In a bit of blog housekeeping this month, I created a separate tag for each of our Student Stories bloggers.  Now you can follow the full stories of the students who blogged for two years – Mirza, Roxanne, and Scott.  In addition, you might like the posts written by Maliheh in the first year of the Student Stories project.  She graduated at the end of that year, so there are fewer posts for her.  Read the posts from oldest to newest, if you want to follow the students’ paths from start to finish.

 

Because so many Americans head out on the highway to visit family and friends for Thanksgiving, I thought Admissions road trips might make good Thanksgiving reading.  From Liz’s most recent trip, back to our old friend Peter’s trip to California during a period of wildfires, I’m lucky that someone is always willing to write about fall travels.

And because the time is right for many people who will apply in January to be working through their personal statements, I’ve gathered posts on essays for you.  If you go back far enough, we were working with slightly different prompts (topics), but the essence of our guidance is still the same.

 

As I note every year, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I’ll be joined by a bunch of family members for the traditional chaotic family meal.

But maybe Thanksgiving is not your holiday, and you’d like the blog to keep delivering content.  Or perhaps it is your holiday, and you finally have some time to catch up on past posts.  Fear not, blog readers.  The blog will keep working through the holiday to bring you up-to-date on topics that may interest you.

And this always seems like a good moment to thank you for reading the blog.  There are many ways to gather information about Fletcher, from our Facebook page, to our website, to our Twitter feed (not to mention the Admissions Facebook page, website, and Twitter feed), so I appreciate that you include the blog among your information gathering venues.

Now I’m off to prep for the holiday.  Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, wherever you are!

(Note that the Admissions Office, and the rest of Tufts University, will be closed both tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday.)

 

The second new student who will be blogging throughout her two years at Fletcher has actually already been heard from, when she and Miranda wrote about technology studies at Fletcher.  I met Aditi last spring, and I made a note to contact her in the fall to see if she would blog for us.  My email request to her crossed paths with her offer to write the first post — I’m really happy to have an eager writer.  Today, Aditi introduces herself.

Aditi_Patel JPGI am a first-year MALD student, (still thinking about) concentrating in International Business Relations and Development Economics.  As you have read in a past post, my main interests are in the use of digital technology for development programs, so I also plan to weave that interest into my coursework.

Before Fletcher, I worked back home in Mumbai at a non-profit called Dasra, doing a combination of fundraising and impact assessment work.  Having been in the Boston area for my undergraduate degree at Wellesley College, I’m really excited to experience the fall again, with all its beautiful colours — but nervous about being back in the Boston winter.  (My friends have informed me that I’m not the most pleasant person to be around when it’s cold.)

In the spirit of sharing my Fletcher journey with the readers of this blog, here are some of the things about Fletcher that most surprised me when I arrived here:

  • The MALD program has a very flexible curriculum
  • Fletcher has a wonderful sense of community

Just kidding!  I know that those are facts that are repeated over and over, and that everyone applying to Fletcher has probably heard them before.  So here are a few things that really were surprises:

  • They’re not exaggerating! Everyone is REALLY NICE at Fletcher, and the prevailing culture and environment here is one that takes great pride in kindness.  A not uncommon example: I have the wrong edition of a textbook for a class, and one of my classmates helped me out (without me having to ask) by sending me photos of every single assigned problem in the book so I could make sure I had the correct homework.
  • The sunsets here are breath-taking.  I definitely did not except beautiful sunsets in Medford, Massachusetts — but the sun setting over the Fletcher Field is an incredible sight.
  • The amount of time students get with our professors outside of class, through office hours and meetings.  Even when I have reached out to professors whose classes I’m not currently in, they have been very approachable and willing to chat.
  • A) The number of events and receptions that involve (free) food and drinks, and B) the importance placed on events and receptions that involve (free) food and drinks.  These are values I appreciate deeply.

I haven’t had a day so far at Fletcher that’s been the same as any other, and so I’m constantly finding new things to be surprised by.  I look forward to sharing all these aspects of my two years here with the Admissions Blog!

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Adapting to a new application system meant we weren’t sure how many student staff members we would need this year.  It turned out we need one more than we first introduced in October.  Today, meet David, our newest student intern hire.

Davd THi everyone!  I am a first-year MALD, focusing on democratization and human security.  I am particularly interested in transitional governments, former communist countries and Latin America.  I am a first-generation American, born and raised in Wheaton, IL.  I attended DePauw University for my undergraduate studies and majored in political science and Spanish.  Prior to Fletcher, I lived in the Czech Republic teaching high school English on a Fulbright grant.  I have also completed internships with The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the U.S. State Department.

