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photo of Mandy

Mandy Bowers
Johns Hopkins SAIS/INSEAD MAIR/MBA Dual-Degree Program ‘20
Dean’s Fellow
First Year: SAIS Europe

Q: What encouraged you to apply to Johns Hopkins SAIS?

A: I lived in Washington DC on and off for about four years after graduating undergrad, so by default I met plenty of Johns Hopkins SAIS graduates and became very familiar with the school’s program. Going into the grad school application process, I knew that I wanted a program that would prepare me to work in the private sector in emerging economies, so I considered a variety of international affairs and MBA programs. The Johns Hopkins SAIS and INSEAD MAIR/MBA dual-degree program between was the perfect combination. Johns Hopkins SAIS’ MAIR program would provide me with a deeper understanding of economic development, political and economic risk, cross-border trade, and capital flows. Through INSEAD’s MBA, I could strengthen my business skills set and broaden my international business network. The dual-degree program would also allow me the opportunity to live in four countries and graduate with two masters in 2.5 years. So, it was an obvious choice for me.

Q: Could you please tell us about your fellowship and how it has helped support your graduate studies?

A: I received a Dean’s Fellowship that covered 75% of my tuition costs at Johns Hopkins SAIS. Receiving this generous fellowship made it financially possible for me to pursue the dual-degree and was a significant driver in my choice to pursue the school’s program.

Q: What was it like to spend your first year studying at SAIS Europe?

A: Studying at SAIS Europe during the 2019/2020 school year was an incredible experience in many ways. The fall term was everything I expected from grad school: challenging classes and engaging professors and classmates. I also had the amazing opportunity to go on weekend trips with new friends and got to know the Italian language and culture through language partner meet-ups and countless culinary experiences. When COVID-19 began unfolding in Italy, we had to rapidly transition to first optional and then required remote learning. Shortly thereafter, the Italian government put quarantine measures in place to restrict the spread of COVID-19, and we were no longer allowed to leave our homes without good reason. Many students left Italy, but I stayed through the quarantine. It was a challenge to manage my mental health on top of classes, but I made it!

Q: What extracurricular activities are you involved with at the school?

A: My roommate in Bologna introduced me to the Defense and Intelligence Club, which I joined because the speaker lineup sounded so interesting. Every Thursday night, we would have fresh Italian pizza and listen to a presentation on an issue related to defense and intelligence. Some of our guests were extremely recognizable figures, but just as often my fellow students would present on their areas of expertise. It was amazing to see the wealth of experience my peers brought to the classroom.

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

A: I am currently interning at an impact investing private equity firm, SEAF. The internship has helped build my understanding of the open questions in impact measurement, different approaches to emerging market investment, and many of the challenges companies face trying to deploy capital in underserved markets. I could definitely see myself working in impact investing full-time after graduation.

Want to support students like Mandy? Join the Johns Hopkins SAIS community on Giving Tuesday, December 1, as we take part in this global day of giving. Learn more and #GiveTueSAIS early at

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