Event Recap: Information Session with Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

An engaged audience had plenty of questions for our guest speaker!
An engaged audience had plenty of questions for our guest speaker!

On June 4, Sidney Jackson, the assistant dean of admissions and global recruitment spoke with prospective students about the significance of a SAIS education and the admissions process. Program alumni Xiao Hu (MA ‘12, Energy, Resources, and Development) and Hanning Bi (MA ‘14, China/ Japan Studies) also shared their own experiences at SAIS and how it has impacted their career trajectory.

For those Pengyou who couldn’t make it to our event, here are some of the key points of advice offered:


Be Yourself

Sidney points out that one of the major pitfalls in admissions applications is failing to write an essay that highlights your individuality, and most importantly, why you want to study at SAIS.

“Boilerplate essays” do not make a strong impression, because the applicant will not be able to present a compelling personal reason for choosing SAIS over other schools.

Everyone has a story to tell, so the applicant’s job is finding the best way to weave a future at the school into their personal narrative. Although not everyone has a clear career plan upon entering graduate school, SAIS students are above all passionate individuals who demonstrate a commitment towards furthering their dreams through education.


Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Sidney with our guest alumni, Xiaohu and Hanning.

According to Xiaohu and Hanning, the most valuable takeaway from their time at SAIS is how it has shaped them into the mature and confident professionals they are today. Joining the program fresh out of their undergraduate studies, they learned both from their mentors and their talented peers, who come from a variety of different backgrounds from the military to finance.

Xiaohu and Hanning also had the opportunity to learn through both internships and practicums in organizations all over the world. While students typically pursue internships during the summer, practicums take place during the school year. Students come up with solutions for real world clients. In her practicum, Hanning cooperated with USAID to improve healthcare in Africa. These formative experiences have guided them towards being leaders in China’s sustainable energy industry and China’s infrastructure investment in Africa.



We’d like to thank all our guests for coming over and making the panel an informative one for everyone involved. Special thanks goes to our speaker, Sidney, and our wonderful alumni guests Xiaohu and Hanning in providing such detailed accounts of their own student experiences. We are deeply grateful as always for our continued close partnership with the Hopkins- Nanjing Center. We hope that everyone has been inspired by their stories, and to see some more familiar faces in the future.

About the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)


A division of The Johns Hopkins University, The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, DC, is a global institution offering students a truly international perspective on today’s critical issues. SAIS China, the umbrella for all of SAIS activities involving China, is anchored by the China Studies Program in DC. The program features a superb faculty with considerable experience both within and outside academe, from work in government and multilateral organizations to NGOs and foundations. Courses range from Chinese leadership and foreign policy, economic and political reform, and human rights and law, to China’s environment, military, and growing involvement in Africa and beyond. SAIS China also encompasses The Hopkins Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies, the preeminent and longest running educational collaboration between the US and the PRC. In partnership with Nanjing University, the Center’s graduate programs offer students the opportunity to learn from top Chinese and international scholars in a bilingual and bicultural environment in China. SAIS students also have the opportunity to spend a year at Tsinghua University taking courses in English toward a dual MA degree from SAIS and Tsinghua. SAIS China offers unparalleled training for future leaders and thinkers who will address China’s evolving role in the world. Learn more here: https://www.sais-jhu.edu/content/china-studies#overview