Brandy Svensson, a global intelligence analyst, tries to sum up a career path that is anything but linear, yet extraordinary nonetheless:
“I have a bit of … I guess you would call a nontraditional background,” she says. “I spent quite a bit of time studying languages.”
Over a decade, to be exact, and that was before she went to college. For more than three years, Svensson worked as a managing director for the European division of a medical products company, living in Frankfurt, learning German, and picking up a good deal of Swedish as well. She has also studied Turkish, Azerbaijani, and Arabic.
Later, while an undergraduate at Central Michigan University, she was named a Fulbright Scholar semifinalist and studied counterterrorism in Europe, where she spent time with terrorism investigators, survivors, and analysts.
That was “an eye-opening experience,” Svensson says, “and that led me to the point where I thought, ‘Okay, how do I do this for a living?’”
That’s when Georgetown entered the picture. While a senior at Central Michigan, she also began a graduate certificate program in international security at Harvard. After earning the certificate, she thought about continuing at Harvard but preferred the small class sizes that the Georgetown Master’s in Applied Intelligence program offered.
“I thought there was definitely more ability to have one-on-one relationships and to learn from the practitioner's perspectives,” says Svensson, now a security analyst with a global financial institution. In addition, “many of the professors have a lot of occupational experience, and I have three I still keep in touch with.”
In 2019, Svensson was named the Outstanding Student in the Applied Intelligence program as part of Georgetown’s Tropaia Awards.
“What motivates me is when I can make a difference,” Svensson says. “I will always want a career that has an impact.”