ISAP #20 - Dr. Mary Dwyer's Journey From Medical School Faculty To Study Abroad CEO

Mary Dwyer - Inside Study Abroad

Today on the podcast, I’m sharing an interview with Dr. Mary Dwyer, CEO of IES Abroad, one of our field's leading education abroad program providers. I was fascinated by Mary's unlikely journey from medical school faculty to study abroad CEO (without ever having studied abroad herself). 

Mary and I talk about the challenges facing women in work today and the strategies organizations can implement to support more more women in work and in leadership roles. We also discuss the value of hard work, showing up, and taking charge of your career trajectory. 


  • How Mary went from medical school faculty to company CEO
  • How Mary went from a life as a traditional faculty member in the academy to a CEO of one of the largest program providers in IE
  • Where she gained her initial international experience (hint: it wasn't through a traditional study abroad program)
  • The biggest challenges Mary faced when making the transition (and how her faculty colleagues reacted to the choice)
    • How Mary navigated the more “gentile” world of IE after a long career in the hyper-competitive, cut-throat environment of a Research I medical school
    • What Mary sees as the biggest challenges facing professional women in IE (and any industry) today
    • How IE organizations can support the growth of women in IE organizations
    • How the data sets gathered by IES each year can help professionals advocate for more resources in IE
    • The most important characteristic you need to be successful in your career
    • When talking about diversity in study abroad - where are all the men? And what IES is doing to support more men to study abroad




    This episode is brought to you by The Study Abroad Journal -The practical field guide for savvy study abroad students. The Holidays are here my friends and if you have a person in your life who is getting ready to study abroad or go on a meaningful international experience, the best gift I can think of beside money, is a Study Abroad Journal. Seriously, guide books are available online. They already have an amazing camera in their smartphones. And luggage really isn’t a cool gift. But a Journal this is something that is highly relevant, unique, and is actually going to help them get amazing ROI from their experience.  The journal helps students identify their goals, outline an action plan to meet those goals, and figure out how to share the value of what they’ve learned when it’s all over. To learn more and get your hands on a copy head over to and use code INSIDESA at checkout to save 10%. (And of course, there are discounts for any office and providers that would like to buy in bulk for your students. Just reach out and we’ll get you started!).