#WeAreElliott: Robert Scully

#WAE Scully

Robert Scully will graduate with an MA in International Economic Policy from the Elliott School in May 2020. During his first year of study, he worked as a non-diplomatic aide to the Minister for Economy, Trade, Industry and Energy of the Embassy of Japan in the United States, conducting trade and investment research while managing events promoting US-Japan trade. Prior to this, he lived in Kagoshima, Japan for three years as an English instructor as part of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET Program). At the start of his final year graduate study, Robert began working as an International Trade Compliance Analyst within the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, where he works today. Robert’s desire to pursue positions in international trade, business and regulatory compliance heavily influenced his decision to undertake a graduate program in economics and international affairs within the Elliott School. He hopes to continue working in this field.

When did you realize you wanted an international career and what inspired you to select your program/concentration at the Elliott School? 

My time abroad as an exchange student in Japan reinforced my desire to work in international affairs and this was further reinforced during my work as a teacher and later at the Embassy of Japan. The dedication of the people seeking to mediate relations between nations and reconcile vastly different economic/social systems was inspiring to me. International trade, technological diffusion and business growth are driving nations in new and interesting directions. I am happy to be able to contribute as an international professional who has knowledge of the sector through my program.

What has been your most challenging academic experience (i.e., in-class, with an institute/office, at an Elliott sponsored on/off-campus event) at the Elliott School and how did you overcome it?

My most challenging experience was probably the course load of three full time classes each semester while I have been working full time. Elliott’s flexibility with that work-study life is why I like the major programs of study in the school and professor’s flexibility.

What resources (online or offline) or strategies have proven to be most helpful in helping you reach career success?

Connecting with alumni in the U.S. government has been key for me and I would say please further develop these contacts and connect students with those agencies/individuals. Promote Pathways and Presidential Management Fellowship preparation seminars or courses would be invaluable to students interested in government work.

What advice do you have for prospective students who are on the fence about applying to a graduate program at the Elliott school?

Take advantage of the location and build contacts, positions, experience. I would highly advise anyone who is pursuing a graduate degree at Elliott to actively apply to jobs/internships and work at positions you are interested in. That valuable course study combined with honed professional skills and connections is invaluable if you are interested in working in Washington D.C. Do not rest on your laurels. Build your professional background, knowledge and network actively while in your program.

If you could bring any food from abroad to D.C., what would you bring?

I would bring a can of Chu-hi (Japanese mixed can alcohol drink) and sushi that does not go bad on a flight home.


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The #WeAreElliott profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights current students to answer common questions posed by prospective, incoming, and current students. For more information on this series or to submit questions, e-mail the Office of Graduate Admissions at esiagrad@gwu.edu.

The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs.