Originally post on the Fletcher admissions blog, a home for lots of great content from the Fletcher community!!
At one point during my first year at Fletcher, someone told me that, in the end, everything was going to be o.k. Everyone will do something during the summer break, be it an internship, research, writing, or catching up with old friends and family for two or three months. As much as I wanted to believe that, I couldn’t help but get a little nervous when it was a couple of weeks after the last final of the spring semester, summer had officially started, and there was still no official offer letter for a summer internship. I even flew back home to Indonesia, not knowing whether I was going to intern at all during the next few months, or just plain relax (or maybe start writing my capstone).
Adi (in the red shirt) and the CCB team at Citi Indonesia
Then the moment I had been waiting for finally arrived. I was offered a spot in the Global Consumer Summer Associate batch at Citigroup’s Jakarta office. While extremely relieved, I also came to realize that now the hard work would start. This would be my first exposure to working at a global corporation, first time at a financial institution, in an industry far away from my previous professional background. I was put on the Commercial Lending team. My role was to support the business analysis and marketing staff in the division. My main deliverable was an official guide for new employees of Citi Commercial Bank (CCB). This meant that I had to learn how CCB operates, understand the complete business process down to the individual roles of each person on the team, and package all this information into a guidebook that would be easily digestible to a newcomer.
by Raunak Mittal (MALD 2018)
Demonetization, a bold move executed by the current government in India took everyone by surprise. Good or bad, it is one of the biggest policy decision taken by an economy as large as India in the recent past. The aspects that interest me in this big policy decision are the effects of this move towards the digitization of finance, including digital payments and alternative lending.
There has been a focus on alternative modes of credit lending ,not just in developing economies but also in the developed economies like the US. As part of my ongoing research, I had the opportunity to talk with the founders and leaders of alternative lending startups like Numerated, DistilledAnalytics, Branch.co and Entrepreneurial Finance Lab in the US. However, for getting a closer look on what is happening in India post the biggest strike on cash, I continued my research with the help of IBGC by visiting India during in August 2017. My research plan was two-fold: to meet startups that are operating in the space of digital finance or alternative lending; and to observe the change in people’s behavior in dealing with day-to-day transactions nine months post-demonetization.
Annin Peck, MIB 2017
As part of the run-up to commencement, The Fletcher School is profiling a number of graduating MIBs, looking back on their time at Fletcher and ahead to their future. Dive deep into the Fletcher experience with 2017 MIB graduate, Annin Peck.
- Why did you choose The Fletcher School?
I chose Fletcher for several reasons. When thinking about going back to graduate school, I knew I wanted a business program with an international focus. My research into international business programs showed me there were not many schools that fit the criteria I was looking for, but The Fletcher School more than met my criteria — it passed with flying colors. The program is interdisciplinary, internationally focused in all subject matters, has a diverse faculty, staff and student body and has a broad course offering.
The alumni and student body were also critical to my decision-making process. I couldn’t believe how helpful, engaging and passionate every alum was. I recognized the passion that alumni still held for their school immediately, and by the time I made the decision to attend Fletcher, I already felt that I was a part of the community. I knew if the engagement from the alumni network was this good even before I had chosen Fletcher, it would be an alumni network I could always count on.
- Do you have a favorite Fletcher memory?
by Adam Houston (MIB 2017)
A leaf affected by drought and coffee rust at high altitude in Chimaltenango district
As the climate changes, so will the coffee industry. In Guatemala in particular, the amount of suitable land for growing coffee and the livelihoods of thousands are projected to change profoundly due to climate change. According to current models, increasingly unpredictable weather patterns, increased temperatures, and extended reach of traditionally lower-altitude diseases like coffee rust are likely to be proof of this change, reducing yields for approximately 93% of Guatemala’s current coffee growing land by the year 2050. As the country’s third largest export, this threat to coffee will have a very real economic affect on the country’s GDP; the ability — or lack thereof — to adapt to these predicted changes will threaten the livelihoods of the more than 100,000 largely smallholder coffee producers. Without the financial means or technical knowledge to adapt to a changing climate, or even a more basic recognition of the gravity of the threat itself, the entire value chain of the Guatemalan coffee industry faces a bleak future.
To better assess the links among actors in this value chain, I traveled to Guatemala to interview smallholder farmers, large-scale farmers, exporters, traders, and experts in the country’s national coffee association, Anacafe. These cases help paint a more holistic picture of what the greatest obstacles are to better adaptation as a form of prevention.
by James Kochien (MIB 2017)
“Disneyland is presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real.”
