Tuesday, March 4, 2014

"What better place to earn a master's degree?"

Chris Hume is one of several Bologna Center students pursuing a double degree with another program. Before arriving recently in Italy, Chris had completed a year of study at the SAIS DC campus and three semesters at Duke University's MBA program. Below he offers his thoughts on his Bologna experience so far.

Since arriving in January at the start of the spring semester, I have sought to embrace the culture that defines both the Bologna Center and the surrounding country.

Classmates hail from 41 different countries and a multitude of backgrounds, a recipe for a rich learning experience. The interest in topics both global and local transcends the diverse student body and complements our enviable position at the crossroads of Italy.

Medieval towers dot the skyline. Porticoed sidewalks wind along cobblestone streets. Food, music, art and history abound. The professors are engaging, and the research resources do not disappoint.

What better place to earn a master’s degree in international relations?

My graduate school adventure began in the fall of 2011 at the SAIS DC campus after several years in the U.S. Army. The military experience influenced my decision to study international relations, and the SAIS program has been a great fit. The exposure to top policymakers and international organizations as well as the opportunity to study in Europe are without equal.

My first year provided an excellent introduction to the policy world, and I enjoyed the classes and events that the DC campus could offer. That year I met many second-year students who had spent their first year in Bologna, and I became intrigued with the SAIS Europe experience.

It would be an indirect path, however, because after my first year at SAIS I studied for three semesters at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. I pursued the MBA to gain a better understanding of the private sector and complement my MA with a course load focusing exclusively on finance and accounting classes while at Fuqua. Two other MBA dual-degree students, friends from my first year in DC, are also here for their last semester, and it has been a lot of fun catching up with them.

I will graduate concurrently from both SAIS and Duke this May and move to New York to take a job in the financial services sector. I cannot think of a better place to finish up my studies, and the administration and student body have been extremely friendly and accommodating.

My only complaint is how fast this semester is moving along; midterms have already begun!

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