You may have seen on Fletcher’s Facebook page or Twitter feed that a group of students has traveled to Cuba during this week’s spring break. When the trip was planned, the students wouldn’t have known that their adventure would coincide with President Obama’s. The trip was already a special opportunity, but it turned out to be a historic one. I’ll let a Miami TV news crew tell the story.
Most Fletcher students pursue an internship between their first and second years of the MALD or MIB programs. While some internships are paid, and others come with a stipend, many (alas) are unpaid and might be out of reach for students. That’s where Fletcher summer funding comes in. There are quite a few sources of support for internship-pursuing students. At the time of year when students are making their final summer arrangements, here are a few of the announcements I’ve seen lately:
The Blakeley Summer Fellowship will provide stipend funding to up to ten students to support a summer internship in a developing country, with a focus on microfinance, private sector development, public-private partnerships, SME development, or NGO business development.
The Slawson Fellowship will provide stipend funding to one first-year MALD or MIB student who accepts a summer internship with an NGO to work in a developing country. The student must be interested in a career in NGO management, and must be a U.S. citizen returning to Fletcher in fall 2016.
Each year, the Fletcher Alumni of Color Association awards internship stipends to Fletcher students of color pursuing unpaid or partially funded summer opportunities.
The Topal Family Foundation will offer stipend funding to three or more MALD, MA, MIB, LLM, GMAP, or PhD students selected as Topol Scholars in Nonviolent Resistance for summer research or a summer internship that focuses on nonviolent resistance.
The fellowships may not make students wealthy, but they certainly go a long way toward covering travel or living expenses during the summer months.
Tagged with: Internships
Throughout their time at Fletcher, the Admissions Blog’s student writers primarily discuss their extracurricular lives, whether through student activities, internships, or the job hunt. But I have been asking all the second-year bloggers to provide an overview of their academic work by creating an “annotated curriculum.” As you’ll see from Ali‘s notes below, a lot of thought went into her course selections for the MIB program and, in the context of her other posts, I hope it will paint a picture of her curricular life. (Note that (1) MIB students take an “overload” of five credits in two of their four semesters, and (2) Ali switched programs directly before starting her first semester.)
Program Manager, Fulbright Commission, Brussels, Belgium
Post-Fletcher Professional Goals
Investor relations and corporate responsibility
I came to Fletcher to learn how to promote private-sector investments in international social and environmental initiatives. As I prepare to leave, I’m confident I’ll be able to use my new corporate finance vocabulary and arsenal of corporate responsibility strategies, gleaned from the classes below, to do just that.
Semester One (5 credits)
- Strategic Management (½ credit, Summer pre-session)
- Corporate Social Responsibility in the Age of Globalization
- Foundations in Financial Accounting and Corporate Finance
- Corporate Management of Environmental Issues
- Financial Statement Management
- Managerial Economics
Registering for Fletcher’s Strategic Management summer pre-session course was one of the best decisions of my Fletcher career. Coming from Belgium’s public sector, I wanted to introduce myself to basic business concepts and arrive early to campus to give myself time to adjust. I enjoyed the course material and MIB students so much that, by the time the Fall semester started, I switched from the MALD to the MIB program myself! The Admissions team made the application/transition process easy, and my decision resulted in a more structured curriculum with the opportunity to take more credits overall. I slowly strengthened my quantitative skills in the Corporate Finance, Accounting, and Managerial Economics courses similar to those found at most business schools, and supplemented them with two electives in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability to familiarize myself with the field. These courses gave me the confidence I needed to assume leadership of Fletcher’s Net Impact Club and begin networking with corporate responsibility professionals from Coke, Southwest Airlines, and other leading companies at the network’s 2015 annual conference.
Semester Two (5 Credits)
- Data Analysis & Statistical Methods for Business
- International Business Strategy & Operations
- Political Economy & Business of the EU
- Marketing Management
- Lean Six Sigma
The second semester of my first year was full of more MIB requirements – marketing, regional studies, macroeconomics, and stats. My regional EU studies course was particularly insightful because Professor Laurent Jacques is an EU citizen and provided a firsthand perspective of the political and business environment there. Luckily, I still had room for two electives since this course and marketing were only half credits, so I took International Business Strategy & Operations and Lean Six Sigma, for which I cross registered at Tufts University’s Gordon Institute. International Business Strategy & Operations was one of my favorite classes at Fletcher – I enjoyed working with classmates to make recommendations about where to invest in sovereign bonds, and I used the class paper I wrote about Brown-Forman’s internationalization opportunities as an incubator for my capstone project this year. Lean Six Sigma is such a practical skill to have, and the Gordon Institute offered me a certificate for completion of the course. Being able to cross-register between schools like that is an oft-overlooked Fletcher benefit. Overall, I recommend taking five credits each semester the first year for MIB students because – even though it was stressful with internship hunting – I’m even busier spring semester this year!
