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Even if you’ve only been reading the Admissions Blog for a short time, you may have noticed that I have trouble keeping up with everything happening at Fletcher.  Sigh.  Alas, there’s no easy solution to that problem, but I’m always happy to make lemonade out of lemons!  I can help you catch up with the news after it happens!  With that in mind, and in case you missed it, I’m delighted to point you toward the places where you can read up on a couple of big events at Fletcher this month.

Last week, Fletcher’s Institute for Business in the Global Context hosted a huge conference, “Greece’s Turn?”  You can catch up with much of the happenings on Twitter at #GreecesTurn.

And earlier this month, Professor Daniel Drezner organized The Ideas Industry conference, which you can also review on Twitter at #FletcherIdeas.  Even better, you can watch many of the sessions.

And now, back to my regular admissions work.  I’m due to present an information session to some of our 50+ participants in today’s Admissions Visit Day!

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When I was walking from my bus to Fletcher this morning, I was struck by how lovely the campus looks.  We’ve had a hot and dry summer, but this morning was cool and clear — a taste of what September and the fall will bring.

Though the weather and Orientation have us looking toward the fall semester, today I’m going to look back at some of the summer’s news that you may or may not have seen in other Fletcher sources.

I’ll start with something you won’t have read, but it’s pretty cool.  Tufts will have an observer team at the United Nations climate negotiations (COP 22) in Marrakech, Morocco in November, and students were invited to apply to participate.  The team at the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy will submit the nominations for official observer status.

And speaking of CIERP, the crew there is always busy in the summer.  Mieke van der Wansem, F90, associate director for educational programs at CIERP, spent part of her summer with an international group of sustainability professionals at an executive education course organized by the Sustainability Challenge Foundation in the Netherlands.  She co-led the faculty of the International Programme on the Management of Sustainability, which focused on negotiation and consensus building.

Not new CIERP news, but a new wrap up — check out this Tufts Now story on the Paris Climate Conference.

Continuing with the staff/faculty theme, Professor Cheyanne Scharbatke-Church told us about a new blog on corruption in fragile states that, she wrote, touches on many areas of interest to the Fletcher community, including “power analysis, systems thinking, aid ineffectiveness, good governance, fragile states etc.”  She also explained that many of the posts are derived from work that Professor Diana Chigas and she are doing, “looking at the intersection of corruption, justice and legitimacy.”

In news from the Institute for Business in the Global Context, Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti, PhD student Ravi Shankar Chaturvedi, and MALD/PhD graduate Ben Mazzotta, have posed the question, “What countries would benefit most from a cashless world?”  Their answer, which builds on the work of their Digital Evolution Index and the Cost of Cash research, can be found in their Harvard Business Review article that evaluates “the absolute costs of using cash around the globe to find what countries could unlock the most value by moving to a cashless society.”

And now some summer news about alumni.

Christina Sass, F09, is one of four co-founders of the two-year-old startup company, Andela, which is now backed by both Google and the Chan-Zuckerberg Foundation.  So many of our students and alumni work with small organizations, and it’s exciting to see one receive so much love!

Since graduating, Patrick Kabanda, F13, has been busy writing on cultural development for the World Bank, including “Creative Natives in the Digital Age”, “Music for Development in the Digital Age”, “The Arts, Africa and Economic Development: The problem of Intellectual Property Rights,” “Mozart seduces the World Bank and the IMF” (a blog post), and just recently, for the Inter-American Development Bank, “‘The World Sends Us Garbage, We Send Back Music’: Lessons from the Recycled Orchestra in Paraguay.”

And finally, Fletcher has developed a series of video answers to the question, “Why Fletcher?”  This summer, Elise Crane, F11, offered her perspective.

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For the second year, one of our alumni, Rockford Weitz is supporting entrepreneurial students, alumni, and faculty as Fletcher’s Entrepreneur Coach in Residence.  Through planned activities and his scheduled office hours, Rocky is bringing entrepreneurship to the front of student career planning.

Here (from an email to the community) is how Rocky describes his role at Fletcher:

What is Entrepreneurship?

Good question.  Entrepreneurship means different things to different people.  I define entrepreneurship as “problem solving with limited resources and an unclear path forward.”  By this definition, most of you will likely be entrepreneurs at some point during your career.

The entrepreneurial approach works well in many Fletcher career trajectories, including social entrepreneurship, tech-driven entrepreneurship, and intrapreneurship (using entrepreneurship techniques to succeed as a change agent in large organizations in the private, public, non-profit, intergovernmental and academic sectors).

Fletcher students and alumni have launched and scaled numerous enterprises, including non-profits, technology startups, and new offices within larger organizations, such as the United Nations or the U.S. State Department.

