With less than three days until the Class of 2017 gathers to start their celebration with toasts, speeches, and diploma collecting, let’s take a look at the curriculum that Adnan put together for himself in the past two years.  We often say (with likely complete accuracy) that no two students ever take precisely the same set of classes in the MALD program and I hope these annotated curricula help make that clear.  Note that Adnan pursued three Fields of Study.  Only two are required, but many students will complete a third.  And also note that Adnan audited two classes.  A “certified audit” is noted on the student’s transcript.

Pre-Fletcher Experience
I worked as a staff reporter and later an associate editor at Newsweek in Lahore, Pakistan.

Fields of Study
International Information and Communication
International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
International Business Relations

Capstone Topic
Self Determination in the Context of the Kashmir Conflict.

Post-Fletcher Professional Goals
I would like to pursue a career at the United Nations.

Curriculum Overview

Semester One

International Communication
Social Networks and Organizations – Part I
Social Networks and Organizations – Part II
Global Political Economy
International Legal Order

Returning to school after a five-year gap was exciting, but it also required a great deal of readjustment.  With my background in journalism, I knew International Information and Communication was going to be one of my Fields of Study, so I took the core/required class for it and also both halves of Social Networks.  International Communication with Professor Gideon, whom I had also chosen as my faculty advisor, was among my favorite classes because of the wide range of topics it covered that I could relate to my work experience.  Social Networks offered a fascinating new way of discovering hidden connections in data sets.  It also helped me acquire hard skills like using social network analysis software such as UCINET and NodeXL.  Looking back, I think opting to complete my breadth requirements in my first semester with foundational classes like International Legal Order and Global Political Economy was a wise decision because it strengthened my base for future coursework in international relations.

Semester Two

Strategy and Innovation in the Evolving Context of International Business
Data Analysis and Statistical Methods
Theories of Conflict and Conflict Resolution
The Arts of Communication
Contemporary South Asia (Certified Audit)

International Business was another interest, and I loved that I had the option of contrasting my IR coursework with such classes.  In Strategy and Innovation we studied real-life cases of some of the world’s leading businesses and came up with creative solutions to actual challenges they faced.  An important lesson I learned here was how complex problems can be tackled by asking the most basic questions about the task at hand.  Statistics offered a great opportunity to sharpen my quantitative skills, and Arts of Communication was a unique experience.  Not only did we learn that public speaking, like any skill, can be improved tremendously through rigorous practice, but we got the chance to hear speeches from our classmates and learn things about them we would not have otherwise.  In my second semester, I also decided that I wanted to learn about conflict resolution — it’s applicable everywhere and the Field of Study is a Fletcher flagship.  The core/required class I took provided a solid base for understanding the roots of a variety of conflicts.  Contemporary South Asia didn’t fulfill any of my requirements, but I couldn’t miss the opportunity to study with Professor Ayesha Jalal, a renowned Pakistani historian whose work I had been following long before Fletcher, so I audited it.  I’m glad I was able to do it because it was the first time I looked at South Asia, where I had lived most of my life, through an academic lens, and it provided a fresh perspective on my knowledge of the region.

Summer Internship
UNICEF in New York.

Semester Three

Foundations in Financial Accounting and Corporate Finance
Processes of International Negotiation
Nationalism, Self Determination and Minority Rights
Media, Politics and Power in the Digital Age (cross-registered at Harvard Kennedy School)
Cultural Capital and Development (Certified Audit)

Corporate Finance, the core requirement for the International Business Relations field, was the most challenging class I took in my third semester.  The syllabus was extensive and the workload rather heavy, but looking back it’s also among the classes from which I gained the most practical knowledge.  International Negotiation was also an extremely practical class.  In addition to learning negotiation techniques and practicing them during simulations in class, the assignments that required us to rigorously analyze a conflict of our choice and propose strategies for negotiation taught me a step-by-step method of approaching intractable problems.  I took Nationalism, Self Determination and Minority Rights purely out of an interest in understanding the cause of modern day conflicts and found my Capstone idea here.  Cross-registration at Harvard is a great opportunity we are offered, one I had wanted to pursue since my second semester.  Media, Politics and Power in the Digital Age, taught by Nicco Mele who runs the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at HKS, perfectly complemented my International Communication class from my first semester.  Whereas the latter was more academic and theory-based, the former looked at current issues in the digital world and linked them to politics.  After reading the syllabus for Cultural Capital and Development, I was too intrigued to ignore it, so I audited the class.

