#ElliottProud: Michael Searway

#ElliottProud: Michael Searway

Michael Searway smiles, wearing a black jacket and blue shirt, Michael Searway, M.A. in International Affairs, 2010, #ElliottProud

Michael Searway has worked across the private, non-profit, and policy sectors during his 10+ year career, primarily in the Washington, D.C. area. Throughout his varying roles, he has developed and employed research, analysis, communication, and management skills to help clients and partners make better decisions and mitigate risk. He joined Red Five as a Team Lead in September 2021. Prior to this, he worked as a research analyst and then director for Hanover Research, a custom market research and intelligence firm that serves corporate and education clients. Before joining Hanover, he was the U.S. Coordinator for the Transatlantic Policy Network (TPN), a non-governmental network that aims to strengthen both political and economic ties between the U.S. and the European Union. Mr. Searway graduated from Westmont College with a B.A. in Political Science. He also holds an M.A. in International Affairs from The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs.

When did you realize you wanted an international career?

During high school – around my junior-senior year. I was lucky enough to go on several overseas trips and loved them; I also had a great U.S. history teacher who suggested I consider something ‘international’ related.

What is your current position? What did the path look like to get there?

I’m an OSINT (Open-Source Intelligence) Team Lead at Red 5 Security – a small risk/security firm in Arlington, Virginia. I’m a generalist and it’s been quite a winding path, taking me through the private, non-profit, and policy sectors.

What part of your experience at the Elliott School best prepared you for post-grad career?

It’s hard to pick! I think the focus on application and practical experience was huge, and just hearing about real-world experiences from my professors and older classmates. Every one of my professional skills courses had a big impact on me, too – I have numerous copies of a book we used in my writing class (The Elements of Style) and loan them out to my analysts.

What advice do you have for prospective students who are considering a graduate degree in international relations?

It’s a big investment (both time and money), so be sure you’ve thought hard about your career goals and how you think a graduate degree will help you achieve them. And if you do decide to pursue a degree…you won’t be able to read every single word/chapter you’re assigned (sorry professors!). Do your best and be sure to take advantage of all the events and social opportunities that you can.

What did you value most about living and studying in D.C.?

Also hard to pick! I think the concentration of bright, ambitious people from all over the country and world is one of the best things about D.C. And, though it’s definitely an expensive city to live in, there are so many free and enriching events, venues, etc. that you can take advantage of.

Describe a city/place/landmark you enjoyed visiting. Why is it significant to you?

I really loved visiting Istanbul while I was studying abroad in Belgium. Half in Europe, half in Asia, there are just layers and layers of culture and history to explore there. And if I can pick another, I grew up a couple hours away from Yosemite National Park, so I’m a little biased, but it truly is otherworldly.

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The #ElliottProud profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights graduate program alumni to answer common questions posed by prospective, incoming, and current students. For more information on this series or to submit questions, e-mail the Office of Graduate Admissions at esiagrad@gwu.edu.

The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs.