Jarek Buss is a Foreign Service Officer with the United States Department of State, currently serving in Guangzhou, China. He completed a bachelors in political science from Brigham Young University – Hawaii and a masters in Security Policy Studies from the Elliott School at George Washington University. As a Wolcott Fellow and a Pickering Fellow, he completed internships with the Department of State in Chengdu, China and in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the Department, he lived and worked in France, China, and Thailand.
When did you realize you wanted an international career?
At age 17, when I was finishing up a year as a Rotary International exchange student in France. I realized I wanted more opportunities to really live abroad, not just visit.
Describe your current position and what are your primary responsibilities?
I am a consular officer at the United States Consulate General in Guangzhou, China. Every day I interview around 100 applicants to determine their eligibility for a non-immigrant visa to the United States. I work with my colleagues to identify fraud trends, research human rights abuses, and prevent illegal technology transfers while promoting legitimate travel to the United States.
What are the current trends driving the future of your career field and what advice would you provide an Elliott School graduate student that is interested in your field of work?
In the past, maybe there were a lot of policy people who didn’t understand the technology and a lot of technology people who didn’t understand the policy, and they tried to meet in the middle. That’s not going to be enough anymore. Graduates who leave Elliott with not only the ability to write papers but also the ability to truly understand network security (or even use Excel to do data analysis!) will find a warm welcome for their skills.
How does your current position compare to what you thought you would be doing when you first started your degree at the Elliott School?
It’s exactly where I hoped I would be.
If you were a box of cereal, what kind would you be and why?
Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds. It’s pretty much the only kind of cereal I like—why would I be something I wouldn’t eat?
The #ElliottProud series highlights Elliott School MA alumni and seeks to answer common questions posed by prospective, current, and incoming students. The views expressed by alumni profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs. Find out more about this program by creating a CustomViewbook!
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