Aditya Ashok Balu is an alumni from the FLAME Batch of 2016. In 2017, he joined the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Bologna, Italy and Washington, D.C., USA to pursue a Master of Arts. After graduating, he worked as a Partnerships and Outreach Specialist at the United Nations HQ, in the Department of Global Communications, and is currently a Consultant for the World Bank Group.
After graduating from FLAME, Aditya spent a year in preparation for his advanced degree experience. In this time, he studied for the GRE and applied to the top global ‘International Relations’ programs, given their caliber and that many experts in this field are based overseas. He chose International Economics and Conflict Management as his major areas of concentration at SAIS. Spending his first year in Bologna, Italy, and his second in Washington, D.C. provided Aditya with extensive exposure in international affairs through the SAIS network. In these two years, he went on research trips to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, meeting many world leaders, policy experts, and research analysts. He was also part of a staff ride to Montecassino, Italy, and joined SAIS-led career treks to Geneva and New York to network with alumni working in various organizations and companies.
The varied and intensive SAIS curriculum calls for applicants with an interdisciplinary mindset. According to Aditya, FLAME’s liberal education program equipped him with just this; the flexibility of choosing a diverse range of courses in the first two years provided him with an interdisciplinary foundation that prompted him to major in International Relations and minor in Environmental Studies. His internship at the Centre for Policy Research (CPR), New Delhi also gave him suitable professional exposure and prepared Aditya for his international stints. Additionally, his chosen specialization at FLAME covered the economics prerequisites that are otherwise mandatory to begin the economics-intensive MA program at SAIS.
Aditya also credits the learning environment at FLAME for his preparations, including the flexibility that professors enjoyed in delivering content in their preferred way which exposed students to many creative courses. From debating ethics in movies for his philosophy class to working in groups for various assignments, and live presentations with Q&A sessions right after, learning abounded at FLAME in a collaborative atmosphere in which students are also encouraged to take individual ownership of content.
In his final year at FLAME, Aditya was awarded “Best All-Round Student of the Year”, “Best Sportsperson of the Year”, and “Best Student in Co-Curricular Activities”. He was the FLAME Captain (2015-16), leading the 19-member Student Council to improve community welfare and energize student life on campus. He was also selected to be “Chairman, FLAME Kurukshetra 2016” and was instrumental in scaling up this flagship event three-fold – both, in terms of budget and the number of events hosted (from 10 sporting events to 30+ sporting, cultural, and managerial events). He says, “These roles helped me acquire and develop valuable skills in leadership, organization, finance, event management, and communication.” Additionally, Aditya was the Secretary of the ‘FLAME Music Club’ and Founder of the ‘FLAME Basketball League’ and the ‘FLAME A cappella Band’.
Aditya’s case is one of the many prominent instances in which FLAME’s learning infrastructure, curriculum, and pedagogy have provided students with opportunities to climb to the top during and after their chosen degrees. He joins the growing network of FLAME alumni who are crafting international and high-impact careers. He recently completed a contracted internship at the United Nations HQ as a Communications Specialist, working on Partnerships & Outreach across three different projects – a Covid-19 Communications Response Initiative, Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the UN@Expo2020Dubai. Shortly after this, he started with his prestigious role as a Consultant for the World Bank Group.
Aditya wants to focus on the fight for peace, justice, and the opportunity for all people to live safely and in dignity, using creative ideas and diverse experiences to shape the world of the present and the future. We wish him all the very best in this noble endeavor.
Connect with Aditya via:
LinkedIn: Aditya Ashok Balu