Currently viewing the tag: "Career"

Chapple-Sokol HeadshotThis week’s posts have come from a professor, a current student, and a member of the Class of 2008.  Today I’ll tell you about an alumnus whose career is quite unlike that of most of our alumni.  Sam Chapple-Sokol F’12 has been writing and publishing on the topic of culinary diplomacy ever since he took Prof. Henrikson’s Diplomacy: History, Theory, and Practice.  (Prof. Henrikson called Sam’s article, which grew out of a term paper, “an example and an inspiration, as to what can be done with a new idea, a scholarly interest, research knowledge, literary skill, and personal enterprise and follow-through.”)

In fact, it was Prof. Henrikson who brought Sam’s work to my attention, when he shared an update the community.  Sam had recently been interviewed on “The Splendid Table,” a nationwide NPR program about food.

For those who can’t take the time to listen to (or read the transcript of) the full interview, I’ll share Sam’s definition of culinary diplomacy.  He says, “I have defined culinary diplomacy, in a couple of pieces that I’ve written, as the use of food in cuisine as an instrument to create cross-cultural understanding, in the hopes of improving interactions and cooperation.  That’s an academic way of saying, using food to get along with people, to talk with people, and to get to know them better.”

I reached out to Sam for a little more detail on his post-Fletcher work, and for some photos.  He told me that he has been blogging and tweeting on culinary diplomacy (note that the Wikipedia entry actually refers to Sam), as well as continuing to write for publications, most recently for Public Diplomacy Magazine.  (The Public Diplomacy article drew some additional attention to his work.)  He has also worked at the White House as a pastry chef during two holiday seasons, and for other projects including celebrations for July 4, Halloween, the Inauguration, and the State Dinner during the visit of French President François Hollande.  When not putting his own culinary skills to work, he consults for Le Club des Chefs des Chefs, an elite organization for the personal chefs of heads of state.

So far as I can remember, Sam’s work is unique among Fletcher grads, but there are many other alumni (Michelle Kwan comes to mind), whose career paths are not attainable for incoming or current students.  So why highlight them in the Admissions Blog?  Because it’s great to have them in the student and alumni communities!  The diversity of experience among students in any classroom contributes to every student’s experience.  And if the student with unusual experience (and an even more unusual future career path) happens to be a pastry chef, all the better!  Finally, here are some photos from Sam’s work at the White House.

Sam and pastry chef

The model of the White House is edible! Weighing 350 pounds, it was made from a foundation of gingerbread and covered with white chocolate, according to the White House.

Sam in the White House garden

In the White House garden.

Sam and FLOTUS

Photo originally tweeted by the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” program.
https://twitter.com/letsmove

Sam and muppets

Relaxing with Muppets after the Let’s Move event.

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Well, we finished off yesterday’s Open House in fine style, waving off a few of the last visitors (and their luggage) at about 6:00.  Each of us Admissions folk agreed that the sessions we attended went very well.  Adding it all up, we consider the day to have been a success.

Poking around the blog last week, I found a few posts that I had forgotten about, and that might be helpful for admitted students (and future admitted students) who didn’t attend the careers sessions at the Open House.  In 2010, I asked the Office of Career Services staff to describe their work.  Each member of the OCS staff focuses on a sector that is a typical objective for Fletcher students.  Though there are new names attached to some of the sectors, Phillip, the OCS director (and a participant in Admissions Committee meetings) confirms that the structure of responsibilities is the same.  So, below, please find links to past blog posts on OCS’s approach to sector coaching.

Of course, 2010 employment statistics aren’t very relevant now.  To round out the picture, you’ll want to check more recent career reports.

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Continuing the internship theme that Roxanne kicked off for us yesterday, today we’ll consider the question of internships during the academic year.  We’re often asked about the opportunity to pursue an internship alongside classes, and it’s slightly tricky to answer.  On the one hand, YES, you certainly may pursue an internship!  Absolutely!  And many students do.  On the other hand, it’s not the culture at Fletcher to push students out the door to those internships (except during the summer, of course).  Like so many choices students make (Should I pursue a dual degree?  Exchange semester?  Language study?  Cross-registration?), the decision on an internship depends completely on the individual student’s academic and professional objectives.  There’s plenty going on at Fletcher and elsewhere on the Tufts campus — you won’t be bored if you commit yourself to two years of doing everything there is to do here.  On the other hand, if you tell us you have an internship, we’ll tell you that we’re glad to hear you’re taking advantage of that opportunity!

