MSc Diplomacy & International SecurityKatie McLachlan, UK

What inspired you to study Diplomacy & International Security?
After an inspiring trip to the UNESCO HQ in Paris, I developed a fascination for International Organisations. Once I finished my undergraduate degree in History, I was keen to continue my studies at Strathclyde and found the perfect course to pursue my academic interests in learning about the interconnectedness of the world and the challenges we face as a global community. 

What do you enjoy most about your course?
The fact that the course was offered as a multidisciplinary MSc really encouraged me to step out my comfort zone and study courses offered by different departments. My favourite was International Human Rights Law.  I did not realise how much law and history were intertwined.  Taking classes from multiple disciplinaries allowed for me to expand my knowledge and consider debates from different angles. I also thoroughly enjoyed Natalia Telepneva‚Äôs course in Africa and the Cold War. Her thought-provoking class inspired my dissertation on US and UN policy towards the Congo Crisis which was so interesting to research.

What specialist knowledge/professional skills have you developed whilst studying the course?
First and foremost, how to be more diplomatic. Our core classes were structured in ways where we could exercise our diplomacy skills with group discussion and our Trello board. I also took a law class in negotiation which harmonised with my diplomacy skills. The skills that I have learned throughout this course have transferred over to my personal and professional life, helping me to secure a graduate role!

What do you think of the support available?
Studying a MSc during a pandemic has not been easy. However, the unconditional support offered by the HASS department and by Rogelia, Natalia and Ksenia made the experience much better for my peers and I.  The coffee and catch-up sessions hosted by Rogelia on a biweekly basis were a great way to support one another through such difficult times.  We were also visited by the careers officer on several occasions who tailored her sessions to our career aspirations.  This was extremely helpful!

What advice would you give to a prospective student coming to study your course?
Throughout the year, we had the opportunity to attend insightful webinars with diplomats, FCDO officers, and other extremely important people that gave talks on their experiences and views on what we were currently learning. Attend these! You may never get the opportunity to meet such interesting people, and what a great way to network for the future!

What are your ambitions for the future and how do you think your time at Strathclyde will help you achieve your goals?
I currently have a graduate role working as a commercial broker for the international insurance broking firm, Arthur J. Gallagher. My undergraduate and MSc degrees from the University of Strathclyde have provided me with the skills, knowledge, and versatility that employers are looking for.  Strathclyde has so many extracurricular activities, do not be afraid to join any clubs or societies.  I joined Model United Nations to advance my learning for my MSc, and it had really helped in terms of securing a graduate role at the end of my course. I would love to pursue a career in the public sector later in life, or the FCDO. British High Commissioner to the Bahamas would be nice!