Global Sustainability, YUM! Brands (KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut), Louisville, KY
I was blessed with a wonderful summer internship at YUM! Brands. Thanks to some networking and hard work, I landed a position on the Global Sustainability team, where I reported directly to the Chief Sustainability Officer on water stewardship and ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) Investor Relations strategies. You can read more about my internship here, so I’ll spare the details. What’s worth noting is: I was able to transition to the private sector; after living abroad for two and a half years, I really enjoyed working at home; and I received my internship offer only a few weeks before the semester ended. People spend most of spring semester at Fletcher worrying themselves away about internships. Overall lesson: don’t do that to yourself! It all works out in the end.
Semester Three (4 Credits)
- Mergers and Acquisitions: An International Perspective
- Legal and Institutional Aspects of International Trade
- Processes of International Negotiation
- International Business Transactions
Ah, the last year of graduate school. It was time to take it easier with four credits so that I could pursue a part-time job. I ended up obtaining a great position as an intern ESG analyst at Breckinridge Capital Advisors – a $22 billion investment advisor in downtown Boston. You can read about how much I enjoyed breaking out of the Fletcher “bubble” to commute downtown and try my hand at investment management here. I would definitely suggest waiting until second year to pursue a significant internship, though it was hard to balance with the intense set of Corporate Law classes listed above. I was pleased with the classes used to fill my International Business & Economic Law concentration – especially Mergers & Acquisitions – but it was probably too much to enroll in them all at once. Spread them out! By my third semester, I was also winding down my leadership of Fletcher’s Net Impact Club, as well, so I recommend throwing yourself into club activities and leadership roles in the first year while you can.
Semester Four (4 Credits)
- Strategy and Innovation in the Evolving Context of International Business
- Securities Regulation: An International Perspective
- Project Management and Software Methodologies
- Independent Study – Capstone
- Cross-Sector Partnership
- Understanding and Influencing Operations as an Investor, Harvard Business School (through cross registration)
In my final semester, I’ve chosen to enroll in a lighter course load with a capstone-based independent study course to give myself the time I need to continue interning at Breckinridge, apply for jobs, and complete a really awesome capstone project and report. My internship at Breckinridge lets me solidify my new learning from graduate school, and applying for jobs has been a full-time job in itself! Soon, I hope to return to my hometown in Kentucky to work for a company in the corporate responsibility or investor relations space. My activities at Fletcher continue to keep me in touch with companies I’d like to work for – my colleagues from my internship at YUM! Brands will come to Boston in February for a Net Impact Career Summit I’ve helped plan — and my capstone project will send me back to Brussels and Amsterdam this month to do field research for my Brown-Forman business proposal. It’s all coming to an end so fast. I’m excited for what’s ahead, and I hope to finish the semester strong!
Though I fully acknowledge that these lists can get silly, I’m still proud to report that our own Somerville, MA, just across Fletcher Field from where I’m sitting (Fletcher being situated, as it is, near the border between Somerville and Medford), was included among Lonely Planet‘s “Best in the U.S.” spots for 2016! That’s nice recognition for a town on the move.
For those readers from large cities, it can be hard to capture the relationship between Boston and its near neighbors. Boston itself (that is, the city as incorporated) is a pretty compact place. Though it wriggles in multiple directions (the neighborhood of Allston over here, Jamaica Plain over there), it’s an old city and the lines were tightly drawn. Wikipedia tells me that Boston covers 48 square miles (124 square kilometers), compared to New York’s 468 square miles (1214 square kilometers). The resulting effect is that some of the neighboring towns are really (regardless of what Lonely Planet might say) not suburbs in the traditional American sense. Cambridge, Somerville, Brookline — they’re all neighboring cities, not the leafy towns that “suburb” usually connotes. Or, as Wikipedia goes on to say, there’s the City of Boston (24th largest in the U.S.), the Greater Boston area (tenth largest in the U.S.), or the Greater Boston commuting region (sixth largest in the U.S.). Somerville is squarely in Greater Boston.
