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Balancing a SAIS MAIR & Tsinghua Dual Degree

hayley hu
Hayley Hu

Hayley Xiwen HuMaster of Arts in International Relations (MAIR) + Tsinghua Dual Degree '231. What encouraged you to apply to Johns Hopkins SAIS?Many people have asked me that, as a finance undergraduate, “why did you switch to IR for graduate studies?” Indeed, this is a somewhat unusual change as most people are making the reverse change, IR to finance. Personally, I feel that finance is a means, not an end. My bachelor’s degree in finance has equipped me well with the knowledge of economics and finance, but it is my passion in international relations that drives me to utilize this knowledge to promote international development. Besides, I have always thrived in a multicultural environment. SAIS-Tsinghua Dual Degree seems like the perfect fit for me.2. What program are you in and what do you hope to gain from it?I am currently in the MAIR program. In my first year I am becoming adopted to the new curriculum, meaning that we have 2 years to complete 64 credits in total, with 24 credits of core courses, 12 credits within one Functional Focus Area, at least 12 credits within one Regional Focus Area, and remaining 16 credits for taking any course of interest at SAIS. To me, this is aptly designed for students to build a strong foundation in the general concepts and practices of IR horizontally, while vertically delving into the two chosen areas of specialization, dovetails perfectly with my lifelong goal of balancing “exploration and extrapolation”.3. As a Dual-Degree how has SAIS added to your experiences from Tsinghua?Tsinghua courses and SAIS courses are both taught in English, with a wide variety of nationalities among the students attending the classes. At Tsinghua, I took courses like Chinese Foreign Policy and Arms Control. I also took Chinese courses at Tsinghua, and earned a 11-credit certificate in fintech from the School of Finance. SAIS is located at the heart of DC, which gave me much more exposure to politics and international affairs. SAIS also has these great career treks - I attended the finance trek and the consulting workshop, which allowed me to come face to face with SAIS alumni who have very successful careers and lots of helpful experiences to share.4. What were you doing before attending the school?I was lucky to have been given the opportunity to intern at the AIIB in summer 2021. I worked under the private equity team of the banking department targeting ASEAN region. Before that, I graduated from Renmin University of China in 2020 and completed my first year of course work for the dual-degree program at Tsinghua.Beyond my studies and internships, I immensely enjoy travelling to experience different cultures and outdoor trekking. I joined the Tsinghua Rock Climbing Team, and I travelled to the most sacred and beautiful places in China – the most memorable one was Mount Kailash, a 35-mile trek at the altitude of 16000-18500 feet.5. As a first year, what are some things you are looking forward to? What have been your favorite classes/experiences so far?One thing I am looking forward to is the exchange program to SciencePo Paris. My favorite class is Theory of International Relations, where I enjoy the constructive discussions with the professor and my classmates. Embracing different kinds of thoughts and sparking new ideas through exchanging viewpoints has always been one of the biggest enjoyments in my study.6. What do you hope to do with your degree after you graduate?After graduation, I hope to find a job working for international financial institutions. I also plan to relocate to Boston to reunite with my husband where he is pursuing his PhD study at MIT.

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