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Continuing with the advice for incoming students provided by the Admissions Graduate Assistants, today we focus on preparing for the academic program.
Q: Whether you did it or not, what would you suggest incoming students do to prepare for their Fletcher studies?
Auyon: For students entering the MIB program, I suggest that you brush up on economics (a selection of suggested topics are usually sent to incoming students by the Registrar’s Office), complete the MBA math course to brush up on finance, accounting and stats, and try to be up-to-date on current affairs.
David: The summer before Fletcher is a great opportunity to “recharge the batteries” and get ready for graduate school. Once Orientation starts, your schedule will start getting jam-packed so it’s important to use the summer to take time to both reflect on your goals for graduate school, familiarize yourself with some of the courses that might interest you, and brush up on some of those quant and language skills. If you have taken any economics courses, I would be sure to review the most important economic concepts that you would cover in an introductory economics course. Same is to be said with statistics. I personally went through some of my notes from college and watched a few economic tutorials online from Khan Academy. Above all, relax and get excited about Fletcher!
Dristy: Rest, relax, and spend time with friends and family!
I would also encourage incoming students to brush up on their foreign language skills so that they don’t have to carve out time during the semester to prepare for the foreign language exam. Also, for those who intend on taking the economics and quantitative equivalency tests, I would encourage them to review that material as well. Since the equivalency exams take place during Orientation week, they may not have time to brush up on these before the exam.
And, I would encourage international students, especially those who have not lived in the U.S. before, to reach out to current international students to get useful insights and tips on how to navigate through some of the basics in the U.S., for example, where to buy bedding, personal care supplies, their costs, phone plans, etc.
Moni: The most valuable element you have before starting at The Fletcher School is time. Make the best of it by practicing your language, quantitative, and networking skills. Being part of the admitted students Facebook page makes it easier to reach out to incoming students who may reside close by and/or share similar interests! Most importantly, it is also a good resource to find housing. This period is also an opportunity to read what you like. While at Fletcher, you have a heavy reading load on fascinating topics that relate to your classes, but that leaves little time for unrelated readings. In this case, I recommend picking up a book by your favorite author, going out to a café or park, and getting swept away by a story of your choosing. You never know! Perhaps an incoming Fletcher student can recommend some good reads!
Ashley: I found it very helpful to familiarize myself with the various courses available and the requirements of my degree. There is a certain amount of self-advisement here when it comes to planning your academic path, and it helps to know the basics so that you can ask the more detailed questions when you need to. It was also a great way to think even further about where I wanted to go with my degree, so that when new opportunities and ideas presented themselves – as they will! – I had a good sense of not only whether it was worth considering, but also what other changes to my roadmap I might need or want to consider as well.
Tagged with: GA Advice
Before they left for their post-Fletcher lives (Moni and David) or their summer internships (Asley, Auyon, Dristy), I asked our Graduate Assistants (GAs), the student members of the Admissions Office staff, to share their wisdom with incoming students. I’ll be sharing their answers all through this week, in Q & A format.
Q: What should new students be sure to do while they’re here?
Ashley: Take one or ten of your new friends and go explore the area! Try to get into Boston from time to time and take advantage of both the city and the greater New England area for some quality bonding time off-campus and outside of Medford/Somerville. For instance, I went with a few friends on a bike ride down the Minute Man trail in the fall, and it was so nice to get away for the day and get to know a few folks better outside of the classes, group projects, and speaker series.
David: Hit the ground running! There are so many ways to get involved once you arrive at Fletcher. Take advantage of those opportunities to get involved in the Fletcher community and to take on a leadership role. Become a club president or take charge of organizing a panel for a conference. The two years at Fletcher will go by super fast, so make the most of your time here! Also, academics are important, but the relationships you develop with your peers are equally important, as you’ll find that it is your classmates who you will turn to for guidance and support during the next two years and after Fletcher.
Dristy: Try to meet as many incoming students as possible. Once classes start, you will notice that we will each have our own “dance routines” and there are always so many interesting talks, discussions and events to attend at Fletcher. So I encourage new students to use the orientation week to meet each other and the second years who are around. Definitely take advantage of Shopping Day to choose your courses.