Semester Four

Peace Operations
The Historian’s Art and Current Affairs
Introduction to Economic Theory
Independent Study with Professor Hurst Hannum for my Capstone Project

It’s hard to believe my final semester is now over.  Time flies at Fletcher, and I’ve hardly had a chance to reflect on the past two years.  This semester I completed my Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Field of Study with Peace Operations.  What I liked most about it is that it brought together elements of international law, conflict resolution, politics, and history.  A guest speaker in one of our classes said, “peace operations really are the arena of international politics.”  I couldn’t agree more and feel it’s a great class to take in one’s final semester.  Leaving my economics requirement hanging till my last semester was probably not the brightest idea, but with everything else I was trying to squeeze in, it never fit into my schedule earlier.  The Historian’s Art and Current Affairs was my favorite class this semester.  It pushed me to think critically and place decision makers in context to understand the policies they pursued.  I left each session with a life lesson, in addition to some very peculiar facts.  Did you know whales are crucial to security?

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About a week ago, we all took out our calendars to find a day when we could have an off-site retreat.  Turns out that, after this week, there were precisely zero days when we would all be here.  (Admissions folks tend not to take vacation time during the admissions cycle, meaning we take it all during the summer.  Plus, there’s a little recruitment travel on the calendar.)  In a last attempt to identify at least a few hours, we realized that yesterday was the day.  We had some sandwiches delivered and started talking.

When we were talking wistfully about the beautiful weather outside, Laurie suggested taking a walk.  (We’re all involved in a University “steps challenge,” so there was an added incentive to get out there.)  We meandered over to the roof of the main library.  Here’s a view of the “green roof” portion:

And here’s the view of the city from the roof:

But you might be more interested in the outcome of the discussions than about our mini-field trip.  We talked about deferral and reapplication procedures.  (Some minor changes will be implemented).  We discussed the application reading process and the application itself.  (We agreed that we wouldn’t change the application essay prompts.)  Most of the rest of the discussion was essentially administrative.  (Who will do what, and when.)  Overall, a productive four hours, even if we couldn’t quite pull off a full-day retreat.

 

I was out of the office yesterday, having made a quick trip to New York on the weekend, which mostly entailed driving both ways in a drenching rainstorm.  When I returned to campus today, the sun was back and everything was in full spring bloom.  And not just the trees and flowers — the graduation tents are springing up, too.  As of this morning, the Fletcher tents are yet to emerge, but others are in place all over campus.  The early forecast is for a beautiful spring Commencement day on Sunday.

Between now and the weekend’s Commencement ceremonies, both graduating and continuing students are participating in the time-honored student-organized tradition of Dis-Orientation, the natural counter-balance to August’s official Orientation week.  Frankly, Dis-O is a lot more fun.  Yesterday alone, activities included paintballing, a FIFA (video game) tournament, a walking tour of Medford (which has a surprisingly rich history), a cricket match (first-year students vs. second years), a trivia competition, karaoke, and (my favorite of all the options) dinner at a Cambodian restaurant and visit to Revere Beach.  (My love of Revere and that particular restaurant has been well chronicled in the blog over the years.)

Naturally, with everyone off doing such fun stuff, it’s pretty quiet around here.  We’ll appreciate the quiet for a few weeks — it’s great for completing projects.  As the summer runs on, though, we’ll begin to look forward to the start of a new semester.  But that’s way in the future.  Now we’re enjoying the occasional encounter with a graduating student and I’m planning to catch up with more of them at graduation.

Since the Fletcher tents aren’t up yet, I thought I’d share a photo from this morning of the Tufts University president’s house — right across the street from here.  There are two tents directly behind it, and blue skies and flowering trees around it.

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Commencement is coming up soon and three of our student bloggers — Tatsuo, McKenzie, and Adnan — will soon be moving on.  Today, let’s look at how McKenzie pieced together her MIB curriculum.

