From the monthly archives: September 2012

To meet the particular interests of applicants to the MIB and PhD programs, we offer several “Visit Days” for prospective students.  How is a Visit Day different from any other day when an Information Session is offered?  Not so terribly different, but the Information Sessions will focus on the relevant program.  We’ll also offer additional interviews, and there is always the opportunity to attend classes.  So if you’re thinking of applying to the PhD program, consider a visit on Tuesday, October 9 or Monday, November 5.  The MIB Visit Days will be:  October 1; October 22; November 26; and December 3 — all Mondays.  Hope to see you here!

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Fletcher students pursue many different approaches when considering campus employment.  Some jump right into the job hunt.  Others hold off for a semester, to allow themselves some time to get oriented.  But whether a student is determined to work only as a research assistant, or prefers to check out books in the library, the fact is that working during the semester is part of many students’ reality.

For the last couple of weeks, job postings have been floating through my email inbox and I thought I would share a few with you, posted by three different offices.  NOT, it should be noted, because these precise positions will be open in the semester when you enroll.  Rather, it’s just a sampler of some of the positions that are available.   These are real jobs that were offered up this semester, though I took out the name of the professor.

Institute Research Positions
The Institute for Business in the Global Context (IBGC) and the Center for Emerging Market Enterprises (CEME) are pleased to announce eight student research positions for the Sovereign Wealth Fund Initiative (SWFI) and the Cost of Cash research project.

The Sovereign Wealth Fund Initiative (SWFI) examines the key cross-border issues faced by Sovereign Wealth Funds and other long-term investors (LTIs) and issues a monthly newsletter containing white papers, fund profiles, and thought pieces from the Fletcher community and beyond.

Positions available:
•    Research Assistant, Sovereign Wealth Fund Bulletin (1 position)
•    Research Assistant, SWFI-Monitor Transactions Database (2 positions)
•    Research Assistant, SWFI Asset Allocation Project (1 position)

CEME houses a research agenda exploring the “Cost of Cash” for consumers, merchants, banks and government. The study explores the costs and benefits of cash payments to various stakeholders in the economy: consumers, merchants, and institutions that offer a safe and stable supply of paper money.  The first year of the project, completed in August 2012, focused on the U.S. market, particularly the under and unbanked sectors. In 2012-2013, the project will expand to Mexico and Egypt, and potentially other markets globally.

Positions Available:
•    Qualitative Researcher, Cost of Cash Mexico
•    Quantitative Researcher, Cost of Cash Mexico
•    Qualitative Researcher, Cost of Cash Egypt
•    Quantitative Researcher, Cost of Cash Egypt

Student Intern — Capital Campaign & Development Initiatives
Student Assistant position available in Fletcher’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations, specifically working with the Capital Campaign and Development Initiatives.  Approximately 8-10 hours per week.  Responsibilities will include: responding to general inquiries from alumni; writing and proofreading content for various electronic and print publications;  letter writing, research, database activity and capital project management assistance.

Applicants must pay high attention to detail; have strong writing skills, interest in fundraising and ease liaising with faculty, alumni and staff are all important. Must be able to commit to a structured weekly/monthly work schedule, with some flexibility.

Research Assistantships
A professor announces the availability of a number of research assistantships. Four positions are available in an international comparative research project that examines the impact of the fusion of nationalism and religion on the dynamics of conflict and on human suffering. Research assistants will help in examining a particular case, conducting literature surveys, writing summaries, helping to organize international seminars and workshops.  Research assistants will be invited to participate in a work/study group on the fusion of religion and nationalism in the spring.

My primary focus for the past three days has been developing our interview schedule.  More precisely — we already had a schedule, but now we have students assigned to all the interview times from this Monday through December 7.  What are we missing?  Applicants to interview!

Of course, interviews remain optional, but we always encourage people to visit if they are able.  The interview program is one of my favorite Admissions activities.  The volunteer interviewers are fantastic, and I know they’re the perfect source of information for someone who is ready to apply.

So don’t delay!  Check your calendar and contact us to arrange your interview!

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Blog readers may already have picked up on this news from other sources, but I feel I should still mention that Fletcher Dean Stephen Bosworth has announced that he will retire at the end of the 2012-2013 academic year. Eleven years as dean is a good long stretch, particularly given that Dean Bosworth wore two hats for several years (the second hat being Special Representative for North Korea policy — exhausting travel included).  There will, of course, be a search for his replacement, though I haven’t heard any details yet.  For those who might wonder how this will affect Fletcher, I think it’s fair to say that business will carry on as usual, both this year and next.


Bringing in new staff members is always a challenge, which makes the Fletcher Admissions old-timers even happier that our summer of hiring yielded a great trio of new colleagues!  I’ve asked our new team members to introduce themselves.  Without further ado, please meet Katherine (who started on August 15, two weeks ahead of her fellow newbies), Christine, and Liz.

As a Tufts undergraduate, I’ll admit I didn’t know much about Fletcher.  I remember walking up and down Packard Ave. several times a day, occasionally puzzling over the sign that said “Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.”  Tufts didn’t have a law school, did it?  I made it through four years without ever breaking into the Fletcher bubble, aside from attending a few sessions in ASEAN Auditorium.

