Posts by: Jessica Daniels

Reports from the Class of 2015 have started to trickle in.  Today we’ll learn about the path through Fletcher of Thomas Pols, an experienced medical doctor.

A year ago I was putting the final touches on my capstone and was in the midst of my job search while trying to enjoy every moment of my last few weeks in Medford.  After having worked for Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in the years before starting Fletcher, I came to the U.S. in August 2013 with my mind set on continuing my career in humanitarian aid.  Never could I have predicted how differently my career would develop instead.

Compared to the clear structure of medical school, the flexible and interdisciplinary Fletcher curriculum was completely new to me.  Choosing from so many different topics to study while still being able to connect all these fields was an amazing experience that, over the course of two years, made me consider taking my career in new directions.  Talking with Professors Scharioth and Wilkinson was a great way to test the ideas that I had for my post-Fletcher life and, with their encouragement, I decided not to go straight back to the humanitarian field after all.

After celebrating our graduation in May 2015, the first order of business of a small group of us newly minted alumni was to travel together through the Caucasus and Central Europe before starting with “real” life.  For me, this meant a post-travel return to my native Netherlands and exploring opportunities here.

Because I wanted to explore many different opportunities, I tried to cast a wide net by doing some freelance consulting work for humanitarian NGOs, while also teaching part-time at Erasmus University in Rotterdam.  Being on the other side of the classroom just months after graduating myself was a great experience.  Focusing primarily on courses covering international relations and international law allowed me to use many of the skills and the knowledge I had gained over the previous two years.  My work at the university also brought me in contact with many interesting people who helped me continue my search for a job that would combine my medical and Fletcher backgrounds.

One of these conversations led to an introduction at Royal Dutch Shell in The Hague, where I was amazed to see how much they appreciated the interdisciplinary education I received at Fletcher.  A complex company such as Shell works in a difficult market, in difficult locations, while continuously under scrutiny; a great challenge for a Fletcher graduate.

After half a dozen meetings, interviews and assessments, I was offered a position as Global Health Advisor.  Never would I have thought that this would be the next step in my career, and I can truly say that Fletcher made it possible.

Today, nearly a year after leaving my friends in Medford, I am back visiting them in Washington, DC (where it seems that our “sixth semester” is in full swing), before I start the next step in my career.  I am actually writing this in DC after finishing Sunday brunch with a group of Fletcher graduates, who shared amazing stories of what they have been up to in the last year.

I won’t try again to predict what I will do in the future because, with a Fletcher degree, it seems any future is possible.

Thomas (second from right) and Fletcher friends in Azerbaijan.

Thomas (second from right) and Fletcher friends in Azerbaijan.

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Much as I might try, it’s hard to capture the vibrancy of the Fletcher community.  One way I’ve attempted to do so is simply by listing all the official activities taking place in a month.  Naturally, everything I’ve listed below was in addition to classes, study groups, student activity meetings, etc., etc.  In addition, as you’ll see, students were away for a week in March, shortening the list by 25% or so.  With no further ado, I hope you’ll enjoy seeing what’s been going on here this month.  (I started the list on Monday, February 29.  Leap Days are a rare enough event that including the 29th seemed reasonable.  And I included links to details when I could.)

Monday, February 29:
Will Business Help or Hinder the Paris Climate Agreement?” A Fletcher Reads the Newspaper event, sponsored by the Center for International Business in the Global Context.

Military 101: The U.S. Navy,” Captain James Raimondo, U.S. Navy Military Fellow, sponsored by Fletcher Students in Security — one of many events each semester that draws upon the expertise resident in the community.

Tuesday, March 1:
The Algerian Paradigm,” a lecture by Hamou Amirouche, author and former member of the Algerian National Liberation Army, sponsored by the Fares Center.

Understanding the Global Terrorism Landscape,” Nicholas Rasmussen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, a private off-the-record event, sponsored by the International Security Studies Program.

Diplomacy as a Reassurance Measure: A View from a Defense Attaché,” Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Wright, U.S. Army War College Military Fellow, Diplomatic Studies Roundtable.

Seminar on the Global Hunger Index, Professor Alex de Waal, executive director of the World Peace Foundation.

“Seven Days in Syria” Film Screening and Discussion, Janine di Giovanni (GMAP ’16), Newsweek Middle East Director, and Scott Rosenfelt, producer, sponsored by the Fares Center.