Pre-Fletcher Experience
Senior Associate, PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP

Fields of Study
International Finance and Banking
International Political Economy

Capstone Topic
Managing Impact: How Impact Funds Can Go Beyond Measuring to Manage Impact Performance Throughout the Fund Lifecycle

Post-Fletcher Professional Goals
Help build the impact investing field and channel more capital to investments that provide both financial and positive social or environmental returns

Curriculum Overview

Semester One: 5 credits

Strategic Management (½ credit, Summer pre-session)
Foundations in Financial Accounting and Corporate Finance
Financial Statement Management
Managerial Economics (½ credit)
Global Investment Management
Emerging Africa in the World Economy

Activities:

The first semester of the MIB program is dominated by core courses that really build the foundational finance, accounting, and strategy skills of a typical business program.  This also means that, as a cohort, we take nearly all our classes together, which is a key driver behind the really strong bonds among MIB students.  Of our core courses, I really enjoyed the economic theories underlying business decisions discussed in our Managerial Economics course.  My favorite course of the semester, however, was Global Investment Management.  I wasn’t sure it was a good decision to take it in my first year, given my business experience to date had focused on strategy, management, and operational efficiency — in short, nothing related to investing or portfolio management.  Perhaps as a result, it is probably the course in which I learned the most at Fletcher in such a short period of time, and it helped me build a strong relationship with Professor Patrick Schena, whose support and mentorship has been an invaluable part of my Fletcher experience.

Finally, I’m a strong believer that the Fletcher “curriculum” is incomplete without mention of the extracurricular activities that abound at this school.  The activities we pursue are more than likely the talking points we use in interviews for summer internships and jobs.  I knew early on that the Fletcher Social Investment Group (FSIG) was one student club that I wanted to be actively involved in, so I joined an FSIG advisory project while also competing in the CFA challenge.  Last, these activities wouldn’t be complete without mention of the periodic MIB “family dinners” and other social events like Culture Nights and Los Fletcheros concerts that make Fletcher the unique community that it is.

Semester Two: 4 credits

Marketing Management (½ credit)
Macroeconomics
International Financial Management
Global Private Equity: From Money In to Money Out (½ credit)
Political Economy of Development

Activities:

  • FSIG advisory project and transition onto FSIG management team for 2016-2017 school year
  • Two-week off-campus certificate program in impact investing and social enterprise management, through the Middlebury Institute for International Studies

In my second semester, I nearly completed my core MIB requirements, with the exception of International Business Transactions.  My favorite courses of the semester were Global Private Equity and International Financial Management.  The first, because much of the coursework involved practical applications of private equity concepts.  For example, we had to develop and pitch an investment thesis as though we were raising a fund.  And later in the semester, we conducted due diligence on real companies whose management we were able to interview to develop our investment recommendation.  International Financial Management surprised me in the extent to which our conversations went beyond finance to the strategic imperatives at the foundation of corporate financing decisions, which help companies manage many types of risk exposure.  I really got a lot out of the course.

On the student activities front, besides transitioning into the CEO position of FSIG, I also took two weeks “off” during the semester to attend a training in impact investing.  I’m not sure that I’d recommend swapping 10 hours in Fletcher classes for 40 hours a week of training — plus catch-up work for Fletcher in the evenings — but by strategically taking only four credits this semester and choosing project teams that were willing to work around my schedule, I was able to make it work.  Plus, the network I built through the certificate program helped me score an exciting summer internship with Edge Growth in South Africa.

Summer Internship
Edge Growth (Johannesburg, South Africa)

As I wrote in a prior post, my time with Edge Growth was a great learning experience.  My boss, Jason, really pushed my thinking about how companies need to evolve on multiple levels when transitioning from their startup phases to more targeted growth and scale phases.  As mentioned, I used my internship as an opportunity to confirm my interest in impact investing and in working with emerging market companies, which definitely colored how I think about the firms I targeted in my job search.

