Gregory Yigitkurt is from Cresskill, New Jersey and completed his MA in International Relations in 2015. He went to Penn State University for his undergrad, where he majored in Information Sciences and Technology.
Where do you currently work and what do you do there?
I’m currently an economist for AIG’s Global Political Risk team, authoring country risk rating reports and providing economic and political analysis across both emerging and developed market economies. This consists of taking a look at sovereign risk, political violence, regime change,and default probability. I plan to continue with this role soon after graduation, but am also considering opportunities at development consultancies and various foundations.
How has this program prepared you for that?
The flexibility of the curriculum was advantageous as it allowed me to select coursework that I felt was most relevant to my career interests. Having a well-rounded background in both qualitative and quantitative subject matter equipped me with the necessary skills to successfully fulfill my current responsibilities. And I’m certain this will continue to hold true in the coming years.
Why did you choose the IR program at NYU?
Firstly, I got a good sense of community here, and that’s not something I found to be prevalent in other programs. Secondly, I think NYU’s international presence and global reach is unrivaled. And its connection to organizations like the UN is one that can prove invaluable to students. Prior to graduate school, I was lacking in a theoretical understanding of a variety of concepts in IR and the field in general, and knew that NYU’s program and curriculum would help to strengthen my foundational knowledge.
Which has been the class you most enjoyed?
Political Risk with Maha Aziz. I was given a comprehensive breakdown of the subject matter, i.e. how to conduct geopolitical analysis. I think in addition to that, the very practical aspect of the course was useful. We had a simulation with Wikistrat, a crowd sourced consultancy. This added a professional component to the course that was beneficial.
What advice would you give to future students of the program?
Network as much as you can. It’s not enough to get good grades. NYU offers several different tools and resources that are at your disposal. Having a genuine sense of curiosity, putting in the effort to meet new people, it really goes miles in terms of your potential career prospects and personally helped me with landing an internship.
What was your favorite place on campus?
The place I used to frequen the most is probably Bobst Library. The 8th floor is where I got a majority of my studying done. It provides a great vista of New York City. So whenever I worked on my laptop for hours on end and needed a quick break to rest my eyes, I would sit back and take a look at the skyline.
What did you like best about student life at NYU?
The ease of access to activities that are taking place not just in your department, but also in other schools within the University. It gives an opportunity to meet new people and to take part in numerous academic and social events.
What is the best thing about studying in NYC?
How well the various districts in the city just complement each other. From SoHo to the Financial District to Chelsea, they each possess a distinct atmosphere with something unique to offer. I think that’s what makes New York a special place to be.