#IncomingElliott: Angelica Ortega

Angelica Ortega, Master of International Policy and Practice, Class of 2022, #IncomingElliott Student

Angelica Ortega is an incoming international student at the Elliott School of International Affairs, where she will be pursuing a Master’s degree in International Policy and Practice. Angelica has years of experience in facilitating the market entry and overseas expansion of foreign organizations to the Philippines. Prior to moving to DC for her graduate studies, Angelica worked for a Singapore government agency committed to helping enterprises innovate and internationalize. Based in the agency’s overseas center in Manila, Philippines, Angelica helped facilitate trade and investments between Singapore and the Philippines. She obtained her bachelor’s degree of Science in Commerce, majoring in Marketing Management from the De La Salle University, Manila. She is particularly interested in learning more about the impact of global affairs to regional cooperation and domestic economic development, specifically for countries in Southeast Asia. In her free time, Angelica enjoys learning new things, watching documentaries, reading books, and traveling.

What has been your most rewarding academic or professional experience so far?

Showcasing the Philippines as a leading investment destination for foreign enterprises has so far been the most rewarding part of my professional experience. For over 5 years, I worked for a foreign government agency that provided me with many meaningful opportunities to help bridge stronger economic relations between Singapore and the Philippines. Assisting overseas enterprises understand the Philippine market was not always easy but it was very fulfilling. It meant continuously learning valuable insights about the Philippines and using that information to encourage cross-border partnerships and foreign direct investments. Such partnerships and investments, no matter how small, stimulated economic development and GDP growth in the Philippines by creating more jobs and providing platforms for the exchange of knowledge, technologies, and skills. In the process, I was privileged to have worked with passionate business leaders and dedicated public servants who taught me so much about cultural competence and contextual intelligence.

What made you interested in your graduate program of choice?

As cliché as this might sound, the world is becoming increasingly interconnected. Globalization and the COVID-19 pandemic are speeding up policy changes and technology innovations at an unprecedented pace, opening windows of opportunities in the changing global economic systems. There is a growing need to bridge international key players in the public, private, and non-profit sectors for a more balanced motivation in creating impactful changes just as understanding domestic markets are becoming more necessary for organizations to thrive. The inclination to understand the physical and cultural borders of doing business across countries drove me to pursue the MIPP program. Knowing that I still have a lot to learn about the role of global affairs and multi-sector collaboration in advancing organizations is what got me interested to apply to the program. With this in mind, I hope that the universality of international affairs can equip me with the skills needed to understand the complexities of globalization in an interdisciplinary setting.

If you could be a paid intern anywhere in DC during your program, where would you want to intern and why?

I’m really interested in learning more about Southeast Asia from a global perspective so the first organization that comes to mind for this question is the US-ASEAN Business Council. The business council is an advocacy organization promoting mutually beneficial trade and investment relationships between the United States and the Southeast Asia region. The council leads major business missions to all ASEAN member countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam), provides market entry advisory services, and facilitates opportunities for the private sector in the different aforementioned markets. With its growing total population and the significant figures of its combined GDP, the ASEAN economy presents various trade and investment opportunities for the international community. An opportunity to work with American companies and a diverse team of experts on Southeast Asia will be a valuable experience in helping me better understand the foreign business climate and the digital economy of the said region from an intercultural environment. Apart from this, I think interning for the council will also provide me with the chance to share my insights about the region and the opportunities it has to offer based on my previous professional experiences.

Why did you choose to commit to the Elliott School for your graduate program?

I committed to the Elliott School for my graduate program primarily because of the many opportunities it offers. Overall, I was particularly attracted to the uniqueness of the MIPP program. I really like that the program is designed for mid-career practitioners, focusing on leadership, data analysis, and strategic policy design. I also appreciate how the program allows students to create their own specializations that meet specific career goals and interests. These course characteristics make the program very flexible and interdisciplinary! Apart from this, the school’s location is also very strategic for those pursuing a track in international affairs. Being in DC, surrounded by many global organizations, will definitely enrich my experience, especially as an international student. I look forward to meeting people with a wealth of professional and academic experience, diverse insights, and fresh perspectives.

Do you keep up with the Kardashians?

Only through Kourtney’s and Kendall’s Instagram accounts!


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The #IncomingElliott profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights newly enrolling students to answer common questions posed by prospective 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.