Enrollment decisions were due on Friday and we’ve heard from just about all the admitted applicants.  There are a few stragglers we’ll reach out to, and then we’ll assess where we are for each of the degree programs and for our scholarship budget.  Meanwhile, we’ve also been hearing from folks offered a place on the waitlist.  (As you know, not everyone wants to wait — they’ve gained admission to another program and they’ve decided to enroll, or they’ve made completely different plans for September.)  We’ll revisit that group, too, and get a sense of who’s waiting and for which program.

If you have told us that you’ll accept your place on the waitlist, you should send us (as soon as possible) any updates you’d like us to review.  We’re especially interested in new test scores, updated transcripts, a résumé that describes a new workplace or position or, really, anything that you want us to see because it makes you a better applicant.

All of that said, we don’t yet know whether we’ll be admitting anyone off the waitlist.  I can tell you that our goal is always to make admission offers as early as we possibly can, but I also acknowledge that, in some years, the process has dragged on a bit.  (Then, after keeping you waiting, we’ll ask for a quick response to an admission offer.  Doubly annoying, I know.)

I’ll try to provide updates over the coming weeks.  If you’re at a critical juncture in your own planning, feel free to email us and someone will get back to you with whatever information we’re able to share at that time.

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Continuing with this year’s new faculty feature, let’s read about the most recent research and professional activities of Fletcher’s professors.

Dyan Mazurana, Associate Research Professor, Research Director at the Feinstein International Center at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

Along with Fletcher doctoral candidate Phoebe Donnelly, I recently published the international report “Stopping Sexual Assault Against Humanitarian and Development Aid Workers,” which has been influencing international discussions in countries around the world.  In the last few months, Phoebe and I have appeared in numerous media outlets, including: the Associated Press, BBC NewsNight, BBC 2 News, BBC News Channel, BBC Online, BBC Radio 5 Live, Belgium Public Television, Canadian Broadcast Corporation, CNN, Devex, France Television 24, The Guardian, International Public Radio, Fox News, Morning Wave Radio in Busan South Korea, NBC, Tufts Now, and more.  I have been consulted by numerous UN agencies and international NGOs providing humanitarian aid on this topic and am now serving as an External Expert for the UK’s Department for International Development on their work to strengthen safeguarding internally and with their partners.

I am also leading an international team of researchers working with lawyers representing over 2,000 victims in the Prosecutor V. Ongwen case currently before the International Criminal Court, at the Hague.  My team and I have been tasked to interview the victims to document they harms they and their households have allegedly suffered due to being a victim of one of three massacres the Lord’s Resistance Commander Dominic Ongwen is alleged to have ordered and participated in northern Uganda.  Our report’s findings cover a range of serious crimes, mental and physical health, food security, nutrition, education, livelihoods, and access to education, health care and water.  The findings will be presented by the team before the International Criminal Court in April 2018, where lawyers for the victims will argue the findings should influence the sentencing of Ongwen and reparations ordered by the court.  I have been carrying out research in northern Uganda since 2001.

Professor Mazurana’s profile.

Abiodun Williams, Professor of the Practice of International Politics

My new co-edited book The UN Secretary-General and the Security Council was recently published by Oxford University Press.

Professor Williams’s profile.

Patrick Schena, Adjunct Assistant Professor of International Business

The focus of my research bridges issues of global finance and public policy.  Most recently, a significant component of that work has involved sovereign and public investment funds.  Currently, my specific interest is on public funds that have a discrete mandate to invest in the national development and transformation of their home economies (often referred to as sovereign development or strategic investment funds).  My engagement includes both my own research and writing, as well as cooperating with multilateral (e.g. The World Bank) and transnational (e.g. the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds (IFSWF)) institutions on research projects and workshops in this area.  My recent publications on this theme include a co-authored article published in March 2017 in World Economics, a law review article published in Vol 4 (December, 2017) of the Wake Forest Law Review, and two forthcoming co-authored articles to appear respectively in Global Policy and the Harvard International Review.  I am also currently organizing a member workshop of the IFSWF in cooperation with the World Bank planned for June 2018 on focused sovereign funds and sustainable development.  My near-term projects extend the scope of this research agenda into the role of sovereign and public funds as responsible, long-term investors.

