Time to check in with another 2008 graduate. Please meet Darren Long who, like our newest students, was a “Januarian.”
The Fletcher School appeals to a certain kind of person and from the moment I discovered the school, I knew I was one of those people. Fletcher’s broad, globally-oriented and cross-functional course listing matched my interests perfectly, stretching from agricultural economics to international negotiation to diplomatic history. The independence allowed by the MALD program would allow me to combine foundational courses with insightful and cutting-edge topical subjects to pursue a truly unique course of study. And the backgrounds of Fletcher’s students and alumni was proof that it was a gathering place for like-minded individuals.
I joined Fletcher at the beginning of 2007 as “Januarian,” along with about 20 other students starting at mid-year. We were immediately swept up in class schedules, along with a range of other social events. My Fields of Study were Pacific Asia and Development Economics, with a particular focus on China, where I had lived and worked prior to Fletcher. I also found Fletcher’s courses in policy analysis, international business law, agricultural policy, and analytical frameworks to be especially useful.
Following my first semester, I moved back to China for the summer to study Mandarin and prepare for Fletcher’s language requirement. While there, I connected with Ecom Trading, one of the world’s oldest physical commodities firms, and was offered a position as a commodity market analyst in Shanghai following graduation. My knowledge of Chinese political economy — which greatly impacts global commodity markets — along with agriculture, economics, and finance, made for a unique set of competencies, developed in large part while at Fletcher, that directly helped me to land the position.
I was able to build preparation for my upcoming professional role into the rest of my coursework at Fletcher, making analysis of the Chinese cotton sector the focus of my thesis, and completing a one-semester exchange program at the China Europe International Business School in the Fall of 2008. The combination of work and study helped me both prepare better for my career and make use of all of Fletcher’s many resources.
Since graduating from Fletcher, I have worked for Ecom as a commodities trader in China, Australia, and the United States. On a given day I may work on a deal with a large Asian trade house or U.S. producer; buy and sell commodity derivatives; write a market report or policy memo; analyze futures prices or supply and demand information; examine a sustainability project; or prepare a case for international arbitration. And it was my experience at Fletcher that helped prepare me for all of these endeavors and more.
Tagged with: Five-Year Updates
In the first of our new series of posts by members of the faculty, Michael Klein, William L. Clayton Professor of International Economic Affairs, tells us about his experience at the U.S. Treasury and how it has shaped his teaching and scholarship since he returned. Prof. Klein currently teaches International Finance, International Economic Policy Analysis, Finance, Growth and Business Cycles, and Quantitative Methods.
In March 2010 I received, completely by surprise, an email from the Assistant Secretary for International Affairs at the U.S. Treasury asking me whether I would be interested in serving as Chief Economist in the Office of International Affairs. This was a novel opportunity for me. I had served as a visiting scholar at a number of institutions (the International Monetary Fund, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, and the Federal Reserve Banks of Boston, New York, and San Francisco), but had spent my entire career in academia. I was excited by the prospect of using the skills and knowledge that I have developed through teaching and scholarship in a government position. I was also curious to see how policy was developed and executed. And, not inconsequentially, I was happy and proud to serve my country.
The eighteen months that I spent at Treasury were a very exciting time; it was a period during which there was a halting recovery from the Great Recession in the United States, a re-evaluation of the international monetary system (especially with regards to the use of capital controls), an on-going crisis in the euro-area, and international tensions over exchange rates (during this time, the Finance Minister of Brazil declared that the United States was engaged in “currency wars” and there was continuing controversy about the renminbi/dollar exchange rate). I analyzed these issues, as well as many others, writing memos that drew on my research and teaching experience. I also participated in high-level meetings with officials from other countries. My time at Treasury was one of the high marks of my professional career.
Since returning to Fletcher in the autumn of 2012, I have been able to draw on my experiences at Treasury in a variety of ways. I developed a new course, International Economic Policy Analysis, which teaches students to use economics and statistical skills and frameworks in a practical policy setting. My teaching in two other courses, International Finance and Finance, Growth and Business Cycles, has been enriched by my interaction with policy and experiences in government. And the trajectory of my research was also influenced by my time at Treasury; over the past two years, I have focused on the topic of capital controls, a subject that I became interested in while working in Washington. My research on this topic now includes a 2012 article for the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, another article that was presented at the IMF’s Annual Research Conference in November 2013 and will be published in the IMF’s flagship research journal, and a third that is currently under review.
Like other Fletcher faculty members, I am able to draw on scholarship as well as policy experience to provide students with an education that is both deeply informed by theory and scholarship and well-grounded in practical, real-world experience and concerns.
