On Two Continents, Dual Degree Students Immerse Themselves in Global Affairs
Starting a master’s degree in one country, interning abroad, and finishing your studies in another may seem daunting, but for Uma Kalkar and Chris Andreou, that’s precisely the challenging, exciting, and immersive graduate experience they were seeking.
Both Kalkar and Andreou are graduates of the dual Master of Global Affairs and Master in Public Policy (MGA/MPP) degree program at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy in Toronto and Sciences Po University in Paris. The program, which has students take their first year of study in Paris and complete their second and final year in Toronto, is designed to attract and challenge students who want to expand their global networks and gain immersive experiences.
For Kalkar, a Munk One and Peace, Conflict and Justice alum, the obvious impact was a chance to hone her French skills. But going deeper, she says, the two-year program allowed her to fully explore the global intersections of her passion – innovation policy – in both academic and professional settings.
Kalkar (MGA/MPP ’22), who upon completing her studies began working as a researcher for The Governance Lab, a think tank exploring linkages between government and technology, says she appreciated the mix of academic and real-life application in both contexts. Her final research paper explored the connection between “internet deserts” in the United States and socioeconomic indicators. It was built off of lectures from professors in Paris and the insights of practitioners teaching in the Master of Global Affairs program at the Munk School.
That research paper, combined with her internship experience in the Office of the Director General of UNESCO in their Paris headquarters, helped Kalkar land her current job. Now, she spends her days working remotely from Budapest, focusing on questions of how data can be transformative to public life.
Likewise, Andreou (MGA/MPP ’20), who was a member of the inaugural cohort of dual degree students, found that the variety in teaching styles between Paris and Toronto challenged his understanding of thematic issues.
Having already completed a business undergraduate degree and with experience working in banking, Andreou enrolled in the MGA/MPP program with a desire to gain more international experience and learn about how private, public and civil society institutions interact on an international level.
The coursework at Sciences Po, he says, laid the groundwork, applying a typically French philosophical style to questioning the international status quo and the role of corporations. In Toronto, he tested those theories in a more applied format. Specifically, Andreou says the Munk School’s Government Relations course, allowed him to test out and debate the real-world interactions and tensions between government policy and the business sector. As a strategy and management consultant for Monitor Deloitte, Andreou says both approaches now inform his career.
The dual degree program also gave him the chance to diversify his skills beyond his business background. The MGA/MPP program internship takes place for students in the summer between their first and second year, and Andreou’s took him to Tunisia, where he worked for Access Now, a human rights organization. Andreou organized a panel on financial inclusion in North Africa and helped to draft policy proposals for the United Nations Human Rights Council on privacy and freedom of expression in the region. He says that sort of diverse experience helped set him apart from other management consulting applicants.
Both Kalkar and Andreou say that the networks and friendships they made in Paris and Toronto mean that regardless of whether they’re working in Canada, like Andreou, or remotely from Budapest, like Kalkar, they’ll always have international perspectives and opportunities to guide them throughout their careers.