Professor Schena’s profile.  More information can be found on his SovereigNet page.

Rockford “Rocky” Weitz, Professor of Practice, Entrepreneur Coach, and Director of the Fletcher Maritime Studies Program

My research focuses on the public-private dimensions of maritime security.  Using The Fletcher School’s strength as an interdisciplinary research institution, I focus my energy on finding lessons from the private sector that can influence better public policy decisions and analyze challenges where the public and private spheres intersect.  An example of this is a forthcoming monograph on the lessons the U.S. Navy can learn from the private sector on retaining high-quality talent.  The Fletcher Maritime Studies Program fosters this interdisciplinary engagement among our students through experiential learning.  We sponsored 35 students and alumni to attend the annual Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland in October and bring in guest lecturers for our Global Maritime Affairs and Maritime Security courses.  We also expand our reach outside of academia.  I have been a frequent contributor on maritime issues with Asia Times and China Global Television Network.  Our students and staff are also publishing, including op-eds in hometown newspapers in Portland, Maine and southern New Jersey.

Professor Weitz’s profile.

Diana Chigas, Professor of Practice of International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
and Cheyanne Scharbatke-Church, Professor of Practice in Human Security

Our current joint research focuses on understanding corruption in the criminal justice sector in fragile and conflict-affected states and finding new approaches to combating corruption effectively.  We are particularly interested in the use of systems thinking for analyzing corruption, understanding the role of social norms in sustaining corruption, and integrating this learning into policy and practice.  To develop a new analytic methodology, the project tested the systems-based approach in DRC, Uganda and Central African Republic.  The first version of the resulting analysis methodology is also available complete with interview guides and meeting agendas.

We are currently working on pieces on how to address social norms to fight corruption in fragile and conflict-affected states, and on the connection of corruption to peacebuilding.  We host a learning-focused blog series at the Institute for Human Security to challenge status quo thinking and foster a space for conversation between actors working in the field of anti-corruption in fragile states.  Diana is traveling to Berlin in April to share our research as part of a lab sponsored by the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Center in Norway to design innovative experiments that can help advance the anti-corruption agenda.  Cheyanne will be in Ottawa at Global Affairs Canada in April presenting the methodology as part of a wider training of civil servants on conflict and fragility.

Professor Scharbatke-Church’s profile.  She previously wrote a Faculty Spotlight post.
Professor Chigas’s profile.

David Wirth, Visiting Professor of International Law

Throughout this year, I have written and shared the results of my research widely.

In addition to publications and speaking opportunities, here are some recent media contributions:

Is the Paris Agreement on Climate Change a Legitimate Exercise of the Executive Agreement Power?” Lawfare. Brookings

While Trump Pledges Withdrawal from Paris Agreement on Climate, International Law May Provide a Safety Net,” Lawfare. Brookings.

Referenced in Anna Dubenko, “Right and Left React to the Paris Climate Agreement News,” The New York Times.

Trump’s First Foreign Trip and the Fate of the Paris Agreement: Reading the Tea Leaves from the G7 and NATO Summits,” Lawfare. Brookings.

Fulbright Scholar on Working and Living in Moscow,” Faculty of Law, National Research University Higher School of Economics website.

Professor Wirth’s profile.  More details can be found on his Boston College bio page.

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If you’re ever visiting Fletcher’s Ginn Library and you’d like to see something a little different than books, desks, and hard-working students, swing over to the Fletcher Perspectives Gallery.  There you’ll find a collection of student photography from travels near and far.

If you’re not going to be on campus or in the library any time soon, all of the photos, going back to 2016, can be found on the Perspectives website.

