Alumni spotlight: Akhil Iyer

Akhil Iyer

Akhil Iyer graduated from Stanford in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and a minor in Arabic. After graduation, he joined the Marine Corps, and he is now pursuing a joint master’s program in public policy and business administration at Harvard University, where he is exploring issues related to technology, innovation, and civil-military relations. 

What have you been up to since graduating from Stanford?

I worked briefly at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. before beginning my active duty service in the Marine Corps, where I served as an infantry officer and special operations team commander. I recently transitioned off active duty and to a joint degree program at Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School. Most recently, I had a great opportunity to intern at Anduril Industries, a national security technology startup focused on leveraging novel software and hardware to support servicemembers overseas.

How did your degree program shape your understanding of the world?

Stanford has an amazing focus on interdisciplinary studies. Some of my favorite classes were those that focused on the intersection between international relations, economics, science, and technology. Dr. Siegfried Hecker’s sophomore seminar on nuclear security issues exemplified that academic melting pot, and I immensely enjoyed the opportunity learn from such esteemed faculty that shared real-world insights and inculcated an appreciation for analyzing world problems through multiple lenses.

What is your favorite memory from your time at Stanford?

Joining the CISAC honors program and spending all of senior year working on original research was not only a great challenge but an amazing experience, in large part due to the great cohort of fellow students and the unconditional support from faculty at CISAC and the Hoover Institute. Some of my best friends to this day came from our shared experience in the honors program.

What advice do you have for current Stanford students?

We all have a responsibility to give back to incoming students as they navigate their own personal and professional careers. I was fortunate to receive some amazing mentorship and advice as a young student from upperclassman, alumni, and graduate students. As we near graduation and continue with our professional careers, it's now our time to pay it forward.