Makiko Miyazaki ’20, graduate student at the University of Oxford

Makiko Miyazaki ’20

This story was originally published as a Wellesley Spotlight on April 9, 2021.

Makiko Miyazaki ’20 has always loved learning. She majored in political science at Wellesley, and had long aspired to continue her studies in graduate school. “I was intellectually stimulated in all of the political science and international relations classes I took at Wellesley, and I knew I wanted to gain further knowledge on the topic,” Miyazaki said. “Wellesley gave me a solid foundation in international relations, so I wanted to explore more in-depth theoretical and historical elements, both for my own interest and for gaining specialist knowledge for my career.”

Her desire to pursue an advanced degree led her to Career Education in her junior and senior years, where she met with Kate Dailinger, Emma Cutrufello, and Elizabeth Mandeville ’04. They encouraged her to reflect more deeply on her values and goals, which helped her communicate them more effectively on her graduate school applications. “Knowing that I could speak to Career Education about my application materials and my interview preparations made me feel so supported during the application process,” she said.

Now, Miyazaki is a graduate student at the University of Oxford, where she is pursuing a master’s of philosophy in international relations.

In addition to independent meetings with Career Education, Miyazaki found guidance through the Senior Support Network, which matched her with an alumna mentor whose experiences and general interests were similar to hers. Miyazaki talked with her about how she might shape a career after graduate school.

Miyazaki said her support networks, which included friends and family as well as professors and Career Education, kept her grounded and focused on her goals. Now that she knows how daunting it can be to apply for graduate school, Miyazaki has some advice to offer:

  1. Start applications early, you’ll thank yourself later! 

  2. Speak to many different people when you are deciding which schools to apply to and preparing your applications. Your professors and Career Education have valuable insights about different programs, your strengths, and how you can approach your applications. Speaking to them makes your application stronger. 

  3. If you are in your first or second year and already thinking about graduate school, say yes to any opportunity that speaks to your interests and gets you experience. For me, the Albright Institute, publications in the International Relations Council Journal and the Wellesley Globalist, writing competitions, and international conferences—all opportunities that I wanted to take part in for my own interest—were ultimately incredibly helpful in shaping my goals and honing skills that I use in graduate school every day. 

  4.  Don’t let what others are doing deter you from your goals!

  5. There is not just one “right” time to visit Career Education! Make an appointment whenever you are in a stage where you have started to think about your future, or need help with next steps. Whether you are just beginning to explore or have a concrete industry interest, they are there to help.