Entrepreneur Coaching

As Entrepreneur Coach, I help Fletcher students, faculty, staff and alumni:

  • Connect with potential customers, potential investors and service providers that could help aspiring Fletcher entrepreneurs turn their ideas into viable enterprises.
  • Think through business, social, and policy ideas where entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship could be part of the solution.
  • Create business plans, go-to-market strategies, and presentations to potential customers and investors.

There are two events today linked to entrepreneurship at Fletcher.  First, Rocky will be providing an “Overview of the Tufts and Boston Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.”  He describes it as:

At this event, I will provide an overview of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and support network available at Fletcher, Tufts, and the Greater Boston area.  Topics will include startup prizes (such as Fletcher D-Prize and Tufts $100K), startup accelerators, including those that do not take equity (such as MassChallenge, the world’s largest startup accelerator, located in downtown Boston) and other support resources for aspiring entrepreneurs (such as Demeter, FinTech Sandbox, District Hall, and the Venture Cafe).  Special attention will be given to resources available to aspiring social entrepreneurs and those Fletcherites interested in entrepreneurship/intrapreneurship in emerging markets.

Later in the day, Gerry Ford, F84, the founder, chairman, and CEO of Caffè Nero will speak on “The Journey of an Entrepreneur: From Start-up to Billion Dollar Company.”  Here’s the description of his talk:

Gerry Ford is Chairman and Chief Executive of Caffè Nero Group Limited, Europe’s largest independent coffee house group.  Gerry founded Caffè Nero in 1997.  He later listed Caffè Nero on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in 2001-2007.  In 2005, Dr. Ford was named the UK’s Entrepreneur of the Year by the Financial Times and The London Stock Exchange.  In 2007, Gerry took Caffè Nero private and today he remains the majority shareholder of the company. Currently, Caffè Nero has more than 5,500 employees in 700 stores across seven countries.  The company continues to open at a pace of a new store every four days somewhere in the world. Dr. Ford has a BA from Stanford University, a MALD from The Fletcher School/Tufts University, a MBA from INSEAD and a PhD from Oxford University.  He sits on the boards of several consumer goods businesses throughout Europe and the USA, and is a frequent speaker internationally on the topics of developing consumer brands and entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship is an area that has long interested Fletcher students, many of whom wish to start their own organizations.  Having Rocky Weitz has increased the available resources, both through his time and the activities that result from his residency here.

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Here’s a nice bit of news about the life of a project.  Harvard Business Review recently created a video about the Digital Evolution Index that was developed by Fletcher’s Institute for Business in the Global Context last spring.  The project manager is Ravi Shankar Chaturvedi, F12, a graduate of the MIB program, whom the blog caught in the Hall of Flags in April.  More recently, Dean Stavridis conducted an interview with Ravi, which you can find below.  (The HBR video can be found here.)  It’s exciting to observe the Digital Evolution Index receiving attention throughout the region and the world.

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Our most recent “Tufts Now” summary included links to two stories about Fletcher.

First, a report on Patrick Meier, F12 — a graduate of the PhD program (who spent one year on the Admissions Committee!) — regarding his work on crisis mapping and his new book on the topic.

And next, a story about the Digital Evolution Index, developed by Bhaskar Chakravorti and the Institute for Business in the Global Context team.

Interesting that the work done both by Patrick and by the IBGC team have such a strong technology component.  If you were to look back 15 years, I don’t think you would see the equivalent influence of technology on Fletcher’s coursework and research, but now it seems inevitable.

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I reached out recently to Carolyn McMahon (Class of 2012 graduate and current Fletcher staff member), who is the program officer for the Leadership Program for Financial Inclusion run by the Institute for Business in the Global Context.  I was unfamiliar with the details of the program, one of many that takes place around the usual degree programs, so let’s let Carolyn tell us about it.

Central Bankers.  Financial regulators.  Quick, what comes to mind?  Navy blue suits?  Entrenched bureaucracies?

How about: Inventive Thinkers.  Creative collaborators.  Alternative Pedagogy.  Peer-learning.  Challenging Assumptions.

150427_16707_FLPFI083.jpgWhen we tell people about The Fletcher Leadership Program for Financial Inclusion (FLPFI), it’s tough to counter these initial impressions.  Still, what we’re doing with this nine-month fellowship couldn’t be farther from a stodgy executive training.

FLPFI recruits and trains promising mid-career financial regulators from emerging and frontier market economies to bring fresh innovative thinking to financial policies and regulation.  Recruits are not only stewards of their countries’ financial stability but have professional mandates to create and promote safe and useful services for citizens at every income level, particularly the poor.

True to Fletcher’s ethos, the FLPFI experience is participatory and peer-based, with a commitment to honing practical skills and ensuring real world impact.

An innovative nine-month fellowship:

Since welcoming our first Fellow cohort in 2011, we’ve hosted 55 Fellows from 32 countries.  Their financial inclusion agendas are as diverse as their origins.  Fellows tackle challenges like SME (small- and medium-sized enterprise) financing, mobile services and payments, insurance, and agent banking.  On campus, Fellows meet Fletcher students and faculty, forging connections that have led to collaborations like summer internships and research opportunities.

