Orientation wraps up today and classes begin next week. Faculty members have been spotted in the building, heading off to a meeting or joining new students for lunch. But for us, a key marker of the start of the fall semester comes next week, when the Admissions staff will start three months when, on most days, someone will be on the road.
Broadly speaking, we travel for three reasons. The first is to participate in graduate school fairs, generally all of those organized by APSIA and a few organized by Idealist or by business school-related groups.
Second, we travel to universities and other sites — throughout the U.S. and a revolving list of international destinations — with a few friendly peers. These “Group of Five” trips, including Fletcher, Princeton/Woodrow Wilson, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins/SAIS, and Columbia/SIPA, might find representatives of each school in a plane or a van together en route to a week of visits.
And finally, we’ll travel to a few universities or workplaces throughout the year, but not with any particular guiding structure. Sometimes a university invites us. Sometimes we want to learn more about a school whose graduates have applied in significant numbers.
Maybe we’ll be traveling to a site near you! You can find our travel schedule on our website. Check back often — the list is still skeletal, but we’ll be filling it in over the coming weeks.
I was recently emailing back and forth with Atanas, a 2015 graduate, and he told me that Fletcher folk (mostly alumni) in New York would be gathering for a picnic last Saturday. You can be sure that I didn’t let a moment pass before writing back to ask for a photo. So here are 20-plus Fletcher people and one dog, gathered in New York’s Bryant Park on a beautiful summer evening, after the other 20-plus people had left (or before they arrived). 40 to 50 picnickers in total! Go Fletcher-in-NY!
When I was walking from my bus to Fletcher this morning, I was struck by how lovely the campus looks. We’ve had a hot and dry summer, but this morning was cool and clear — a taste of what September and the fall will bring.
Though the weather and Orientation have us looking toward the fall semester, today I’m going to look back at some of the summer’s news that you may or may not have seen in other Fletcher sources.
I’ll start with something you won’t have read, but it’s pretty cool. Tufts will have an observer team at the United Nations climate negotiations (COP 22) in Marrakech, Morocco in November, and students were invited to apply to participate. The team at the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy will submit the nominations for official observer status.
And speaking of CIERP, the crew there is always busy in the summer. Mieke van der Wansem, F90, associate director for educational programs at CIERP, spent part of her summer with an international group of sustainability professionals at an executive education course organized by the Sustainability Challenge Foundation in the Netherlands. She co-led the faculty of the International Programme on the Management of Sustainability, which focused on negotiation and consensus building.
Not new CIERP news, but a new wrap up — check out this Tufts Now story on the Paris Climate Conference.
Continuing with the staff/faculty theme, Professor Cheyanne Scharbatke-Church told us about a new blog on corruption in fragile states that, she wrote, touches on many areas of interest to the Fletcher community, including “power analysis, systems thinking, aid ineffectiveness, good governance, fragile states etc.” She also explained that many of the posts are derived from work that Professor Diana Chigas and she are doing, “looking at the intersection of corruption, justice and legitimacy.”
In news from the Institute for Business in the Global Context, Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti, PhD student Ravi Shankar Chaturvedi, and MALD/PhD graduate Ben Mazzotta, have posed the question, “What countries would benefit most from a cashless world?” Their answer, which builds on the work of their Digital Evolution Index and the Cost of Cash research, can be found in their Harvard Business Review article that evaluates “the absolute costs of using cash around the globe to find what countries could unlock the most value by moving to a cashless society.”
And now some summer news about alumni.
Christina Sass, F09, is one of four co-founders of the two-year-old startup company, Andela, which is now backed by both Google and the Chan-Zuckerberg Foundation. So many of our students and alumni work with small organizations, and it’s exciting to see one receive so much love!
Since graduating, Patrick Kabanda, F13, has been busy writing on cultural development for the World Bank, including “Creative Natives in the Digital Age”, “Music for Development in the Digital Age”, “The Arts, Africa and Economic Development: The problem of Intellectual Property Rights,” “Mozart seduces the World Bank and the IMF” (a blog post), and just recently, for the Inter-American Development Bank, “‘The World Sends Us Garbage, We Send Back Music’: Lessons from the Recycled Orchestra in Paraguay.”