Semester Three: 5 credits

International Business Transactions
Leadership: Building Teams, Organizations, and Shaping Your Path
Econometrics
Market Approaches to Development
Independent study (capstone)

Activities:

  • FSIG management
  • MIINT team lead (part of FSIG)

By far one of my favorite courses at Fletcher, and one I recommend everyone take, is our new professor Alnoor Ebrahim’s course on leadership, teambuilding, and organizations.  I had managed small teams working as a consultant, and Professor Ebrahim’s course provided the perfect time and space for me to reflect on my own leadership style, while learning from the experiences of others in this 100% case-based course.  Professor Ebrahim has an uncanny knack for facilitating discussion and connecting insights from across cases to bring a classroom and content to life.  I also took Econometrics, which allowed me to hone my technical skills and prepare for a spring course on Econometric Impact Evaluation.

Outside of classes, most of my spare time was spent working with Fletcher’s MIINT team to source and screen potential impact investments.  I really enjoyed this portion of the MIINT competition in particular, as it exposed me to a multitude of innovative business models and entrepreneurs who are using market-based solutions to profitably improve the lives of people in emerging markets.

This semester was also the point at which all my activities, coursework, and summer internship experiences converged.  I reached out to connections I’d made in South Africa who turned into resources for the MIINT competition.  I found myself having business development calls for MIINT that led to partnership opportunities for FSIG advisory projects, or drawing on concepts from my International Business Transactions course to think through the risks associated with a potential MIINT investment.

Finally, at some point in this semester, I realized just how far I’d come since my first day in the August pre-session.  I had taken a leap of faith from a comfortable job and had bet on a non-traditional business program, and I felt it was all worth it.  All I had to do was land a job that fit my long-term career goals and enjoy the rest of my time in school, and I could consider grad school at Fletcher a complete success.

Semester Four: 4 credits (that felt like 8…)

Econometric Impact Evaluation
Global Financial Services
The Arts of Communication
Business at the Base of the Pyramid (Harvard Business School)

Activities:

  • Received funding for January capstone travel and research from the Dean’s Research Fund and the Institute for Business in the Global Context
  • FSIG management (transitioned to new leadership)
  • MIINT team lead (continued from fall)
  • TA, International Financial Management
  • Finished capstone!
  • Found a job!

In retrospect, my fourth semester at Fletcher is about twice as loaded as I had intended it to be.  Business at the Base of the Pyramid at HBS is my favorite class, but I would argue that responsibilities outside of class have dominated my time.  I’ve pretty much been running full speed ahead since January, when I received funding to conduct interviews in Nairobi, Kenya to support my capstone.  February flew by, and included a trip to California on a career trek offered by the organizers of the MIINT competition.  In March, I entered multiple rounds of interviews for a few dream jobs, juggling them with multiple Skype sessions and another trip to the west coast, along with my TA responsibilities, coursework, and futile attempts to create time to finish my capstone.  And then I traveled to Philadelphia with Fletcher’s MIINT team for the official competition.  While the hectic hustle has been well worth the chaos, I’m excited to have officially ended my job search (!), passed FSIG off to an amazing new leadership team after spring break, and wrapped up the MIINT.  This has left some down time to spend with the amazing friends I’ve made, before we graduate and move off to all corners of the globe.

I never quite knew what to expect from grad school, especially given the diversity of paths that Fletcher students take.  As I sit here, with only two weeks until I graduate, I cannot believe how quickly the time has flown by or how much I’ve managed to squeeze into just two short years.

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I just saw a Fletcher Features story about Barbara Bodine, F71, a career Foreign Service Officer who recently visited the school.  I thought I would point you toward the story, paired with a previous report on a visit by Roberta Jacobson, F86, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico.  Click on their photos for each story.

 

Note that Ambassador Jacobson is standing in front of a plaque in her honor, next to one for Ambassador Bodine.  Nice coincidence, right?  They were both recipients of the Class of 1947 Memorial Award.

And here are the plaques for all the previous recipients, as best I was able to capture them in the Hall of Flags.

 

An unusual post for the Admissions Blog today.  I was in contact last week with Professor Cheyanne Scharbatke-Church, and she told me that two alumni had written a post for the Corruption in Fragile States blog series that she runs.  I’m happy to share the post, to highlight the work that Fletcher alumni are doing.

