Kristen and I chat about our news

Friday’s post described all the changes coming to the Admissions team.  (SO MANY changes after so many years of little movement!)  In preparation for moving along, Kristen and I chatted about what’s ahead for each of us.  We’ve never been shy about keeping ourselves/each other entertained at work, so we opened up a shared document and started sharing.  And now I’m going to share our “chat” with you.

JD: A year ago, we never would have predicted it, but here we are — both of us planning a transition from Fletcher Admissions.  In your case, you’re not going too far. Would you like to describe the work that will soon be taking up your days full-time?

KZ: It’s true.  Close to four decades of work at Fletcher between us (more of it, ahem, from your side) and we find ourselves at a major cross-roads.  I’m making the transition to a new degree program at Fletcher.  The Master of Global Business Administration (GBA) will launch in May 2019 and is a digitally-offered international business degree for mid-career professionals.  Launching a new degree is always a challenge, but the technical underpinnings make this an even more complex task.  That said, I’m really enjoying working with colleagues from across Tufts in my new capacity.  It’s an exciting professional challenge for me, but it’s bittersweet. What about you?  How are you feeling about the transition?

JD: I admit to being a little anxious about it!  As you said, it’s bittersweet.  There has hardly been a day in my Fletcher Admissions life when I have headed off to work with less than optimism for a good day.  I’ve enjoyed working with many great colleagues and the students are wonderful, generation after generation!  But I’m looking forward to whatever is going to come next, which is still a little less defined than my pals at OCS might suggest.  At least I have a solid resume to work with!  I followed my own advice and had others proofread it for me.

As for you, I think I should point out that you were a key member of the team that launched the MIB program.  The groundwork was laid before you joined us, but as I remember it, nearly all the implementation fell to you.  Do you expect to lean on that experience as you start the work with GBA, or are the two programs so different that you’ll need to start from a blank page?

KZ: Pedagogically speaking, there is a lot of overlap.  Both the MIB and the GBA reside at the intersection of business and international affairs, meaning the issues and careers of interest are often a little atypical or niche.  Financial inclusion, political risk, frontier markets — it’s not the stuff your more traditional business degree is based on.  I feel lucky to have more than 10 years of experience working with these students on the ground and to be able to take this knowledge to the GBA.

But on the technical side, it’s a whole new ballgame.  I find myself going down some pretty deep rabbit holes on issues I hadn’t thought much about before — intellectual property in the digital space, state and federal regulations on online learning, health insurance requirements.  It may sound dull to your average blog reader, but I guess I’m a university bureaucrat at heart.  I find it really interesting!

JD: Adding a new degree program is always daunting and exciting, but I’m sure you’re going to do a great job!

Shall we reminisce a bit?   I’ll start by pointing readers to the day we took a personal disagreement onto the blog.  I still shop at that small market, though the staff has changed over time.  And, keeping my reminiscences within the confines of the blog, our afternoons hanging out in the Hall of Flags were always a treat!  I couldn’t have produced those posts without my trusty wing-woman.

Are there any special Admissions moments you’d like to share?

KZ: This is where I go all soft and weepy that you are leaving.  I know we are both saying goodbye to Team Admissions, but Fletcher without Jessica Daniels is like a bicycle without wheels.  It just doesn’t work.

I know you won’t like this, humble sort that you are, but I think many of my best admissions moments with you are some variation on this story:

Me: Jessica, I just got an email and need help with this really complicated situation!
You: Oh, let me use my deep reservoirs of wisdom to understand the truth at the center of the issue.
Me: Thank you!  You got it exactly right!  How would I respond to that person in an email?
You: Oh, let me use my sharp-as-a-blade writing skills to help you craft the perfect email, gentle and diplomatic yet succinct and informative.
Me: You are amazing!
You: Pish posh.

Okay, maybe you wouldn’t say pish-posh, but this scenario played out weekly in your office.  I don’t know what I will do without it.

In more mundane matters, I should refer to our bi-annual team retreats, often so comfortably held at your house.  Or the times when we cheered (sometimes literally!) that one of our favorite applicants chose Fletcher.  Or just sharing the very touching and human stories that we had the privilege to read about through the application.  It’s a true honor to be able to share in people’s life journeys.

But also?  You are still wrong.  Market Basket is the one.

JD: So much to respond to right there.  First, okay, there’s lots to love about Market Basket.  Second, no, I wouldn’t say “pish posh,” or any of those other things, for that matter!  And the way I remember those conversations, I’d suggest some wording and then instantly forget what I had said before you could write it down.  In other words, not fully helpful.

On the other hand, while Fletcher without me is more like a bicycle that has lost its rusty bell, the Admissions Office staff will still need to up its game — those plants aren’t going to water themselves!

To get my office ready for Lucas, I’ve been clearing out old paper files.  I’m pretty sure it has been five years since I filed anything, but reading through has provided nice reminders of former students.  And you’re right, that opportunity to connect with folks at a key moment in their pathway is really special.

Sigh.  Any last words on this topic?

KZ: Well, despite feeling melancholy about leaving behind some cherished pieces of my work, there’s some heartening news: the care and keeping of the MIBs will fall to two wonderful colleagues.  At the front end of the student life-cycle, Lucas will not only take over your office, but the MIB admissions process.  He’s such a delight and so thorough in his work that I know our prospective students will really enjoy interacting with him.  Once our students enroll, my IBGC colleague Agnes Hatley will be responsible for many aspects of the student experience.  She’s been working with students at Fletcher for seven years, and so she has many great perspectives and resources to offer to the program.  From a staff perspective, it’s like MIB 2.0, and I’m excited that two such competent and kind colleagues will be working with the program going forward.  (Also, for anyone who knows me: I’m too nosy to abandon ship altogether, and I know I’ll be checking in from time to time.)

JD: Yep, I guess that sums it all up.  I keep saying that I’m only a phone call away, but I’m guessing that our very competent colleagues will figure everything out and won’t need us very much at all.  Sniff.  But I’m counting on seeing you and them for lunch now and then, which will keep me attached to Fletcher and to everything going on here!

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