Mladen Joksic

Nationality: Serbian
Program: Mundus MAPP
Graduated: 2009
Current job: Associate Director, Foundation Relations at Council on Foreign Relations
Location: New York, NY, United States

Beyond Work

+1. What is your favorite city in the world?

It's a tie between Belgrade, Amsterdam, and New York.

+2. What was your dream job when you were ten years old?

When ten, I was in the chocolate business (traveled to Bulgaria to buy cheap chocolates and then resold them on the streets of Belgrade), so my dream was to start my own chocolate company.

+3. Who is your role model?

The icons of nonviolent resistance, such as Gandhi and King, whose nonviolent strategies and actions inspired us to resist Serbia's oppressive regime in the late 1990s.

+4. What is your favorite way to unwind after a long day at work?

Cook a nice, healthy meal for my family.

1. What led you to study public policy at CEU?

I went to CEU as part of the Erasmus Mundus scholarship program.

2. What do you remember most about your time at CEU?

Dynamic and informative classroom discussions that engaged an extremely diverse set of students. This diversity of perspectives on philosophical and practical issues opened my horizons and taught me more than I could have learned from any textbook. Passionate conversations would often continue after classes were over, in Budapest's famous bars and coffee shops.

3. What have you been engaged in professionally since graduating from CEU?

After CEU I started working as program assistant at Independent Diplomat, a diplomatic advisory group working with marginalized state and non-state actors. This was followed by a job at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. Currently, I am at the Council on Foreign Relations, one of the United States' leading foreign policy think-tanks. All of my professional jobs since graduating from CEU have been directly related to my master's degree in public policy.

4. How have your policy studies at CEU contributed to your career?

Studying policy at CEU had a tremendous impact. It helped me gain significant knowledge on pressing international public policy issues, and it encouraged me to grapple with some important analytical concepts in public policy analysis. Most importantly, it built my writing skills by requiring me to write almost every week, in a vast diversity of formats, including policy papers, policy briefs, policy memos, op-eds, essays, etc. In all of my jobs since CEU, writing has been essential. The skills I learned at CEU helped me to get the jobs I wanted and to perform successfully.

5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I enjoy the dynamic and important role that think tanks play in analyzing and influencing foreign policy, so I see myself staying in the think tank world.

6. Do you have any advice for current students?

Gain knowledge, but don't forget skills! Knowledge without skills – especially analytical, writing, and communication skills – is not enough to build a successful career in public policy.

7. What is your favorite thing to do in Budapest?

Visit its beautiful open-air spas in the winter, its amazing farmers' markets in the summer, and its vibrant bars and coffee shops all year long.

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