Category: Graduate Profiles 2024, News, Students

Title: Joe Locher (MAGES’24) Makes His High School Goal a Reality

Author: Isabel Shepherd
Date Published: April 23, 2024

For Joe Locher (MAGES’24), graduating with a master of arts in German and European studies (MAGES) through the BMW Center for German and European Studies (CGES) marks the fulfillment of a long-time goal. In a high school assignment outlining his “10-year life plan,” Locher included obtaining a master’s at SFS as one of his aims; years later, he’s grateful for his younger self’s astuteness. “I could see the potential value in [the opportunities at the BMW Center for German and European Studies] before attending Georgetown, but now, coming up on graduation, I know how right I was in thinking it!” he says.

Finding the Intersection of International Policy and Business

Locher with his friend, Connor, in front of the “Rathaus” in Munich, while he was there for his BMW internship.

Locher came to SFS with a strong academic background in international affairs, but he was drawn to all the opportunities to build his own curriculum. “Being able to sample different things for just a semester at a time is what allowed me the freedom to explore my academic and professional interests,” he stresses. “It’s what has led me in the direction I’m going, and I will miss being able to try something new every semester.”

Locher’s classes were a vital source of inspiration and career guidance. In particular, National Security and Foreign Investment with Professor Ashley Lenihan and Global Government Relations with Professor Vanessa Stiffler-Claus helped Locher refine his aspirations. “Both of these classes have combined my areas of interest in such a unique way that has allowed me to feel confident in my next career steps,” he reflects. “Coming into Georgetown, I wasn’t entirely sure how my interest in U.S. security and my desire to explore the private sector would interact, and these classes essentially laid the blueprint for how they interact in the real world.”

Georgetown’s Greatest Asset

Locher at the BMW Center for German and European Studies office in the Bunn Intercultural Center.

Along with academic enrichment, Locher enjoyed the tight-knit cohort in the MAGES program. “From the first day orientation when we were riding around DC, visiting the Embassy of the EU Delegation to the U.S. and talking about what we would experience in the next years together as a cohort, I could feel the group dynamic coming together quite quickly,” he remembers. “I’ve felt very blessed to be around great people throughout my program and I consider myself lucky to call them friends!”

From participating the Transatlantic Policy Symposium to playing soccer against CGES faculty in the annual Flynn memorial soccer game, Locher has been consistently impressed by the strength of the CGES community. “[CGES] allows us to connect on many levels and support each other in our personal and professional journeys,” he says. “Georgetown’s greatest asset, in my mind, is the people it brings together.”

Opening Up Opportunities

Locher with the HARIBO gummibear mascot, who he met as part of his work with the German American Business Council.

During his time in the MAGES program, Locher has applied his knowledge through positions off-campus at the German American Business Council and the BMW Group. The latter internship, located in the company’s Munich headquarters, was a particular highlight, allowing Locher to practice his German and experience German culture first-hand. Even abroad, Locher found time to connect with other members of the CGES community. “Interning at BMW in Munich was an amazing experience and produced many great memories on its own, whether that was meeting up with friends from the cohort in a Munich Biergarten or talking with alumni of our program who still work at BMW,” he says.

Locher attributes his access to these fulfilling work opportunities to CGES. “The work experience I have gained outside the classroom has solely been possible because of the BMW CGES, and I am so glad I chose this program,” he notes. “It has really given me the best foundation for my next career steps.”

The Experience of a Lifetime

Locher with Jack the Bulldog.

As Locher prepares for a career focused on international business and government policy, he leaves SFS with new knowledge, skills and connections. “I will look back on this time very fondly, as I have developed strong friendships that will mean a lot to me far beyond Georgetown’s campus, and I have learned so much about both academic content and professional life that I feel very lucky to have been able to experience,” he reflects. “Quite frankly, I don’t think it would be an overstatement to say it has been the experience of a lifetime here at Georgetown, and I think I’ll always view it that way.”