The Diplomatic Envoy recently sat down with Diplomacy alumnus Mark McGuire to discuss his professional life post-undergrad, his time at Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations, and some advice he has for current Diplomacy students.
Mark started his Diplomacy journey in the fall 2016 semester, where he immediately noticed the “collaborative atmosphere” and energy of the school. It was this constant academic activity that prompted him to join several organizations such as the Ethics Team and German Club, of which he would become Captain and President respectively. In conversation with McGuire, it was clear that his involvement on campus was extensive. However, it was his unique commitment to leadership that contributed to bettering the School of Diplomacy. He eventually earned a seat on the Board of Overseers, a governing body within the school, where he served as a student representative. In this position, McGuire helped expand the Board to support a broader representation of the student populace.
Upon graduation in 2020, he began working as a Management and Program Analyst for the Department of Justice (DOJ) in a national security position he says he always knew he wanted to pursue. As someone who is more “policy-centered,” he found the role to be both “interesting and impactful” regarding his specific goals.
McGuire also mentioned that “[he] always knew [he] wanted to work in national security.” The early clarity of his professional ambitions prompted him to follow the advice of Assistant Dean of the School of Diplomacy Ursula Sanjamino when she told him to “make a plan.” He tailored his academic experience and internship search to his national security interests and recommends students interested in a specific field do the same.
In McGuire’s case, the key to success seems to be commitment and persistence. Not only did he fully commit himself to achieve academic success through his involvement in various Diplomacy-oriented organizations, but his persistence in applying to positions that suited his interests was key to earning him an internship at DOJ. It was his internship and leadership background that provided him with the experience and avenue to earn his current job.
His commitment to success was evident early on. Not only did McGuire harness the advice of Dean Sanjamino, but he highlights the importance of other Diplomacy faculty such as Dr. Catherine Ruby, Director of Internships and Career Development. Along with pursuing a plan tailored to his specific interests in national security, he utilized the experience of Dr. Ruby in his freshman year. He told the Envoy that he was often in her office reviewing resumes and cover letters to ensure he was prepared for upcoming internship applications.
McGuire credits his coursework and extracurricular engagements for his ability to take on the challenges associated with the position. The ability to concisely speak about a certain situation or case is something McGuire developed in his time as Captain of the Ethics Team and as a Staff Writer in the Diplomatic Envoy. Being able to understand an audience, as well as concisely deliver information, is a quality he expanded on in these academic positions and now employs at the DOJ. Along with courses such as Public International Law and International Conflict and Security, he noted the significance of quality writing to his current analytical role. “Condensing complex sets of information” in a “synthesized way” is a crucial asset for him to provide clear and concise analysis to his supervisors.
As for advising current Diplomacy students of all academic levels, McGuire recommends to “not be discouraged by bumps along the way.” He explains that no matter how many rejection letters you receive, eventually something interesting will land. If a student has a goal, putting in the extra effort to see themselves in a specific position will take them farther than they can imagine.