All of that said, I asked current students about their academic-year internships, and here’s what I found out:

Bob, first-year MALD:  I work as an intern with the Tufts Office of Sustainability, which is located just a short walk from the Fletcher School in Tufts’ Miller Hall.  I spend around 10-15 hours here per week, and some of my work can be completed at home.

Nathan, second-year MALD:  I have done work for two outside organizations while at Fletcher.  The first, in my first year, was at a small governance and peacebuilding organization in Cambridge, about a 30-minute walk from campus.  I worked 16-20 hours during the fall, and scaled back to 8-10 during the spring.  It was enriching to combine the academic environment with a more applied one, but I had to work during normal business hours, which was inconvenient for scheduling study groups and meant missing other opportunities at Fletcher.  This type of work comes down to balancing the experience (and need for extra income!) with the opportunities and community available on campus.  I decided not to continue this during my second year.  My second internship, which I’m doing currently, is a long-distance, on-my-own-time consultancy.  This, of course, means more flexibility but less direct engagement with the organization and the material.  It still involves sacrifice, but it’s less a cause of stress in my life, and I do appreciate having at least one toe in the real world while at an academic institution.

Justin, second-year MIB:  I worked at Converse in Latin America strategy 18-20 hours per week this year.  I was able to do my capstone on Converse’s three-year strategy for Brazil.

Marie, second-year MALD:  I worked at Conflict Dynamics International for about 9 hours a week last fall and this spring.

Katie, first-year MALD:  I have had an internship for both the fall and spring semesters of this year.  It is at WorldTeach, an international education nonprofit in Cambridge (it was formerly affiliated with Harvard).  The internship is 10 hours per week, or 40 hours per month.

John, first-year MIB:  I intern with the U.S. Commercial Service (a division of the Department of Commerce).  I intern at the downtown Boston office, 10-15 hours a week.  My responsibilities include market research and creating market entry strategies for Massachusetts companies to export and expand operations overseas.

Michael, first-year MIB:  I have been working at State Street this semester.  I am in the enterprise risk management division, in the probability of default group.  My group worked on calculating the counter-party risk of broker-dealers for regulatory purposes.  It is very quantitative.  I work approximately 15 hours a week, all on-site in downtown Boston.  The internship is paid on an hourly basis, and I found it through a posting from Fletcher OCS.

Leila, second-year MALD:  Last spring I did an internship at Mercy Corps’ Cambridge office.  I worked 10-12 hours a week with the Director of Governance and Partnerships.  My main tasks were to help with logistics for their Partnerships summit in Bangkok, and to conduct research for an internal paper on private-sector partnerships.  I found out about the internship through an OCS email.

Albert, second-year MALD:  I’ve been interning on the Governance and Peacebuilding team at Conflict Dynamics International both this past summer and during the year.  The internship is focused almost entirely on research in the areas of governance and peacebuilding, particularly in Sudan, South Sudan, and Somalia.  I worked 16 hours a week last semester and am working 12 hours a week this semester, paid on an hourly basis.

Cherrica, first-year MALD, and Chris, first-year MALD both intern at CargoMetrics, downtown Boston, 10-15 hours each week, paid, and say:  It’s a technology-enabled hedge fund founded by Fletcher alums.  They prefer you to work in the office but on occasion they are flexible and allow you to work from home.  Great office with several Fletcher grads and students.

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My thanks to Roxanne for her comprehensive description of the process.  Take it away, Roxanne!

First of all, it was so wonderful to meet many of the prospective members of the incoming class last week! We are sad to part with our second-year students soon, and getting to hear the stories of the incoming class gave many of us a lot to look forward to! One of the questions that emerged through these conversations was about the Fletcher summer internship search process. While it is very challenging to speak about a universal Fletcher experience, given that interests vary widely in this diverse community, I would like to shed some light on how some Fletcher students begin to think about their summer internships. Feel free to also browse the post I wrote about this topic in February, right before the DC Career Trip.

