Strategic Trade Certificate Proves to be Strategic Career Move

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Brian Boone

Originally published on February 26, 2021

Brian Boone’s interest in export controls was put to the test in a new Graduate Certificate in Strategic Trade course at the Schar School. Students are introduced to United States and European Union export control laws, as well as the many treaties, conventions, and agreements that have led to the extensive world of export controls.

It was a lot to consider, and most of it was important information about how the world operates cross-border trade.

Boone’s hard work paid off when he landed a position as a policy fellow at the National Defense Industrial Association, a national security nonprofit. That led to a position as a project associate at CRFD Global, a nonprofit that studies alternatives to weapons research. He is, he said, applying what he learned in the classroom to his professional career every day.

“In class, we learn about the treaties and agreements that shaped the laws,” said Boone. “At my job, I am able to take what I learned in class and apply it to foreign military sales.”

Boone joined the Schar School’s Master’s in International Security program after earning his undergraduate degree in political science and government from North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University. Since then, Boone has centered his education around international relations and global arms trade.

“National security and export controls are interconnected, and I plan to move forward in this field,” he said.

The certificate program Boone joined was created to build on the existing expertise in security studies at the Schar School, which in 2019 was ranked No. 2 in the field by U.S. News and World Report.

Strategic trade policy implies a strategic relationship between firms, countries, and export control regimes. It includes arms control, nuclear nonproliferation, and a variety of national security issues plaguing all nation states.

Boone was exactly the type of professional the program was designed for, said Schar School professors.

"It was clear to me from the first class that Brian was an exceptionally bright and ambitious student,” said Andrea Viski, adjunct professor and director and editor-in-chief of the Strategic Trade Review, a global resource for researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers. “He demonstrated his interest and curiosity regarding my class's subject matter through consistently high-quality work and active participation.”

The certificate course is part of the Master’s in International Commerce and Policy program at the Schar School. The program’s curriculum “is unique in how it explores international business, international relations, and public policy as interconnected and critical in the global economy,” said program director Ken Reinert.

“Unlike MBA or international business programs, this degree prepares you for a much broader range of careers in the world marketplace, and that adaptability will be critical to students as new technological, political, and cultural aspects of our world continue to change,” he said. “We designed the Graduate Certificate in Strategic Trade with this same mindset—to position our students for career success in a rapidly evolving global economy.”

It would appear in Boone’s case, the program did just that.

Schar School fact: U.S. News & World Report ranked the school No. 2 in the world for security studies in 2019.