From the monthly archives: October 2012

Last spring I started thinking about an aspect of Fletcher that I never tried to cover consistently in the blog — the individual stories, and pathway through Fletcher, of our students.  In truth, the issue was always making time to do the research and writing — I’ve always found our students to be interesting, and I enjoy chatting with them.  Presenting them in an engaging and accurate way would take more than just a chat, though, and year-after-year, I felt it was a project that was better left undone than done poorly.  But this year, I’ve decided to take it on.  I asked a few students if they wanted to work with me, and two have agreed so far.  If time allows, I may add more.

So tomorrow, one of our first-year students, Mirza Ramic, will introduce himself by describing his long path to Fletcher.  Mirza and I met very briefly two years ago, when he came for an interview.  Then we were in email contact for a year or more.  And then we finally re-met in September.  The long history explains why I asked him to work with me in writing about a “typical” Fletcher experience.  (Typical in that Fletcher students take so many different paths to, through, and from Fletcher.)

I should note that I offered to do the writing, but Mirza chose to tell his own story.  I’ll be checking back with him throughout his two years in the MALD program.  Sometimes he’ll write and sometimes I will.  I hope blog readers will enjoy this new feature.

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Here’s how the Fletcher Course Bulletin describes it:

EIB B237:  Field Studies in Global Consulting
The goal of this course is to provide an introduction to consulting as it is practiced worldwide and across sectors. Students will achieve this goal by undertaking a consulting engagement for a real-world client. The first part of the course will include an introduction to and practice in the essential skills that form the core of professional development for consultants at top level firms. Students will then put these skills to the test by completing a team consulting project for a sponsoring company.

And this website gives a nice picture of how the course plays out for the students and companies that participate.  It’s a particularly challenging class for students, who pretty much need to clear their schedules to make time for the teamwork and travel that each project may involve, but the opportunity for genuine hands-on practical experience also makes the class very popular each spring.


This is one Monday when I regret that I try to confine chatter about my weekends to the summer, yielding to more significant admissions-related topics in the fall.  But if I were to write about my weekend, I’d have plenty to recommend to current and future students, such as dinner in Chinatown, a trip to see the cranberry harvest on or near Cape Cod, a stroll or bike ride along the Cape Cod canal, dinner at a new Davis Square restaurant, or a bike ride at the new North Point Park.  (Add in some housecleaning and it’s no wonder I’m happy to be sitting at my desk right now.)

But, like I said, there are more significant topics to cover, such as today’s application deadline for January 2013 enrollment.  We enroll only a small MALD class in January, which is just as well since half the staff is currently on the road and our ability to read a mountain of applications would be constrained.  The January application pool is just the right size for the available workforce.  On the other hand, we have a tight timeline — both to enable the admitted students to get ready to join us in January, and because we have our next deadline on November 15 for Early Notification applications.  Heading into the heart of the admissions season!


Last week, Liz and three other APSIA colleagues (nicknamed the G4) climbed into a van and toured the south.  I’m a happy blogger because she wrote about it AND took a bunch of photos, which she arranged far more artfully than I ever do!  Here’s Liz’s well-documented report.

My first travel experience with Fletcher!

Though I’ve traveled a lot in my roles prior to Fletcher, I had never experienced group travel before, and had never embarked on a minivan trip with colleagues from other schools.  I’ll admit, I was a little nervous leading up to the trip, as I had only been at Fletcher a little over a month and I wasn’t sure what to expect.  That said, I was also really excited to try something new, meet new people, and see some parts of the U.S. that I had only ever flown over!   I packed up my favorite suitcase and headed to Logan Airport to start this next work adventure with an open mind and my camera at the ready.  My trip began on a Friday in Washington, D.C., where I worked an Idealist Fair, and then I headed further south on Sunday to Nashville (otherwise known as music city) to meet up with the rest of the G4.

A little background info:  “G4” is a group of four schools consisting of SAIS (Johns Hopkins), SIPA (Columbia) and Georgetown MSFS, in addition to Fletcher.  We plan travel each year to college campuses across the country and join forces in meeting students.  We’ve been traveling like this for over 30 years and everyone looks forward to these particular recruiting trips!  The idea is that there are a lot of similarities between our schools, but we also have unique characteristics that make us each who we are.  We give school presentations and answer questions at every visit, while highlighting what makes each of the four schools similar and different.

Before starting the G4 trip, I got to spend some time in D.C. after the Idealist event.  Here are some pictures from my day off on Saturday, which was spent sightseeing and enjoying the magnificent weather!

From D.C., I flew down to Nashville on Sunday to meet up with the other schools and begin our G4 Southern Swing, which started on Monday morning.  I had never been to Nashville before so I spent Sunday afternoon exploring the downtown area and checking out the Country Music Hall of Fame.  It was neat to see all the live music venues and even cooler to hear all the different music as you walked around town.  I loved that no matter where I turned I could hear live music from every direction.

