Last fall Michael Biskupic ’20 worked fulltime with American diplomats as a political and economic affairs intern with the U.S. Department of State at the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt, Germany. His Bryant experience, says Biskupic, helped him make the most of a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The opportunity to see how foreign policy and multinational agreements are forged provided him with tremendous practical experience, notes the Applied Economics major and Finance minor, who focused on economic policy and transatlantic security during the internship. He prepared briefing and planning memos, conducted research, and worked on a bureaucratic restructuring of agency resources and staffing. Biskupic also spent time traveling through Germany, giving presentations and engaging with German high school and college students.
“I was extremely fortunate to have had that experience,” says Biskupic. “My personal interests tend to revolve around foreign affairs, governance, and counter-military interactions within those contexts. This was a good opportunity that fit exactly what I had been looking for in terms of industry experience.”
Bryant provided “everything I’ve needed and more – especially in terms of access to faculty, which has been incredibly valuable."
In February, Biskupic, drawing upon what he’d learned through his internship, delivered a presentation on “Envisioning the Future of American International Engagement” at Bryant’s third annual TEDxBryantU conference, impressing the audience with his command of international affairs.
Well-prepared for success
Biskupic’s Bryant experience and the University’s accomplished faculty prepared him not only for his internship in Germany, he says, but for a distinguished career as well.
In deciding where to attend college, the Westfield, MA resident focused on schools that integrated business and social science. That was exactly what Bryant offered, he recalls. And the University not only delivered that interaction, but “everything I’ve needed and more – especially in terms of access to faculty, which has been incredibly valuable to me.
“I’ve had multiple recommendation letters written by faculty I’ve had for only one class,” he notes, “which demonstrates how close I was able to become with professors, even over a short period of time.”
Inspired by high-quality faculty
Biskupic credits Economics Professor and Chair Jongsung Kim, Ph.D. as having been a “guiding light,” and for deepening his understanding of economics. He also notes that he’s “never had a bad professor of Economics. There’s a passion they have - not just for the subject, but also for teaching.”
What’s special about Bryant’s faculty, Biskupic says, is that they “present information in a way that is thought provoking, interesting, and engaging. It keeps students thinking critically. The professor presents a problem and then you posit two competing solutions or theories. That prompts class discussion,” he says.
“You don’t get that unless you’re in a small class environment with a high-quality professor,” he added. “It’s helped make me a better, stronger student.”
Another formative experience, Biskupic says, was interning as a sophomore at the University’s Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership, where he gained practical, administrative experience disseminating and coordinating information – which proved helpful during his time in Germany. Working with the Hassenfeld staff allowed him to deepen his understanding of decision-making, leadership, and team and project management.
Continuing a proud legacy
After graduation, Biskupic will follow in the footsteps of his father as he commissions into service as a Marine lieutenant. It’s a position he’s been training for during summers with the Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Class, a program similar to the Reserved Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program. ”I like the culture that the Marine Corps provides, the warrior mentality combined with leadership excellence,” he says.
While he’s not sure whether the Marines will be his primary career or a launch pad to other possibilities, he says he’s “looking forward to hitting the ground running.”