Can you describe the career opportunity are you pursuing this summer?
Upon finishing my second year in Hyderabad, I returned to Estonia. I interned at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the digital and cyber diplomacy department. I was a cyber diplomacy intern. Now that we can see cyberattacks used in combination with traditional warfare, I saw the need to intern at the cyber diplomacy department more than ever. I am grateful for my experience at the ministry, where I saw how one of the leading countries in cybersecurity - Estonia - manages its foreign policy and collaboration in cyberspace. It was also my first experience in the public sector, where I got invaluable connections for life and a personal experience working for one of the most digitally advanced states in the global community. Thank you to my team and supervisor for an unforgettable internship experience!
What led you to this opportunity? What help did you receive from your peers, alumni, or CTD in your journey to this position?
I have been curious about foreign affairs ever since high school, but I gained more knowledge regarding political science theories in my Political Science and Social Change course this past academic year at Minerva. At the end of the course, while discussing careers in political science, I said to myself, "I would love to try out diplomacy one day." Right after that course, I started my application for this internship. A while later, during one of my Comparative Constitutional Law classes, my professor shared a fascinating article on diplomacy in my part of the world that provided me with insights I used in my application. I was greatly inspired and motivated by my political science professors, Professor Mark Kukis and Professor Nicholas Kenney, and my gratitude goes to them.
What skills have you acquired during your studies at Minerva that you believe made you stand out?
First, Minerva lent me a tremendous interdisciplinary mix of skills and habits that helped me navigate a new complex diplomatic system. During my internship, I was challenged with various tasks requiring me to critically analyze information, be creative, communicate, and collaborate effectively. There is no one particular class or skill that was the most helpful. Instead, what helped me was using the combinations of Habits of Mind and Foundational Concepts that we learned at Minerva and the skills I gained across disciplines in my psychology, economics, and political science classes.
Additionally, my diverse resume and global background certainly made me stand out. It is rare for an average Estonian bachelor's student to have had work and research experiences in South Korea, Taiwan, the United States, and India. Foreign missions are what (almost) every other official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs aspires to do, but I already had a similar background without being a diplomat.
What advice would you give to peers or younger students regarding finding and leveraging professional opportunities in your industry?
I would tell them that studying abroad for such a long time like we do at Minerva. While studying abroad for so long, staying in touch with people in the countries or regions where they want to build their careers is essential. The skills and experiences we are getting at Minerva are exceptional and most likely in demand in all kinds of institutions in their home countries. They should make sure to keep their network updated on their academic and professional progress through a social media post, a call, or a message. Consistent, broad networking is a crucial habit an aspiring diplomat should work on.
If you were inspired by Vlad's story and are seeking a college experience that will teach you valuable pragmatic skills that will effectively equip you for a successful career, consider applying to Minerva.