Quick, what’s the world’s largest media company? If you guessed The Walt Disney Company, you’re wrong – Disney is No. 2, after Google, which hardly seems like a fair comparison. After all, over the past decade Disney has absorbed the Marvel superhero franchises, rebooted Star Wars, and put a new generation of princesses on the toy shelves of the world. All of the global top-5 grossing films in 2016 were Disney properties, totaling over $5 billion in sales. Disney parks saw 140 million visitors in 2015, over two times its nearest competitor. And after a string of expansions that left shareholders unsatisfied, Disney parks opened a new Disneyland in Shanghai, China, to great fanfare. No. 1 or not, Disney dominates the spaces in which it plays.
It is also a company with historical and cultural significance that makes its success somewhat surprising in the globalizing economy. It is founded in an “American” version of family values and prosperity.[i] Its films and parks traffic in a sort of watered-down multiculturalism with America firmly at the center, the proverbial passengers on the ship winding through the plucky, costumed children of “It’s a Small World.” Successful films drive attendance at themed park attractions, and successful attractions nurture new film franchises. It’s a tight synergy that allows Disney to charge a premium for its parks and merchandise.
by Justin Erickson (MALD 2017)
My research is based on identifying economic development policy priorities for Honduras at the country level. Low income countries like Honduras might benefit by strengthening the rule of law, improving infrastructure, or maintaining macroeconomic stability. However, I am interested in what Honduras should do first. What should be the economic development priority of the country right now? E.g. What is currently constraining higher levels of income growth? This is particularly important for Honduras because it is facing a demographic “window of opportunity” in the upcoming years. This will be a period when the ratio of the working age population to total population is projected to reach its peak.
As part of answering my research question I went to Honduras to interview business owners and investors. I focused on businesses in industrial parks that operate in free zones. Free zones provide exporting companies certain tax benefits. I was curious to find out what other benefits industrial parks provide, and what businesses are doing to overcome barriers to development.
I met with businesses in Choloma, San Pedro Sula, and Tamara. I met with a very large clothing manufacturer, a large services-export business park, and a medium size manufacturer, respectively. I also met with the Honduran National Port Authority from Puerto Cortes, the largest port in the region, as well as professors at the Technical University of Honduras (UTH).
by Nadim Choucair (MALD 2016) and Thomas Flynn (MALD 2017)
With no warning, Banque du Liban, the Lebanese central bank, issued Circular 331 in August 2013. If you believe some people, the idea for the Circular came directly from the mind of BdL’s governor, who conceived of it while flying from New York City to Beirut. Others say that it was created at the behest of the Lebanese banks to allow them to invest some of their reserve capital. Whatever the case, the Circular — designed to spur economic growth and create more and better paying jobs — seeks to foster a “knowledge-based economy (KBE).” Essentially, the Circular is a guarantee scheme which encourages Lebanese banks — an economic pillar of the country, yet very risk averse — to invest up to 4% of their capital, amounting to at least $400 million, in startups, incubators, accelerators, and venture capital firms.
The “buzz” surrounding entrepreneurship in Lebanon is palpable
In summer 2016, we went to Lebanon to answer the question: Given the context of Lebanon, is Circular 331 the most effective way to improve access to finance and therefore to help create a knowledge-based economy?
Lebanon’s economy has struggled since 2010, its political institutions are ineffective, and its infrastructure is weak. The rise of the Islamic State and the war in Syria have scared away foreign investors and tourists, particularly those from the Gulf. Lebanon’s traditionally strong real estate and tourism sectors have subsequently faltered. Instead of focusing on these traditional sectors, the Circular builds on the wave of tech entrepreneurship, and corresponding support organizations, that emerged in Lebanon in the mid-2000s.
by Nathan Cohen-Fournier (MIB 2017)
To share: to allow someone to use or enjoy something that one possesses. We can share what we possess in substance such as food or toys. We can also share immaterial matter such as time, memories, or affection. The meaning of words evolves along with the context and culture in which societies operate. That is to say the transformation is continual.
For the past 50 days, I have been conducting a research project on entrepreneurship in Nunavik, the northern portion of Québec. Inuit account for approximately 90% of the region’s 12 090 inhabitants and live in 14 villages connected solely by air and maritime transport, when possible.
When I first arrived, I was craving to discover spiritual bonds uniting native peoples with nature. I believe in the interconnectedness of life and matter. I was initially disappointed to discover a community in many ways similar to the ones “down south,” so clearly distinct from its surrounding environment. Maybe the spirituality I was looking for expressed itself in a way which I had not expected. I couldn’t force the discovery of what I wanted.
That’s when I started to realize the extent of sharing in modern Inuit culture.