Anyway, that little digression aside, there are a lot of reasons why Somerville is receiving recognition at this time. Suffice it to say that the city has truly evolved over recent years into a great location for folks in the Fletcher demographic. (Note its #6 spot on a 2015 list of Top Cities for Hipsters.) From Davis Square to Assembly Square, Somerville has lots to offer, whether for two years in graduate school or for the long term.
The subject of today’s Faculty Spotlight feature is John Allen Burgess, Professor of Practice and Executive Director of Fletcher’s LLM Program. In addition to his role as LLM director, he currently teaches Mergers and Acquisitions: An International Perspective, and Securities Regulation: An International Prospective.
Every semester, I have the privilege to enjoy a range of special experiences along with the Fletcher LLM students. From the fall, when we first get a chance to meet each other and other members of the law faculty at Professor Chayes’ beautiful home, to the spring, when we gather as a group off campus to hear about each other’s work and talk with a range of guests over lunch, a drink or dinner, the year is filled with so many chances to learn and to interact with each other.
But the experience I most enjoy is the High Table — an opportunity for the LLM students and law faculty to come together in a book-lined seminar room to learn from experts in various aspects of international law. It is the perfect location and atmosphere for off-the-record conversations on a wide range of issues.
I attended my first High Table in September 2014 — and immediately realized that it was a very special experience. Dr. Mohamed El-Baradei joined the group to discuss his experiences as Chairman of the International Atomic Energy Agency in both Iraq and Iran as well as his experiences during the Arab spring. It was an extraordinary opportunity to hear in a small group about the views of a Nobel prize winner, and learn more as he, my fellow faculty members, and the LLM students pursued an open dialogue across a wide range of topics.
As I now look back at the many High Tables I have attended, two things strike me. The first is the opportunity to meet and hear from people who have achieved amazing things in the law, often against extraordinary odds and challenges. Chief Judge Patricia Wald, who spoke to us regarding her work as Chair of the U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, was also a pioneer in so many respects — as a young mother who went to law school when few women attended and as the first woman Chief Justice of the DC Circuit. She then, instead of taking a well-earned retirement, served as a judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, working to build a new international jurisprudence. The High Table’s intimate surroundings gave me a chance to see first-hand her intelligence, her humility, and the richness of her experience. It left me feeling both humble and deeply impressed.
The second special feature of the High Tables is the excitement of being exposed to legal issues that are outside my area of expertise. For example, earlier this year, Kingsley Moghalu, former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Nigeria, gave a provocative talk on issues of rule of law in emerging economies — he challenged our thinking on the issue and provoked an informative discussion among the group. Cravath partner Rory Millsom walked the group through the thicket of legal considerations surrounding targeted killing by drones, making some challenging points about the application of law to new technologies along the way.
No matter how many High Tables I have attended, I always leave the discussion knowing that I have learned something new and that I am lucky to be surrounded by such informed students and teachers. It’s a great feeling and a significant perk of my work at Fletcher.
This year it took precisely one day before I fell behind in my email after we released decisions. I tried to keep up over the weekend, but yesterday the messages came in so quickly that the best I can say is I answered a few and the rest are tucked away safely in a corner of my inbox where they won’t be lost. I will respond as soon as I can, increasingly with the sad starter, “I’m sorry for my delay in responding.”
And I am sorry, because I know that everyone who writes to us is doing the work of learning about the program before making the important decision on where to attend graduate school. I know I speak for my Admissions pals when I say that we will respond as quickly as we can, and also as thoroughly as we can. Fortunately, we have our crack team of Graduate Assistants working this week before their own spring break, and they can help with questions about Fletcher student life.
Time to attack my inbox. If I’m lucky, I’ll answer most of the backlogged messages before too many new ones come in. It’s my objective to avoid the Lucy/chocolate factory scenario. Wish me luck!
Following Friday’s release of decisions and a relaxing weekend, Admissions staff members returned to a new phase of the admissions process: working with (and congratulating!) the new community of admitted students.
Let me also pause to say to those who did not receive good news on Friday: please stay in contact with us. And thank you to everyone for your interest throughout the year.
Starting today, we’re primed to reach out to admitted students and receive their requests for more information. We’ve scheduled online chats, information sessions, and an open house. Those who can’t participate in an organized activity can visit at their convenience. And, of course, there will be emails. Many emails.