We met up Sunday night for an amazing dinner at Merchants (I highly recommend the soup/sammie combo) and then headed out first thing Monday morning for visits at Fisk University and Belmont University.  We then drove from Nashville over to Sewanee, TN to visit the University of the South.  Everyone said the drive would be stunning and it didn’t disappoint.  We drove over the Cumberland Plateau, which had incredible views of the mountains and valleys for as far as the eye could see!  If you have the opportunity, definitely take a drive from Nashville to Monteagle, TN.

The next morning we left Tennessee and made our way down to Atlanta for a few days with visits to Morehouse/Spellman, Emory, Agnes Scott, and the University of Georgia out in Athens.  It was neat for me to see all the different campuses and I was especially captivated by the size of the football stadiums (I’m from New Hampshire – we don’t have anything like that back home!).  From Atlanta we went to Gainesville, Florida to visit Florida A&M and University of Florida, and we ended our tour in Tallahassee at Florida State University.  All-in-all it was a wonderful experience; I learned lots of new things and made some great new friends!  I’m looking forward to my next G4 trip to Southern California in a few weeks!  Enjoy the pictures from the trip below.  Take note:  Fletcher is everywhere, even on the UF campus (see first pic)!

You can catch up with us at more recruiting events next week in NY, DC, Atlanta, and Chicago (sign up here) or at our next G4 trip which heads to Mexico and Texas in early November.

Until next time!

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The second installment of Ariel’s Frequently Answered Questions. 

Dear Ariel:  How can I get more information about scholarship opportunities at Fletcher?  How do I qualify for aid, and is aid also available to international students?

The Fletcher School awards over $6 million in scholarship aid annually.  Fletcher Scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit and need to both U.S. citizens/permanent residents and non-U.S. citizens.  Financial need is determined through an evaluation of an applicant’s resources, which includes income and asset information.  Merit is assessed through the application for admission.

The Fletcher School is committed to providing scholarship assistance to as many students as possible; however, our resources are limited.  While over ninety percent of the candidates requesting scholarship aid receive at least partial funding, Fletcher students need to formulate a financial plan that does not rely solely on Fletcher scholarship aid.  Fletcher scholarships typically range from $4,000 per academic year up to full tuition.  The middle 50 percent of scholarships awarded are in the $7,000 to $18,000 range.  Please note that Fletcher offers very few full tuition scholarships, and assistance to support living expenses is not available.

All applicants seeking scholarship aid must submit a complete Fletcher Scholarship Application (included with the Application for Admission) by January 10 for MALD applicants and March 1 for MIB and LLM applicants.  By completing the scholarship application, applicants are eligible for all Fletcher scholarships.  Scholarship recipients are notified at the time of admission.  Scholarships are renewable in the second year for those students who maintain full-time status and remain in good academic standing.  In the event that a student’s tuition charges are reduced, the Fletcher Scholarship will be pro-rated accordingly.

For more information on scholarships, please visit our website here. For more information on loans and employment, please visit our website here.


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This year’s Admissions Intern staff includes three old-timers and three newbies.  Of the three new additions to the staff, two are first-year students and one is a second year.  According to annual tradition, it’s time to introduce the people (in addition to the returning Katie, Hillary, and Ariel) who may answer the phone when you call, or your email when you write.

Hi! I am a first-year MALD student originally from the Washington, D.C. area.  I studied history and international relations at Boston University as an undergraduate, and am excited (with some trepidation given my now somewhat mythologized memories of winter) to be back in New England!  Prior to starting at Fletcher, I spent two years working on Afghanistan and Pakistan at the U.S. Institute of Peace.  I plan to continue studying South and Central Asia through concentrations in International Security Studies and a possible self-designed Field of Study on political transitions.  I look forward to answering your questions throughout the admissions process!

Hi Everyone!  I am Juanita and I am a first-year MALD student.  Though I belong to a military family, I consider Tennessee to be my home.  I attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as an undergraduate, and worked in Washington, D.C. and Kenya prior to enrolling at Fletcher.  While at Fletcher, my Fields of Study will be International Negotiation & Conflict Resolution and International Business Relations.

Though I’ve only been on campus for a little over one month, I am excited to say that Fletcher has, by far, exceeded my expectations. One of the things I quickly realized about Fletcher is that there are so many opportunities to participate in activities, attend seminars, and join clubs.  In my dream world, I would do EVERYTHING, but sadly there are only 24 hours in the day.  On the academic side, thus far, I have been able to enroll in courses with MIB and PhD students, engage in discussions with classmates and professors who have real-world experiences in industries that interest me, as well as begin my internship in the Admissions Office.  As an Admissions intern, I look forward to helping you all in the near future!

