Sanskruti Majmudar is a first-generation Indian American from Boston, Massachusetts, and a second-year student in the Master of International Affairs program. She is concentrating in International Security Policy and specializing in International Conflict Resolution.

Prior to SIPA, Sanskruti worked in both domestic politics and the federal government. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from George Washington University.

What attracted you to SIPA and Columbia University?

When applying to graduate programs, I knew I wanted to study in an environment where I could learn from distinguished faculty as well as my peers. What better way to learn about the nuances of international affairs than from professors and classmates from all around the world? The SIPA community spans more than New York – it is truly global.

In addition, I wanted to take classes in a wide array of topics. At SIPA, I have been able to focus my coursework on the field of human security, taking classes on peacebuilding, peacekeeping, and humanitarian affairs. I have also taken classes on financial management in the nonprofit sector, gender policy, and risk management. While my concentration is in international security policy, I have enjoyed learning about topics in other fields as well.

Everyone at SIPA has a unique story that brought them here. Learning from peers with diverse perspectives and experiences has enriched my understanding of different subjects and debates across all of my classes.

What’s your internship experience been like?

I have had great internship experiences! Prior to SIPA, I had worked for numerous years, so I could have opted out of the internship requirement. However, I believe that the internship opportunities in New York allow students to readily apply newfound knowledge in a job setting.

During the spring semester of 2020, I took Professor Zachary Metz’s Applied Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution class which partnered me with a peacebuilding organization for summer fieldwork. Due to COVID travel restrictions, I could not work with my organization in person, but they converted me to a virtual internship that still gave me insight into the field. This semester I am an intern for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, where I see the theories I have learned in the classroom play out in the real world. It is fascinating!

Did you have a lot of quantitative experience when you applied to SIPA? Why or why not? How did you perform in those classes?

When I applied to SIPA I had very little quantitative experience. I had taken economics courses in undergrad, but I could barely remember what I had learned. While the quantitative core curriculum intimidated me, I knew that these classes would provide me with the quantitative literacy requisite for success in this field. As I anticipated, all the quantitative classes were challenging, but I improved (and passed!) thanks to some very patient teaching assistants and readers.

What advice do you have for applicants?

My advice for current applicants is to plan early. The SIPA application has multiple requirements ranging from essays, test scores, transcripts, and recommendations. Creating and sticking to a plan that ensures all parts of your application are submitted on time is important. Your application essentially tells the Admissions team the story of who you are, so having the time to make sure the right story comes through requires forethought and advance planning.