While this is my first semester at Fletcher, I have found it tremendously easy to get involved and have really enjoyed becoming part of the Fletcher community.  I am currently a researcher on a joint Fletcher-ICRC study on conflict migration in the Sahel, co-president of the European Club, and a member of the Tufts Refugee Assistance Program.  Outside the classroom, I love hanging out with other Fletcher students, exploring Boston, and venturing out to find new restaurants and breweries in the area.  I look forward to hearing from you soon!

 

Next up among our first-year student bloggers is Alex, who introduces himself here.  He has spent eight years abroad in Africa, Asia, and Europe, and graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from The College of William and Mary.

Alex SHi everyone, my name is Alex Schulte, and I look forward to contributing to the Fletcher Admissions Blog during my next two years here.  Let me tell you a little bit about myself, and why I’m so excited to be at Fletcher.

My passion is finding creative solutions to difficult problems.  Specifically, I am interested in figuring out how to bring clean energy technology to commercial scale in order to help address three of the biggest and broadest issues we face today: 1) running our economy more efficiently and productively; 2) easing geopolitical tensions that arise from securing and allocating conventional energy resources; and 3) maintaining a sustainable environment for future generations.  I believe that clean technology represents one of the 21st century’s greatest opportunities to create a more prosperous and inclusive world.

The energy sector is complex and global, and requires a very firm grasp of both international business and policy.  Before Fletcher, I was already working to develop the experience and skills necessary to operate effectively in this area, including:

  • Consulting at Monitor Deloitte for emerging-market and defense clients, which exposed me to world-class strategic planning and data analysis skills.
  • Managing the start-up of a multi-million dollar nutritional food production business in Ethiopia, which taught me the tactical side of entrepreneurship in a difficult environment.
  • Working at a Chinese nuclear energy joint venture in Beijing, which gave me experience analyzing a novel clean energy technology and its competitive situation.

I learned a lot from these experiences.  Most importantly, I discovered that I still have a lot to learn.  This is why I am excited to be starting at The Fletcher School’s Master of International Business (MIB) program, focusing on finance and energy.

On the finance side, I recognized my need for further education in financial matters when I was confronted with the challenge of securing a $5 million loan for my business in Ethiopia.  Since starting at Fletcher, I have already learned concepts in my Corporate Finance class that are directly applicable to this experience.  Furthermore, I look forward to learning even more from the International Financial Management and International Business Transactions classes I will take next semester.

On the energy side, I realized that a more structured and comprehensive understanding of the energy landscape would have been useful when I was conducting market analyses for the Chinese nuclear energy firm.  The insights I have gained from my Climate Change and Clean Energy Policy class are invaluable, and I look forward to taking International Energy Policy next semester.  Already, the MIB program has provided me with the broader contextual intelligence that I need, and the intellectual rigor that I crave, to be successful in a sector as complex as energy.

Possibly even more important than the content of my education are the relationships I am forming.  At Fletcher, I am surrounded by a community of peers and professors who are also interested in the intersection of business and international affairs, and crosscutting solutions to solving global problems.  I am honored and excited to have joined the Fletcher community, and to attend one of the foremost international affairs schools in the world.  I look forward to taking you with me on my journey through the MIB program.

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Earlier this year, the Institute for Business in a Global Context took a look back at what it has accomplished in its first three years (and what it currently does) in pursuit of its mission to focus “on the interplay between global business and the key forces that shape the context in which enterprises operate.”  The result was a nice publication!  Take a look!

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In May 2014, the alumni attending their five-year reunion were members of the Class of 2009.  Today, Erin Clancy will kick off the Five-Year Updates from her class.  When I reach out to alumni for these updates, I ask them simply to describe their paths, starting before Fletcher and continuing through their graduate studies to their current career, as Erin does below.  I’ll also point out that Erin was included among Diplomatic Courier’s Top 99 Under 33 for 2013, a special honor.

Pre-Fletcher Experience

Prior to coming to Fletcher, I completed my undergraduate studies in political science at Whittier College and received the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship, which provided a commission into the Foreign Service upon completion of my studies at Fletcher.  I was drawn to Fletcher’s interdisciplinary take on international affairs, its academic rigor, and its place in history as the first international relations graduate school in the United States and the alma mater of many distinguished public servants from countries near and far.

