The majority of Fletcher’s newest students arrived over the weekend and started Orientation at 8:00 a.m. yesterday. (No chance to nurse jet-lag around here!) I’ll have my first opportunity to interact with the group today at lunch, but Kristen already has two weeks of contact with the MIB students behind her. Here are Kristen’s thoughts about the two-week MIB accounting “boot camp.”

On Friday, we wrapped up the first-ever pre-session for our new MIB program, so now I can finally take a breather to reflect on the experience. For the past two weeks, 33 new MIB students (plus a few MALDs and MAs as well) spent their days in an intensive Financial Statement Management class. For you business-minded individuals, it may be obvious that this, decoded, means accounting. But before you jump to any conclusions about accounting, let me disabuse you of your notions …

This was an action-packed two weeks, with the action coming from a number of directions. In addition to the twice-daily class sessions, the students had many social events, including lunches with professors, a barbeque with our alumni office, and a boat cruise in the Boston Harbor. As is typical for Fletcher, this group seemed to bond quickly, and so there were also plenty of “unofficial” social events (the details of which I wasn’t privy to).

The class sessions themselves also captured the attention of the group, due in no small part to the high energy level of Professor Weiss. From his booming hello on the morning of day one, to his outing for Mexican food with the group at the end, Prof. Weiss made sure that the class was fully engaged. What he did was to bring both the qualitative and quantitative aspects of accounting to life, so that the class understood not only the nuts and bolts of accounting tools, but also how to demystify a financial statement. He has a knack for bringing the subject to life, and this is critical as the course is a key foundation piece for the corporate finance and strategy classes that lie ahead.

For me personally, the best part of the pre-session was the chance to meet all of the students and see them work as a group. This program has been the focus of my work over the past year-and-a-half, so seeing it come together is particularly gratifying. As always, I am amazed at the way the diversity at Fletcher translates into a cohesive whole. We have students from countries as disparate as Moldova, Kenya, China, England, and Colombia, and they are pursuing careers that range from sustainable development to corporate finance. But together, they create a vibrant and engaged group, and that is what Fletcher is all about.

 

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