Setting goals for the summer: The first, and perhaps hardest, step in the internship search process is defining the summer experience we each wish to have. Some Fletcher students consider themselves “career changers,” shifting away from the professional field in which they worked prior to Fletcher and towards new endeavors. Other Fletcher students wish to use the summer to build their international or field experience, so they are explicitly looking for opportunities outside the United States. Yet other students wish to conduct research that will culminate in a capstone project, thesis, PhD proposal, or other document — either in parallel to an internship or instead of one. Some classmates wish to obtain or apply particular skills, such as quantitative analysis, crisis mapping, or practicing a language. Yet others want to remain in the same sector they were in prior to Fletcher, but wish to diversify the organizations and partners with which they have worked by building new institutional relationships over the summer. As you can see, there is no pattern that defines every Fletcher summer experience: The locales that host us for the summer range from Boston to Japan, from the public to private sector, from paid consultancies to research initiatives, and from entirely new endeavors to a return to beloved projects.

The critical role of mentorship: Mentorship is a critical component of developing a clearer sense of our goals for the summer. Conversations with professors or guest speakers at Fletcher events, as well as informational interviews with alumni, help us clarify our vision for what we seek to accomplish over the summer. Prior to both the New York City and DC career trips, the Office of Career Services compiles a lengthy list of alumni, including their professional affiliations and contact information. Students arrange many chats with alumni both during the Career Trips and outside of them in order to better understand potential summer opportunities. Informational interviews continue through the spring and they often end with a clearer “next step” for the students or an introduction to someone who may be of further help.

The Fletcher network does not just consist of faculty, staff, and alumni; rather, students themselves are an invaluable resource to their peers. During the second semester, many emails are sent on the Social List (our beloved and informal email list) asking if fellow students have worked in X country or with Y organization or if they know a particular individual. Many coffee chats emerge from these emails and it is always a delight to put each other in touch with people we have met or places we have worked, in the hope that we can create more opportunities for our peers.

Applying to summer positions: The Office of Career Services plays an instrumental role in coaching students through the application process. Once we have identified the types of opportunities we wish to apply to, we can make appointments with Career Services staff to review our résumés and cover letters, conduct mock interviews, receive assistance in negotiating potential compensation — or even in proofreading our communications with potential employers! For students who wish to conduct research or work on a Fletcher-affiliated project, whether in the Boston area or beyond, conversations with professors and campus centers that are supervising these initiatives are an important part of building future relationships.

Funding the summer experience: The availability of funding differs greatly among the various sectors in which Fletcher students immerse themselves for the summer. There are many opportunities to fund the summer experience for those who have received an unpaid internship. The Office of Career Services has a simple application for summer funding, and these resources are supplemented by other research centers on campus that can provide financial support, such as the Tisch Active Citizenship Fellowship Program or the Feinstein International Center. Some professors  and departments make grants available for language study or for internships in a specific sector or region of the world. Additionally, there are Boston-area resources, such as the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School Summer Fellowships, that are accessible to Fletcher students because of the partnerships between Fletcher and the funding institutions. Students in the private sector or those who have secured paid consultancies for the summer may follow a slightly different process.

Pre-departure preparations: There is never a dull moment at Fletcher, even with an internship and funding secured! The months prior to departing for the summer are filled with building skills that may be essential for our research or employment, from training ourselves in statistics or ethnographic interviewing to brushing up on language skills and conducting pre-thesis research. In the next month, I will also be offering a “blogging and social media” workshop for Fletcher students, so we  can compile a document of our online presence, enabling us to follow each other’s summer journeys and learning. A classmate is in the process of compiling a Google Map with Fletcher summer internship locations, so we can find community wherever we go. The bottom line is that this is an exciting, exhilarating process, which — like most other processes at Fletcher — requires putting ourselves out there, being curious and open to learning, and leveraging the power of this community to create opportunities for all.

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The final word of the week on the Office of Career Services and the career trip to Washington, DC comes from Roxanne, who is using the trip to think through her internship objectives.

Prior to arriving at Fletcher, permanence was fleeting.  My work with women affected by conflict drew me from one country to the next, uprooting me from one community only to parachute into another.  In addition to the questions this model raised about the continuity and sustainability of impact, the lifestyle also made me crave tucking the suitcase away and putting down roots.  The depth of these roots was not important; I did not, at the time, long to own a home of my own and grow old there.  But when I arrived at Fletcher, I found myself relieved that I could have a permanent address that, in turn, allowed me to build routines and relationships that were difficult to sustain while I did field work in conflict management.