And finally, Fletcher has developed a series of video answers to the question, “Why Fletcher?” This summer, Elise Crane, F11, offered her perspective.
And just like that, the quiet of summer is a thing of the past and the Hall of Flags is filled with students, newly arrived for Orientation. They’ve picked up their ID cards, been welcomed by Tufts University’s president and several Fletcher deans, and are currently relaxing over lunch. We hope the break will fortify them in advance of the afternoon’s briefings on myriad essential topics.
Orientation isn’t all critical-fact gathering — most evenings include a social event. But it’s a busy week that should leave the newest members of our community with a suitcase of essential background information, along with familiarity with the campus and a bunch of new friends.
Tagged with: Orientation
Given that it’s been almost three months since graduation, I realize that my “farewell” post for the Fletcher Admissions blog is coming a little late. The past three months seem like a whirlwind, and I haven’t yet had a chance to take a breath and fully process them or reflect on my time at Fletcher as much as I would like. This is because, in addition to graduation, a lot of other things have changed for me — I got married, started a new job, temporarily moved back home, and am now preparing to move to a new city.
Graduation weekend was a great opportunity to meet everyone’s families and raise a champagne toast (or several!) to the past two years. The speakers were all incredible, and it was amazing to see some of my classmates stand in front of hundreds of people and deliver inspiring speeches about our time at Fletcher. As fun as the weekend was, it was also bittersweet: saying goodbye to friends and professors and leaving my home for the past two years wasn’t easy. At the same time, I couldn’t help but feel very excited for the next phase of my life, and everything I had to look forward to, including a new job, a new city, and a new husband!
After graduation weekend and my wedding, I headed home to Mumbai, where I was fortunate to start my new job at Vera Solutions while I wait for approval of my paperwork to move to Geneva, Switzerland. Vera Solutions is a consulting company that builds technology solutions for social sector clients. Given that it has offices in both Mumbai and Geneva, it was a perfect opportunity for me to learn the ropes, with the added bonus of getting to spend time with family and friends at home. I also had the chance to connect with some Fletcher folk living in Mumbai, as well as to represent Fletcher at a coffee hour for prospective students.
Although I still feel as though the full impact of my time at Fletcher hasn’t sunk in, I’m glad that I was able to find a job using the skill sets — in technology, monitoring and evaluation, public speaking and presentation, and accurate data analysis — that I had wanted to gain from my MALD. The past two years weren’t easy, and definitely came with their fair share of stress and anxiety, but I feel that my experience at Fletcher was all that I had hoped for in the beginning, giving me solid technical skills, amazing learning opportunities both in the classroom and outside, and a wonderful set of friends all over the world.
Returning to the tips that the Admissions staff offered this summer at my request, Liz, Theresa, Laurie, Lucas, and Kristen build on Dan’s tip from last week. As a reminder, I asked my Admissions family to complete the sentence, Something I would want Fletcher applicants to know is…
Liz: Use Your Resources
As an applicant to Fletcher, you likely have a lot of resources for gathering information about the School. You may have personal connections (professors, friends, mentors) who suggest Fletcher as a good fit for your goals and interests. You may also have access to our social media channels, this blog, for example! — not to mention Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube. You also have our print publications (which you can download here) and the Fletcher website. We even have a “frequently asked questions” section, which ideally will answer many of the questions you have. Something, I’d like Fletcher applicants to know is that we hope that you’ll use these resources! Of course we welcome questions by phone or email, but with all these good sources of information, a little “research” may help you find the answer to simple questions such as “when is the deadline?” That way, when you do email us (which we hope you will) you can ask us questions that aren’t easily answered with a quick check of our website. So please, if you can’t find what you’re looking for when gathering info about Fletcher, contact us!! But don’t forget to use your resources first!