About the alumni writers:

Héctor Portillo, F16, is involved in a variety of peacebuilding programs in Guerrero and Michoacán, two of the most violent states in Mexico. He has a BA in Political Science from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México and a master’s degree from The Fletcher School, where he focused his studies on the intersections of gender and conflict resolution. Previously, he worked in different positions for the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and of Public Education. He is currently Project Coordinator for Catholic Relief Services Mexico.

 

Sebastián Molano, F12, is an international development worker from Colombia. He holds a master’s degree in NGO Management and Human Security from The Fletcher School. Sebastián has worked for over 11 years on development issues in Latin America and the Caribbean. His experience ranges from providing humanitarian response in Haiti, development work in Central America to participating in 20 political and electoral observation missions across the continent. As a gender specialist, Sebastián has developed an expertise in gender and masculinities and how to engage purposefully men and boys to enable gender equality. He is the founder of Defying Gender Roles an advocacy initiative that seeks to openly challenge harmful gender roles, gender norms, and traditional notions of masculinity. You can learn more about his work on his TEDx talk. Currently, Sebastián is a Gender Advisor for Oxfam America.

And here is their blog post from the Corruption in Fragile States blog.

Approaching corruption through the lens of masculinities

Héctor Portillo and Sebastián Molano propose three ways in which the expectations, pressures, and privileges of “being a man” may shed light on male attitudes towards corruption.

Although corruption is not by any means our field of study, we both grew up in countries where corruption is normalized to the point where not engaging in it is not only considered rare but naïve. Coincidentally, both of our countries of origin, Mexico and Colombia, also have a deeply embedded culture of sexism and machismo. Our personal experiences with sexism, masculinities, and corruption motivated us to explore how the expectations, pressures, and privileges of “being a man” can encourage or deter an individual’s engagement in corruption.

Masculinities and Toxic Masculinity

The ideals men and boys are expected to live up to are called “masculinities.” Masculinities are socially constructed and reinforced, they vary by time, place, and community, and have hierarchies – “some forms are prized as being more valuable for men and boys to aspire than others.” These expectations “often put men under pressure to conform to prevailing masculine ideals, which may or may not be what individual men would otherwise aspire to.”

Some of the expectations of what it means to be a man may translate into violent and/or self-destructive behaviors. The Good Men Project calls those expectations ‘toxic masculinities,’ and defines them as those where manhood is formed by a cocktail of “violence, sex, status and aggression.” They are often associated with risky behaviors (e.g., higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse) and proneness to engage in violence (e.g. sexual violence, violent crime). Others, like Michael Kimmel, have argued that these expressions of manhood become socialized — that is, they are not just internalized by the individual, but also replicated by society. (Kimmel, Michael, “Masculinities and Gun Violence: The Personal Meets the Political,” Paper prepared for a session at the UN on “Men, Women and Gun Violence,” July 14, 2005.)

[To our best knowledge, there is no research (yet) on the links between toxic masculinities and corruption. If you know of any, please send us examples through the comments section below!]

Three Mechanisms of Interaction

We believe that male attitudes towards corruption can be analyzed through three mechanisms. We have presented them as separate for conceptual clarity, but we believe they interact with and possibly reinforce each other:

  1. Corruption as a male privilege;
  2. Corruption as a male performance of power and domination; and
  3. Corruption as a pathway for men to fulfill society’s expectation of them to ‘provide’

Corruption as male privilege

Let’s start with the proposition that gender inequality exists in most societies, and that this translates into men wielding more/most power –especially, “entrusted power” (i.e. political/policy power) – than women. Thus, men hold most of the resources and networks that maintain and give access to power.  Most women, then, do not engage in corruption because they are unable to tap into the structures and networks that men have access to. In this sense corruption, “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain,” presents itself as a male privilege.

Corruption as a male performance of power and domination

The social definitions of what being a man looks (and feels) like are frequently correlated to power. If what we understand to be “manly” is toxic (i.e. toxic masculinities) and what we understand as “power” is also thought of as “manly”, then the toxicity may permeate to power as well. Corruption, then, would be more likely where men are expected (and rewarded) for using their power over others; it would be a consequence and a symptom of toxic understandings of what it means to be a man, for men would understand corruption as another way to prove their manliness through power.

