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Developing my Expertise

photo of alex

Alex Brandão Ferraz '21
MA in International Relations
First Year: SAIS Europe

Q:  What encouraged you to apply to SAIS?  

A: SAIS’ academic reputation, world-class faculty, career networking opportunities, and dual campus offering for the MAIR program drew me to the school. I knew I wanted to study in Washington DC, but I also wanted a distinct and culturally immersive experience for one of my two years here, and ended up choosing to go to Bologna first.

Q: What has been one of your favorite parts about studying at SAIS? 
A: My favorite part of studying at SAIS has been the course offerings. Every semester I feel I have to narrow down the classes I am interested in from 8-9 to 4. I have taken classes covering human rights, American foreign policy, Latin American relations, U.S. intelligence, and the role of media in society. Apart from the subject matter, I really appreciate how every professor I have taken a class with has made themselves available to meet outside of class to talk about school, careers, or pretty much anything.

Q: Do you have a favorite class?

A: I do not think I can narrow down my favorite classes taken to a single one, but a few that really stand out are US Foreign Policy toward Latin America: Cold War to Drug War, Media Wars, American Intelligence: Role Practice & Impact, and Corporate Sustainability, Business, & Human Rights.
Q:  Could you please tell us about extracurricular activities and internships you have been involved as a student.
A: I am currently serving as one of the Vice Presidents of the International Law Society in DC, and last year I founded the SAIS Europe basketball club (unofficially known as SAIS Ball-ogna). I have also held on-campus student work positions in the offices of Admissions, Faculty Affairs, and Marketing & Communications.
In regards to internships, this past summer I was fortunate enough to participate in a remote consulting internship with Merci Mercado, the family-owned business of Johns Hopkins SAIS Alumnus, Juan Manuel Gutierrez. This may be the most unique company I have ever worked for, given that they import edible insect products from Mexico into the US! In case you are wondering - yes, I have sampled their products and they are delicious!

Q:  How do you anticipate your graduate school experience helping you expand your network and advance your career?  
A: I plan to remain in the Washington DC area following graduation and build upon the connections I have made at SAIS, both with students and faculty alike. I cannot wait to take the research skills and international experience I have gained through my education and apply them to my career afterwards.

Q:  What do you hope to do with your degree after you graduate?  

A: I hope to translate my graduate degree towards a career in political risk and investigative due diligence. I am passionate about the intersection between journalism and global security, as well as human rights in an increasingly technological and data-driven world.

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