Moni: Get involved as much as possible. There are so many great opportunities on campus to organize events, conferences and gatherings on topics of interest to you or causes you believe in. Join a student club, or lead the club, and partake in gatherings inside and outside of the Fletcher community, such as social mixers, cross-school conferences and treks (educational trips). As a Fletcher student, you are also able to cross-register at other schools in the area — take advantage of this unique option and experience all the schools’ varied cultures! You are only as limited as you allow yourself to be, so get out there!
Tagged with: GA Advice
Well. What can I possibly say that I haven’t said before on the occasion of Commencement, an event with which I have a love-hate relationship. I love all the joy associated with sending wonderful people off to do terrific things. And the ceremony itself — so joyous. I shed a few tears of happiness every year.
And hate is a strong word. The wrong word, in fact. I certainly don’t hate Commencement, but I am annually struck by the bittersweet nature of the event. We in Admissions know that our closest Fletcher friends will be with us for only a couple of years, but we treasure them while they’re here. Admissions Ambassadors, members of the Admissions Committee, Interview Volunteers, and our amazing Graduate Assistants (looking at you, David and Moni!) — the students who keep us in the know about the heart of life at Fletcher. We so enjoy interacting with them, and we’re sorry that our relationship will change.
But change it must, as they transition from students to alumni. And all we can hope (expect! demand!) is that they will stay in touch.
So, to my friends in the Class of 2016, keep us posted! Drop a line now and then. “Friend” us. Link us in. We want to hear from you. After all, the true satisfaction in Admissions work comes at the far end, when we send you off into the world to do those things you wrote about in your application essays. I can’t wait to receive your updates!
For now, BIG congratulations to you and your families, and all best wishes as you move along to your post-Fletcher life!
Tagged with: Commencement
What do bubble soccer, a brewery tour, a “Bechdel Test” party, and “Acro-yoga” have in common? They’re all among the student-led activities scheduled for this week during Dis-Orientation, the natural unofficial counterpoint to August’s official Orientation program. Like thesis haikus, Dis-O is one of those traditions that popped up one year and has been retained ever since. And there’s a very full schedule! Nearly every time block from 9:00 a.m. to midnight is booked with outings, parties, or opportunities to hang out with friends playing video or board games. Sometimes two activities in the same block (Red Sox or Davis Square bar night — how to choose?). The week’s activities will wrap up on Thursday night, after which graduating students can turn their attention to graduation rehearsals, visiting relatives, and packing their stuff. Commencement is nearly here!
Tagged with: Dis-O
An enduring tradition, the “thes-ku.” For many years now, a graduating student has come forward to unleash the flood of procrastination-inducing capstone-inspired poetry. The concept: capture the content of your capstone in haiku format (that is, three lines with five, seven, and five syllables). Please find below a sampling of the capstone titles and related thes-kus. Note that many, but not all, students write a traditional thesis to fulfill the capstone requirement. Also note that I have snagged these off the Social List and am sharing them without attribution, but without objection from their writers.
One student wrote that she “mostly wrote a thesis just so I could summarize it in haiku format.” Whether that’s 100% true or not, her thes-ku leads the collection:
Wired for Geopolitics: Incentives Shaping Technology Companies’ International Policy Decisions
Google runs the world
Because they want more profit?
It’s not that simple.
War Without Weapons: A History of International Politics in Sport and the Future of North Korea
Sports matter to Kim
Let’s play together!
Systematically Seeking Shared Value: An Analysis of USAID Public-Private Partnerships
Once about leverage
Now shared value is our thing
Finding it is hard
Promoting Pluralism or Patronage?: Parliamentary Electoral System Design in Timor-Leste
East Timor elects
Few parties despite system.
Pacts spread patronage.
The Role of Congress in Offensive Cyber Operations
No one likes Congress
Cyber is so hot right now
…Checks and balances?
Fractured Lives: Personal Narratives of the Chinese Cultural Revolution
Parents’ old stories
Have historical value
Who would’ve thunk it?