Corruption as a pathway for men to fulfill society’s expectation of them to ‘provide’

Our final proposed mechanism stems from the assumption that men are expected to provide for their families, and that their notion of value is assessed on the fulfillment of this role. However, as is the case in most of the world, only a small proportion of the population can meet all their needs. Although this pressure is true for both men and women, the expected role of provider (and sometimes sole provider) is often masculine.

Studies have shown that, in extreme situations of poverty and/or conflict, when men are unable to fill the role of provider (a role they consider quintessential to their identity as men) they are likelier to engage in self-destructive behaviors or to join criminal or armed groups. It is, therefore, not unreasonable to imagine that some men in positions of relative power (lower-level public officials, for example) might engage in corruption to fulfill their role as providers. In some contexts, engaging in corruption practices can be a coping mechanism for individuals who are part of a power structure.

Of course, there is nothing new in the notion that one of the reasons for some individuals to engage in corruption is economic distress or need. However, understanding how the economic pressures are gendered (i.e. different for men and women) may help understand how the mechanisms through which these pressures lead to corruption are themselves gendered.

However, it is also common to see men in high-level positions of power engaging in corruption practices. In their case, the power attached to the positions they hold, the social networks they belong to or their last names, cover them with a veil of protection against the law. Thus, different hierarchies of power among men when engaging in corruptive practices differ in the scope and magnitude but the effects are the same: mistrust, impunity, and undermine of democracy.

Interactions across mechanisms

As we have written above, the three mechanisms we have proposed interact with each other:

  1. Access to positions of relative power or influence from which men can engage in corruption is an extension of their male privileges.
  2. The way men use (and abuse) said power for their private gain will be informed by a (masculinized and possibly toxic) understanding of how they ought to wield power.
  3. Corruption is a possible pathway for individuals holding positions of relative power to earn additional income and/or solidify their positions and networks of power, allowing them to provide more resources for their families.

Can Gender Equality Decrease Corruption?

This brief exploration introduces a more nuanced question. Can gender equality decrease corruption? Although this requires much further research, our analysis suggests that as social understandings of power and (toxic) masculinities become dissociated from each other, corruption’s appeal as a (male) performance of power will diminish. Likewise, as men’s identity is less associated with the role of provider, pressures to engage in corruption may diminish.

Gender Equality is not Enough

Gender equality may reduce men’s use of corruption as a mechanism to display power and domination over women, but it won’t necessarily reduce men’s (and women’s) use of corruption as a mechanism to display power and domination over people. As gender equality advances, corruption will stop being a male privilege and become available for both men and women with power.

Programs that address corruption or gender equality ought to consider the way these two subjects interplay with each other. Existing and future programming on masculinities could be adjusted to incorporate notions of power and the construction of masculinity as a strategy to better engage with anti-corruption work. To the best of our knowledge, this has not yet been done in a purposeful, measurable manner. We hope this brief post will inspire researchers and practitioners to ask how work on masculinities and on corruption better complement each other.

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Why would anyone put off doing something really enjoyable?  Though that remains one of the great imponderables, the fact is that Kristen and I love hanging out in the Hall of Flags and chatting with the folks who pass by.  And you can be sure that someone will be there, nearly any time of day.  Nonetheless, the entire academic year passed before, on one of the pre-exams “study days,” we finally planted ourselves by the front “welcome desk” and snagged students and professors as they went from A to B.  We asked each of our conversation partners to tell us something great about their year.

On the particular day we were there, we happened to catch a disproportionate number of MIB students.  Also, it was the day when the recipient of the 2016-2017 Paddock Teaching Award had just been announced, and Professor Patrick Schena was on everyone’s mind.

Auyon and Coco, both second-year MIBs

Coco: The most amazing fact about Fletcher life is our access to faculty, for example Bhaskar Chakravorti and Professor Schena.  All the professors are so friendly and so nice and accessible, and I don’t think that’s a kind of experience that I could get elsewhere.

(Note that Coco will soon start a job that resulted from a project she completed in her consulting class.  Also, she has three papers due and Corporate Social Responsibility is the first on the list.)