For the first five months after arriving in the U.S. to enroll at Fletcher, I did not board a single flight, perhaps out of a resistance to burst the bubble of permanence I have come to cherish.  I finally traveled for the New York City Career Trip, organized by the Office of Career Services to allow students to consider their career and internship options.  This week, I am heading to Washington with my classmates for the DC Career Trip and the itinerary is packed with site visits at international organizations, government agencies, and NGOs.  The internship search requires each of us to consider a set of questions:  Do I wish to remain in the U.S. or work internationally?  Am I hoping to use the summer experience to gain insight into a potential career track, build a relationship with a new organization, deepen an existing relationship with an institution, or try something entirely new to me?  Am I honing a specific set of skills, diversifying my experience, or attempting to create a medley of all possible options?

Self-reflection is the first, and perhaps the most critical, step of the process.  Identifying mentors and soliciting input is a necessary next step.  Through conversations with professors and career advisors here, as well as in late-night discussions with classmates, we each seek to figure out which organizations and opportunities suit our personal and professional priorities.  Once we have honed a list of organizations that interest us, the process of networking kicks into high gear.  That is where Fletcher’s current students and alumni are the most powerful resource, helping their peers connect with current or former employers or with organizations of interest.  It is a season of email writing, of introducing new colleagues to old supervisors, and new friends to old mentors who may be able to guide them.  Many of us have scheduled informational interviews during the DC Career Trip to gain a better understanding of the professional trajectory in our fields of interest and of the best way to prepare for a career in them.

To that end, during the DC Career Trip, I will be having coffee with a Fletcher alumna with vast experience in the intersection of gender and conflict.  I will also participate in a site visit to a research and policy group that focuses on women in conflict areas, and attend a panel on conflict resolution-related opportunities.  At each of these events, I will be reflecting on the skills I need to develop, the questions I should be asking of myself and others in this field, and the roles and careers in this field that I may not have otherwise been aware of or considered.

A lot of these professional questions intersect with the personal questions I was considering prior to coming to Fletcher:  Am I envisioning a career in constant motion?  Do I picture myself living internationally or within a particular country?  In the field or at headquarters?  Working with the UN, as I once did, or with a different agency?  In a research and policy-oriented role or on the implementation side of projects?  Stay tuned for the answers in my next installment of the Student Stories series….

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There are no Fletcher classes today or tomorrow while students are visiting Washington, DC for the annual career trip.  A couple of weeks ago, the director of the Office of Career Services, Phillip McMullen, sent us a preview of the many different activities students could choose from.  Here’s how he described the trip for his colleagues.

Hi All –

My great team has pulled together another winning DC Career Trip, which is two weeks away.   We closed registration last night and I thought I would share a few statistics.

  • A total of 67 events over the two days:
    • 9 Panels
    • 3 Affinity Group Events
    • 24 Site Visits
    • 30 Alumni Lunches
    • 1 Alumni-Student Reception (250 students/250 alumni)
    • 1, 440 — total seating capacity across all events, excluding the reception
    • 320 participating students
    • 160+ alumni speakers/hosts, excluding the reception
    • Some new additions this year:
      • National Security/White House Tour/Briefing
      • DM&E Roundtable

Staff members who will be in DC are welcome to join us at the reception.  A cozy gathering of 500 enthusiastic Fletcherites.

Best,
Phillip

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Incoming Fletcher students have their first interactions with the Office of Career Services during Orientation, which means everyone focuses early on sharpening professional profiles and identifying internship opportunities.  Today, Maliheh tells us how she built her partnership with OCS.

My experience with the Office of Career Services at the Fletcher School has been wonderful.  From the first day, the staff has gone above and beyond in supporting me with my career search.  As an international student, I was facing unique challenges as I sought to build my career and find an internship.  Aside from employment restrictions imposed by U.S. immigration regulations, I was concerned about cultural differences that could affect my ability to successfully present my qualifications.  I was surprised to learn how different an American résumé looks from a résumé I might prepare for employment in my home country.  I had heard something about “networking” as a job-search strategy, but didn’t know that in the U.S., the primary way people get professional positions is through networking appropriate and effective contacts.  I didn’t even have any idea on how I could begin the networking process.