At Fletcher

It did not take long until I hit my stride at Fletcher after finding my groove in a few Culture Night dance performances.  In the classroom, I reveled in Fletcher’s dynamic course offerings on the political landscapes of the Middle East with Vali Nasr, and the practice of international security — seated in the front row no later than 07:40 in the morning — with Richard Shultz.  I also benefited from the longstanding partnership between Fletcher and the Harvard Kennedy School where I studied national security management and negotiations.  Between my first and second year, I completed a summer internship in 2008 at the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, Syria as a political officer covering human rights issues and the domestic political opposition.  While working in Syria I began my thesis research on the unbreakable nature of the political-military alliance between Syria and Iran, and the impact of the Syrian-Iranian alliance on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.  At the end of two wonderful years in Medford, I graduated with concentrations in International Security Studies and Southwest Asia and Islamic Civilization.

Post-Fletcher

After graduation, I accepted my commission into the Foreign Service in August 2009.  I arrived at my first diplomatic assignment as vice consul to U.S. Embassy Damascus, Syria in July 2010, where I witnessed the slow evolution of violent Arab Spring protests until security conditions forced us to close the embassy and evacuate the remainder of our diplomatic personnel in February 2012.  My assignment to Syria was quite an introduction to the Foreign Service and it profoundly shaped my personal and professional life.  From Damascus, I served briefly in U.S. Embassy Amman, Jordan to continue working on Syria, and transitioned to U.S. Embassy Muscat, Oman where I was the political-military officer responsible for counterterrorism, political-military, and Iran sanctions issues during the lead up to the breakthrough interim agreement reached by the P5+1 negotiations to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

These days I am happy to be back home in Washington, DC, working to coordinate U.S. policy on North Africa, Syria, and gender issues in the United Nations Security Council.  The highlight of my current role as a multilateral affairs officer is working closely with fellow Fletcherites throughout the State Department, USAID, and other government agencies.  Interagency policy committee meetings at the White House or working group meetings on Syria or Boko Haram have become informal Fletcher reunions.  Having so many Fletcherites around the table on the important policy issues of the day is a wonderful personal reminder of why this institution is so revered in the international affairs realm — Fletcher truly does create leaders with a global perspective.  Not a single day has passed since graduation and my five years in the Foreign Service when I have not felt the direct positive impact of my Fletcher education, nor been so grateful to find community among the talented and inspirational alumni we have all over the world.

Members of the United States’ delegation to the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, London, UK, Erin Clancy class of 2009 (left) pictured with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, Victoria Holt. June 2014.

Members of the United States’ delegation to the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, London, U.K. Erin Clancy, F09 (left) pictured with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, Victoria Holt. June 2014.

 

 

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I’ve already described my exciting road trips to Boston’s western suburbs and the great state of Maine (which — fun fact! — used to be part of Massachusetts), but I thought you’d want to hear from one of the staffers who traveled a greater distance for Fletcher.  Here’s Liz’s report!

Hello Blog readers!  I recently got back from a great recruiting trip to Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, and Beijing and wanted to share some pictures from my trip!

I arrived in Tokyo first, and had a few hours before I my work obligations.  I really like to see the sights when I visit cities, especially if it means I get a great view.  As such, before I went to work, I decided to try and visit some of Tokyo’s highest structures.  I had already visited the Tokyo Tower, so I wanted to see the new Tokyo Sky Tree!  The Sky Tree boasts heights of 350 and 450 meters, and so it was on my to-do list!  I took the elevator up to the first landing and was greeted with amazing views of all of Tokyo and could even see all the way to Mt. Fuji!  I was thrilled the weather cooperated and gave me a great clear day.

Here you can see me (actually my feet!) standing on the glass floor 350 meters up!

TOkyoAfter the Sky Tree, it was time to get to work!  I headed to our admissions event where I caught up with some of our fantastic Japanese alums.

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After my visit to Japan, it was time to head to Seoul, South Korea where I got to meet some great prospective students and see another terrific Fletcher alum, who helped me represent Fletcher at the admissions fair!

Liz and Han

My time in Seoul was brief, but I did have the opportunity to go out for some delicious Korean BBQ – one of my favorite foods:

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From Seoul I headed to China for visits to Shanghai and Beijing.  I was particularly excited to visit one of our partner schools, China Europe International Business School (CEIBS).  I had a great time touring the CEIBS campus and meeting my counterparts there.CEIBSIn Shanghai I also had the opportunity to have dinner with some colleagues at one of my favorite restaurants — Din Tai Fung.  Though they are a chain and have restaurants all around the world, I still love to go whenever I can!  If you ever have the chance, get the soup dumplings – you won’t regret it!
ShanghaiFrom Shanghai I headed to Beijing to finish up my trip — where we participated in another admissions fair and I also did some interviews.  The highlight however was a group dinner where we had Peking Duck. There were about 30 school representatives from all over the world, so it was really fun to make some new friends and enjoy a Chinese specialty!

picstitchAll in all it was a wonderful trip!  I had a chance to meet really interesting prospective Fletcher students and catch up with some enthusiastic Fletcher alums, and even had time for a little sight-seeing!  If you missed us in Asia this time around, not to worry, we will be back in Seoul and Tokyo in early December.  To see where else we’ll be, feel free to check out our travel calendar.