Tagged with: Faculty Spotlight
Throughout the years, I’ve asked Fletcher professors to contribute to the blog in many, mostly minor, ways. For example, they’ve provided reading recommendations, both books related to their classes and, occasionally, lighter selections. They’ve also been good sports when we have cornered them in the Hall of Flags. And other times, without asking them to put in any effort, I’ve written about their work.
Last November, I contacted faculty members with a request — an assignment, if we’re being honest about it. I asked them to write a short post on one of several topics designed to tell readers more about the professors’ interests. Those who have written so far have done exactly what I would have hoped, which is to approach the topics from many different angles. I have the first of the posts, by Prof. Michael Klein, set to run tomorrow, and I’ll plan one or two each week through the next few months. I hope you’ll agree that, added together, the new series shines the spotlight on a diverse and interesting collection of people.
Tagged with: Faculty Spotlight
Just the quickest of updates today. The Admissions Office now holds a healthy (but tidy) collection of applications printed and ready for processing. We’ll have a crack team working on updating files throughout the week. Please remember to give us a little time before you check your GAMS record, but I feel confident that we’ll have everything well under control by the end of the week.
With the deadline coming on a Friday this year, I thought it would be helpful to tell you what to expect after you submit an application, even if you haven’t yet submitted yours. As I wrote earlier this week, we’ve been keeping up with the applications that were submitted ahead of the deadline, and the printer is churning out the ones that arrived overnight. We’ll keep going until 5:00 p.m., but any further compiling of applications will wait until Monday.
In other words, we won’t be updating applications over the weekend. But even when we’re back in the office on Monday, we need to ask you to remain patient for a few days while we compile and process your application.
By “patient,” I mean: Please don’t contact us on Monday to ask about an application that was submitted today! Everything will come together very soon, so hold tight, and when you start to worry anew about whether you’ve done everything you need to, reread this blog post. Meanwhile, here’s the rundown of what happens when an application is submitted, whether you followed my advice and applied early or will wait until 11:59 EST tonight.
1. Once you hit the online “submit” button, your application is “stamped” with the date and time. The electronic application then waits within the Embark system for your registered online recommenders to do their work. If all your recommenders have already submitted their letters, or if you haven’t registered any online recommenders, the application will be ready for us immediately, and we’ll upload it into our internal program. (If your recommenders haven’t done their part, it’s your responsibility to remind them that the deadline has passed.)
2. When your application (with online recommendations) is uploaded, you’ll receive an automatically generated email stating that we have received your application, and that you should wait ten business days before contacting the Admissions Office about any missing materials. The email also provides you with a username and password to access the Tufts Graduate Application Management System (GAMS). GAMS will be the best way to track your application. We’ll also be posting decision letters to your GAMS account, so hang on to your username and password! Remember that we don’t receive your application (and you don’t receive the email) if the application is stuck in Embark, waiting for recommendations. And contacting a member of the Admissions staff will generally give you only the information you can access yourself through GAMS. (After a few weeks, there’s more that we can do to help track materials down.)
3. Uploaded applications are printed in batches. Once we have the paper copy, we create a file folder for you, giving you a tangible presence in the Admissions Office.
4. Meanwhile, Admissions Office staffers will open the daily piles of envelopes holding test scores, transcripts, letters of recommendation from recommenders who weren’t registered online, etc. We sort and file the mail. If the application hasn’t yet been uploaded, the paper materials will “wait” for it to emerge from the system.
5. Once we have your application in a file folder, we dig out the mail that has already been received for you and include it. Then we manually update your record in the admissions system to show what materials have come in by mail. You should track your application through GAMS, but we’ll also email you if there’s a document missing. This is the ten-day process I referred to in point 2 above. If you’re not patient, GAMS will alarm you by indicating we haven’t received anything at all. Until we manually process your application materials, the information in GAMS is not complete. Keep on top of things, but remember that the registering of your materials won’t happen immediately.
6. Your completed application is then given to Committee members to review, and you’ll receive your admission decision in late March.
The bottom line: Make sure you monitor your application, but give us a little time to pull everything together. In only about two weeks, everyone who has submitted all the materials needed for an application should find accurate and reassuring information on GAMS. So long as you submitted the application by the deadline, you can relax for a few days while we do our work.
With the general application deadline tomorrow and students returning on Monday, this is the final day of winter break quiet. Not that we have nothing to do, mind you. And we actually have some students in the building — our 2014 “Januarians” started their Orientation yesterday, and the Admissions office isn’t the only one that has students working during the break — but there aren’t enough students to lively up the atmosphere.