Feminism on the Field: Changing Attitudes about Girls’ Soccer in Southern Morocco
Girls play soccer too
Attitudes are hard to change
These girls are badass
Doing Harm: How Humanitarian Organizations Have Exacerbated Identity Conflict in Myanmar’s Rakhine State
Conflict is the worst
Could be the worst-est.
From the Jamba to Christian Dior: Fashion Trends and Regime Preservation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Kim likes fashion
Don’t be hatin’ on his vogue
It’s all political
Paying for Performance: Policy Reform to Improve Maternal and Child Health Outcomes in Rural Bihar
Sometimes it just ain’t enough
Systems change vital.
The PPA Crutch: The Implications of Renewable Energy Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) in New England. Lessons Learned from Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA) Independent Power Producers (IPP)
Power Purchase Agreements
While solar price drops.
Life after Salesforce: User Adoption and Implementation Strategy from Social Impact Organizations
Cloud computing what
UTAUT for who
Fletcher can speak tech
The Business Case for Sustainability: Developing an Environmental Vision and Strategy at a Privately-Held Retailer
Climate change is real
You’re pretty late to the game
Let’s convince your boss
Energy is Power: The Role of Oil in Self-Determination Movements with Case Studies on Iraqi Kurdistan and Greenland
Oil runs the world
revenues or resource curse
it creates new states?
A Blend in 21st Century Warfare: The Balance of Deterrence vs. Provocation
Putin Rides Big Bears
Russia is reemerging
NATO is worried
Promoting Pluralism or Patronage?: Parliamentary Electoral System Design in Timor-Leste
East Timor elects
Few parties despite system.
Pacts spread patronage.
What is Missed When Measured: A Systematic Review of Sexual and Gender-based Violence in Conflict-Affected Populations
Such a mouthful. Hard to rhyme.
Don’t forget the men.
Survival in the Frontier Borderlands: Widespread and Opportunistic Violence, Governance, and Livelihoods in the Karamoja Cluster
Guns be a’flowin’
Cattle raided, crops stolen
State can’t stop us now
Last, but not least, as the haiku is a revered Japanese poetry form, we have a contribution from a Japanese student, who noted that a true haiku should refer to the seasons, and who implied that this is not her best-ever haiku effort.
The United Nations, Peacekeeping Operations and Assisting Sustainable Rule of Law
背中押す （せなかおす：Se Na Ka O Su）
法の治めし （ほうのおさめし：Ho U No O Sa Me Shi）
国づくり (くにづくり：Ku Ni Zu Ku Ri)
Let them build RoL
No imposition, it’s culture
A long and winding road
Three student bloggers will graduate on Sunday, Alex, Aditi, and Ali. They’ve all been particularly great to work with and I’ll miss them! You can expect to see their words of farewell in the coming weeks, after they have graduated and had a chance to process their experience. For today, we have Alex’s Annotated Curriculum for his two years in the MIB program.
Strategy Consultant, Monitor Deloitte in Washington, DC
General Manager, Valsek Nutritional Foods in Addis Ababa
Fields of Study
International Energy Studies (self-designed Field of Study)
International Finance and Banking
The PPA Crutch: The Implications of Renewable Energy Power Purchase Agreements in New England (Advisor: Professor Kelly Sims Gallagher)
Post-Fletcher Professional Goals
Develop business models and financing mechanisms to bring renewable energy to scale in new markets
Foundations in Financial Accounting and Corporate Finance
Financial Statement Management
Strategic Management (½ credit, Summer pre-session)
The Arts of Communication
Climate Change and Clean Energy Policy
Managing Operations in Global Companies: How the World’s Best Companies Operate (Audit)
My first semester was all about laying the groundwork for a meaningful time at Fletcher. The core MIB classes, especially Finance, helped our cohort develop the key business skills necessary to be successful at Fletcher and beyond. Perhaps more importantly, taking a few classes as a group really brought the MIB class together, which has been invaluable both academically and personally. I also greatly enjoyed my elective classes like Communication and Clean Energy Policy, as mentioned in previous posts, and the professors have turned into great mentors over time.
