MSc International Public Policy, 2010–2011
Dylan White, MSc International Public Policy, 2010–2011.
When I left SPP in the autumn of 2011, I wasn’t sure where my path would lead. Focused so intently on my immediate goal – the dissertation holy grail – I sometimes lost sight of life (and obligations) beyond the finish line. And so, leaving the warm womb of student life for the cold uncertainty of the “real world”, I initially worked where I felt most comfortable: in research. After consulting for the University of Toronto (my undergraduate alma mater), the UK Defence Forum, and Transparency International, I had gained valuable experience, but was still on the hunt for longer-term security.
Early in 2012, after several rounds of interviews, I was thrilled to land a contract position at the Canadian High Commission (embassy) to the United Kingdom, working first within the Immigration Division, and later in Consular Affairs. I loved my time at the High Commission, both for the personal contacts I developed, and for the inside look I got at the functioning of a major government / diplomatic mission.
Despite being happy in my job, I continued to seek opportunities to diversify my portfolio. As such, when offered a traineeship at NATO HQ in Brussels, I was sad to leave the Commission – and London! – behind, but knew it was a chance I could not refuse. Since September 2013, I have served in the Operations Directorate at NATO, researching and analysing issues including Kosovo, maritime security, and counter-piracy. I write regular reports for the Secretary General and allied ambassadors, and also facilitate Alliance committee meetings, multilateral negotiations, and staff talks with other institutions.
What’s next? I’m currently pursuing opportunities with the Canadian Foreign Service, as well as with various international organizations. The truth is, I’m not sure where I’ll be in a year’s time – but the uncertainty is exciting this time around. What I do know is that whether my next job takes me to New York, Geneva, Ottawa, or Nairobi, I’ll be ready for the challenges that come my way.
Consider this: selected from four thousand applicants, my traineeship cohort at NATO has thirty members. Two of us hold postgraduate degrees from UCL. Pretty impressive odds for one university among twenty-eight member nations! Overall, I feel like my MSc has given me a crucial advantage at the outset of my international career. I’m proud to be a graduate of University College London’s School of Public Policy. The good names of UCL and SPP will open doors for you, and give you the confidence to walk through them.
Best of luck to all current and prospective students.