 

 

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Way back in the fall, an email snaked along to me and I reached out to the writer, Ammar Karimjee, a 2017 MIB graduate, to ask if I could publish it in the blog.  He agreed right away, so the delay in sharing it is all on me.  And yet with students entering in September 2018 still considering what this all means for them, and with the Class of 2018 searching for their own post-Fletcher jobs, I think Ammar’s post is instructive.  Note that the original recipients were staff and faculty associated with the MIB program and the Office of Career Services.  And, again, when Ammar refers to “a month ago,” he was reflecting on summer 2017, but I have confirmed with him that his work situation hasn’t changed.

About a month ago, I moved to Tanzania to begin work with One Acre Fund Tanzania (OAF) as an “Impact Ventures Associate.”  As many of you may know, OAF’s core model provides a range of products: better seeds and fertilizer, along with training — all provided as part of a reasonably sized loan to farmers across East Africa.  On average, farmers who work with One Acre Fund have yields that are 50-100% higher than similar farmers who do not.  In Tanzania, OAF works with about 30,000 farmers.

While the model has significant impact for farmers, growth is relatively slow because the work is very hands-on.  Each new community we enter has to understand the product, be trained, and see results only after a full growing season (or one full year).  To tackle that problem, my team is trying to understand other ways of approaching and impacting farmers that may be faster to scale than the model OAF uses traditionally.

My team is running a trial where we sell very small solar panels that provide off-grid electricity to farmers in the region.  Farmers see the result immediately, and over time, save significant money that they were previously using for other fuel sources.  More importantly, the product is much easier to roll out and does not require significant training.  The hope is that once we have achieved initial impact through this solar product, we can then use the relationships we have with farmers to offer them other products in the agricultural space — such as seed, fertilizer, etc.  We think that this may be a faster way (as compared to the core model) to create a bigger impact for a large group of farmers.

My specific role has two components: managing operations and managing impact.  I’ll be heading up all the logistics around our input distribution (warehouse management, quality control, distribution) for our 5000 farmers spread out over 50 villages.  Our two products at this stage are the solar systems as well as tree seedlings.  At the same time, I’ll be running a survey of about 900 treatment and control farmers observing the impact of both our products.  I’m currently managing a team of six people with two direct reports.  By April, those numbers will have grown to a team of around 20 and three direct reports.  I could not have imagined having this much responsibility — especially in terms of direct people management — just out of graduate school, but I am so excited and am already learning so much.  The best part is that my role will involve both impact evaluation and business planning/financial modeling, putting together both of my fields of study at Fletcher.

I also wanted to share a reflection with you all.  For the bulk of my two years at Fletcher, I thought I wanted my next job to be something that would serve as a stamp on my resume.  That’s why, as many of you know, I was looking at big consulting firms.  As you all probably gathered, I was never truly passionate about that work and I always knew it was a short-term stop on the road to doing something much different.

While I prepped for consulting and finance interviews and saw limited success, I continued to apply to positions I was more interested in, just to keep my options open.  I grew frustrated that I was consistently being unsuccessful in consulting/finance interviews, when I believed I was performing well.  I’ll never truly know why I didn’t get those jobs; however, looking back on the process, I have to believe that a large part of the reason is that it was obvious those roles were simply not a culture fit for me, and that came out in the interviews.

This summer, when my One Acre Fund offer came in, I was still waiting to hear back from a consulting firm about whether I would receive an offer for their Dubai office.  After lots of deliberation, I decided to take the OAF job without knowing the outcome of the other decision.  It meant a lot to me that I took the OAF offer not knowing about the other firm.  Perhaps I had this realization about culture fit a little too late, but I’m happy that I’ve had it now.

What makes Fletcher so unique is how many different interests and passions are represented at our school.  I think sometimes, especially with the MIB program, the need to do what we think is the “right career thing” overpowers the need to do what we truly want.  But there are too many people in the world who just go through the motions and try to check the boxes.  I find it incredible that Fletcher students, by and large, are not part of that thinking — and I’m very happy and proud not to have done that on an individual level either.