Theresa: Prepare for your Admissions interview
Once you’ve made the decision to visit the Admissions Office for an interview, there are things that should be top of mind prior to your arrival. First, remember that you are coming to the Admissions Office for an evaluative interview — which means that, through your conversation, you are being evaluated. While we are not expecting you to arrive dressed for a Hollywood red carpet event, we also think you can do better than showing up in athletic gear or sleepwear type clothing and sneakers. The sweet spot is normally categorized as business casual — a step down from business formal but not completely casual. My second suggestion, perhaps obvious, is that you should be prepared for the interview. This means being ready to discuss the finer points of your background and experience. Remember, too, that your résumé is a concise summary of your skills and experience and should not go much beyond two pages. (If it’s currently significantly longer than that, you should seriously consider a revision. Overly long résumés stand out for the wrong reasons.) Last, try to relax. There is no trickery involved in the interview. We are genuinely interested in hearing about what makes you a good match for Fletcher! And all of these tips apply to interviews via Skype, too!
Laurie: The spring is a window of opportunity
There is no question that the admissions process is time consuming and at times a bit overwhelming for both applicants and the Admissions Committee. We know (and very much appreciate!) that applicants spend an enormous amount of time writing personal statements, chasing recommenders, taking standardized tests, collecting transcripts, and filling out forms. As a result, there is a natural tendency to breathe a sigh of relief and take a break after submitting applications. But don’t relax for too long. What some candidates underestimate is the amount of time it may take to make a final enrollment decision. The time in between submitting your applications and waiting to hear from schools is a tremendous window of opportunity to research and plan. Admissions decisions are typically released in mid-to-late March and candidates have roughly a month to select the graduate program at which they’ll enroll. That month often involves campus visits, many conversations and emails, tons of research, and ironing out financial aid details. While this should be a time of happiness and celebration, I have often witnessed stressed-out admitted students who find themselves scrambling during this period. Therefore, my advice to all candidates is to really take advantage of the down-time between submitting your applications in January and receiving your admissions decision in March, to continue your research, plan your finances, and be prepared to make an important decision.
Lucas: Call on the experts to find the right fit
Something I would want Fletcher applicants to know is… one of the best ways to determine if our program is a good fit for your personal and professional goals is to hear from a variety of people with differing perspectives on Fletcher. Current students, alumni, faculty, and staff members will all have unique insight into the Fletcher experience. Just as our team evaluates each applicant to Fletcher, you should also use these and other resources to assess how Fletcher aligns with your personal goals, curricular interests, and professional aspirations. Take advantage of a campus visit to grab coffee with a student and sit in on a class, or seek out alumni to shed light on their experience here!
Kristen: There’s no such thing as a perfect applicant!
I’ve been working here at Fletcher for over a decade now (yikes!), and through the process of reading lots of people’s stories, I can tell you that there’s no such thing as a perfect applicant. Because of that, we don’t judge people against a single yardstick of perfection, but rather try to understand what makes YOU tick, and what qualities YOU bring to the table. What this means is that while very, very good applicants may still have weaknesses, they don’t try to hide them or make excuses, but rather thoroughly and efficiently give us a straightforward explanation. In many cases, the best applications aren’t fancy, aren’t overly sales-y, and don’t strive to make the applicants look perfect. Rather, they answer the questions, provide the information, and show a thoughtfulness in explaining the many sides — professional, academic, and personal — of the applicant. What am I trying to say here? Don’t try to trick us or become someone you are not! Be you. That’s what we’re looking for in the application.
I’m just back from a few days away and while I scramble to take care of those matters that await me, I will put the blog aside for one more day. Except…I love sharing pix of my local vacations. So here’s what we found at low tide at Cape Cod National Seashore’s Coast Guard Beach:
Seals! I was standing quite a distance away because the seals were on a patch of sand surrounded by water, but what you’re seeing in the photo is a continuous blanket of seals relaxing on a sandbar. Cape Cod is the summer home of ever-growing colonies of harbor seals and grey seals.
