Incoming Fletcher students have their first interactions with the Office of Career Services during Orientation, which means everyone focuses early on sharpening professional profiles and identifying internship opportunities. Today, Maliheh tells us how she built her partnership with OCS.
My experience with the Office of Career Services at the Fletcher School has been wonderful. From the first day, the staff has gone above and beyond in supporting me with my career search. As an international student, I was facing unique challenges as I sought to build my career and find an internship. Aside from employment restrictions imposed by U.S. immigration regulations, I was concerned about cultural differences that could affect my ability to successfully present my qualifications. I was surprised to learn how different an American résumé looks from a résumé I might prepare for employment in my home country. I had heard something about “networking” as a job-search strategy, but didn’t know that in the U.S., the primary way people get professional positions is through networking appropriate and effective contacts. I didn’t even have any idea on how I could begin the networking process.
In my search for a summer internship, I relied on the help of Career Services. The diverse skills and knowledge of the OCS staff matches pretty well with the diverse student body at Fletcher. Getting a job or an internship in an international organization can be challenging, but there are many opportunities to get your “foot in the door,” which all need a good knowledge of the organizational structure and business culture in that organization. Before I began my search for an internship within the UN and the World Bank, Career Services helped me in building my résumé and tailoring it to the needs of these organizations, and they helped me to find the appropriate way to approach my contacts.
Initially, I would stop by OCS every other day to ask very detailed questions on how to correspond with my contacts, but gradually I could be more independent than that. Their assistance helped me find a place where I truly enjoyed working, the World Bank. During my summer at the World Bank, I was amazed to discover how many Fletcher alumni are working there, including two of the bank vice presidents, Rachel Kyte and Hassan Tuluy. Using the Fletcher network, when I was at the bank, I was offered another internship position at the World Resources Institute, where I had always dreamed to work. After two months of research at WRI, I received an award that is offered to WRI’s best summer researcher. I mention this not to brag, but to say that all Fletcher students have the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their careers.
About one year ago, as a first-year MALD student, I was filled with fear and stress about the internship search. I knew that finding a substantive internship can be difficult even for U.S. students, and the challenge would be greater for me, an international student. By the end of the spring, having drawn on the support of OCS, I was fortunate to be able to select from several internship offers. Now, as a graduating MALD student, I am extremely grateful for the resources offered within Career Services as they helped me in reaching the next phase of my career path. Looking forward to my next job search, I no longer have the fear I felt only a year ago.