BA in Russian and Eurasian Studies

Jason Smart, 2007

Jason Smart

What work are you doing now?

I am an international political consultant focusing on the former Soviet States. In my work I speak, read and write Russian every day in order to assist political leaders in creating national campaigns. In the past few years, I have done politically related work in Ukraine (at present), Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Russia.

What do you like about it?

My work is absolutely fascinating and it changes everyday. No two days are ever the same. The days are action-packed with loads of different responsibilities, depending on the client's needs: writing political strategy, debate prep, press briefings, analyzing polling/focus group results, meeting and brokering deals with political leaders. All of this work is done almost exclusively in Russian.

How did your degree in the college prepare you to do this work?

My career trajectory soared because I speak Russian - a language I became fluent in while a student at George Mason. More importantly, I developed a real appreciation for Russian grammar, literature, and history while in classes at Mason, all of which has allowed me to progress professionally.

What advice would you give current students about developing their careers?

In my career, the key has been that I doubled-up my interest in Russian with my interest in domestic and international politics. There are many people who enter into politics, but very few who know Russian. It adds a real bump to your CV. Whatever field you go into, having the Russian studies background with a second major really opens doors to pursuing your dreams.