NYU recently issued its annual report, Life Beyond the Square, on students’ post-graduation employment and further education. NYU students always do well in this realm. However, one program stands out for its extraordinary success: 100% of Global Liberal Studies (GLS) students report being employed, enrolled in graduate or professional school, or both, within six months of graduating.

Where do they go after NYU? Young GLS alumni are consulting for the United Nations, serving as Special Assistant to the First Lady of New York City, sourcing talent for Google, managing a travel lifestyle brand in London, implementing global compliance for Goldman Sachs, studying law at Harvard, volunteering with the Peace Corps in Ethiopia, shaping economic policy at the Roosevelt Institute – work as diverse as one could imagine.

What connects them all is the global immersion they experienced in GLS.
Students in Liberal Studies read and experience the world’s great works firsthand, from Rumi’s poetry to Duchamp’s sculptures. What’s more, all GLS students study away from New York City for at least a full year – in many cases, for two.

Moving outside one’s comfort zone, outside the classroom and outside familiar surroundings, equips students with skills that make them competitive professionals. And while the skills needed to flourish in finance may differ from the talents useful in law, passion for exploring unfamiliar topics and enthusiasm for making an impact are valuable in all fields. Just ask any GLS graduate.

GLS Alumni on Stage

GLS at the screening of Refuge. From left: Madison, Claudia, me, and Max.

Last week, three GLS alumni returned to NYU to raise awareness of the European refugee crisis. Maximilian Guen (GLS ’14) and his Magna Carta production company co-founder Matthew K. Firpo (Tisch ’12) screened their latest project, Refuge, a documentary of human stories from the European refugee crisis. Madison McCormick (GLS ’16) and Claudia Cereceda (GLS ’16) participated in the panel that followed, both having done original research on the issue last spring.

Each took a break from his or her busy careers – Max, newly named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Marketing and Advertising; Madison earning an International Relations M.A. while working for Global Business Coalition for Education; and Claudia on staff with the Mayor of New York as Special Assistant to the First Lady.

These and many other GLS alumni are living the goals that they had set for themselves as students. In GLS, we say that our students do not just learn to be global citizens – each of us automatically is that – but that they learn to be agents of change in a changing world.

Max, Madison, and Claudia – and other graduates volunteering with the Peace Corps in Ethiopia, supporting operations at the White House, consulting for the United Nations Population Fund, studying law at Harvard, making international connections with Fulbright Fellowships, and more — are changing the world in many fields and across the globe.

It’s a pleasure for me to partner with GLS graduates whose work brings them back to NYU for a special occasion, especially when the topic is as critical as the refugee crisis. But nothing could be more deeply gratifying than seeing the work they carry out every day outside of NYU, making our world a better place­­.