Cape Cod is easily reached by mass transportation. There’s a ferry from Boston to Provincetown, at the very tip of the Cape. Then there are buses that run through the various towns. Alternatively, there are both buses and a train from Boston to Hyannis. With both history and natural beauty going for it, the Cape is on my short list of places students should visit while they are at Fletcher. But why wait? Plan a day trip to follow your visit to Fletcher during this application season.
Every summer, I cook up some blog assignment for my admissions pals, generally designed to shed light on the people applicants will be interacting with throughout the year. This year, I thought: what better way to have the staff introduce themselves than by offering a bit of advice. So I gave them the prompt: Something I would want applicants to know is… And then I got out of the way and let them send me anything they wanted.
I’m going to start with Dan’s advice, because it gets at the foundation of an application to Fletcher. That makes sense, since Dan is our resident staff member/alumnus. I’ll follow up next week with thoughts from the rest of the team. Here’s what Dan wants you to know:
“International Affairs” is not a field.
As you can imagine, there are certain application tropes we in admissions see frequently. Goals of working in the Foreign Service or the UN are common, as are formative brushes with seminal political and social moments (“I remember watching 9/11 on TV,” “I was studying in Cairo during the Arab Spring,” etc.). These can be effective, or not; regular readers will know that the curious alchemy behind a strong application involves many ingredients, and that the same thing can strike different readers in distinct ways. A familiar one I hereby discourage goes something like this: “I aspire to a career in the field of international affairs.” What’s the big deal, you ask? Isn’t Fletcher an international affairs school, after all? Don’t you admissions types always harp on the importance of professional goals? And aren’t you the guy who lets his dog read applications?
It is, we do, and he mostly writes blog posts (dogs are famously poor readers, and demonstrate questionable judgment). The issue is that “International Affairs” is not itself a field, but rather an inter-related group of fields. Microfinance, monitoring & evaluation, social entrepreneurship, development aid policy, national security law, international climate change negotiations, EU monetary policy, mobile banking, maritime policy, and nuclear non-proliferation are all fields (along with dozens of others) that have an equal claim for inclusion under the “international affairs” umbrella. Essays that include phrases like “the field of international affairs” often signal that an applicant hasn’t quite identified a sufficiently specific set of interests or professional objectives that often translate to success both at Fletcher and with career development afterwards. The fact that you’ve submitted an application tells us you’re interested in “international affairs,” but we want to hear more! Tell us what field or fields interest you most, and try to identify some of the linkages between them. This shows us that you’re ready to construct a coherent course of study from Fletcher’s famously flexible curriculum. The more you can do so the stronger your case for admission, and the less you need to worry that your application is maybe being read by a dog.
Tagged with: Murray
Tufts University undergraduates are encouraged to participate in a Common Reading program, which this year features the book Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America, by Roberto G. Gonzales. Fletcher students are invited to participate, too. Maybe you’d like to read the book, or maybe you have already read it. Either way, watch the program page for notices on related activities. The author will be speaking on campus in October, and the topic of his talk and of the book is relevant to many Fletcher students’ interests.
Tagged with: Tisch College
In the first phase of returning to the student-filled place that Fletcher usually is, the students taking pre-session classes start their 2016-17 studies today! Two classes are offered: Strategic Management (required for MIB students, open to all others) and Design and Monitoring of Peacebuilding and Development Programming, which is the first in a three-course Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation series.
Pre-session students are busy. We won’t find them hanging out much in the Hall of Flags. But welcoming them is a significant step toward the fall semester.
Archives by Date
TagsApplication Boston Boston Marathon Business competitions Capstone Career CIERP Coffee Hours Commencement Community Conferences Cool stuff! deadlines Dear Ariel decisions Diane DME Early Notification Essays Faculty Spotlight First-Year Alumni Five-Year Updates Fletcher Forum Ginn Library GRE Hall of Flags IBGC Internships Interviews ISSP Liam MIB OCS On the road Outside the classroom Paying for Grad School Professors suggest Recommendations Roxanne Social List Somerville Student Stories thesis waitlist World Peace Foundation