The MGIMO School of Government and International Affairs

Alumni Interviews

Benjamin Pegon

Benjamin Pegon

France / the United Kingdom, Class of 2019

How did you find social life at MGIMO?

Dormitory life has its pluses and minuses, but it is cheap, close to the university and makes it easier to socialize. A thing to remember is that you are living with people from the areas you may study in class! My class got along really well, and it was an amazing atmosphere. I still have a lot of close friends from SGIA.

What do you like the most about SGIA?

One of the best things at MGIMO is that they have amazing dual degrees, for instance with HEC Paris where I study now. I’m currently studying for a Master in Management and public affairs.

When it comes to courses, history of armed conflict with Professor Stepanova was absolutely brilliant! She had so much knowledge on something that we don’t touch upon in the west. Studying in Russia really gives a different perspective than what we are used to in the west. The professors are good, and MGIMO gives you all the tools for learning and writing dissertations.

I also want to add that my Russian did improve a lot, which was a goal of mine.

How do you find traveling in Russia?

Russia is a country I enjoy being in, but it is easy to get lost at first as few people speak English. However, when I did travel, I absolutely loved it! You don’t always need to travel far to get new experiences, as Moscow is absolutely massive! There is always something interesting going on in Moscow, and it feels like the capital of Eurasia, not just the capital of Russia. Every time I come back to the city, I feel like I have the time of my life.

How has studying in MGIMO helped you after graduation?

The mix of cultures at MGIMO is something you can not find in western universities. MGIMO has a global reach — I actually had an interview in a French investment bank, and it turned out the woman in charge of banking was from MGIMO! Being from MGIMO as a foreigner really sets you apart and helps you on your CV.

How have the classes at SGIA helped you prepare for your current studies?

The subjects at my current university are somewhat different to what I studied at MGIMO. At MGIMO you get a broad spectrum for studies after, and gives you a base for various studies afterwards. It gives a solid foundation in very many subjects, and I really liked that the classes are interconnected — what you learn in law class may help you in international relations classes for instance. I have the basic knowledge that I needed for my current studies, but SGIA of course focuses more on international relations rather than going deep into economics.

What would you improve?

At SGIA, there are some core classes in language, economics, law and politics, but also some accessory classes. I would like to focus more on the core classes, and give a greater choice of electives, earlier on (in 1st and 2nd year) so people can specialize in what they are most interested in.