I know I’m rambling, but I hope that all of us can do more to help people fight for their true desires in their post-Fletcher jobs.  If any of you ever have a student struggling through the same dynamic I went through, please always feel free to put me in touch.

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A quick return to the topics submitted by Admissions Blog readers on the survey.  Today, I’ll answer a two-part question.

Part One: “I’d like to hear more about the MALD-JD dual degrees.”
There’s pretty complete information on all the dual degrees on the website.  As you’ll see, our two official dual-law-degree relationships are with Harvard Law School and Boalt Hall at UC-Berkeley.  If you scroll down on the page, you’ll also see the explanation of how to arrange an ad hoc dual degree.  With the JD required for anyone wishing to practice law in the U.S., and with only two official partners, a good number of our MALD-JD students have put together their own programs at other law schools.  It’s totally doable!  But getting the maximum benefit of doing the two degrees together (that is, reducing five years of study to four) requires that the law school accept four Fletcher credits.  There are many that will accept transfer/dual-degree credits, but some schools simply insist on students pursuing all their coursework at that school.  Check with their admissions office or registrar for details.

Part Two: “I’d also love to hear about students who have gone on to get a PhD at Fletcher after the MALD.”
Once again, I’m going to let the website do the talking.  The Student Profiles page includes both MALD-to-PhD students and direct-entry students.  Among the former MALDs are:

Ana de Alba, Shahla Al Kli, Neha Ansari, Deborshi Barat, Prisca Benelli, Sarah Detzner, Matthew Herbert, Roxanne Krystalli, Phoebe Donnelly, Torrey Taussig, Andrea Walther-Puri, Jamilah Welch

The key must-do points for students in the MALD (or MIB) program who wish to move on to the PhD are:

  1. Maintain a GPA of 3.6 or higher.
  2. Complete a traditional academic thesis to fulfill the Capstone Project requirement.
  3. Establish strong relationships with members of the faculty who can write your recommendation letters, will agree to serve as your academic advisor, and may chair or serve on your dissertation committee.

Only three simple points, but all of them require effort.  It’s also helpful to attend the information session on applying to the PhD program that is offered every fall.

And those are the basics on the MALD-JD and on getting a PhD at Fletcher!

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Today’s Five-Year Update will be different from the usual because I’ve written it, with details and fact-checking provided by its subject, Manjula Dissanayake, F12.  Back in the spring of 2012, I had long heard about Manjula but I hadn’t actually met him until Kristen and I were staked out in the Hall of Flags one day, snagging students as they went by.  After that, Manjula and I chatted about putting together a post about his path through Fletcher.  Inspired by that experience, I launched the “Student Stories” feature, and included Manjula (then an alumnus) in the mix.

Since his 2012 gradation, Manjula and I have been in semi-regular contact and he’s been kind to include me on his busy schedule when he’s been in the area.  I’ve remained inspired by him and his work.  (Plus, he’s just a very nice guy.)  Today’s post will extend his story from that very first post to this point, five-plus years after his graduation.

While at Fletcher, at the same time as he pursued the standard MALD collection of courses, Manjula also pushed forward the organization he had founded before starting his graduate studies, Educate Lanka, by pursuing business competitions at Tufts University and elsewhere in the Boston area, resulting in funding and mentoring opportunities.  The mission of Educate Lanka is:
“To empower the socioeconomically marginalized children and youth” of Sri Lanka “with enhanced access to quality and equitable education, learning, and employment opportunities,” with a vision of “a Sri Lanka and a world in which opportunities are universal for all.”
This was a natural fit to earn support from the Fletcher community, and Professor Kim Wilson, Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti, and Professor John Hammock are still on the Educate Lanka Board of Advisors.

