Middle East Studies

Emma Jerzyk `17.5 | On How Her Travels Broadened Her Understanding of the MENA Region's Complicated Dynamics.

What advice do you have for current and potential MES concentrators?

My best advice for current and potential MES concentrators is to take risks and do things you didn't plan for. I spent eight months abroad studying in Morocco and traveling around Europe. Studying in Morocco immersed me in the culture there and improved my Arabic language skills, while my travels in Europe further complicated my understanding of issues relating to the Middle East.

I did a program in which I studied the EU's relationship with the Balkans and Turkey while living in Germany over the summer, and we traveled to Bosnia and Cyprus. Of course, part of the complicated nature of the EU's relationship with Turkey has to do with the refugee crisis in Syria, but Bosnia was fascinating! I noticed that many of the shops had signs in Arabic and there were many real estate developments by companies from the Gulf. The Balkans and Bosnia in particular have been an area of interest for the Gulf middle class for the last decade or so. Who knew my Arabic would come in so handy!

What are your plans after graduating this December?

I will be starting my job at the general management consulting firm Bain & Company after I graduate. I interned with Bain the summer after my junior year (summer 2016), and I absolutely loved it. Over the summer, I worked in Bain's Private Equity Group, so I helped private equity firms research companies they were potentially interested in buying. The private equity sector is one of the industries where Bain really leads in terms of consulting, so I am looking forward to returning!