International Business Strategy & Operations
Political Economy & Business of the EU
Engineering, Economics, and Regulation of the Electric Power Sector (at MIT)
Global Private Equity: From Money In to Money Out (Audit)
In my second semester, I finished up my MIB requirements and started to delve deeper into my energy concentration. My business classes felt very much like B-School, in terms of the content they covered and the hard skills they built, with one big difference: I was taking them at an international affairs school. As such, my professors and classmates brought an incredible depth and breadth of international experience to bear, and the policy context was always discussed. I also took an enlightening Electric Power Sector class with a bunch of engineers at MIT, which really got me into the nitty-gritty details of how power systems work. Also, Fletcher’s Center for International Environment and Resource Policy sponsored me to go to an energy conference at which I was able to wrangle an internship during the semester at Commonwealth Bay, a wind-energy private equity firm, where I performed market analysis and due diligence on wind projects.
One of my professors introduced me to BlueWave Renewables, a solar-energy developer, where I got an exciting opportunity to apply what I had been learning in my classes and to gain further exposure to the thriving cleantech ecosystem in Boston. As discussed in my previous post, I helped build out a platform for community solar, a new business model designed to bring solar to the three quarters of Americans who cannot own their own solar panels. Thanks to my business and energy classes, I was able to hit the ground running and make an impact in a short period of time.
International Business Transactions
Large Investment and International Project Finance
Petroleum in the Global Economy
Leadership: Building Teams, Organizations, and Shaping Your Path
The Art and Science of Statecraft
The third semester was my first opportunity to truly cast a wide net across the amazing diversity of classes offered at Fletcher. International Business Transactions covered topics such as contract law, which, although it may sound dry, is where “the rubber hits the road” in business; I discovered this when I was starting a business in Ethiopia, and it is one of the reasons I decided to come to Fletcher. Project Finance and Petroleum complemented each other very well, and contributed to my Field of Study requirements. Leadership, which was taught by a great professor on loan from the Harvard Business School, provided a valuable soft-skill counterpoint to more analytical courses I had taken so far. Finally, Statecraft was an interesting foray into the mental models of one of our well-known professors, renowned equally for his colorful analogies and for his direct language. On top of all this, I also worked with the wonderful Fletcher Social Investment Group to lead a team of classmates on a consulting engagement for EverVest, a renewable energy financial analysis software startup.
Energy, Entrepreneurship, and Finance
International Energy Policy
Political Economy and Business Context of Latin America
International Financial Management
Management, Finance, and Regulation of Public Infrastructure in Developing Countries (at Harvard)
My fourth and final semester has been great because the foundation I have built up over the last year and a half has enabled me to engage with the material in a way I could not have done before. My two energy classes are a nice culmination to the thrust of my studies here, and indeed they provide timely input as I wrap up my thesis for the capstone requirement. International Financial Management, affectionately dubbed “Jacques Deux” after the French-American professor who has taught a notorious regimen of finance classes for decades, proved to be as difficult and enlightening as promised. The Infrastructure class at the Harvard Kennedy School has provided another good perspective on the matter, and a chance to meet new like-minded people. Finally, I have supplemented my studies by conducting energy policy research for a Fletcher alumnus at EnergySage, an online marketplace for solar.
I am excited by my prospects post-Fletcher, but know that I will be sad to leave this place. Throughout my two years here, I have had the pleasure to work with supportive professors and a diverse yet cohesive set of classmates. As demonstrated above, Fletcher has also consistently opened doors for me, both at other top-tier schools and at cool companies. I know I will look back fondly on my time here, and now understand more and more why the Fletcher community is so strong.
I’m always amazed and impressed at how Fletcher students organize their lives. They all have a full slate of academic commitments, but they also want to engage with the community in many ways. For student blogger Adnan, the School’s traditional “culture nights” have been a highlight throughout the year.
On an April weekend evening, for the first time in my life, I stuck my face in a pie. It felt funny, but tasted really good. Sadly, there was no time to savor the chunky apple filling because I only had a minute to eat as much of it as I could — without using my hands — as my friends watched and cheered. While struggling to finish, I learned an important lesson: having dinner before entering a pie-eating contest is not the best idea. (In my defense, the barbequed chicken, mac and cheese, and corn bread served earlier were hard to resist.) I lost, but the experience is one I will likely remember fondly for many years to come. A few minutes later, I was all cleaned up and back on stage for my first-ever swing dance performance, which was reminiscent of scenes from the 1978 Hollywood blockbuster, Grease. April is a particularly busy time of the year, so I hardly had time to practice, but a few lessons from my very talented classmates made me performance-worthy. Or so I hope. And thankfully, the motion didn’t trigger my digestive tract into reverse action.