I was a sociology major with a focus on social inequalities and social change, and I have a great affinity for both sociological data and education-related issues.  After graduation, I took a job in Washington, D.C. as a contractor for the National Center for Education Statistics, focusing on the state of primary education in the U.S.  Though I enjoyed the research, I deeply missed my Boston community and craved qualitative work that focused on the individual stories behind the statistics.

Enter The Fletcher School.  Though my path to Fletcher was atypical in the sense that I did not discover a profound passion for international affairs while living abroad (yet), I am thrilled to be a part of this incredible community of brilliant and inspiring people, absorbing stories about their experiences (and of course, poring over all of the sociological data that flows through the Admissions Office).  I am always happy to talk to students and visitors about Tufts and my intense love of Cambridge/Somerville, and I am excited to take on this new role as admissions season gets underway!

There is nothing quite like the smell of manufactured air, the taste of slightly questionable food, or the feeling you get as the wheels leave the runway.  Growing up in a traditional setting north of Boston, I had a less than traditional start in the world.  My mother was a flight attendant for Eastern Airlines, and I spent my early years accompanying her on trips, enjoying every minute of it.  Whether they realized it or not, this is how my parents gave me the travel bug.  My appetite for new experiences both here and abroad is what drove me to take many trips across the pond and indulge in everything Europe had to offer.  Even the thrill of almost being hit by a London black cab, as I looked the wrong way to cross the street, was worth it!

At my college in upstate New York, and then moving into the world as a starry-eyed graduate, I knew I had to keep an international perspective in my life.  After a brief period coordinating visas for 200 MBA students, I made my way to Fletcher.  I have enjoyed every moment of my work in the Admissions Office so far, and am looking forward to learning more about our fantastic student body.  And as I keep adding to my travel wish list, feel free to stop in and share your stories!

When people ask me where I’m from, I sometimes laugh and tell them, “all over.”  I was born in Salt Lake City, lived in Montana and Wyoming (Jackson Hole anyone?!), and then moved east, all before elementary school.  Moving was a theme when I was a child, and I spent time in several states around New England, though I consider New Hampshire “home.”

I attended Bates College in Lewiston, Maine (GO BOBCATS) for my undergrad studies, where I majored in rhetoric.  (Yes, that was indeed a major!)  I loved my time at Bates, where I played varsity squash and was lucky enough to live abroad in London.  London afforded me lots of travel opportunities, and weekends were spent visiting every country I could, which is where my love of travel (and IR) originated.

Post college I found myself in “beantown,” working for Boston University in graduate business school admissions.  During my seven years at BU, I traveled quite a bit, recruiting all over India, Asia, and Europe, and most major cities in the U.S.  Favorite destinations include Seattle, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.  While working, I also pursued my master’s in education, focused on higher education administration.  All that aside, my other favorite part of my time at BU was definitely working with our public & nonprofit (PNP) MBA program, as I really connected with those students in particular.  It was through my work with PNP that I became interested in working for a program like Fletcher, and I’m thrilled to be a part of the great admissions team here!  It was the people of Fletcher — the faculty, staff, students and alums — that were the draw for me.  Each person I have met has been incredible; the Fletcher community is infectious and so inspiring and makes me excited to go to work each day.  I’m looking forward to the upcoming admissions cycle and am excited to become an active member of the Fletcher community myself!


Attention Africa experts and writers!  Fletcher’s Institute for Business in the Global Context invites you to contribute your thoughts on the promise of Africa’s role in the global economy through an essay contest.  The winners will receive a cash prize and travel stipend to join us here for the October 25-26 conference:  Africa’s Turn?: The Promise and Reality of the Global Economy’s “Final Frontier.”

Whether or not you choose to enter the essay contest, we hope you will join us for what is sure to be an interesting two days.  (The conference is free and open to the public.)

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“Admissions time” moves at an inconsistent speed.  Though we were busy throughout the summer, September 4 brought the return of students and a a radically faster pace to our work.  Now staff members are heading out on the road to meet with future applicants throughout the U.S. and beyond, though of course we’re still taking care of all the usual activities back in the office.

September is an annual whirlwind for me — leaving little time to organize myself or catch my breath (and making it hard to write for the blog).  And today, September 14, I realized that we’re only a month (and a day) from the first of the deadlines for 2013 enrollment.  Applications for January enrollment are due on October 15.  There are even a few files ready for us to read.  Which seems crazy, because we are, in some ways, still setting up the schedule for the fall.

And that’s why I find that admissions time has its own unique pace.  It may be because we always have our feet in several admissions cycles simultaneously.  (The cycle for September 2012 applicants just ended with their enrollment.  The cycle for January 2013 applicants is reaching a key milestone.  The cycle for September 2013 applicants is only recently underway.)  Or it may simply be the nature of today’s workplace.  Either way, it keeps us engaged and interested.


