I did not do a good job of lining up tales from the road this year. I usually ask my Admissions peeps to write a little about what they’ve been up to, but the opportunity slipped by me. Until, that is, Kristen’s final trip, which started well after everyone else’s had ended. Lucky for me, she agreed to write this blog post:
Last week I returned from what was officially the last recruiting trip of our admissions “travel season.” Talk to any admissions professional, and you’ll quickly find out that we have a love/hate relationship with the fall. Most of us love being out on the road and meeting new applicants, but the pace can be frenetic and hard to manage with everyday work. My own travel schedule was very manageable this year, but the last trip — to India — represented a significant undertaking.
I was really excited to travel to India. I had been once before, in 2000 for the wedding of a friend. Each time I mentioned this to anyone familiar with India, the refrain was always the same: “Wait until you see how it has changed!” I didn’t quite know what to expect, and I can’t say that I saw many changes, but I certainly experienced them. Most notably, improvements to traveler infrastructure were apparent, and the whole trip was incredibly smooth and quite easy. This growth in infrastructure represents why we choose to go to a country like India: as the market develops, so does the number of qualified professionals seeking graduate degrees. In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in the number of applications and enrolling students from India, so we felt it was time for a visit. (A small footnote to say that that’s not the only basis for our travel — we also go to places from which we would like to see more applicants.)
A highlight of any Fletcher trip is the ability to interact with our alumni. I was able to meet with some really inspiring Fletcherites, including one recent grad who is working at an innovative organization that uses rigorous and scientific impact evaluations to combat poverty; a current PhD student who is studying with a Boren Fellowship, and another who does very interesting work at the nexus of business and economic development.
Of course, these trips have their personal highlights as well. For me, that’s always about the food. I have to eat, right? I had some really spectacular meals, and I was both heartened and disappointed to find out that one of my favorites was at a small chain that has an outpost in New York! Disappointed to know that I chose so unadventurously, but heartened to know that when the Fall 2012 recruiting season rolls around, I’ll be able to hit an old favorite in New York. It’s the glorious cycle of admissions.…