Like the four culture nights before it, Americana Night, the last one for the year, was a huge success. Culture nights have been one of the highlights of my Fletcher experience, and I’m proud to have performed in all but one of them. Performances feature students in dances, songs, fashion shows, poetry recitals, trivia quizzes, and skits that give their classmates a glimpse of the region being honored. And the variety of ethnic food that’s served gets us lined up in a queue that often wraps the entire venue. The year kicked off with Asia Night in October. Given the region’s rich diversity, the evening’s entertainment ranged from Indonesian pop songs to classical Nepalese dance. I participated in a Bollywood dance segment, and it was heartening to see the enthusiasm with which my international friends learned each step. Their bhangra moves would easily put many of my friends back home in Pakistan to shame.
Fiesta Latina in November was my personal favorite because I got to learn salsa. It’s something I had always wanted to do, so I was particularly diligent about practice, and ended up performing better than I had expected.
Mediterranean & European Night in February saw performances ranging from flamenco and belly dance to dabke, hora, and even a chest-hair competition. I sang a French pop song with a group of Francophone friends. People who asked me afterward were surprised to learn that I don’t speak French. At Africana Night in March, it was good to only be a part of the audience for a change and watch my classmates perform dances like batuku and kuduro while enjoying goat curry and injera.
Not only do culture nights celebrate the diversity of our community in a manner that is inclusive and fun, they’re a Fletcher tradition that reflects the school’s spirit like few other events do. On the one hand students take ownership of the cultural traditions they are most familiar with to ensure things are done right; on the other, they sign up to learn whatever they find exciting. Performance leaders generously lend their time to teach and practice with their peers until they’re ready to be on stage. We also lend and borrow ethnic clothing items to help each other build outfits and costumes for performances. In many ways, culture nights embody what Fletcher represents: learning through engaging and sharing, and having a good time doing it.
Even as 2016 graduates are submitting their Capstone Projects, some of 2017’s grads have already selected a topic for theirs. Professor Amar Bhidé recently informed the community that he is compiling a “‘library’ of case studies on successful medical innovations,” as part of a study of medical advances. He invited students to work on a case study, individually or as part of a team, for a Capstone. The list of innovations from which they can select includes such topics as:
Bone marrow transplant
H. Pylori testing and treatment
Hip and knee replacement
HIV testing and treatment
Inhaled steroids for asthma
MRI and CT scanning
NSAIDs and Cox-2 inhibitors
Ultrasonography including echocardiography
These aren’t the typical Fletcher topics, but for the right students, they could be the start of a very interesting Capstone.
Tagged with: Capstone
As I wrote last fall, my favorite unofficial Fletcher event of the year was the four-part series that second-year MALD student Abhishek Maity offered on “The Beauty of Mathematics.” The topics for the sessions were:
The Language of Nature: Fractals!
The Inanity of Infinity
What are Numbers? Reality and Chaos
The Ancients: From the Vedas to Al-Jebr
Maity (as he prefers to be called) shared the YouTube playlist of the recorded talks with the community. I encourage you to give them a look! (If you do, you’ll see that he designed the playlist to be private. He agreed that I could share it with blog readers.)
Although the videos aren’t perfect, I’m sharing them because of what they meant to me — a student dedicated a lot of time to preparing and presenting, and an audience of other students attended, despite the tenuous link between the content and their Fletcher studies. There are many examples of students sharing knowledge with students, but there’s usually a more direct utility to the information. In this case, Maity presented the series simply to share his love of mathematics with others.
The first post of Annual Reports from student organizations helped me draw a few more. I always divide student organizations broadly between those that have a curricular link and those that have their focus squarely on relaxation. I’m sure you’ll figure out where the following three groups fall.
