Paul Ludwig '19
Why IS Majors Should Consider Graduate School
One year ago I was a senior in the IS program excited about life’s next steps, but ultimately unsure of what I wanted to do after graduation. I had had the opportunity to intern at a number of different places in both the public and private sectors but I just couldn’t find my career calling. It wasn’t until I had the opportunity to visit my younger brother at the University of Chicago that I became set on my path: I was going to pursue graduate education. My experiences in the IS program, coupled with my self-exploration during senior year, gave me invaluable determination, and I'd like to encourage current IS students to consider graduate school as well.
As I mentioned, graduate school had not been a serious consideration of mine until I visited the University of Chicago and explored their offerings firsthand. Since I was always passionate about IS, one might wonder why graduate school hadn’t been on my mind earlier. I knew that East Asian security and history were what truly fascinated me, and I could see that the jobs most aligned with those interests were out of reach with my current level of education, but I was confused as to what type of program I would need to be successful in the future. I was torn between pursuing my interests and beginning a career that would make me more financially successful. If any current students feel this way, too, I hear you.
The most valuable bit of advice I can give here is recognize that more successful career paths are open to you than the traditional economics- and finance-dominated choices your close friends and classmates are making at Boston College. Take the time to truly understand what makes you excited, and if that’s a particular subject matter, definitely think about graduate school.
For those considering more school but unsure if they’ll be ready for the challenge right after graduation, I want to provide you with some positive assurances. BC’s IS program was truly instrumental in helping me get where I am today. It’s structured in a way that ensures each student is incredibly intelligent and that each student graduates with the capabilities to be successful in further schooling.
If I were to give another bit of advice, it would be to make the most of the wonderful faculty BC employs. Having cultivated close relationships with a number of outstanding IS faculty members, including Professors Nakazato and Hwang, my coursework and research at BC were crucial to my current program. As a Master’s student in International Relations, I am working collaboratively to develop topical expertise in intelligence cooperation, thanks in part to the foundational research experience I had at BC. I now regularly work closely with faculty here to develop my research further, and it’s all because I had the support of some really great people at BC.
While I recognize graduate school may not be for everyone, and far fewer students may want to seek an MA in International Relations, I would urge each one of you reading this to consider the option, and to make the most of the resources Boston College has provided with truly supportive faculty.
Paul Ludwig '19