The Admissions Staff will be in a planning meeting this afternoon, getting ready for the long stretch that starts tomorrow and runs at least through April. I’ll enjoy the quiet today, but I’ll be happy for the students’ return on Monday, too. A little noise helps us keep up our energy.
The pace at which applications and supporting materials are flowing into the office is picking up. A nice bunch of applications is already complete and we’re keeping up as new materials arrive, knowing that the real flood will hit us on Friday (before midnight, if a reminder is needed).
Here’s the scene today. Daniel, Ayako, and Rebekah have dedicated part of their winter break to bringing order to the applications, mail, and folders. Christine is providing direction.
You may recognize Daniel and Ayako if you have recorded an online interview. We’re super lucky to have so many student interns in the office this week! Lucky, too, that three student members of the Admissions Committee are already reading the complete applications!
As much envelope opening, date stamping, and file assembling as we need to do, the process is hugely simpler than it was just a few years ago. Although recommenders have been invited to submit their letters online for many years, it took some time before there was widespread acceptance of the technology. Last year was the first year that we accepted scanned copies of official transcripts, further reducing our annual mountain of mail. This is good news for applicants, as we’re able to compile materials quickly so that you can learn if your application is complete. Of course, when I say “quickly,” I’m afraid that I don’t mean “instantly.” There will inevitably be a delay between when you click submit and when you can confirm (via the GAMS system) that your materials have all arrived, but that delay is way shorter than it used to be.
Speaking of delays, I hate to miss an opportunity to add yet another plug to avoid waiting until the last minute to submit your application. If you take the plunge and hit “submit” between today and Thursday, you’ll have an update on your application much more quickly than if you wait until the crowd jumps into the pool on Friday.
So often we’re asked a question that can take two forms, depending on who’s asking:
1. What type of work should I do after completing my undergraduate degree to prepare me for Fletcher?
2. Does my professional experience make me a good candidate for admission to Fletcher?
As I’ve written before, there’s (alas) no correct answer to these questions. The professional experience that will be valuable for one post-Fletcher career may not help to advance another. Nonetheless, though there’s never going to be a tidy answer to pass along, that doesn’t mean I can’t guide you toward a better understanding of why such brief questions elicit such unwieldy responses. To do so, I thought I’d connect readers to sources on the blog and elsewhere through which you can see for yourself the diversity of our students’ pre-Fletcher experience.
I’ll start off my experience round-up by pointing you toward several blog features. First, there are the Five-Year Updates. In these posts, alumni describe their paths to and through Fletcher, and you can see how they have brought together their pre-Fletcher work and Fletcher studies to launch new careers. There’s also the growing feature on First-Year Alumni. Naturally, these graduates don’t yet have the perspective of their fellow alums who graduated earlier, but you might like to see how everything (Fletcher and pre-Fletcher experience) comes together directly after leaving Fletcher. I’ll be adding more posts from our 2013 graduates throughout the coming months. Finally, there are the posts in the Student Stories feature. Although the writers this year and last cover an assortment of topics, each of them provides an introductory post.
Beyond the blog, there are many student profiles on the Fletcher website. You can find a selection of students who entered in 2011, 2012, and 2013, as well as recent alumni. If you prefer, you can also access profiles by degree program on the MALD, MIB, MA, LLM, and PhD pages.
With the application deadline coming up on Friday, maybe this is an odd time to be providing information like this. On the other hand, I know that applicants’ questions on their credentials don’t actually stop when they submit the application. Maybe this isn’t such an odd time after all.
While we wait for a snowstorm to move up from New York and into the Boston area, I thought I’d provide a quick recap of some December Fletcher news.
First, we’ll be joined this month by the Honorable Mikheil Saakashvili, former president of the Republic of Georgia and founder of Georgia’s United National Movement Party, who will be a Senior Statesman in residence, delivering lectures on European governance and other contemporary international and regional issues.
And Fletcher is also the home to a new journal on security issues. The Fletcher Security Review was started by a group of students, and is a natural addition to the already wide range of activities connected to the study of international security here.
And now, breaking news that (while I was writing the three brief paragraphs above) we learned that Tufts University (and Fletcher along with it) will close at 2:00 p.m. today, and will remain closed all day tomorrow because of the snowstorm. On Monday, the Admissions Office will be attending a full-day off-site meeting. We’ll all be back in the office on Tuesday for those last minute application questions.
Tagged with: Publications
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