Fletcher Social Investment Group
The Fletcher Social Investment Group (FSIG) will soon wrap up its second year on Fletcher campus. FSIG is a student-run group dedicated to the study and practice of impact investing and the development of the next generation of social investment leaders. To accomplish this goal, FSIG focuses on three core competencies: advisory services to social enterprises, investment analysis and due diligence for angel investors, and research and education on impact investing.
Over the past academic year, FSIG has provided advisory services to 10 clients, including assisting with a market entry strategy for a renewable energy analytics firm and a business development strategy for a mobile provider of produce in food deserts. FSIG has also partnered with two angel investor collaboratives to provide support in the due diligence process. These engagements have allowed students to develop their skill sets while addressing business and investor challenges, providing them with hands-on experience with investment cycles and consulting approaches.
FSIG has also taken a lead in providing impact investing education here at Fletcher. FSIG led groups through a series of Acumen courses on business and financial skills for the social sector, as well as organized a set of trainings featuring faculty experts. FSIG also co-hosted the Impact Investing and Community Finance Conference, featuring speakers from Goldman Sachs, Acumen, and Third Sector Capital Partners. A group of FSIG members participated in the MBA Impact Investing Network and Training (MIINT) competition held at the Wharton School, with students sourcing and conducting due diligence on early stage impact investment opportunities to present to an investment committee of judges. Finally, FSIG produces the Investing in Impact podcast, which can be found on iTunes or on the FSIG website.
As it prepares for next year, FSIG is eager to strengthen relationships with the Tufts community and with other local partners. To help develop a pipeline of prospective clients and projects, FSIG will have an intern working closely with Fletcher’s Institute for Business in the Global Context this summer. To partner with FSIG moving forward or keep up with its work, please visit FSIG.org.
Fletcher’s Net Impact Club
Ben Costigan and Harper Gay
Fletcher’s Net Impact Club aims to inspire, educate, and equip members to use the power of business to create a socially and environmentally sustainable world. We strive to create an environment and community that ensures all Fletcher students graduate thinking about their social impact, whatever career path they chose.
Net Impact is a network of 95,000+ students and professionals from over 300 chapters worldwide who are collectively committed to thinking about four key issues and their relation to the business world: (1) sustainable food and agriculture; (2) social justice; (3) transportation and mobility; and (4) energy and the environment. Fletcher Net Impact is one of the 69 graduate chapters to receive “gold status,” demonstrating that we are leading the way for Net Impact’s global network.
Our chapter actively collaborates with other Boston-area student and professional Net Impact chapters to provide access to events and speakers; internship and job opportunities; technical trainings and certification programs; and a like-minded community to empower students dedicated to achieving positive social and environmental impact through their lives and careers.
Some highlights from the past year include: a site visit to BJ’s Wholesale Club to learn about quality assurance and supply chain sustainability; a networking Happy Hour with local chapters; a roundtable with leading female entrepreneurs from the Boston area; a Global Reporting Initiative Certification Workshop; and a Career Summit panel on ESG Investing.
Jesse Simmons and Liam Connolly
On Friday evenings every fall, Fletcher students close their books and start the weekend by hollering themselves hoarse in support of the Fletcher Fútbol team. Playing in front of the beloved “Fletcher Hooligans,” Fletcher Fútbol is a co-ed all-inclusive club that plays competitively against other graduate schools in the Boston Graduate Soccer League, including MIT Sloan, Harvard Kennedy School, and Harvard Business School.
For 90 blissful minutes each week, Fletcher Fútbol offers students of all walks, commitments, beliefs, and dispositions the opportunity to escape from their daily travails through the therapy of long balls, short passes, cutting runs, and collective exaltation. Fletcher Fútbol is the Fletcher School’s foremost Sports Diplomacy practitioners club. We believe in using the world’s most common language — soccer — to connect students from around the world through a common love of the beautiful game.
Fletcher Fútbol is a cultural, athletic, and therapeutic cornerstone of the Fletcher community. Fletcher’s 2016 team cheer — “I don’t have friends because all I’ve got is family” — highlights the unity, community, and passion with which their players wear the orange and white.
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