation about the program, offered tips for success and discussed career pathways and possibilities.
“It was amazing,” said student Angel Enriquez, who began the program this semester. “Getting some insight from people that have so much experience, hearing their advice…it’s amazing. The panel was very inspiring.”
The panel featured professors David J. Kramer, senior fellow for the Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs’ Václav Havel Program for Human Rights and Diplomacy and director of the European & Eurasian Studies program; Carleen Vincent, the associate chair of the Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice; Ed Glab, professor and founding director of the Green School’s Global Energy & Sustainability Forum; and Maria Ilcheva, the assistant director of Planning and Operations at the Jorge M. Perez Metropolitan Center. Shlomi Dinar, director of the M.A. in Global Affairs program and associate dean of the Green School’s Office of Graduate Studies & Innovation, moderated the discussion.
The professors discussed everything from their own career journeys to key areas they believe to be essential for success and what students can expect from the program.
“You will be asked to speak in class. You need to be able to communicate your ideas,” Ilcheva said. She also encouraged students to think outside of the box. “What is your competitive advantage? How will you succeed? Broad thinkers, visionaries, they see the forest beyond the trees.”
Glab said his goal is to teach students to understand data. “Analyze and put numbers together. Let numbers speak to you,” he said. To help develop analytical thinking and decision-making skills, he recommended students put Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman at the top of their reading list.
As for a sample of tips for success straight from the professors?
“Don’t think you have to plan your life tonight,” Kramer said. “If I did that, I wouldn’t have done half the things I’ve done.”
He added that he hopes to teach his students “to maintain a high intellectual curiosity about life. Be open to opportunities. You may discover you don’t like them. That is important. It might sharpen your focus on the things you do like.”
Vincent also shared expert advice about understanding job opportunities. “Look at a job like a new pair of shoes. If the shoes are too big, eventually [you’ll] grow into them.”
“I want you all to think carefully about what we teach,” said John F. Stack Jr., the founding dean of the Green School. “Our mission at the Green School is to encourage and develop leaders who will make the world a more just, peaceful and prosperous place. I am certain you will be those kinds of leaders.”
By Gisela Valencia