After Manjula graduated, he returned to the Washington, DC area and to running Educate Lanka full-time.  Each time he and I got together, what was always clear was how challenging it was to build sustainability for the organization.  Educate Lanka was successfully sponsoring students’ education through its unique online platform, but working capital and growth investments were seemingly raised dollar by dollar.  Then, in 2015, a game-changer: Educate Lanka received a Mastercard Foundation Management Grant of $250,000 (facilitated from the foundation side by Reeta Roy, F89), providing the funding stability that Manjula needed to be able to think strategically about Educate Lanka and its mission.  The organization has continued to grow and mature.

Beyond financial stability, the investment from the Mastercard Foundation allowed Educate Lanka to introduce a new social-private partnership model in Sri Lanka (in addition to and to complement the student sponsorship platform), involving major corporate/employer partners such as Deutsche Bank, Mastercard, and SyscoLabs to address the youth skills and exposure gap, making Educate Lanka students more skilled and employable and creating a pathway for an equitable, empathic, and inclusive society.  This video describes the partnership with Sysco Labs (formerly known as Cake Labs).

 

Along the way, Manjula’s work has attracted significant attention.  He was profiled by his undergraduate college, and the Sri Lankan Sunday Times.  He was selected for the Top 99 Under 33 Global Foreign Policy Leaders List; was given the Outstanding Sri Lanka Young Professional Award; was named an American Express Emerging Innovator in the U.S.; and was the winner of Millennial Impact Challenge by Huffington post.  Most recently, Manjula was a member of the U.S. delegation of entrepreneurs who attended the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in November 2017 in Hyderabad and he recently completed his first executive education program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Manjula has also shared his perspective on educating the poor and on international education through his own writing, for the Diplomatic Courier (Future of Work and Global Talent and Non-Profits have Turned a Corner; Philanthropy should Follow) and for the HuffPost, as well as through a TEDx Talk.

Of course, as important as Manjula’s personal achievements are the successes of Educate Lanka.  Since its founding in 2007, Educate Lanka has achieved these milestones:

  • 1200+ students (ages 13-25; 65% female, 35% male) directly supported across 28 communities in all nine Sri Lankan provinces, from all ethnicities and religions;
  • 4500+ years of education funded
  • $500,000+ (around 70 million rupees) in micro-scholarship financing;
  • 450+ alumni with gainful employment.
  • 15 corporate and institutional partnerships
  • 250+ students trained on skills, competencies, and values

This story details an Educate Lanka success, as well as the complexity of the Sri Lankan education system.  It’s the first entry in a “Scholar Stories Series” to highlight the partnership with Mastercard on female empowerment in Sri Lanka.  (Links to future stories will also appear on Educate Lanka’s Facebook page.)

Educate Lanka has also created a global education program (under the private-social partnership model mentioned above).  Among the partners is the St. Mark’s School, right nearby in central Massachusetts, which invites Educate Lanka students to the U.S. every year for its Global Citizenship Institute. (Manjula is a guest lecturer in the program, and the students last year were hosted by the Sri Lankan ambassador to the U.S.)

As for the next five years, Manjula told me, “I plan to focus the next five years on scaling the two interventions (the online sponsorship platform and the social-private partnership model) towards full sustainability and replication. This phase will position me to achieve my long-term goal of reshaping Sri Lanka’s education into a more inclusive, equitable, and relevant system that is capable of producing a workforce and citizenry that could meet the demands and obligations of our future.”

Whew!  Even for five years, that’s a long list of accomplishments and serious ambition.  I hope it’s clear why admire Manjula.  But I’d be giving a misleading impression if I didn’t note that Manjula’s past five years have included the usual post-Fletcher milestones, such as marriage and the addition to the family of an adorable boy, along with active involvement in a DC-area cricket league.

Manjula was a rock star in the Fletcher community and he has nurtured one of the most dynamic organizations with Fletcher roots.  I’ll certainly be staying tuned to Educate Lanka news so that I can follow its, and Manjula’s success.

