I’m pleased to share that the Office of Admissions welcomed a new team of Program Assistants (PAs) this semester. So over the next few days I’ll be introducing you to each of them in the form of self-interviews. First up, Weiming Shu, who’s an MPA student at SIPA, class of 2017. Weiming comes from China and is guaranteed by Fulbright Scholarship. Before coming to SIPA, Weiming Graduated from Tsinghua University with a Bachelor’s degree of International Relations and Economics. Although a recent graduate, Weiming has wide experiences across diverse areas. She has once interned in international organizations and think tanks like UNDP and WRI; in financial service industry like asset management and investment banking; and also in media like Thomas Reuters and CCTV2. Weiming is concentrating on IFEP with specialization in TMAC. 

What has been the best part of your SIPA experience?
The courses at SIPA are without doubt the best part of the program. Courses cover wide areas, from economics to finance, from energy to human right, from media to conflict resolution. Great flexibility is especially good for those who want to change their previous major or career. The policy of changing concentration or specialization at SIPA is really friendly. You are allowed to change your focus as long as the credit requirement is met. I have really enjoyed my courses during the past two semesters. Content of the courses are up-to-date, practical and attractive. Professors are top experts and best practitioners in their field, and they really devote their time and energy teaching us.

What are your goals for the second year?
There are just so many things I want to do in the second year. First of all, I’m going to learn as much as I could from the four courses I plan to take. As the graduation date gets closer, every single course becomes so precious to me. Second, Job hunting is just as important. Many companies and institutions began recruitment during the fall, so I plan to start my job hunting in the coming semester. Third, play harder! One of the greatest things about being a student is flexible schedule, so I would seize the last opportunity to enjoy my school time, such as taking some trips in the states. I have made so many good friends at SIPA, and I would definitely spare enough time to hang out with these lovely people.

What has been your experience with the Career Services Office?
SIPA’s Career Services Office is awesome! From the very first week of my time at SIPA, OCS has been supporting and serving students. They invite employers to hold information session at SIPA, so that we could build network with them; They organize training sessions of various kinds, from how to prepare for interviews to how to create a perfect Linkedin profile. There are activities from OCS almost EVERY DAY! Sometime you may even find two wonderful activities crowding at the same time. Besides, OCS provides lots of customized services, such as clinics for CV and cover letter, Career Coach Program etc. Do remember to check SIPA LINK every day to ensure that you are not going to miss anything.

What do you think makes a good SIPA student or what qualities do stellar SIPA students typically possess?
A good SIPA student should be open-minded, hard-working and proactive. SIPA is a highly diverse school, with students from different countries and cultures. Conflict of opinions is common. You need to learn to respect ideas that are entirely different from your own. Hard working, of course! Workloads of some courses are really heavy. In some courses, tons of readings and writings are required, while in others, you may need to solve problem set one after another. Libraries would likely be the places you visit most frequently on campus. Don’t be afraid though, just enjoy  learning at SIPA! Being Proactive is the key too. No matter in classes or at social activities. Being proactive could bring you lots of opportunities.

Do you feel like you have gotten to know some of the faculty members?
Sure! I got to know professors from my courses, of course. Professors at SIPA are always willing to get to know their students. They hold office hour every week, not only for answering course-related questions, they are also happy to give advices on students’ personal development. Showing up during office hour is a perfect way of getting to know faculty members. Beside classes, there are many other opportunities to know our faculty members. You could meet them during lunch-time seminars, speeches and discussions, through scheduling meetings with career coach. Just feel free to contact faculty member! They are nice and helpful.

Photo courtesy of Weiming Shu