The Alumni Spotlight series explores the careers and experiences of our distinguished MSFS alumni. They reflect on their time at Georgetown, discuss how they apply their experience to excel in their careers and leadership positions, and share advice for future alums. Today’s featured alumna is Verinda Fike, MSFS ’09.
Ms. Fike currently manages the China portfolio at the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) which focuses on connecting U.S. companies to infrastructure development opportunities in emerging markets. She says that it is incredibly rewarding to work on “win-win” activities such as helping to create jobs for U.S. firms while also helping China develop clean energy and advanced transportation solutions.
Ms. Fike decided to come to Georgetown to delve deeper into the global changes she was experiencing while living abroad in China. “MSFS offered a high caliber of professors and wonderful course offerings that I was excited to take,” she said. She was also drawn to Georgetown’s mission of service and the strong MSFS emphasis on “creating professionals who wanted to make the world a better place.” Ms. Fike noted that her investment paid off in other ways as well, referencing MSFS’s high emphasis on collaboration and critical thinking. “I learned that you only move the ball forward when you work well alongside others,” she said. “The program also taught me how to ask critical questions. We were encouraged to challenge the status quo.” Ms. Fike takes these two qualities of collaboration and critical thinking to work with her on a daily basis.
Ms. Fike also fondly recalled the impact that one of her professors, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, had on her. She reflected, “Professor Albright actually takes time to meet with each of her students individually, which is quite remarkable. She identified some hidden talents in me and encouraged me to pursue careers that would enable me to utilize my strengths of collaboration and writing.”
For Ms. Fike, the most valuable resource for current MSFS students is the opportunity to get to know their professors and classmates as much as possible. “There is a wealth of knowledge and great personalities among both of these groups, and these are relationships you will continue to cultivate after graduation,” she said. Interestingly enough, Ms. Fike claimed that one of her favorite memories at MSFS was studying for oral exams because her study group consisted of classmates from around the world: “I enjoyed viewing the world through different cultural lenses and learning from my very wise classmates!”
Ms. Fike is but one of many MSFS alumni who cherish their time at MSFS not only for the practical skills and high-level course material which they take away, but also for the meaningful relationships that they develop with their professors and peers.