Currently viewing the tag: "Los Fletcheros"

I recently heard from Justin, a 2013 grad, who offered to share his reflections on his first months since graduating.  I love volunteers!  And here is Justin’s report.

As I reflect on my experience at Fletcher, I can hardly believe it’s been three years since I made the decision to attend graduate school.  In early 2011, I was living in New York and working as a manager at a Big 4 consulting firm.  Though I was making a good living, I felt that my career had plateaued, and I wanted to burnish my credentials to pursue the international business career I had always dreamed of.  Fletcher’s MIB program offered exactly what I was looking for — core business training within the context of a school famous for its international affairs curriculum.  So I went for it.  And three years later, I can happily say it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Justin EttingerI entered Fletcher with a clear mission:  to position myself for a great job when I graduated.  While I certainly worked hard in the classroom, I also made networking one of my top priorities from the start.  By constantly speaking with alumni and attending events, I developed a clear sense of the path I wanted to take by the end of my first year, and my efforts generated three internship offers, all through alumni connections.  I ultimately chose to work in Latin America strategy at Converse Inc. (a Nike subsidiary).

Converse opened many new doors for me.  A successful summer led to an offer to continue working part-time during my second year (Converse is based in Boston), and I used that time to develop my capstone — a three-year commercial strategy for the brand in Brazil.  Working part-time on top of studying full-time was certainly a major commitment, but it enabled me to apply context to all of the new skills I was learning in the classroom.  The Fletcher alumnus I worked for, Dave Calderone (F’87), was an excellent mentor who exposed me to many facets of the global footwear industry.  He played an instrumental role in my education.  And the day after graduation, I started working full-time for Dave as a Strategic Planning Manager for Latin America at Converse.

After a few months, I made a personal decision to move to San Francisco.  I’m now working as a Senior Manager of Business Development for the Old Navy brand at Gap, Inc., where I’m responsible for adding new markets to Old Navy’s international franchise portfolio.  In the coming year, I’ll be traveling extensively around the world to visit retail markets and meet with potential new franchise partners.  I’ll be negotiating contracts, examining import/trade implications, constructing financial models, and truly building a global business.  It’s a job I could only have dreamed of before Fletcher.

My life has changed significantly over the last three years.  I now have lifelong friends all over the world.  I’ve been to 10 new countries on three continents.  I think about global business issues in an entirely new way.  And I got the international career I had hoped for.  Deciding on graduate school is a major life decision indeed, but it works if you work it.  So be deliberate, be decisive, have an open mind, and go for it.

Oh, and one last thing.  Support Los Fletcheros!

Though between the hours of 8:00 and 5:30, today is a day like any other, the evening will find students scurrying from event to event.  The end-of-semester avalanche of special activities lines up like this:

Winter recital5:30:  Social Hour, hosted by the Ralph Bunche Society, with Cuban food.

6:00:  The annual debate between Professors Moomaw and Everett.  (A previous year’s debate will give you a taste of the likely energy-related content.)

7:15:  The Fletcher Winter Recital, featuring musical students, professors, and alumni.

10:30:  The Los Fletcheros fall gig at Johnny D’s, a club in Davis Square.  The place will be hopping!  (Doors open at 9:00.)

Midnight:  Reality sets in.  Classes are all but over, and exams loom on the near horizon.

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I like to follow the traffic on Fletcher’s “Social List,” the email list on which students communicate with each other about anything and everything.  Since the start of the semester, the prime topic has been the buying and selling of textbooks and household items, but nestled between the “for sale” and “sold” messages were others that, together, paint a nice picture.

First, there are the calls for second-year students to sign up as “buddies” for the first-years.  “Buddy” makes the arrangement sound so preschool — a more grown-up term might be “peer advisor,” because here’s how the Fletcher Buddy Program organizers encouraged new students to participate:  “We will match you up with a second-year student, whom you can ask for advice on classes, professors, work/life balance, and much more!”  Equally, the continuing students are offered the “chance to pass along some of your words of wisdom and advice, and get to know some of the awesome new members of the community.”

Then there was a job posting for tutors with the Fletcher Graduate Writing Program.  Once the program is in full swing, the PhD student-director says the writing tutors “help students with all aspects of the writing process, including topic development, research management, consultation with professors, and preparation of the final draft.”

The return to an academic setting can be a challenge for many students who may have been in the professional world for several years.  Supports such as the Buddy Program and the Graduate Writing Program help to ease the transition.

But Social List postings aren’t limited to support options.  There are also opportunities for fun!  The Fletcher Fútbol team seeks new players, writing, “It’s FLETCHER FUTBOL time once again!  If you like to play soccer, or even run around like a chicken with your head cut off, we need you!  This is Fletcher’s club team and we play other grad schools throughout the year.  Each week we’ll play one game and practice twice, and we’ll have a lot of fun and camaraderie.”  I’m a long-time fan of Fletcher Fútbol!

And the Fletcheros — Fletcher’s in-house band — are looking for new musicians:

Los FletcherosA new academic year has begun.  While reading about post-conflict reconstruction in country x, you find yourself wishing you could kick out the jams like you used to in your old band.   But you’re too busy now, you say.  Those days of sweating it out on stage and making all of your close friends bust out the electric slide are past, you say.

Think again, dear friend. For this September, your dutiful Fletcher cover band The Los Fletcheros is holding auditions for new talent.

For those of you unfamiliar with the group, for seven years a rotating cast of some of the most musically inclined Fletcherites has melted many a face with an eclectic mixture of rock, dance, pop, funk and R&B songs, both old and new.  We generally play four to five shows a year at local clubs as well as the annual ski trip, and usually have a Fletcher audience of 300-400 people.  Long story short, you do want to be in this band.

