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Alumni Perspectives

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Tom Ashforth '18

current position:  japanese intelligence analyst, silicon valley financial services organization



"To me, East Asian Studies has never been more important. I have been asked during my time at Stanford: “why is this kind of academic study important?” or “but how does this apply to the real world?”. I have always thought that this sort of area studies, particularly of such an important region in today’s world, underpins so much, be it in academia or the working world. If a company or government agency is doing business or cooperating with East Asia, it needs those who have a clear insight into and knowledge of the different cultural workings or languages at play. Equally, if a robotics engineer professor is doing very specific scientific research, academic centers like CEAS facilitate these cross-departmental connections and relationships so that they are able to tap into Asian academic perspectives through collaboration. Ultimately, I believe that the study of this field provides the ideal foundation to go out into the world as an adaptable professional with a unique perspective, or indeed achieve success in academia."

Photo of Seung Yeol Kim

Seung Yeol Kim '17

CURRENT POSITION:  jd student, korea university law school



How did the CEAS M.A. degree impact your career trajectory?

"I have always wanted to conflate my undergraduate major – International Studies – to my future studies in J. D. program. My time at CEAS made this possible and even gave me numerous unforeseen opportunities such as presenting my work at an international conference, being selected and researching as a Hoover Scholar, etc. These experiences became my strength in law school, as CEAS prepared me to be not only a good practitioner, but also a trained scholar. Blessed with the opportunity of being both, I look forward to becoming a better contributor to society."

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Courtney Buie '16

CURRENT POSITION:  Associate, First round capital



What advice would you share with new CEAS M.A. students?

"Explore what the entire university has to offer.  The beauty of the CEAS master's program is that it gives you the flexibility to take classes in multiple departments while still going deep in one functional area through thesis research."

Photo of Zhoujia Li

Zhoujia Li '16

"I focused on literature and anthropology during my time at CEAS.  Upon graduation I got involved in Silicon Valley's tech entrepreneurship-investment ecosystem and thought that my academic background would contribute little to my career.  Today, I am only amazed by how my CEAS experience has helped advance my knowledge of the industry with unique skills to observe phenomena, analyze trends and connect facts.  Maybe there are some disciplines more practical nowadays than others, but nothing is more useful in the long run than critical thinking and interdisciplinary perspectives, which I believe are two of the many important values of our program."  

Photo of Jason Luo

Mian Luo '16

CURRENT POSITION:  PhD STUDENT- Political science, stanford UNIVERSITY 



What advice would you share with new CEAS M.A. students?

"To fully grasp the great opportunities CEAS offers in advancing your academic, professional, and social life!"

Andrew Gee Photo

Andrew Gee '15


Program focus: east asia


"There is no better place to study Asian foreign policy and political economy than at Stanford. Taking advantage of the highly-interdisciplinary nature of the M.A. program at CEAS, I was fortunate to take not only advanced foreign language and area studies courses, but also extremely useful courses at the law school, GSB, and IPS program—all of which prepared me well for my recent career growth and current role managing Asia engagements at a premier boutique consultancy that advises Fortune 100 firms on business strategy and regulatory challenges in emerging markets worldwide. In particular, the intensive foreign policy seminars I took with Condoleezza Rice, Anja Manuel, Alice Miller, Michael Armacost, and Thomas Fingar, pushed me to my intellectual limits, and forced me to develop razor-sharp critical and analytical thinking, reading, and writing skills that I now use daily in my work. Undoubtedly, my two years at Stanford offered unmatched intellectual rigor and reward—and provided far more gifts than I had ever anticipated, not only in terms of knowledge and skills, but also in terms of a global network and institutional brand name that continually open doors."



Minmin Zhang Photo

Minmin Zhang '15

current position:  mba scholar at university of oxford- said business school

Program Focus: China


"The interdisciplinary nature of the program has broadened my perspectives.  The opportunities of taking classes and conversing with world experts in various fields on a daily basis were invaluable in helping me grow intellectually and professionally.  I am also indebted to the amazing CEAS staff who helped and supported me throughout this journey."

Photo of Rana Siu Inboden

Rana Siu Inboden '00

CURRENT POSITION:  Adjunct assistant professor, university of texas at austin



"The CEAS M.A. program enhanced my knowledge of China, honed my writing and speaking skills, and gave me an important credential that helped jump start my career.  I think this degree is what really made me attractive to employers since I was trying to land a job in Washington DC in foreign policy.  I was fortunate that I received a Presidential Management Fellowship offer at the U.S. State Department where I got to do intelligence analysis, work on the China desk, and serve at the U.S. Embassy in Shanghai.  I have had an exciting and rewarding career."

Rushton Hurley '97

Current position:  executive director of educational nonprofit & author

program focus: Japan


What advice would you share with new CEAS M.A. students?  

"You're connecting with wildly interesting people who will make amazing things happen across the Pacific Rim and beyond- get to know them and stay in touch!"


Natalie Rodriguez '94

current position:  vice president, associate general counsel, warner bros. pictures

program focus: East asia


How did the CEAS M.A. degree impact your career trajectory?

"After taking a class on Hong Kong Film Cinema, I realized that I really wanted to work in the entertainment industry.  I just didn't know it at the time!"