Though the weeks from January to March are busy for us, somehow the March/April period is even more hectic. And the next five weeks should be busy for admitted students, too. Doing the research that results in selecting the right graduate school takes time. You did your preliminary scouting before applying, of course, but now is when you make doubly sure that the program in which you will enroll best matches your academic and career objectives. Gather all the detail you need about Fletcher and your other graduate programs and then make a well-considered decision. Explore the course offerings in detail. Learn about the student community. We’ll do our part via multiple media to provide you with information to help in your decision making. And the Admissions Blog will continue to supply stories about our wonderful community and rich intellectual environment.
Speaking for everyone on the Admissions Staff, we encourage you to learn as much as you can before making a final decision. Of course, we hope you will choose Fletcher, but it’s even more important that September finds you in classes that move you toward your academic and career goals. We welcome your questions! And, congratulations, once again, on your admission!
An intense two weeks have led to today. We’ve had a rescheduled-to-evening final MA/MALD Admissions Committee meeting, scrambling LLM and MIB Committees reviewing March 1 applications, hours reviewing scholarship applications, additional hours checking our system to be sure everything is set up correctly, and even more hours (and people) ensuring every letter is right and then stuffing envelopes.
While we apply the final finishing touches, let me run through what you can expect to learn tonight when we release decisions. (All decisions, by which we mean decisions for all degree programs on every complete application that was submitted by the final March 1 deadline. No trickling of decisions for us. No releasing of decisions by telephone or email either, so please be patient until 5:00 p.m. U.S. EST (GMT-5).)
First, when your decision is ready, you’ll receive an email to check your Application Status Page. (Reminder for those who haven’t bookmarked the page: To access your Application Status Page you can either click the “Start an Application” link on the Admissions website or the application link. You’ll log in with the email and password you used when you created your application.)
I’ve already described the different decision options on Tuesday and Wednesday. In addition to learning the admission decision, when admitted applicants log in, they will be able to find their scholarship award. If you’re in a two-year program, you’ll learn your two-year award so that you can plan ahead. We make scholarship decisions based on a combination of merit and need. That is, for any level of merit — as determined through the application review process — the larger awards go to those with greater need. We hope that all applicants will be happy with their awards, though we know that only Admissions Committee members have the full picture of the breadth of need (and merit, for that matter) among the admitted applicants. Fletcher’s applicant pool is diverse in every possible way.
Beyond all that, let me just say that it is truly a pleasure to work with our applicants. On the road, here at Fletcher, and through correspondence, Admissions staff members connect with hundreds of people who submit applications each year. Our connection with some applicants goes back many years. At the same time as the Admissions Committee’s mandate is to put together a class that will succeed at, contribute to, and benefit from Fletcher, there are many people who may not be admitted at this time but who we know will ultimately be great students. We hope to see you again. Meanwhile, I want to thank all of you for your interest in Fletcher and for reading the Admissions Blog throughout the year.
Tagged with: decisions
Continuing to prep readers for the decisions that we will release soon*, I want to share a little insider info on scholarship awards. Fletcher has a source of scholarship funds for new and continuing students. All of the funds allocated for incoming students (including those who applied by the Early Notification deadline and were admitted in December) will be offered as scholarships this month, and admitted students will learn the amount of their scholarship award along with their admission decision.
But the situation is more complex than that. If we have $100 in our special pot of scholarship cash, we don’t simply distribute $100. Instead, we reckon that half of the award recipients will decide to continue working, attend another program, or, for whatever reason, decline our offer of admission. This is predictably the case and, with enrollment history in mind, we actually distribute $200 in scholarships. It’s a gamble, but if we’ve done our math right, it’s a safe gamble.
Why is this relevant for readers? Let’s imagine that Jim and Bill are friends who have applied to Fletcher. Both are admitted and receive $100 scholarships. Bill decides to enroll at Fletcher, but Jim decides to postpone graduate school for a year. Bill knows that Jim has received a $100 scholarship, and Bill would like to claim it for himself. Alas, Jim’s award doesn’t represent actual cash that goes back in the pot.
At the end of the enrollment process, we’ll calculate how much genuine money has been added back to the scholarship account. (Of course, if we make offers of admission to waitlisted candidates, they may also be offered scholarships.) One thing you can be sure of is that we will distribute all of the available funds. We don’t get to use them to order lunch or redecorate the Admissions Office. Scholarship funds are for students, and every last dollar will be offered to someone who will study at Fletcher in the fall.
*soon=end of the business day tomorrow, EST
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