The Fletcher Social Lister, displaying all due cultural awareness, closed his email with, “Members of The Los Fletcheros, even those who do not speak Spanish, are fully aware of the grammatical incorrectness of the full name.”

There’s a student activities fair tomorrow.  Between the fair and Social List emails such as the ones sent by the Fletcheros and the Fútbolers, there’s every opportunity for students to find their outside-the-classroom place at Fletcher, as well as supports for when they’re in the classroom.

Planning to be in the Boston area this week?  Take advantage of this once-in-four-years opportunity to attend the Los Fletcheros Leap Day Extravaganza.  Fletcheros and fans will be gathering Wednesday, February 29 at Johnny D’s at 8:00 p.m.  Fletchero press releases claim that the “The Los Fletcheros Leap Day Extravaganza Event is one of the most highly anticipated events of Davis Square’s quadrennial celebration!”

Blog readers, don’t be disturbed by the Fletcheros’ tendency to overuse articles (“the” and “Los”) in English and Spanish.  And do consider attending.

I’m going to breeze straight past disappointing sports news from yesterday, and recall, instead, a happier weekend a couple of weeks back.  That’s when much of Fletcher relocated to the mountains of Maine for the annual ski trip.  I asked two students to describe the Sugarloaf experience.

Second-year student, Jenny, fills us in on the organization of the trip:

As a Fletcher student, I never get tired of hearing about the sense of community that students experience here at Fletcher.  In fact, this is what attracted me to the MALD program in the first place.  And now that I am a part of it, I completely understand what I had heard from Fletcher faculty, students, and staff.  Fletcher’s annual ski trip to Sugarloaf Mountain Resort in Maine showed once again why the Fletcher community is so strong.

The annual ski trip is a student-organized event that you do not want to miss.  It’s a chance for all of us to stretch our legs, put down our books, turn off our computers, and get some fresh air during a weekend away.  The dedicated group of students who form the Ski Trip Committee work hard to organize and plan a trip that only strengthens the student community and creates great memories.  Even though the resort is huge, and we are spread out in various cabins, you will always run into a fellow Fletcher student on the slopes, in the cafeteria, in the rental shop, or even in the cabin right next to you.  In the evening, we all convene to show our support for our very own Fletcher band, Los Fletcheros, and share stories of skiing for the first time, falling hard on the slopes, or relaxing in the hot tub all day.  Needless to say, we all thanked the student organizers for planning a great event.

The ski trip is just one example of how students help build a tight-knit community.  Many Fletcher students are involved in planning events such as the Diplomat’s Ball, Fletcher Follies, the four cultural nights, and various speaker events that bring students together in a cultural, diverse, academic, and social environment.  The ski trip shows that the community is not confined to Fletcher’s campus, but exists even when we are away from school.  What connects all student-organized events is that they strengthen the community; and that is the Fletcher experience.

First-year student, Beth, wrote about her first experience with this Fletcher tradition:

The legendary Fletcher ski trip took place recently.  While I was looking forward to it, I had no idea how it could live up to the expectations set by the second years.  All through the fall semester, second years raved about last year’s trip and talked endlessly about the bonding experience.  Somehow, I was doubtful that having 400 students spread over a mountain would really bring us that much closer, when we already spend endless hours together in class, the library, Mugar Café, and Davis Square.

Predictably, I was wrong.  Without the distraction of homework and internship searches, our class finally had the chance to talk about everything else.  Sitting on the ski lift, we chatted about sports, family ski trips, the prior night’s party, and our winter break.  I noticed my friends getting to know other students better and forging new relationships.  My classmates had always impressed me with their hobbies and skills, but I hadn’t had the chance to see most of their talents at work.  Watching them instantly befriend new people, teach each other to ski, fearlessly take on a new sport, or fly down the mountain was truly impressive.

Everything I like about my classmates in school — their supportiveness, their inclusiveness, their confidence, and their sense of adventure — translated perfectly onto the mountain.  As the second years had promised, the ski trip was an opportunity to see my classmates in a new light, and once again be impressed.

Blog readers already know that Fletcher students have talents that extend way beyond the classroom.  Today, allow me to introduce Los Fletcheros.  More accurately, I’ll let second-year student and part-time musician Jeffrey Fine do the introduction.  He was writing in answer to my question, “Are you a Fletchero?” and to my request for information about the group:

I am a Fletchero — trumpet.

As a least-common-denominator, we are all from Fletcher, we like to play music to blow off steam, and we have a propensity for throwing epic musical bashes that attract a broad sampling of Fletcher students.  More specifically, Los Fletcheros is an eight-piece band that has its roots in Fletcher’s cultural nights, but has since morphed into a venue-filling ensemble playing cover music from the jazz, funk, classic rock, pop, and alternative genres.  We now have about five shows in the academic year, plus one epic gala at the annual ski trip.  After graduating much talent last year, we recruited two new first-years who will be press-ganging new Fletcheros after six of us graduate in May.

Have musical talent?  Keep the Fletcheros in mind when you’re deciding if Fletcher is the grad school for you.  Otherwise, there may be pressure on the faculty to agree to the request from first-year Fletchero, Joe, to fail Jeff and other second-years Claire, Sam, Fred, Andrew, and Nick.  Joe writes, “I mean, I wish them all the best, of course, but this is rock and roll!”  Don’t let it come to this, future students.  Instead, help out by joining Los Fletcheros in September.

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