Auyon: I would echo what Coco said.  For me, it’s also Professor Schena — I took a class with him, he’s the one who helped me get an internship, and he’s my capstone advisor.  I enjoyed Professor Jacque’s classes a lot, as well as Professor Schaffner’s Econometrics class.  I was dreading it at first, but I really appreciate her approach to the material.

Callie, first-year MALD

I live in Blakeley Hall and I’ve made a group of really really amazing friends, and a great community.  I even met my boyfriend, who also lives in Blakeley.

(Callie was taking a break, while writing a paper for her International Communication class.  Blakeley has been identified as a rich source of Fletcher couples.)

 

 


Anurag, mid-career MA student

(Anurag referred us to this page when we asked for a photograph.)

It’s different for us mid-career students because we come in with very substantial experience, in my case 14 to 15 years of experience.  There was a panel that MA students organized last fall, where we spoke about our careers and our collective experience.  The people who attended found it very useful.  Students like us are available and we offer our best advice.  With 15 years of experience in the field, you do learn about life.

I’ve been focused on general management and finance-related courses, both here and at HBS (Harvard Business School).  That’s a wonderful thing about Fletcher, being able to take HBS courses.  I already have an MBA degree, but still I learned a lot here.  At Fletcher, I took Islamic Banking and Finance, and with a world-renowned professor — that’s not something you’ll find in many places.

I have two finals and two papers pending.  One final is in economics.  I’m not an economist, so I’ll do a lot of studying for that.

Faith, first-year MALD

I think the best experience has been to meet and be roommates with people from all over the world, and to be able to go home after school and keep the conversation going.  Not even in terms of country perspective, but also what people study.  We all met a little randomly.  I have a roommate who studies gender and now I realize I don’t know gender, and I need to take a class to be able to understand it.  It’s being able to learn as much when we’re out of class as when we’re in class.

Today I’m preparing a presentation for the government of Estonia, for the consulting class.  I’m meeting with Ali to talk about the presentation for the Estonian government on Friday.

Ali, second-year MIB (here to meet with Faith)

What’s top of my list today is last night’s Fletcher Follies, which is an annual event where students show homemade videos about their experience at Fletcher.  We gather, we watch them together, and then they’re immediately erased from the record.  They were hilarious!

 

 

 

Professor Kimberly Wilson

I’m excited about FSIG (Fletcher Social Investment Group) and we’re discussing incorporating it into my class Market Approaches to Development.  So I’m looking forward to that, both using some of their methods and maybe we can integrate some of the clients in the class, too.

I’ll be working increasingly with refugee and migrant populations in terms of my research.  What we’re trying to do is what Eileen Babbitt calls “building a wider bench.”  We’re trying to be sort of a magnet, trying to create a positioning for Fletcher.

Before heading back to our desks, Kristen and I paused to chat with a group that had gathered and had an unusual number of markers on their table.  You’ll recognize student blogger McKenzie, I’m sure.

Michael (second-year MIB), McKenzie (second-year MIB), Alexandra (first-year MALD), and Ashray (first-year MIB), AKA the Fletcher MIINT Team!

We’re signing a photo from our MIINT win for Professor Schena.  We were talking about bringing him a souvenir from Philly, and our souvenir turned out to be the plaque for the win.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And with that, our annual blog foray to the Hall of Flags was over.  We made our annual pledge to spend more time there next year, though it remains to be seen whether we’ll succeed in organizing ourselves to do so.

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The 2017 edition of the traditional year-end “Where the Hell is Fletcher” video is here!  It really needs no further introduction — you’ll figure it out.  Be sure to watch for Admissions’ own Liz at about 3:41, and enjoy!

A clever enhancement to the video comes from almost-PhD-graduate Rizwan, who (having successfully defended his dissertation) took a minute to plot the video locations on a map.

 

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In a previous post, I made a quick reference to the Fletcher Perspectives Gallery, housed online and at the Ginn Library and other offices, but I made a mental note to shine a brighter light on it at some future time.  This is the time!

