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Establishing My Network

SAIS Student

Baker Lu
MAIR '22

Q: What encouraged you to apply to Johns Hopkins SAIS? Who were some of your influencers?

A: I applied to Johns Hopkins SAIS because I am passionate about international relations, especially in the context of development. Focusing on International Development fit into my expectations of a master’s program. Also, the school is well known in the world of international development. When I was looking into applying, I was impressed by the fact that I could easily connect with the World Bank and the IMF. Even during the COVID pandemic, Johns Hopkins SAIS’ reputation still allows me to network with development professionals.

Many people also influenced me to apply to the school. My former boss helped me discover my passion for quantitative evaluation in development. My supervisor at the Carter Center connected me with the former research manager at the SAIS China Africa Research Initiative. My conversation with her left a positive impression of the school’s quantitative curriculum and prompted me to come to Johns Hopkins SAIS to continue my education.

Q: What does it mean to you/to your family to have been a first-generation college student?

A: Being a first-generation college and master’s student means a lot to my family and me. For us, my experience brings a new perspective and mindset of how to solve problems. Unlike my dad, who has no college education but worked in his industry for more than thirty years, I do not have particular skills for a specific sector. However, what I do have is creative thinking and the ability to face problems with the appropriate attitude. This intangible skill of perspective and mindset brings lots of insightful discussions and conversations in my household and helps every family member better understand and tackle the problems they face in work and life.

Q: People think of diversity in many ways. What does diversity mean to you?

A: Diversity is a mechanism by which different people can harmoniously work or live together to achieve their ultimate goals. Many of the world’s problems are complicated, so we need a “diverse portfolio” of people. This portfolio can generate various solutions, and there must be at least one that addresses the issue at hand. Therefore, diversity to me is not about political correctness but rather an effective way to solve the most challenging problems faced by a group, a company, a country, or the whole world.

Q: What do you do when you're not studying/working?

A: I like to play soccer with my friends when I have free time. Also, I play the piano while maintaining an appetite for rock music in my leisure time.

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