Currently viewing the tag: "MIB"
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.
I 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!
An eagle-eyed reader yesterday picked up on what appeared to be a blog error, but actually reflects some news.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I wrote that there is no midyear (January) admission for MIB students. Then last week that changed, to allow prospective MIB students the option of applying to start their degree studies in January. The eagle-eyed reader had spotted the new deadline/enrollment information on other pages of the website.
What was going on behind the scenes? Not all that much, to be honest. Over the life of this relatively new program, there had been a few students who started in January instead of September. That is, they were admitted for September, but something kept them from enrolling in the planned semester. (The explanations were usually visa problems or personal emergencies. Students with other issues would have been advised to defer their enrollment for a year, to the following September.) Although there are some challenges for MIBers who start in January (for example, they don’t meet their classmates in the pre-session), the challenges turn out to be surmountable, and we made the decision to allow students to make their own decision on when to enroll.
We still anticipate that the majority of MIB students will start in September, but we will no longer mandate it. If January is the right time for you to start your studies, we invite you to apply to either the MALD or MIB program. And, since the application is ready for you (and is due October 15 for January enrollment), feel free to get started on those essays!
When I returned from vacation this week, I was pleasantly surprised to find that staff members are no longer alone in the building (with the occasional visit from a professor and/or the GMAP program). The MIB pre-session started on Monday and runs for two weeks. Although the pre-session is part of the MIB core curriculum, incoming and continuing students in other programs are also invited to participate, and some do. So by the time I walked past the library this morning, I could already see two study groups hard at work. Like robins in the spring, MIBers are harbingers of a new season to come — in this case, the start of the academic year.
Even more activity awaited the Admissions team when we returned from lunch yesterday. (Team lunch: a great idea, contributed by Christine, to get us all out of the office at the same time.) As we approached the building, we saw a veritable crowd outside the front entrance. Though not Fletcher students, it was good to see the participants from Women2Women. They must have been here for their session with Prof. Tunnard, who presents a workshop on “Using Social Media for Social Change.” My daughter, Kayla, participated in W2W two summers ago. It’s a really interesting program that brings together powerful young women from around the world.
The pre-sessioners will still be here next week, and then orientation starts the following Monday, August 26. WOW! I am not happy at how quickly the summer has gone, but I am definitely looking forward to meeting the new students we’ve been working with since we first read their applications!
A prospective applicant asks: What can an applicant with a less quantitative background do before applying, to enhance chances of admission?
My answer is going to depend on the applicant’s goals and where the applicant is in life.
If the applicant is still pursuing an undergraduate degree, my advice is certainly to take micro- and macro-economics and statistics courses before graduating. A solid economics foundation is what many of our peer schools are looking for, too.
If that undergraduate ship has already sailed, and if the applicant is interested in Fletcher’s MIB program or a quant-focused curriculum in the MALD, MA, or PhD program, I would generally suggest either taking classes in economics and/or statistics before applying, or at least making arrangements to take them before the wished-for enrollment date. Getting strong grades for the quantitative work before applying is particularly important for those who either have lackluster quantitative scores on the GRE or GMAT exams, or who had only modest success in quantitative courses while an undergraduate. (If you can do better than your grades or test scores indicate, you’ll want to prove it!) If, on the other hand, you can present evidence (such as test scores and grades) of strong quantitative ability, you may be able to get away with simply telling us in advance of your January-to-August plan to make up for your lack of quantitative training before starting Fletcher classes.
If the applicant predicts a complete life of quantophobia and has no interest in quantitative Fields of Study at Fletcher, I would probably suggest taking economics and statistics/quantitative reasoning before enrolling anyway, but not necessarily for admissions purposes. So long as past testing and course grades demonstrate adequate command of quantitative matters, what the Admissions Committee will want to see is proof of ability to survive our basic economics and quantitative reasoning classes (or even to test out of them).
What does this lack of a single standard mean? It means that, for all degree programs, Fletcher’s Admissions Committees review an applicant’s full application. There’s never a lone criterion on which decisions are based. Rather, depending on which degree program an applicant hopes to pursue, we look at all the information in an application to gauge potential for success both overall, and in quantitative coursework in particular.
I’m going to return to a more admissions-related topic today. Recently, we were asked how an applicant could choose between the MALD and the MIB programs. I asked Kristen, our MIB expert, to lay it all out.
When talking with prospective students, one of the first questions we often hear is, “Which Fletcher degree is right for me?” While our five degree programs are suited to different professional interests and levels of experience, there is enough overlap among them that prospective applicants might feel torn in deciding between two different degree programs. And because all of our students can take all of the same classes, the differences blur even more. An MIB taking Peace Operations? Sure! An LLM in Corporate Finance? Of course!
So, as applicants narrow their choices, the questions we hear go something like this: Am I really mid-career enough for the MA, or is the MALD better for me? I’d like to enter the PhD program eventually, but should I start with the MALD? And then there’s the question I’m addressing today: I’m interested in building business skills. Is the MIB or the MALD the better choice?