First, the background.  At the end of the fall semester, our own Graduate Assistant Ashley took off her Admissions hat and replaced it with a curator’s cap to recruit photos.  Students submitted those photos in January, and some were selected for the Spring 2017 Exhibition.  The Perspectives Gallery is a time-honored tradition at Fletcher, but perhaps not a consistent one.  Given the quality and range of the photos, I hope it’s back to stay!  Please enjoy The Spring 2017 Perspectives Gallery, along with these past collections:

Fall 2016 Perspectives Gallery

Spring 2016 Perspectives Gallery

To entice you, check out this photo in the Spring 2017 Perspectives Gallery by Zareera Bukhari.

And also this one, by Hannah Wheeler:

 

Our next Five-Year Update comes from Vincent Fennell, whom I recall spent quite a bit of time around the Admissions Office during his two years in the MIB program.  I recently caught up with him at an event, and I was reminded why it was so delightful to see him regularly.

I admit there’s a certain irony in writing an update about “life since Fletcher” when I’m currently only 30 minutes away from the Fletcher campus.  However, it’s more a case of things coming full circle, rather than sitting still.  Let me explain.

Before Fletcher:

Before I joined the Fletcher MIB class of 2011, I worked at State Street Corporation in Boston.  I decided to pursue an MIB as a way of developing my passion for international business.  I had seen during my time at State Street that no business happens in a vacuum.  There are so many “non-business” variables to an internationally successful business that I felt these were best addressed in an International Affairs School.  I had already lived a pretty international life — albeit tame by Fletcher standards — but I wanted an education that could help me try to make sense of it all, help me become, in the words of the late Dean Bosworth, “culturally fluent.”

After Fletcher:

After I graduated from Fletcher in 2011, my wife, daughter, and I moved to England where I started a job at the Strategy Office for Hitachi Ltd. in their European Headquarters.  This job came as a direct result of the internship I had in Tokyo with Hitachi the summer before.  In what might be a Fletcher first, I was an Irishman who got a job in London while living in Boston after an internship in Tokyo.

Working for Hitachi was a dream post-Fletcher job for me.  Each and every week felt like an applied session of the courses I had taken at Fletcher.  Some weeks I was involved in Smart City discussions with the Japanese Ministry for Economy in Spain, while other times I was helping lay the foundations for a renewable hydrogen energy storage system at the Nissan test facility at their factory in Sunderland.  At Fletcher I had taken a course on Petroleum in the Global Economy.  This proved to be an invaluable foundation in energy discussions that I referred to constantly.

If I wasn’t focused on Smart Cities, I was helping negotiate the terms of a first of its kind Smart Energy Grid demonstration project in the UK or speaking with the Istanbul municipality about about municipal water network management systems.  This is where I gained a whole new appreciation for my negotiation course and the importance of frameworks and BATNAs (Best Alternatives to a Negotiated Agreement).

Toward the end of my tenure at Hitachi, I was asked to undertake a market analysis on the nascent “Industry 4.0” or Fourth Industrial Revolution.  Industry 4.0, simply put, is a catch-all for the automation of factories.  Through this research and by meeting with a wide variety of software companies and manufacturing companies, I found the catalyst for the next step in my career: digitization.

Digitization and Industry 4.0 were not topics I had really explored in great detail while at Fletcher.  I had taken courses in Innovation and even explored an internship with a few tech startups, but I always thought that I wasn’t “techie” enough.  I’m not a software engineer and didn’t know anything about coding.  What I experienced after Fletcher is the understanding of the critical need for both clear communication and lateral thinking in the technology arena.

Midway through 2015 I was offered a chance to move back to the U.S. and work with my former team at State Street, where I currently lead various internal digitization initiatives.  My role is to help make State Street a market leader in the financial services industry.  Digitization is rapidly changing the realm of possibilities within the financial services sector and the business is significantly different than when I left in 2011.  It’s really exciting to be at the frontier of a changing global industry.

The last thing I want to say is about the Fletcher community.  When I was at Fletcher everyone always talked about the Fletcher family as an invaluable resource.  While I was at Tufts, this was always tangible in the form of people to reach out to with career-related questions.  It wasn’t until I left Fletcher that I realized the true value of this global community.  I feel inspired, fortunate, and proud to be a member of this unique and wonderful tribe.

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