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A question that comes up regularly in our emails, conversations, meetings, and info sessions regards opportunities for students to find work as research or teaching assistants.  This fall, I snagged several emails publicizing RA/TA opportunities and I thought I’d share them here.  I’ve taken out the specifics — the point is to give you an idea of what professors might be looking for, without implying that these exact positions will be available in any given semester.  I also don’t want to lead you to think that every student has an RA or TA position.  The majority of students who work on campus are supporting office activities.  All of those qualifications aside, these notices may help you imagine what would be available whenever you enroll.

1.  TA needed for international law course
We are looking for a TA to help with organizing and teaching an undergraduate course taught by Fletcher international law faculty.  Ideally, you would have the following qualifications:  1) Background in international law; 2) You would still be at Fletcher next year.  You would be the TA for the course this spring, and next spring, you would be the coordinating instructor with another TA.

Your tasks would include the following:
- preparing discussion questions and leading weekly discussion groups;
- helping to organize a moot court exercise;
- assisting with general logistics of the course, including grading;
- holding half of the office hours.

2.  A Professor announces the availability of five research assistant positions
Positions 1-3 require assisting in a research and writing project on the fusion between religion and nationalism in Israel, India (the Hindutva Movement in particular), Palestine (Hamas in particular), Sri Lanka, and Serbia. The positions require the assistants to conduct research on manifestations of the fusion between religion and nationalism in one (or two) of the above areas and their policy implications, summarize reading materials, and draft short papers. The successful candidates should have relevant academic background and knowledge about one of the above-mentioned areas and good writing skills. Each position requires 8-10 hours per week.

Position 4 requires assisting in the following tasks: a) coordinating a seminar series for the Fletcher Seminar on International Conflict (three to four seminars per semester);  b) preparing the material for a web site page for the INCR program and the various research projects it conducts; c) coordinating the necessary technical steps to design the web site and post the material.  This position requires an average of 8 hours per week.

Position 5 requires assistance in a research and writing project on “new paradigms in conflict resolution.”  The position requires the assistant to conduct research on major issues in the conflict resolution field, summarize reading materials, and copy-edit drafted chapters. The successful candidate should have relevant academic background and should have taken or should be currently taking D223 at Fletcher or an equivalent course in another institution. This position requires an average of 8-10 hours per week.

3.   A research group seeks to hire researchers to complete case study reports as part of its “How Mass Atrocities End” research project.
Project Description:  There is no other phase of mass atrocities that is less studied yet more debated than endings. Individual case study analyses of endings are usually characterized by lament over the enormous losses incurred and a hasty summary of the final moments. Debates in policy, activism, and scholarship often take as their starting point a more ideal ending in which outside forces (usually armed) are able, theoretically, to change the ending next time. Actual endings—discussion of when and how large-scale violence against civilians declines in frequency and scale—are notably absent from the discussion.

This project aims to help fill that gap by creating a dataset that focuses exclusively on the ending of atrocities.  Researchers will be required to select a case study and complete a report.

4.  Researchers needed for Fletcher/ICRC project
This year Fletcher is working with the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) to develop a “Joint Lab” around the issue of conflict migration.  The first set of questions focuses on assessing current humanitarian challenges entailed in conflict migration in the Sahel and North Africa. This segment of the work of the Joint Lab is oriented toward building a firm foundation of knowledge on conflict migration in the region, focusing on gathering and analyzing available data related to migration flows and migrant needs, as well as assessing the current networks of local, regional and international organizations engaged in the response to the humanitarian needs of migrants in the region.  One or two Research Assistants are needed to help put together a desk review on this topic.  We expect a commitment of 6-8 hours a week.

5.  Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Tufts needs Winter Study Group Leaders
The Osher LLI at Tufts is an adult education program for retirees with one important characteristic in common:  a desire for intellectual stimulation in a convivial atmosphere.  Which is exactly what our program offers.  No tests.  No pressure.  No grades. Just learning for the sheer joy of it.  While most of our classes are led by our own members—”seniors teaching seniors”—we generally supplement our offerings with study groups led by Tufts graduate students, often from Fletcher.

We’re currently soliciting proposals for our 8-week spring 2015 program and we’d love to hear from any Fletcher grad students who might be interested in leading a 4- or 8-session study group for us.

 

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