For as long as Jonathan Hoogendoorn can remember, he’s been fascinated with global cultures. Now, with the help of a Master of Science in Global Studies and International Relations from Northeastern, he’s turned his lifelong passion into a successful career as a geopolitical analyst.
Hoogendoorn traces his interest in foreign affairs to traveling the globe as a child with his parents—former missionaries who ran a construction company involved in international development.
“I had a big passion for cultures, particularly international development,” Hoogendoorn says. “Then I came across Northeastern and it seemed to fit my needs.”
In his current role as an analyst for Cerulli Associates, an independent third-party research and strategic consulting firm, Hoogendoorn uses the expertise he gained in the program to turn quantitative data into actionable industry trends for large banks and investment firms around the world.
Hoogendoorn is also a regular contributor to the publication Global Risk Insights, where he evaluates qualitative data and distills it into political risk news and analysis focusing primarily on Russian political developments. His articles have been reprinted by various publications and government organizations, such as the Canadian Library of Parliament.
It wasn’t until he completed his undergraduate degree that Hoogendoorn set his sights on a career in the international arena. He chose Northeastern on the strength of the international relations master’s program and the considerable experience of the program’s faculty director, Dr. Mary Thompson-Jones.
“I was just coming from a very long trip to Europe and had developed a very distinct interest in the U.S. foreign service, so Dr. Thompson-Jones’ resumé really caught my eye,” he explains.
Before joining Northeastern, Dr. Thompson-Jones was a career diplomat and foreign policy practitioner with 23 years of experience in the U.S. Department of State.
Hoogendoorn ranks Dr. Thompson-Jones as the top influence on his Northeastern education and his understanding of international relations.
“Whenever she saw a subject she thought I would find interesting, she would sit down with me and discuss it, because she probably had firsthand experience with that particular international situation,” Hoogendoorn says.
Dr. Thompson-Jones was also instrumental in guiding Hoogendoorn to a new understanding of how international affairs work. “When I started the program, I didn’t understand the relationship of business consulting and investment to international affairs,” he says. “Her teaching really showed me that’s a vital piece of what we would call international affairs.”
Another major influence on Hoogendoorn’s career was his field study, completed under Dr. Marissa Lombardi, an assistant teaching professor and the concentration lead for Global Student Mobility in the Master of Science in Global Studies and International Relations program.
The International Field Study Experience (IFSE) is an international, experiential learning program that gives students an opportunity to serve as international marketing consultants.
Hoogendoorn’s project, advising a Tuscan winery on their American marketing strategy, was “monumental” as his first international business consulting role, and had a significant positive effect on the winery’s strategic direction.
“We saw a couple months [after the project] that they had done something they had never done before,” Hoogendoorn says. “They had catered a party for James Franco and Seth Rogen’s nonprofit and there were pictures of their wine on Instagram and Facebook. It was exactly the type of thing we were trying to push them toward.”
While the field study served as Hoogendoorn’s capstone, and originally counted as his thesis, he decided to pursue a formal thesis to delve deeper into understanding the role data could play in international relations.
“As I got into global energy research, I realized there was a need for large information management systems to turn data into industry trends,” Hoogendoorn explains. “Those trends then go to influence the direction of foreign and domestic policy.”
His thesis on Russian and European energy policy not only helped him gain a wider grasp of international affairs; it also earned him a promotion at Cerulli Associates, where he rose from a relationship management position into his current role as analyst. The company agreed on the promotion based on the strength of his field study and the more technical work he completed in this thesis.
Looking toward the future, Hoogendoorn’s goals revolve around serving and protecting U.S. national interest and security by building upon the relations the U.S. has with the Eurasian region, which includes the 93 nations of Asia and Europe, including Germany, Russia, and China.
To prepare, he’s studying Russian and keeping a close eye on developments in the rapidly evolving countries that once comprised the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc nations—Georgia in particular.
“[Georgia] is the most interesting place in the world to me,” he says. “I would love to go there and see how [Russia-Georgian and Georgian-European relations are] playing out as opposed to studying them from an academic standpoint perspective.”