From the White House to Outer Space: Where could a degree in International Relations take you?

bachelor-ple-sir

The world around us is undergoing dramatic changes. We’ve become increasingly interconnected thanks to huge advances in technology, yet also more distanced from one another by conflicts and inequality. Now more than ever, we need individuals with an international perspective and a global vision who can understand the changes around us, and help us work together to create a mutually beneficial global society.

The world around us is undergoing dramatic changes. We’ve become increasingly interconnected thanks to huge advances in technology, yet also more distanced from one another by conflicts and inequality. Now more than ever, we need individuals with an international perspective and a global vision who can understand the changes around us, and help us work together to create a mutually beneficial global society.

The subject area of international relations is particularly well suited to training professionals who are prepared to meet these challenges. But where exactly can a degree in international relations take you? As a graduate in this field, what might your future career look like?

You might not be aware that some of history’s greatest diplomats, businessmen, philanthropists and even athletes studied international relations. Here we take a look at some of these influential and impressive leaders in their respective (and highly varied) fields, to discover where a degree in international relations might lead you.

John F. Kennedy – US President

 John Fitzgerald Kennedy—commonly referred to by his initials, JFK—was an American politician who served as the 35th President of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. He was also a former student of international affairs at Harvard.

JFK was an immensely popular figure and, at 43, the country’s youngest president, giving him the image of a youthful leader for a new generation. His years in power were marked by Cold War tension, along with his commitment to introducing domestic reforms and expanding the civil rights of African Americans. An extremely charismatic leader, he was considered a symbol of purpose and hope amongst the difficult international climate during his presidency.

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” – JFK

Ban Ki-moon – Secretary-General of the United Nations

Ban Ki-moon is a South Korean politician and diplomat who served as the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 2007 to December 2016. He is a graduate of the international relations program at Seoul National University.

During his time at the UN, Ki-moon aimed to mobilize world leaders with regard to new global challenges. He placed special focus on climate change and increasing pressures involving food, energy and water. In 2016, the news publication Foreign Policy named Ki-moon as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers for his achievement of making the Paris Agreement a legally binding treaty less than a year after it was adopted. He has also been highly vocal regarding LGBTQ rights, condemning countries that enforce anti-gay laws and criminalize homosexuality.

“Saving our planet requires you to be ambitious in what you aim, and, equally, in how hard you work to reach your goal.” – Ban Ki-moon

 

Pamela P. FlahertyPresident and CEO of the Citi Foundation

Pamela P. Flaherty is the former President and CEO of the Citi Foundation, and the Director of Corporate Citizenship at Citi. She earned a master’s degree in international affairs from the Johns Hopkins Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

As leader of the Citi Foundation from 2007 to 2015, Flaherty spearheaded a “more-than-philanthropy” approach to the foundation’s work. Its mission is to economically empower individuals and families in 89 countries, through a combination of financial support, employee engagement and innovative grant structuring. As head of Citi’s Citizenship efforts, she encouraged the development of activities in areas such as sustainability and the environment. Thanks to Flaherty’s work and the cooperation of the company’s clients, Citi directed more than $54 billion toward renewable energy and clean technology.

 

Kevin Ford – Astronaut

Kevin Ford is a retired United States Air Force Colonel and NASA astronaut. He holds a master’s in international relations from Troy State University, among several other degrees.

Ford is a distinguished graduate of Detachment 225, Reserve Officer Training Corps, and also graduated with distinction from the United States Air Force Test Pilot School in 1990. Throughout his career he has received a number of special honors and awards, including the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal and Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. Amongst his many journeys to space, he served as pilot for space shuttle mission STS-128 to the International Space Station, which launched on August 28, 2009 from the Kennedy Space Center.

“One of the things I do know is we know very little about our universe. Even though we think we know a lot, and we do know a lot more than we used to, we have a lot to learn about our universe.” – Kevin Ford

 

Jessica P. Einhorn – Dean of SAIS at John Hopkins University

Jessica P. Einhorn served as Dean of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University from 2001 until 2012. She is the first alumnus of the school who has gone on to become its dean, having previously earned a master’s degree in international affairs from SAIS.

Einhorn is also a member of the Board of Directors of Time Warner, Inc., a member of the Board of Directors of BlackRock, Inc., a former director of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former managing director at the World Bank.

 During her 19 years at the World Bank, Einhorn acted as vice president and treasurer, and later as managing director. She is internationally renowned for her influence on modern global capital markets, and held key roles in the first currency swap operation, development of the global bond and risk management of derivatives. In her final year at the World Bank, she was a visiting fellow at the International Monetary Fund, where she studied global financial issues involving the international financial system and examined the nature of financial crises.

 

What path will you choose?

Despite sharing a common educational background, each of these public figures pursued vastly different careers with astounding success. While their professional goals took them down different paths, the skills and knowledge they acquired through higher education—including a global outlook, an appreciation of different political systems and an understanding of the intersections of innovation, technology and people—gave them the necessary foundations to pursue their passions.

At the IE School of Global and Public Affairs, students learn about different governing policies, gain an understanding of the intersection of the public and private sectors and apply the knowledge they acquire to a wide range of international issues. They will go on to become professionals who work at the global intersections of business, technology, trade, politics and culture for a whole range of public and private enterprises. If this sounds like an inspiring and fulfilling career path, a degree in international relations might just be for you.