| by John Liang MAIPS ’99


Liang, John

Middlebury Institute graduates discuss where they are working today, how the Institute helped them get there, and what advice they’d give to current and future MIIS students.

My name is John Liang and I graduated from the International Policy Studies program in 1999—my language of study was Chinese. I did not have a designated specialization, which allowed me to try a bit of everything. Prior to starting at the Institute, I graduated from Georgetown University. In my current role as a managing editor for Inside Washington Publishers in Arlington, Virginia, I edit stories written by other reporters and post those stories to the InsideDefense.com website.

Before I came to MIIS, I had experience working as a reporter. During my time in Monterey, I was able to further this interest by working for a local publication, Coast Weekly. In my final semester, one of my professors (a former special assistant to the U.S. trade representative) asked me what I wanted to do after graduating. I told him I wanted to go back to being a reporter and he suggested I contact the chief editor of Inside U.S. Trade. While there were no openings at Inside U.S. trade, there were 20 (at the time) other newsletters that the parent company published—the chief editor connected me with the company founder. After a successful telephone interview, I was invited for a face-to-face.

During this second interview, the company founder reiterated that there were no openings at Inside U.S. Trade but he asked if there was anything else I was interested in. Having taken several nonproliferation courses at MIIS, I hesitantly responded “defense?”—turns out there was an opening at Inside Missile Defense. He introduced me to the head of the Defense Group and after a third interview I was offered a job as associate editor of Inside Missile Defense. I’m now the managing editor of Inside Missile Defense as well as InsideDefense.com, and I’ve been at the company for 26 years!

Get to Know Your Faculty

My time at MIIS was a crucial step for me in landing my current role. The fact that I was able to take a wide range of courses in environmental policynonproliferation, and international trade was extremely helpful, along with the professor who connected me with Inside U.S. Trade in the first place. It made a real difference being able to reference him in my cover letter. In that vein, I encourage all current and future MIIS students to get to know their professors and take advantage of their vast networks. You never know where your next opportunity might come from!