The MIB and MALD programs share some fundamental similarities: both include classes in all three divisions, both require students to complete two Fields of Study and a capstone project, and both allow students to pursue business studies. The main difference lies in that last point. MALD students may choose International Business Relations as a Field of Study, requiring four classes in business. MIB students, on the other hand, complete a full core curriculum that includes business and international affairs classes, as well as a Field of Study in a specialized business area (Strategy, Finance, Marketing, or NGO Management). The MIB curriculum ensures that students have a foundational business education that delves into accounting, finance, strategy, marketing, statistics, and economics, and this curriculum (and the consequent “B” in the MIB degree name) is a signal to employers that, yes, this is a bona fide business degree, just as you would see in any more traditional business school.
If you are torn between the MIB and the MALD, ask yourself a few questions: How much business am I looking for in my degree? Am I looking to go into an industry that values a business degree? Do I prefer a more structured curriculum? And if you continue having a hard time grappling with these questions, please do not hesitate to call or email our office and we can talk about your career goals and the best degree for you.
And speaking of traditional business programs, this raises the second question: What about the MIB versus an MBA? The answer to this question is a bit simpler to describe. It is, quite simply, a matter of context. Where business schools almost exclusively focus on internal company matters (with some nods to market forces here and there), Fletcher is evenly weighted between the internal and the external. That is: What happens outside of company walls that makes for high risk or good opportunity? What are the market forces and cultural elements and policy factors and legal frameworks that affect a business? It’s this deep attention to context — what we call contextual intelligence — that distinguishes the MIB.
Prospective students always ask about the path to Fletcher from wherever they are in their education or professional life. Today I’m introducing first-year MIB student, Scott Snyder, the next participant in the blog’s Student Stories feature, and I’m going to do so by walking you through his résumé. Scott and I sat down recently to talk about the different intertwined factors that led him to enroll at Fletcher last fall. Though résumés generally flow reverse chronologically, my goal is to walk you from start to finish, so let’s start with Scott’s undergraduate education.
Union College, Schenectady, NY; BA in political science, minor in history, June 2004
Research Assistant – Political Science Research Grant, Summer 2003
Semester Abroad, University of Ireland, Galway
Scott was a political science major with an international relations focus. His thesis was on the war in Iraq. He also had the opportunity to participate in an internship that turned into an independent study project.
Office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Albany, NY; Intern, September 2003-March 2004
• Organized conference involving Senator Clinton, the mayors of five major Upstate New York cities and their economic development staff, federal government officials, and business and economic development experts, to discuss the Renewal Community program.
Scott’s supervisor always required interns to take on a project, and Scott’s was to consider how the Renewal Community program (a piece of domestic economic development legislation) was implemented in the area near Union College. The project led to the conference described above, a great introduction to politics, Scott said.
Margaret Walsh for Family Court Judge, Albany, NY; Campaign Manager, June-October, 2004
• Managed a campaign that placed a progressive underdog judicial candidate in office. Involved in all aspects of the campaign including development, communications, oversight of headquarters, and volunteer organization.
Once the internship was complete and Scott graduated from Union College, his internship supervisor helped him get a job with a candidate for a local judicial position. Scott was thus the 22-year-old, nearly completely inexperienced, campaign manager. Judge Walsh won the election. The campaign reinforced Scott’s interest in politics.
What to do after the election? Scott decided to move to Washington, DC, a fun place to be as a newly-minted graduate.
Campaign for America’s Future, Washington, DC; Program Assistant, April-October 2005
• Collaborated on Project for an Accountable Congress – a campaign to educate the public about ethical lapses of members of Congress, including paid media, press releases, constituent outreach, research and events.
Even as he worked at Campaign for America’s Future, Scott was planning his next step, which he thought would be the Peace Corps. But having completed most of the Peace Corps application process, he decided instead to move to Norfolk, VA for a new opportunity.
Operation Smile, Inc., Norfolk, VA; Mission Coordinator, March 2006-February 2007
• Administered pre-mission organization, on-the-ground logistics, and post-mission assessments for medical programs aimed at surgical repair for children with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities.
• Recruited and led international medical volunteers, coordinated local patients and families, and communicated with local hospitals and governments to perform over 125 surgeries in a 10-day period for each medical program, with an average of six missions per year in China, Kenya, Peru and Cambodia.
Scott didn’t know at the time that his year in Norfolk was only step one of a six-year career with Operation Smile. In fact, Norfolk wasn’t exactly where he wanted to be, given that he had enjoyed living in DC, but his job required about six months of travel each year, and he was working with a great group of people.
Operation Smile was expanding, and he, along with another coordinator and friend, took positions with a new Hanoi office, requiring a two-year commitment. Though based in Hanoi, he spent much of his time in other Asian locations.
