We recently asked Ronny Carlton, a current M.I.P.P. (our mid-career program) student, to explain why he chose the Elliott School, his program and what he has enjoyed so far. Read what he has to say!
What drew you to the Elliott School and the M.I.P.P. program?
I’d started working on Capitol Hill almost immediately after my undergrad in 1998. But after more than a decade as a legislative aide, it felt like the time was ripe to finally fulfill my crazy dream to get that grad degree in international affairs.
It really wasn’t hard to choose the Elliott School. If you look at the top international affairs graduate schools in the nation, D.C. is home to several. Like most prospective grad students, I took the time to meet with the Admissions offices for each in our fair city. The Elliott School was among the first I visited, and I immediately had the sense that it would be my top choice.
The admissions office was extremely welcoming and informative. I could not have been more impressed with their knowledge and ability to answer questions – even those I didn’t know to ask, the “unknown unknowns” so to speak. It was clear how proud they were of the school, and I, frankly, needed the “hand-holding” they provided to explain the particulars of the MIPP program and the admissions process.
I was also really attracted to the Elliott School’s course offerings. There are so many interesting classes one can take that it can sometimes be a challenge keeping within the number of credit hours available per semester!
The real deal-sealer for me was the “practitioner” aspect of the Elliott School faculty. It is incredible how many of my professors were full time employees at one of the agencies in the foreign policy sector. These folks really know their stuff because many of them live it day-in and day-out. I can’t imagine too many schools can lay claim to such an array of on-the-job talent.
Who has been your favorite professor so far?
I’m tempted to name either of the two I currently have classes with! Actually, Yvonne Captain, the M.I.P.P. director, was among the best professors I’ve had, and she has been an outstanding mentor. The M.I.P.P. Seminar which she led was fascinating. She brought in ambassadors, scientists, business professionals, and others who brought unique angles on U.S. foreign policy. It was a true eye-opener every week. If I could, I would take that class again in a heartbeat!
What advice do you have for enrolling students?
Get to know the expert at advisors at the Graduate Student Career Development Center (GSCDC). Meet with them early, and meet with them often! It is a fantastic resource, not only for learning about job openings but also discussing how to strengthen your resume and improve interview skills. It’s great stuff!
Where do you hope to be after graduating?
If all goes as planned, in just three months, I’ll receive my Master’s in International Policy & Practice from the Elliott School. It’s hard to believe that the finish line is so close! I couldn’t have hoped for a better experience.
Honestly, I don’t have a single place in mind. Right now, I’m pursuing a couple of fellowship opportunities (thanks to the Elliott School), and I’ll take the Foreign Service exam later this fall. Where I land is an open question, but I’m confident that the Elliott School has prepared me for whatever is next.
Thanks so much Ronny for your thoughts! We really appreciate it and wish you well in your future!