Summer’s over, and I know it’s time to move on from writing about what I did on the preceding weekend (final summer beach visit, dinner at Upstairs on the Square, wash windows 🙁 ), but that doesn’t mean my enthusiasm for the many things you can easily do in this area is diminished.  And better than my limited activities list is another, which I have written about in the past, but which merits a second post.  Johnny’s Boston Events Insider compiles the most unusual list of area activities and, if you subscribe, emails a list every week (or so).  Here are some highlights from this week’s email.  (Details about each can be found on the Boston Events Insider website.)

Somerville Riverfest
Arlington Town Day
Dancing Under the Stars at Seaport
Dine at Dusk
South Boston Street Festival
Billerica’s Yankee Doodle Homecoming Festival
Wings of Freedom Tour
Civil War Re-enactment
Fish Box Derby Race
Eastern States Exposition
Corn mazes!
Starry Starry Night at Davis MegaMaze
Mercedes Day at the Larz Anderson Museum
The Raven’s Trail: A Walking Tour of Poe’s Boston
MassCann Freedom Rally
Squash Showdown@Symphony
Lebanese Day
Adventure Race – Hosted by Single Fit People
South End Open Studios
Battle Road Homes Open House and Historic Trades Day
Norwood Day
Harvard Fall Festival
stART on the Street
Endless Summer Waterfront Festival at Nantasket

As you can see, whether you want to stay local (Somerville RiverFest) or take a drive into Massachusetts farm country (corn mazes), there is something here for you.  You may wonder, “Who is Johnny?”  I have no idea.  A guy with blonde hair who has made a mark by compiling a list of events.  In the area?  Check it out.


The Fletcher faculty has made some changes to what used to be the thesis requirement for all degree programs.  Going forward, the requirement will be for the production of a capstone project.  For some students (and their professors), this represents no change whatsoever.  They arrived at Fletcher looking forward to writing a traditional academic thesis, and that’s what they’re going to do.  For other students, this marks a welcome change.  In some fields, a thesis is not the project format that best lends itself to the presentation of two year’s worth of learning.  Here’s a little of the email Academic Dean Peter Uvin sent to students to explain the change.  (Note that this was an email sent directly to students, not an official document, hence the casual language.)  He starts by saying that, in fact, little (beyond the name of the project) has changed.

First, all degree programs always had to write a thesis, which was understood to be a traditional research project.  Now we are changing that title a bit (“capstone project”) and we are giving students more flexibility in terms of their final academic piece of work.  Over the years, many students have found the research thesis a very useful and rewarding experience, and they can continue to do this with all the professors at Fletcher.  But other students have felt that a thesis was not a particularly useful exercise, given what they would be doing after Fletcher.  We now officially allow for a broader range of choices to accommodate those students.

Second, students used to develop their thesis topics in many different ways, and this will also continue, though we will be more explicit about the need to associate the thesis writing with a course credit.  Here are the choices for how a capstone project can be developed:

◊   Students can continue to build their capstone project off a course paper;
◊   A number of professors have decided that their courses are set up in such a way that their required final product is really an excellent preparation for the capstone project. This may be because they offer a lot of methodology, or because they require a product that is very labor intensive, or because they help students develop research proposals, etc.  Those classes will now be called “incubator courses.”  Students are not obliged to take incubator courses for their capstone projects; it is simply an option.  Also: you can take these courses even if you do not want to write your capstone project through them!
◊   Students can also continue to use an independent study in order to write their capstone project.
◊   Often professors look for student assistance with research projects.  The innovation here is that we encourage professors and students who work together in this way to use that work as the basis for the capstone project.

This is all new and a work in progress. It is important to have clear discussions with your capstone supervisors to understand exactly what s/he will be looking for.  Some are going to be traditional and only want an academic thesis, whereas others are thrilled to be able to accept something else.  Some see their courses as incubators, whereas others do not.  Just talk to them.  It will all work out.  This is designed to make life more flexible and easier—not more stressful!

Our current second-year students will be the pioneers for the Capstone Projects, and I look forward to hearing about some innovative project formats.

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Yesterday morning, the Admissions Staff “retreated” to my living room for a chance to meet uninterrupted by phone calls, visitors, etc.  Our three new staff members, Katherine, Liz, and Christine, jumped right in to hash out some questions, and also (we hope) took a big step in understanding how the year goes and the office runs.

And then we went to lunch.  I live half a block from a Chinese restaurant with a lunch buffet that, given our tight time schedule, seemed like just the ticket.  So we enjoyed some food and conversation, followed by the presentation of fortune cookies.  While we hoped for predictions related to this year’s admissions process, the selection we received includes only one that could be called a “fortune.”  The rest are more like strange advice.

And what to make of my fortune?

Following lunch, we walked back to the house, noting that every downhill has its uphill and that failure can be glorious, and hopeful for a surprising gift.  Then we grabbed a stranger off the street to take a team picture for us.  He took two shots.  In one, Kristen’s eyes were closed, and in the other, Christine appeared to be napping, so I took one more.

That’s Christine, Katherine, Laurie and Kristen in back; Dan and Liz up front.  Kristen accused me of trying to avoid being in the photo.  Honest, Kristen, I wasn’t — just going with the best of the pix.  I promise that I’ll be in the next team photo.


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