Operation Smile, Inc., Hanoi, Vietnam; Regional Program Coordinator, February 2007-May 2009
• Increased surgical productivity through logistical troubleshooting, staff development, and programmatic upgrades. Conducted trainings for local staff in partner countries at headquarters in Vietnam and Norfolk, VA and in the field.
At the end of the two years in Hanoi, Scott decided to step away from Operation Smile. He took some time to prepare for graduate school and consider other professional opportunities. What he found was that his best opportunity was back with Operation Smile.
Operation Smile, Inc., Norfolk, VA; Senior Program Coordinator, November 2009-May 2010
• Directed a scale-up medical program in Guwahati, India. Created new initiative to be replicated around the world, which increased surgical capacity from 150 patients treated during a mission to 967 in a three-week period.
• Facilitated program coordination for United States Navy Pacific Partnership. Conducted two missions aboard the USNS Mercy Hospital Ship in Sihanoukville, Cambodia and Dili, Timor-Leste.
Scott had been thinking that he would go to business school, and he applied for enrollment in 2010. Instead, he left Norfolk yet again, this time for China, where he was charged with smoothing the occasional cultural differences and communication problems between Operation Smile and their Chinese partner foundation. Plus, he would gain experience in project management and fundraising, skills he wanted as he moved forward in his career.
Operation Smile, Inc., Beijing, China; Program Development Manger, May 2010-May 2012
• Managed programmatic and development team of five in China. Created and managed a $1.5 million budget per year, raised over $500,000 from companies and individuals within China, and oversaw the completion of more than 30 medical missions and 5,000 free surgeries performed.
• Developed strategy and initiated execution of Operation Smile’s 20th Anniversary in China – The March of Smiles — involving medical conferences, fund raising galas, and medical programs that operated on over 3,000 children in 2011.
This time, Scott was really ready to pursue a graduate degree. In fact, he applied in 2011 to Fletcher’s MIB program, having decided that the MIB’s blend of a core business curriculum and international relations courses was exactly what he needed. It was the only program to which he applied — a risky strategy that worked out for him — and then he deferred his admission. 2011-2012 was an enjoyable year, especially because his grad school plan was in place. He left Operation Smile in May 2012 and spent the summer in Beijing working on his language skills.
The Fletcher School, Tufts University, Medford, MA, 2012-2014
Master of Arts in International Business
• Concentrations: International Political Economy, Strategic Management, with China focus
• Activities: Non-Profit Sector Representative on Committee for Career Services, VP of ASEAN Society, International Development Group, Asia Club, Tufts Marathon Challenge
Scott is hoping to transition careers from global health to economic development, ideally at an international organization such as the World Bank. What ultimately sold him on Fletcher was the great network of alumni at organizations that interest him, a network that he believes will be a stronger support in his future job search than having a more traditional degree, such as an MBA. Meanwhile, he says he’s “learning a ton” and is getting great base knowledge in finance and accounting. His only regret from last semester was that the transition back to the classroom was a challenge, and he didn’t take advantage of lectures and other special events, at least not as much as he would have liked. He hopes to do more of that this spring.
The MIB (Master’s in International Business) program at Fletcher is relatively new — just a handful of graduating classes so far — but it is making its mark on business education discourse. Bhaskar Chakravorti, who heads Fletcher’s business initiatives, has had his ideas featured in the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal, among others. And if you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to read the Ten Questions feature, where Dean Chakravorti engages his colleagues on a variety of issues.
Here’s something we think is pretty cool. As a way of capturing the complex questions that are frequently discussed at Fletcher, both inside the classroom and out, the business program is putting together a series of interviews between Bhaskar Chakravorti (our dean for business programs) and Fletcher business professors. New interviews will be posted each week, but the first three are available now. Rather than grasping for a way to summarize the interviews, I’ll just share the MIB program’s description:
Though all of us in Admissions work with all programs, Kristen works the most directly with the MIB (Master’s in International Business) students. I asked her to share her thoughts on the start of the 2011-2012 MIB year.
Last Monday marked one of the best days of the year for me: after a year (sometimes two, sometimes three) of working with applicants to the MIB program, the new students arrived here on campus. It’s very gratifying to see in person the people you have come to know through their applications and emails, and maybe, if you are lucky, a brief visit or two.
The students in the MIB program start a bit earlier than those in Fletcher’s other on-campus programs. They are required to take a two-week pre-session course on Strategic Management that precedes a fun week of Orientation activities. Not that the pre-session isn’t fun (we make sure to build that in), but it’s also quite intense. With three hours of case-based class lecture and discussion each day, the students stay very busy from the moment they arrive on campus. The class sessions are interspersed with a few social events and luncheon lectures by Fletcher faculty, to create a break in the day.
This year we welcomed 38 students to the pre-session: 32 new MIBs, and eight students from other programs. It’s nice to have these LLMs, MALDs, and PhDs in the class to add a different perspective. That is, after all, the great advantage of a Fletcher education.
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