International Relations and Global Studies

Alumni Perspectives

Constanza R Malagamba - IRG Class of 2014

Constanza

 

What is your current career path?

I have been living in Mogadishu, Somalia for the past two years, working for the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) as the Programme Coordinator of the Somalia Joint Police Programme (JPP). My work with the JPP is challenging and dangerous but extremely rewarding to see the progress that it is bringing to Somalia, I attached a short note on the program for your reference. If I decide to remain in the operational part of the UN, I will probably stay within the agencies and move on to being a Head of Programme/Deputy Country Director, with the goal of being a Country Director for a UN Agency one day. Before going to this hardship duty station, I was working in the UNOPS HQ in Copenhagen, where I started as an intern and then became a full time analyst. I managed to get the internship at the same time as completing my MSc in International Business and Politics at Copenhagen Business School, which is where I went right after graduating from IRG at UT. 

What experiences in the IRG program were particularly meaningful to you?

The most valuable thing IRG provided me with is knowing how to manage a set of very diverse stakeholders. Those are honestly the most valuable skills that I still use to this day when I, for instance, have to negotiate with ex-Somali warlords/current Police Commissioners to allow women to join the police forces in their region. Of course, the courses themselves were super helpful, they opened up my world immensely. Yet helping to set up IAS, studying abroad in Paris, and navigating relationships amongst my fellow students and professors was the most useful since through self-selection of the people that are interested and therefore involved in this major, you get exposed to very helpful circumstances that help you develop and grow. For instance, I remember falling ill with the weirdest sickness that triggered a horrible rash and I couldn't focus on my capstone project and asked you for help with extending the deadline and you understood and agreed- and I'll be forever grateful! I learned that you need to ask for help when you need it, no one is tough enough to go through life alone. Especially in my current job, I see so many people break because they don't understand how important it is to have a strong support system around you as the one IRG provided me with during my time at UT.

What advice would you give current students?

I would have never dreamed that working for the UN would have been the career path that IRG would help put me on. So as a word of advice to students, don't worry if you don't have everything figured out at college. I remember being very intimidated by all the options out there and by all my friends that seemed to have very clear and ambitious goals and knew how to reach them. I never had a clear plan of what I wanted to do (and still don't).  Honestly, if I had stuck with the first plan I had there is no way I would be here right now as I didn't fathom that I could ever work for the UN. I work hard and push myself to go for all the opportunities that open for me even if they are scary, and I have even failed at a few of them, but it is always worth it.

 

Brian Selman - IRG Class of 2014

 Brian

 

What is your current career path?

I joined the Department of State in 2018 as a Russian-speaking Consular Fellow.  I transitioned to become a Consular-coned Foreign Service Officer in 2019.  My first tour was in Warsaw, Poland, and I currently serve in Mumbai, India.

What experiences in the IRG program were particularly meaningful to you?

The Honors thesis program was hands-down the most meaningful part of my IRG experience.  Prior to that, I did not have any research experience, and did not even truly understand what research entailed.  The Honors program gave me the opportunity to be around a diverse group of colleagues, all intent on learning more about the world around them.  I was given the opportunity to pursue a research topic that was personally interesting and relevant.   I later was able to use this experience as a stepping stone into a graduate program. 

What advice would you give current students?

Explore all of IRG — it is so multi-faceted that there really is something for everyone.  When you find something that calls to you, pursue it relentlessly!  Talk to faculty with research in that area, and try to find more ways to connect that subject to your life and your future.  IRG is for the curious, the ones who want to learn more about what the world has to offer.

 

Tully Moorehead - IRG Class of 2014

 Tully

 

What is your current career path?

I began my career in management consulting at a firm run by Amelia Warren, Senator Warren's daughter. My primary client was the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. I worked on several projects, but my favorites were (1) creating a strategy that would take a promising malnutrition technology out of MIT and into African and Asian communities, and (2) defining an organizational structure for an East African crop health monitoring system. About a year ago I transitioned into the tech industry and I'm now working as a Product Manager for a company that provides case management software for health and human service organizations. I lead a team of user experience designers and software engineers building new features that help nonprofits keep service recipients engaged and more likely to complete their programs successfully. 

What experiences in the IRG program were particularly meaningful to you?

The coursework and relationships with my peers were the most meaningul parts of my IRG undergrad experience. The readings, lectures and assignments shaped the way I see the world and the frameworks I approach problems with. In the corporate world this translates to lack of fear in solving big problems that require complex solutions. It's a differentiator, I promise. And of course the relationships I made are so important. They pushed me, and still do, to do better.

What advice would you give current students?

Decide early on if you want to be in the private or public sector. Think really hard on it. If the answer is private, try to balance your resume and extracurriculars with more business-focused activities. Think long term on your choice of foreign language; I took Russian and am about to marry a Venezuelan. Early in your career prioritize experience and exposure over the highest salary you can get. It pays off and you're less likely to get pigeon-holed. Stay a generalist as long as you can - IRG really helps with this. But the best piece of advice I can give is that your professional and personal friendships are extremeley important. They will help you through hard decisions, get you hired and connect you with people that will change your life. 

 

Armando Vera - IRG Class of 2014

Armando V

 

What is your current career path?

My career path, per se, has been rather different in that I worked in the financial sector for four years after college working closely with hedge fund managers on Wall Street on investment due diligence projects, many of which were global in scope. I left that role to join a fintech startup in Austin focused on helping startups accelerate their growth through raising venture capital. I’m currently director of the program, but have started to prepare to launch my own startup within the next few months. My dream is to build a global conglomerate that impacts the lives of millions of people around the world. My focus is on building businesses and products (in the food, travel, film, publishing, transportation, hospitality, music sectors) that spread global ideas which raise awareness of the many cultures around the planet. 

What experiences in the IRG program were particularly meaningful to you?

The common denominator of all my interests and goals is the deep immersion I received as an IRG student under Dr. Anderson's guidance, as well as through the course work and experiences studying abroad in Paris and Singapore. Learning to see the world and it’s many complexities and mysteries through different perspectives is a privilege few are afforded on this planet.IRG taught me how to think critically about so much in life and our world. It also showed me that there is so much more to life than our personal and immediate circumstances. We live in an interconnected world and most of what we do has some kind of impact on others. 

What advice would you give current students?

Keep your options and mind open. There’s often a strong lingering fear and anxiety as students on choosing a career path. While those are normal feelings, it’s perfectly healthy to not know where you’ll be tomorrow. IRG gives students a big advantage in that it offers flexibility all while providing a well rounded global education that can translate to so many different career paths. That being said, as college kids, most don’t know who they want to be when they grow up because most don’t even know themselves well enough at that point in life.. to that end, I recommend IRG students try new things as early and often as possible. Travel a lot. Read a lot. Submerge yourself in totally new cultures, write about your experiences, share them with the world.