I had a surprisingly nice quick trip to Toronto. I arrived yesterday morning, took a long walk around, and figured out where the APSIA fair would be taking place (down the street, behind the construction site — so I was glad I bothered to look). The first visitors to the fair arrived as I was still setting up, well before the official start time, followed by three solid hours of talking. Nice to meet some eager 2015 graduates of University of Toronto, as well as professionals in the area!
I was joined at the Fletcher table by an alum, Farrukh Lalani, a 2008 graduate, and she shared her perspective with the visitors interested in the student and alumnus experience. As the fair wound down, and over tea after the fair ended, we had time to discuss her new start-up venture, Aria Gems, a non-profit that seeks to build a business, and a model that others can follow, in ethical gem mining in Afghanistan. This led to a long chat about the non-traditional paths taken by many of her 2008 classmates. Mining/gems/Afghanistan/start-ups are not concepts we usually weave together when we’re telling prospective students about typical Fletcher career paths, but the atypical path is, itself, somewhat typical.
Coincidentally, yesterday I heard from Farrukh’s classmate, Margherita Zuin, who was featured in a Foreign Policy career guide. In a sense, Margherita’s career path has been typical for a graduate of an international affairs professional school, though perhaps still atypical in its intensity.
So all in all, a good trip — productive participation in the APSIA fair, and a great opportunity to get to know an alum I hadn’t crossed paths with when she was a Fletcher student.