MAIS '17 Alum Peter M. Drucker: A Career on China from Inside and Out

MAIS '17 Alum Peter M. Drucker: A Career on China from Inside and Out

Hopkins-Nanjing Center students come from across the globe, spend time diving into China, and then disperse back out into the world in all sorts of careers. Peter M. Drucker, MAIS '17, has worked in China, the Netherlands, and now is back in the US at an intelligence company. Let's learn more about his incredible journey at the HNC and beyond.

Name: Peter M. Drucker
Current Location: Washington, DC
HNC Program and Graduation Year: MAIS 2017
Current Organization and Position: Senior Analyst at Janes

HNC 2017 alum Peter M. Drucker currently works with an enthusiastic group with Janes Geoeconomic Influence and Threat Intelligence team. On this team, he helps public and private clients keep abreast of China and Russia’s international activity. Peter’s career thus far has mostly been focused on China’s domestic activity, so this is an exciting shift for him.

Originally from Albany, NY, Peter embarked on his journey into international studies at Norwich University in Vermont. His passion for global exposure ignited during a two-month study stint in China, inspired by his father's captivating tales from his own travels. Those initial months in China were pivotal, prompting a 14-month immersion in Beijing that exponentially enhanced his language skills and desire for more international experiences. With encouragement from his program director, he met a representative from the Hopkins-Nanjing Center and decided it was the next step for him.

“The HNC was the pinnacle of community — I found people who shared my ultimate interests,” Peter says. Despite not labeling himself as strictly academic, the program immersed him in studies and engaging lectures, refining his perspectives on China and allowing him to gain a more nuanced understanding. His enduring connections with fellow HNC alumni stand as a testament to the lasting impact of that shared experience.

The Hopkins-Nanjing Center honed his abilities to communicate effectively across cultures, instilling a newfound confidence to engage in rigorous cross-cultural conversations and academic pursuits in another language. “Confidence,” Peter asserts, “is built from preparation and experience and after the HNC, you’re good to go.” He found that teachers and students were knowledgeable and gifted in their varied backgrounds.

Beyond academia, Peter crafted enduring memories during his HNC tenure, such as participating in Nanjing's annual Dragon Boat Race with the HNC team and embarking on an unconventional journey—a more than 4000km solo bike ride from Nanjing to Qinghai Lake. In the summer of 2016, many of his classmates were flying home for the summer or interning nearby, but he found the summer to be a great opportunity to encounter China in a new way. On this month and a half trek, he bought a tent, slept in parks and small towns around China, and enjoyed a shower in the big city hostels when he got the chance.

While this feat was remarkable, he considers his 50-page thesis written in Chinese on the transparency of the Chinese government’s space policy and its relations with international cooperation his proudest academic accomplishment. At the beginning of the program, he was not ready to write or defend a thesis in Mandarin, but the HNC prepared him for it. Though overall, he says, the Hopkins-Nanjing Center is about the experience. “Everyone wants to read about China, but those who go there set themselves apart.”

Post-graduation, Peter ventured into roles that deepened his experience of China’s domestic activity. Peter worked at a small drone company in Shenzhen for two years followed by another two years as the Business and Government Affairs Manager at the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China’s Guangzhou office. In 2022, Peter moved to the Netherlands to be the Senior Government Relations Advisor & China Analyst at Datenna, a research firm focusing on the Chinese economy. His current position at Janes in Washington, DC, is a culmination of his experience plus a new challenge in understanding the international landscape.

Reflecting on his journey, Peter says, “If I was to tell myself then what I know now, start reaching out to people and looking up prospective jobs. Reach out, make connections early, and have lots of conversations. This will make your interests more precise and will help pinpoint the best career paths for you.” He also encourages current students to be ready to become the go-to person on China and your subject matter at your organization. Going to the HNC helps you become someone who can “explain what China is and what China isn’t—explaining the nuance is key.” Peter also shared that integrating an emotional dimension into research and analysis reports is crucial because it unveils the 'why' behind the product a team creates. This serves as a catalyst for impactful advocacy and the effective realization of objectives inside any organization.

“Overall,” Peter says, “the HNC is the perfect foundation for anyone who wants to work on China.”

Written by Sam Trizza, Cert+MAIR '25