Over 130 admitted Josef Korbel School students recently visited the University of Denver's campus to learn more about the Josef Korbel School, its programs and people as they make one of the most important decisions of their lives thus far.
The two-day Discover Korbel event kicked off April 7 with breakfast and a welcome from Dean Christopher Hill who said that being successful in a career takes a lot of preparation and hard work, and the Josef Korbel School is just the place to provide it.
"Korbel will prepare you in such a way that when you arrive in New York or Washington, nothing will be a surprise," Hill said.
Hill acknowledged that, like himself, many in the international relations field will end up working in the nation's capital.
"But by the time you spend 40 years in Washington, you will be grateful for the mere two years you spent in Colorado." He said.
Hill said that as a medium sized APSIA institution, the Josef Korbel School stresses having a sense of community and for students to have access to faculty members.
"They're here because you are here," he said. "The basis of this school is the students and we take that very seriously."
Hill emphasized his commitment to the school and his plans to remain here for a long time.
"I have a sense of responsibility to make sure everyone goes out and get a serious job and is well prepared for that career track," Hill said.
Following the Dean's introduction, the admitted students divided into their degree programs to meet with the directors. The International Security students met with Professor Karen Feste, who finds that security is the essence of international relations and the Josef Korbel School is a great place to study it.
"We blend theory and practice," Feste said, and added that the school has a great record of alumni in security careers.
"The long look is that there are jobs and always will be in security," she said.
"We've had a top ranking for a long time," he said. "We also have a lot of well-placed alumni which helps with networking."
Laird also explained that students have the opportunity to spend their second fall quarter in Washington, D.C. as part of the Global Security and Development program. This allows students to intern during the day and take classes at night.
"100 percent of the classes are offered at night so you're available 9 to 5 to intern," he said. "Plus you're not competing with the summer interns."
Claude d'Estrée, director of the International Human Rights program offered work-study advice to admitted students interested in pursuing the human rights program. "You can take one that is mindless but I would think of a work-study position as an internship rather than a place where you make money," d'Estrée said. "Look for one that gives you intellectual growth."
The students also met with staff from the Office of Career and Professional Development who put together career fairs and help students with such things as resume building and internship and fellowship searching. The office also holds trips during winter and spring breaks in Washington, D.C., New York and Boston.
"These trips expose you directly to the market and to the employer," Director Rae Ann Bories-Easley said. "It allows the student to ask, 'is this a place I can see myself working?'"
While the Global Finance, Trade and Economic Integration (GFTEI) program is one of the Josef Korbel School's smallest, co-director Ilene Grabel said that it is the degree that many students switch to once they get a taste for it.
"GFTEI has never been the largest degree program here but it offers the most challenging curriculum and the most interesting curriculum," she said.
Grabel continued to stress the small size not only of GFTEI but of the Josef Korbel School as a whole. She also said that there are no joint faculty appointments, which makes them more available to students.
"I think students will find that it's for the best," she said. "The faculty members aren't torn between commitments. We also have a lot of faculty who have a long-term commitment to this school."
Some admitted students had concerns about being outside the Washington, D.C. area but Grabel suggests that the Josef Korbel School simply has something else to offer.
"The D.C. schools are more in the realm of conventional wisdom," Grabel said. "There's an inside-the-beltway way of thinking at those schools. That could be a plus or minus. At Korbel, we have a higher percentage of faculty and graduate students that might be much more unconventional thinkers. There's more openness to alternative ways of thinking."
And don't forget the skiing. Dean Hill joked that he enjoys showing his ski pass instead of his highly coveted diplomat passport whenever he's asked for identification. If students don't ski, Colorado also has a plethora of micro breweries.
"If I see any of you drinking a Bud Light, you're out of my class," d'Estrée joked, as he encouraged students to try out some micro brews.
-M. Schwinn, MA Candidate, International Security
Josef Korbel School of International Studies