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An Accelerated BA/MA Program

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Valerie Busch
Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR) '21
First Year: SAIS Europe

During Valerie Busch's second year at Dickinson College, where she studied International Business and Management, Valerie came across the BA/MA partnership program with SAIS and was immediately interested. After really enjoying all her classes that focused on international studies, Valerie decided to apply. She was very excited because SAIS offered an opportunity to take more global courses and expand on her studies in a more international context. Additionally, with the BA/MA program, Valerie would be able to complete her bachelor's and master’s degree in five years, which was really compelling. What encouraged Valerie even more was the fact that SAIS offered an additional concentration in International Economics. Valerie had enjoyed her quantitative courses in undergrad and knowing she could continue those courses at SAIS really fortified her decision to apply. Lastly, the thought of starting the first year of the program at SAIS Europe in Bologna, Italy was enticing as Valerie always wanted to study abroad. Valerie knew she would get the best of both worlds!
During Valerie’s year of study SAIS Europe, she was lucky enough to not only live in a beautiful, dynamic city full of amazing food, but also meet incredible and genuine classmates who had unique career experiences before coming to SAIS. It was wonderful learning about their backgrounds and their future goals after graduation. Everyone was very close-knit and friendly, and Valerie appreciated seeing a familiar face every day. She and her classmates had several events together, specifically happy hours, the Thanksgiving celebration, and the Vienna Ball, plus many more. Additionally, the professors were very approachable and amiable, and it was easy to connect with them. Overall, Valerie will look back on her time at SAIS Europe fondly.
One event in particular that became one of Valerie’s favorite experiences at SAIS Europe was the Vienna Ball in Austria that took place in January before the start of the spring semester. The ball was incredible, and indeed a once in a lifetime event. The best part of it was that the majority of her cohort was able to attend, and it was wonderful seeing them outside of class in this kind of environment. There was lots of dancing and celebration, making it a truly an unforgettable night. Another one of Valerie’s favorite experiences was the Finance Career Trek in London in the fall semester. She had attended a few career events beforehand in New York City, so it was an unbelievable opportunity to travel to a foreign city and participate in discussions and meetings with renowned banks and rating agencies. Not only was Valerie able to network with SAIS alumni, but she also connected with the group of students who attended the trip and remained in touch throughout her time abroad.
While continuing her studies in Washington DC during her second year of study, Valerie, served as co-President of the Latin American Studies Club. She and her colleagues organized several events to bring the Latin American Studies community together virtually and strengthen personal connections. Additionally, Valerie was also a member of the Global Women in Leadership Club.
After graduating from SAIS, Valerie hopes to use her degree in international affairs, in combination with her business degree from Dickinson, to work for a company that provides business development consulting and strategy to organizations in emerging markets, particularly Latin America. In the future, after she gains more exposure in this field, Valerie would like to work for a company that focuses on corporate responsibility, gender equality, and business and human rights. Ultimately, she hopes to be part of an organization that does impactful work for its consumers, employees, and community.

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