Fellows of FLPFI spend nine months with a team of Fletcher faculty and industry experts.  They bring national expertise in regulation and new ideas for addressing financial inequities in their home countries.  Through online video modules, discussions, and in-person residencies, Fellows hone their policy ideas.  They learn best practices in financial inclusion policymaking from lecturers, Fletcher faculty, and each other, through highly participatory, charette-style sessions.  They learn methods of problem analysis and solution generation.  They test old assumptions and develop new theories.  They learn how to deploy media and public speaking to spread their ideas.  They inform and challenge each other.

Small program, big impact

150427_16707_FLPFI204.jpgFellows return home to implement their policies, armed with sharpened professional skills and fresh analytical perspectives.  They galvanize the support of high-level bureaucrats, and often partners such as CGAP, GSMA, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  FLPFI Fellows join a special part of the Fletcher community, creating a network of support, friendship and change makers within financial regulation.  Alumni What’sApp groups are aflutter even after graduation: on Monday, a Central Banker is posting a photo of his newborn; Tuesday, another is challenging conventional wisdom of small dollar accounts; and that afternoon a group is planning a rendezvous at the next international conference in Brazil.  The friendships built at FLPFI, like so many at Fletcher, transcend time zones and geographies.

Despite the program’s youth (the fourth cohort will graduate in September), several successful national policy victories have already been achieved by the Fellows.  Beyond regulatory change, program alumni benefit from continued support and elevated professional opportunities.  Many are invited to speak in international fora, take on leadership roles in regional organizations, and contribute to the global financial inclusion policy agenda.

Still, the program’s ability to forge lasting relationships across continents is a testament to its success and great potential.  FLPFI has succeeded in creating a microcosm of the Fletcher master’s experience for a group of professionals dedicated to improving the lives of their countrymen through more inclusive financial regulation.  Many great things lay ahead as the program enters its fifth year.

Inclusion fellows

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If you missed them, or even if you didn’t, you might be interested in updates on two past Fletcher conferences, both organized by the Institute for Business in the Global Context (IBGC).

The first — Inclusion, Inc. — took place this past April.  The Inclusion, Inc. team recently told the community:

Thank you for making Inclusion, Inc. a success!  The Forum brought together a diverse group of speakers and attendees, making for an exciting and engaging two days of discussion on sustainable and inclusive business activities (SIBA) in practice.

Be sure to visit the photo gallery from the event and check out our exclusive video content.  Stay tuned for a forthcoming conference report.

The second took place in April 2014.  “Turkey’s Turn” has a newly completed report, and here’s the update IBGC shared with us last month:

It’s been over a year since we brought together global thought leaders, decision makers, and those shaping business and investment, politics, and policy in Turkey for a deep discussion around geopolitics, energy, business, and more, all seeking to answer the central question: Is it “Turkey’s Turn?”

Today, Turkey remains at a critical nexus of international news and business.  As the country continues to expand its dealings with Europe, it also seeks to solidify its position in the tempestuous Middle East.  At the Institute for Business in the Global Context, we continue to be a part of these conversations long after the curtain closed on what was a truly remarkable two days of discussion at our “Turkey’s Turn?” Conference.

Building off the conference, this report dives into the many questions confronting Turkey today.  From Turkey’s government at home, to threats on its borders, to the country’s evolving role in international business, we dig deeper into the ideas and insights that emerged over the two-day event and tie them to the ongoing conversation around Turkey and its place in the world.

Be sure to check out more exclusive content from the conference, including photos and video interviews with some of our speakers.

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A quick update for you.  In September, we featured posts from three groups of students who had pursued summer research projects sponsored by Fletcher’s Institute for Business in the Global Context and the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth.  Yesterday I heard from Trevor Zimmer and Michael Mori, who wrote about their research on Indonesian mobile money.  Since then, their report, “Mobilizing Banking for Indonesia’s Poor,” has been published, and MasterCard has posted it on their website. Congratulations to Michael, Trevor, and IBGC!

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Yesterday I heard from Alison Erlwanger, one of the student leaders of the Africana Club, which is planning “Africa on the Global Stage,” a conference that will take place on Friday, February 20.  The second annual Africana Conference is free and open to the public, with support from Fletcher, the Institute for Business in the Global Context, the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, and the World Peace Foundation.

The Africana Club wants to encourage blog readers who are in the area to attend.  Please register online if you’re interested.  Student-led conferences are a great way to see a practical reflection of the learning that students have done throughout the year.

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Earlier this year, the Institute for Business in a Global Context took a look back at what it has accomplished in its first three years (and what it currently does) in pursuit of its mission to focus “on the interplay between global business and the key forces that shape the context in which enterprises operate.”  The result was a nice publication!  Take a look!

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