In my search for a summer internship, I relied on the help of Career Services.  The diverse skills and knowledge of the OCS staff matches pretty well with the diverse student body at Fletcher.  Getting a job or an internship in an international organization can be challenging, but there are many opportunities to get your “foot in the door,” which all need a good knowledge of the organizational structure and business culture in that organization.  Before I began my search for an internship within the UN and the World Bank, Career Services helped me in building my résumé and tailoring it to the needs of these organizations, and they helped me to find the appropriate way to approach my contacts.

Initially, I would stop by OCS every other day to ask very detailed questions on how to correspond with my contacts, but gradually I could be more independent than that.  Their assistance helped me find a place where I truly enjoyed working, the World Bank. During my summer at the World Bank, I was amazed to discover how many Fletcher alumni are working there, including two of the bank vice presidents, Rachel Kyte and Hassan Tuluy.  Using the Fletcher network, when I was at the bank, I was offered another internship position at the World Resources Institute, where I had always dreamed to work.  After two months of research at WRI, I received an award that is offered to WRI’s best summer researcher.  I mention this not to brag, but to say that all Fletcher students have the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their careers.

About one year ago, as a first-year MALD student, I was filled with fear and stress about the internship search.  I knew that finding a substantive internship can be difficult even for U.S. students, and the challenge would be greater for me, an international student.  By the end of the spring, having drawn on the support of OCS, I was fortunate to be able to select from several internship offers.  Now, as a graduating MALD student, I am extremely grateful for the resources offered within Career Services as they helped me in reaching the next phase of my career path.  Looking forward to my next job search, I no longer have the fear I felt only a year ago.

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Here’s a nifty page for those of you still thinking about how Fletcher will help you achieve your career objectives.  The screen shot below shows what the page looks like.  As you’ll see, the list on the left includes “Banking & Finance” and “Capitol Hill/Campaigning” and all sorts of other career directions in which Fletcher graduates have gone, and current students will go.  If you go to the page, and click on “Banking & Finance” you’ll see a list of classes that can support your future career.  Try it!  Click around and check out this practice-oriented presentation of the Fletcher curriculum.

 

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There are no classes today or tomorrow, as students travel to Washington, DC and participate in an intense two days of job-hunt related activities organized by the Office of Career Services.  The schedule is a solid wall of presentations, panel discussions, networking events, lunch with alumni, and receptions.  Students use a bidding process to sign up for sessions, making their own decision on how completely exhausted they want to be at the end of each day.  I frequently hear about job offers that connect back to the career trips, and students who are looking to DC (or NY) for their future work are enthusiastic participants in the trips.

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Each year, one or two Tufts University students are selected to guide their classmates through the process of thinking about and applying for U.S. Government internships and jobs.  To apply for this position of Federal Service Student Ambassador, the students must first have held a summer internship with the government.  This year, two second-year Fletcher MALD students, Amy Patanasinth and David Wallsh, were selected.  Here, Amy and David describe their yearlong role as 2010-2011 Federal Service Student Ambassadors.

Fletcher students are incredibly lucky to have a fantastic Office of Career Services as a resource.  While working with OCS, Fletcher students can also draw on us — the University’s two Federal Service Student Ambassadors.  We have been selected by The Partnership for Public Service, which aims to revitalize the U.S. government by inspiring a new generation to serve and by transforming the way government works.  Fletcher and other units of Tufts both attract students and produce graduates that are exactly what the federal government needs.  We help these students find and apply for internships and jobs with the government by holding workshops and advising students on an individual basis.

At Tufts, the Federal Service Student Ambassadors also work closely with the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service.  The Tisch College is a fantastic resource for all Tufts students.  It is a unique university-wide program that sets the standard in the U.S. with programming and research designed to promote higher education’s role in civic engagement.  We have also established relationships with various academic departments, including the political science department, which have advertised relevant opportunities to interested students.  Lastly, we have aimed to raise awareness in Tufts’s many other graduate schools about federal service opportunities in diverse fields, such as engineering, public health, urban and environmental planning, and many more!

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