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While I’m thinking (as I did yesterday) of posts I might like new readers to comb through, I should point you back toward the many Faculty Spotlight posts that have run over the years.  While this spring’s Faculty Facts capture the most recent research or other professional work of the faculty, the Spotlight posts allowed professors to write in greater detail about their work and their connection to Fletcher.  Here’s an index (though I realize that the professors are listed in order of their posts, rather than alphabetical order).

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I know that Admissions Blog readers tune in at different points in the cycle — from the fall for application tips to the spring after decisions are released, and all points in between — and there’s limited time to sift through the archives.  One of my personal favorite features is Fletcher Couples.  If you have a spare minute, I hope you’ll enjoy reading about these folks who discovered their true loves at Fletcher.  ♥ ♥ ♥

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I continue to welcome blog topic suggestions via the two-question survey, and even as I do, I’m working on writing posts in response.  Recently a reader asked about post-Fletcher jobs.  The question was specifically about the LLM program, but I want to point out a few resources that would be useful for anyone.

First, there are reports on both full-time employment and summer internships on the website of the Office of Career Services (OCS).  When you’re on the employment report pages, click on the sectors that interest you for specific employer information.  The online reports compile data from 2011-2016.  More recent data from the class of 2017 will, I’m sure, be available soon.

The list of hiring organizations for LLM graduates overlaps significantly with those for the MALD or other programs, except for the many law firms, which are definitely over-represented relative to MALD/MIB/MA employers.  I heard today that there are several additional LLM employers that will be added to the online list: United Nations Global Compact; United Nations (Associate Political Affairs Officer on Human Rights); HSBC (Financial Crime Risk); U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General Corps; Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Korea; and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

While I’m offering degree-specific employment information, there’s a list of employers of PhD graduates by year, and one for MIB graduates by industry/sector.

I’d also like to remind you of the narrative job reports provided by alumni in the blog.  Check out the updates by alumni five years post-Fletcher and one year after graduation.  Several reports from the classes of 2013 and 2017 are sitting in my inbox, just waiting for me to have a chance to publish them, which I’ll try to do very soon.

And, last, a brief summary of how OCS works with students.  During students’ first semester, they participate in the OCS Professional Development Program which sets them up well for the internship search or (in the case of one-year programs) job search that will start soon after PDP concludes.  The role of OCS is as a partner for students in their career exploration and job search.  That is, Fletcher doesn’t place students in internships or jobs, but working with OCS helps students identify opportunities.  Ideally, students keep their professional objectives in mind as they plan out each semester and academic year.  Classes that link to several career directions are suggested here.  I don’t write nearly enough about OCS in the blog, but there’s still a handful of posts that cover key topics.  Scroll back far enough and you’ll find four posts from the sector coaches at OCS in 2010 that are still largely relevant.

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Without a doubt, the April day on which we hold the Open House for newly admitted students is the craziest of the year.  I managed to snap a pic this morning before the crowds arrived.  Here’s the registration table.

Name tags, information packets, and water bottles all lined up.  Sunshine streaming in.  It was all good.  It’s now just after 10:00 a.m. and visitors have had their breakfast, attended a welcome presentation by the dean and two current students, and are now attending either a class or a faculty panel.

Both last night, when we held a reception, and this morning, Kristen and I staffed the registration table — my favorite job during the Open House.  I get to meet lots of people with whom I’ve been corresponding or whose application I read.  And it’s busy!  I like being busy.

In less than an hour, I’ll be meeting with the visiting incoming PhD students.  Other activities scheduled for 11:05 include attending a class or a Career Services presentation, or participating in a roundtable on environment issues or one on security studies.  Then lunch and even more options.

Liz is a masterful Open House organizer.  It’s a jam-packed schedule and we’ll keep the 160+ visitors moving throughout the day.  Then, I imagine, they’re nearly as tired as we are as they leave Fletcher and continue to consider their options for graduate study.

 

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