Category: Graduate Profiles 2024, News, Students

Title: Sam Li (SFS’24) Travels the Globe in His Time at Georgetown

Author: Isabel Shepherd
Date Published: April 22, 2024

In his four years at Georgetown, Sam Li (SFS’24) made the most of two schools: both the McDonough School of Business (MSB) and the School of Foreign Service (SFS). As a business and global affairs major, Li learned about global business operations in his courses on campus and through trips to the Dominican Republic, India and Ghana. He hopes to leverage this hands-on knowledge in a career that harnesses the power of technology to help others.

Academics Like No Other

Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Li came to Georgetown specifically to pursue the business and global affairs major. “Choosing my major involved a lot of introspection,” Li reflects. “I’ve always been interested in both international relations and business, and Georgetown’s Business and Global Affairs program offered a perfect blend. It appealed to me because it allowed me to explore the intersection of business and international issues. I was really excited to learn how global markets function, how international politics affect business strategies, and how businesses can operate responsibly on a global scale.”

The Business and Global Affairs cohort in India, following the global value chain of Bechtel.

The Dikran Izmirlian Program in Business and Global Affairs program offers the unique opportunity for students to apply what they have learned through several trips throughout their time at Georgetown. “These trips allowed me to meet with stakeholders and collaborate on real-world projects,” Li says. “Notably, in Ghana, I worked directly with the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to develop a national strategy for implementing Artificial Intelligence within their capital markets. The culmination of this project was presenting our findings to the entire SEC, including the Director General, during my time in Ghana.”

Even when he was on-campus, Li found that SFS provided a one-of-a-kind approach. “There are many things I’ll miss about SFS and Georgetown, but what truly stands out is the emphasis on this unique learning style. At SFS, the focus on integrating international affairs with business, foreign languages, regional studies, and more, fostered a truly global perspective. The combination of classroom discussions, guest lectures from practitioners, and opportunities for working with international organizations like the World Bank, created a dynamic learning environment that’s very hard to replicate.”

Creating Community and Connecting With the World

BridgeUSA DC Chapter hosting BridgeUSA CEO, Manu Meel, in collaboration with the SFS Academic Council.

Li’s interest in international affairs expanded beyond his courses. Working with the Center for Global Health Science and Security as a research assistant, Li interrogated the role of data ethics and international aid in global health policy and treatment implementation. As a technology specialist for Innovo Consulting and the founder of Georgetown’s BridgeUSA chapter, Li was able to further engage in global affairs from the Hilltop. 

“BridgeUSA provided opportunities to connect with students from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, sparking meaningful discussions about global affairs,” Li explains. “Through Innovo, I was able to apply my knowledge to real-world projects, collaborating with like-minded individuals to develop solutions for sustainable development. These experiences solidified my passion for tackling global challenges and showed me the power of collective action.”

Chinese Student Alliance leaders gathering for senior send-off.

By helping Li find community, these organizations were both intellectually and personally fulfilling. Former Innovo executive director Analise Irigoyen (MSB’22) and Sonya Hu (CAS’22), from the Georgetown Chinese Student Alliance, served as important mentors for Li throughout his time at Georgetown. 

“Both Analise and Sonya instilled in me the importance of hard work and dedication. Their relentless pursuit of excellence and unwavering commitment to creating valuable results, be it products or relationships, truly inspired me. Seeing their passion first hand shaped my own work ethic and approach to everything important that I do,” Li says.

Along with individualized mentorship, Li was pleasantly surprised by the way that Georgetown’s culture supported his desire to innovate. “Beyond the renowned academics, there’s a real buzz of innovation and entrepreneurship on campus. Students are increasingly motivated to create new initiatives that cater to diverse needs – it’s not just about traditional clubs anymore,” he explains. “My experience as the founder of two clubs (BridgeUSA, Product Space) and two student-led initiatives (Tableau workshops, Notion Bootcamp) exemplifies this. The positive response from my peers to these new events reinforces the growing appetite for entrepreneurship and fresh ideas at Georgetown.”

A New Vision for the Future

BridgeUSA DC Chapter hosting a “painting + politics” event.

Over his time at SFS, Li’s goals evolved, and he discovered a desire to build technology with the potential to positively impact people’s lives. “While international affairs initially interested me, my coursework exposed me to the complex challenges faced by different communities around the world,” he says. “This reality sparked a desire in me to leverage technology to address these challenges in innovative and sustainable ways. SFS also fostered strong research and analytical skills, which will be crucial in understanding user needs and designing effective technological solutions.”

Reflecting on his four years at Georgetown, Li hopes he can channel the lessons he learned here into building a better world. “Georgetown has instilled in me a strong work ethic, a global perspective, and a passion for lifelong learning. These are all qualities I know will serve me well as I navigate my career and future endeavors. Ten years from now, I hope to see how the foundation laid at Georgetown helped me build a fulfilling career and a life that makes a positive impact on the world.”