Prospective students always ask about the path to Fletcher from wherever they are in their education or professional life.  Today I’m introducing first-year MIB student, Scott Snyder, the next participant in the blog’s Student Stories feature, and I’m going to do so by walking you through his résumé.  Scott and I sat down recently to talk about the different intertwined factors that led him to enroll at Fletcher last fall.  Though résumés generally flow reverse chronologically, my goal is to walk you from start to finish, so let’s start with Scott’s undergraduate education.

Union College, Schenectady, NY; BA in political science, minor in history, June 2004
Research Assistant – Political Science Research Grant, Summer 2003
Semester Abroad, University of Ireland, Galway

Scott was a political  science major with an international relations focus.  His thesis was on the war in Iraq.  He also had the opportunity to participate in an internship that turned into an independent study project.

Office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Albany, NY; Intern, September 2003-March 2004
•    Organized conference involving Senator Clinton, the mayors of five major Upstate New York cities and their economic development staff, federal government officials, and business and economic development experts, to discuss the Renewal Community program.

Scott’s supervisor always required interns to take on a project, and Scott’s was to consider how the Renewal Community program (a piece of domestic economic development legislation) was implemented in the area near Union College.  The project led to the conference described above, a great introduction to politics, Scott said.

Margaret Walsh for Family Court Judge, Albany, NY; Campaign Manager, June-October, 2004
•    Managed a campaign that placed a progressive underdog judicial candidate in office.  Involved in all aspects of the campaign including development, communications, oversight of headquarters, and volunteer organization.

Once the internship was complete and Scott graduated from Union College, his internship supervisor helped him get a job with a candidate for a local judicial position.  Scott was thus the 22-year-old, nearly completely inexperienced, campaign manager.  Judge Walsh won the election.  The campaign reinforced Scott’s interest in politics.

What to do after the election?  Scott decided to move to Washington, DC, a fun place to be as a newly-minted graduate.

Campaign for America’s Future, Washington, DC; Program Assistant, April-October 2005 
•    Collaborated on Project for an Accountable Congress – a campaign to educate the public about ethical lapses of members of Congress, including paid media, press releases, constituent outreach, research and events.

Even as he worked at Campaign for America’s Future, Scott was planning his next step, which he thought would be the Peace Corps.  But having completed most of the Peace Corps application process, he decided instead to move to Norfolk, VA for a new opportunity.

Operation Smile, Inc., Norfolk, VA; Mission Coordinator, March 2006-February 2007
•    Administered pre-mission organization, on-the-ground logistics, and post-mission assessments for medical programs aimed at surgical repair for children with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities.  
•    Recruited and led international medical volunteers, coordinated local patients and families, and communicated with local hospitals and governments to perform over 125 surgeries in a 10-day period for each medical program, with an average of six missions per year in China, Kenya, Peru and Cambodia.

Scott didn’t know at the time that his year in Norfolk was only step one of a six-year career with Operation Smile.  In fact, Norfolk wasn’t exactly where he wanted to be, given that he had enjoyed living in DC, but his job required about six months of travel each year, and he was working with a great group of people.

Operation Smile was expanding, and he, along with another coordinator and friend, took positions with a new Hanoi office, requiring a two-year commitment.  Though based in Hanoi, he spent much of his time in other Asian locations.

Operation Smile, Inc., Hanoi, Vietnam; Regional Program Coordinator, February 2007-May 2009
•    Increased surgical productivity through logistical troubleshooting, staff development, and programmatic upgrades.  Conducted trainings for local staff in partner countries at headquarters in Vietnam and Norfolk, VA and in the field.

At the end of the two years in Hanoi, Scott decided to step away from Operation Smile.  He took some time to prepare for graduate school and consider other professional opportunities.  What he found was that his best opportunity was back with Operation Smile.

Operation Smile, Inc., Norfolk, VA; Senior Program Coordinator, November 2009-May 2010
•    Directed a scale-up medical program in Guwahati, India.  Created new initiative to be replicated around the world, which increased surgical capacity from 150 patients treated during a mission to 967 in a three-week period.
•    Facilitated program coordination for United States Navy Pacific Partnership.  Conducted two missions aboard the USNS Mercy Hospital Ship in Sihanoukville, Cambodia and Dili, Timor-Leste.

Scott had been thinking that he would go to business school, and he applied for enrollment in 2010.  Instead, he left Norfolk yet again, this time for China, where he was charged with smoothing the occasional cultural differences and communication problems between Operation Smile and their Chinese partner foundation.  Plus, he would gain experience in project management and fundraising, skills he wanted as he moved forward in his career.

Operation Smile, Inc., Beijing, China; Program Development Manger, May 2010-May 2012
•    Managed programmatic and development team of five in China.  Created and managed a $1.5 million budget per year, raised over $500,000 from companies and individuals within China, and oversaw the completion of more than 30 medical missions and 5,000 free surgeries performed.
•    Developed strategy and initiated execution of Operation Smile’s 20th Anniversary in China – The March of Smiles — involving medical conferences, fund raising galas, and medical programs that operated on over 3,000 children in 2011.

This time, Scott was really ready to pursue a graduate degree.  In fact, he applied in 2011 to Fletcher’s MIB program, having decided that the MIB’s blend of a core business curriculum and international relations courses was exactly what he needed.  It was the only program to which he applied — a risky strategy that worked out for him — and then he deferred his admission.  2011-2012 was an enjoyable year, especially because his grad school plan was in place.  He left Operation Smile in May 2012 and spent the summer in Beijing working on his language skills.

The Fletcher School, Tufts University, Medford, MA, 2012-2014
Master of Arts in International Business
•    Concentrations:  International Political Economy, Strategic Management, with China focus
•    Activities:  Non-Profit Sector Representative on Committee for Career Services, VP of ASEAN Society, International Development Group, Asia Club, Tufts Marathon Challenge

Scott is hoping to transition careers from global health to economic development, ideally at an international organization such as the World Bank.  What ultimately sold him on Fletcher was the great network of alumni at organizations that interest him, a network that he believes will be a stronger support in his future job search than having a more traditional degree, such as an MBA.  Meanwhile, he says he’s “learning a ton” and is getting great base knowledge in finance and accounting.  His only regret from last semester was that the transition back to the classroom was a challenge, and he didn’t take advantage of lectures and other special events, at least not as much as he would have liked.  He hopes to do more of that this spring.

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