I’m a second-year MALD student, and Fletcher has exceeded my expectations on an academic and personal level.  I have deepened my understanding of international affairs and sharpened my analytical skills with Fletcher’s interdisciplinary curriculum.  In addition, the professional experience and knowledge of Fletcher’s U.S. and international students have enriched my learning in the classroom.  Since my regional focus is the Middle East and South Asia, it is extremely useful to be able to have informative exchanges of viewpoints with international students from those areas.

Meanwhile, I have absolutely enjoyed living in the Boston region and developing an attachment to a historic and culturally rich region of our country.  From the Freedom Trail and the historic and narrow streets of Boston, to the Sam Adams brewery and the beautiful seasonal foliage, I have come to love the Northeast.  At the same time, the opportunity to learn and live with Fletcher’s international student body has expanded my knowledge of, and admiration for, the different cultures (and foods) represented here.

I am happy to be working for the Admissions Office, and it is a joy to explain to prospective students the benefits that Fletcher can offer in academics and a vibrant spirit of community.

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I’m sure that advice columnists exist in every culture, but a particularly well-known practitioner of the genre in the U.S. is Dear Abby.  Well, the Dear Abby of the Fletcher Admissions intern team is Ariel, who masterfully answers the many emails sent to the Fletcher Admissions address whenever she reports to work in the office.  Today I’m launching “Ariel’s FAQs,” which I hope will be a regular feature.  Ariel is going to send me the questions (and answers) commonly on the mind of applicants for each week.  Here’s the first.

Dear Ariel:  Who should write my recommendation letters? And can I send my recommendation letters by mail?

We suggest that at least one letter come from a faculty member, academic dean, or an advisor familiar with your academic performance.  In addition, at least one letter should come from a professional supervisor, mentor, or colleague. The third recommender is up to you!  Choose someone you think can best speak to your preparedness and suitability for study at The Fletcher School.

We prefer that you use the online recommendation system included with our online application. Please instruct your recommenders to set any spam filters to allow all emails from, as this address will be used to communicate with them throughout the recommendation process.

Though we strongly prefer use of the online recommendation system, you may also print recommendation forms from the Supplemental Forms section of the online application and have your recommenders submit their letters in hard copy in a sealed envelope. Because things might get lost or delayed in the mail, we consider the online system the best way to submit your recommendation letters!

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To take care of those last minute questions, we’ve set up three pre-deadline online chats.  The first — timed for January 2013 applicants, but open to everyone — will take place next Wednesday, October 10 at 11:00 a.m.  The second — timed for Early Notification applicants for September 2013 admission, but, again, open to everyone — is scheduled for Wednesday, November 7 at 11:00 a.m.  The final deadline-linked chat will keep our fingers flying on Friday, January 4 at 12:00 noon.

The chats are often a crazy jumble of questions and answers.  Of course, you can always have your questions answered by checking our website, giving us a call, or sending us an email.  The main advantage of the chats is that you not only can have your own questions answered, but you can also learn what other people are asking.

To join us, go to our chat login page.  Make sure that you have Java enabled on your computer before you try to join the chat.

Two related notes:  First, we hold “online office hours” most Wednesdays at 11:00 a.m., and you’re always welcome to send along a question then.  Second, all the times listed are for the U.S. East Coast time zone.  Until November 4, 2012 when we end “daylight savings time,” we’re at GMT-4.  After November 4, we’ll be at GMT-5.


It would be entirely frivolous for Admissions staff members to emphasize their role as match-makers.  First, making matches is not an appropriate use of our time.  Second, once we admit students, we can’t control who meets whom.

And yet…many students meet their spouses while at Fletcher, and I have decided to take credit for the happiness of two 2012 grads.  I first met Ho-Ming in 2007, when she visited for an interview before she applied to Fletcher and, later, deferred her enrollment.  Then, in the fall of 2009, I interviewed Aaron.  Probably, I didn’t have wedded bliss in mind as I spoke to them as applicants.  Probably.  But just maybe, I knew, in the depths of my subconscious, that here were two prospective students who were meant for each other.

I think it’s fair to say that Ho-Ming and Aaron left campus after graduation in May with a lot of balls in the air, creating some uncertainty in their lives, but one thing was clear — they were going to drive cross-country before embarking on the next phase.  So they bought an old van (Volkswagon Vanagon to be precise), adopted a puppy (Bean), and headed west.  Along the way, they eloped!

Here they are, with Bean and the van:

And here they are, in Chicago, looking all married:

And now they’re in Indonesia, where Aaron has a job and Ho-Ming (last I heard) seemed well on her way to landing one of her own.

After I emailed Ho-Ming to ask if I could write about her and Aaron in the blog, she gave me the o.k. and noted that she had recently seen a photo of Fletcher alumni in Washington, DC and that there were four Fletcher couples from her year alone.  “Definitely something about Fletcher,” she wrote.  But most of those couples, I’ll guess, didn’t elope and then travel halfway around the world.

If, like me, you have a soft spot for happy endings, you can read more about the elopement here.  And I should note that I borrowed the photos from that website, which credits them to “I Luv Photo.”

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