March 2016 CalendarWednesday, March 2:
The Changing Shape of Power in National Security,” a luncheon lecture by Juan C. Zarate, chairman and co-founder of the Financial Integrity Network.

Thursday, March 3:
Greece Pivoting on the Axis of Europe,” a lecture by Efthymios Margaritis, Captain, Hellenic Ministry of Defense, Army Corps of Engineers (and a current Fletcher MA student), sponsored by the Fares Center.

The Inanity of Infinity,” with Abhishek Maity, MALD ’16, second in this semester’s “The Beauty of Mathematics” series.  Abhishek offered his math series last semester, too.  Who would have guessed that advanced mathematical concepts are what was missing from students’ lives?

National Security, Double Government and the 2016 Election,” a lecture by Fletcher Professor Michael Glennon.

Social Hour — a weekly event to which all community members are invited to eat, chat, and relax.  Each week’s Social Hour has a different sponsor.  This week’s Social Hour is hosted by the Fletcher Political Risk Group.

Friday, March 4:
The Migration Policy Forum, “Perilous Journeys: Human and Policy Challenges of Transit Migration through Mexico,” panel discussion with Rafael Fernandez de Castro of Syracuse University and the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico, Noelle Bridgen of Marquette University, and Diana Essex-Lettieri of Asylum Access, sponsored by the Institute for Human Security.

Brown Bag Lunch: “Intelligence Security and Technology Reform in the Post-Snowden Era,” Sina Beaghley, senior policy analyst at the Rand Corporation, sponsored by the Fletcher Security Review.

Saturday, March 5:
The Fletcher Conference on Managing Political Risk.  One of two weekend conferences.

Sunday, March 6:
11th Annual Tufts Energy Conference , The Geopolitics of Energy: International Politics in a Shifting Energy Landscape.  The second of the weekend’s conferences.

Monday, March 7:
Impact or Investing: Is there a choice to make?” A lecture by Greg Neichin, director of Ceniarth.

Tel Aviv Nightclubs and West Bank Checkpoints: The Politics of Being Fabulous in the Holy Land,” a conversation and Q&A with Sa’ed Adel Atshan, Visiting Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Swarthmore College, sponsored by the Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies, Fletcher LGBTQA, the Gender Initiative, and Fletcher Global Women.

Pizza and a movie.  The Fletcher Africana Club and Educators in International Affairs will screen the film, “The First Grader,” and will be joined by Carol Yu, Associate Director of Teacher Evaluation and Selection at Bridge International Academies, which works in Africa to deliver high quality, low cost education.  A perfect evening activity.

Tuesday, March 8:
Workshop on User Experience, with Dan Maccarone of Charming Robot, sponsored by the Murrow Center.

How Neoliberalism Infiltrated Global Health,” Dr. Salmaan Keshavjee, Director of the Program in Infectious Disease and Social Change at Harvard Medical School, sponsored by the Fletcher Society for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies.

Obama’s Legacy in the Middle East for the Next President,” a lecture by William B. Quandt, Edward R. Stettinius Chair (Emeritus), Department of Politics, University of Virginia, sponsored by the Fletcher Seminar on International Conflict.

Join Ginn Library in celebrating the re-opening of the Fletcher Perspectives Gallery with a new exhibit of selected photography from the Fletcher student community.  The current exhibit, co-curated with David Gilmore (MALD ’16), features 14 thematic images from six photographers, highlighting architecture and skylines from Montreal to Morocco.

Wednesday, March 9:
East Asian Security: Challenges for U.S. Policy and the Region, an evening conference.

Charles Francis Adams Lecture Series presents Mark Pomar, President and CEO of U.S.-Russia Foundation.  The CFA lecture series is Fletcher’s oldest prestigious lecture sponsor.

Thursday, March 10:
“Civil Disobedience Across the Americas: From Selma to Buenos Aires and Beyond,” a panel discussion with artists Marcelo Brodsky, Jorge Tacla, and Fernando Rosenberg. Moderated by Tufts Professor of History, Peter Winn.  Not actually a Fletcher event, this one takes place at the Aidekman Arts Center.  Fletcher students welcome!

What Are Numbers? Order and Chaos,” third in this semester’s “The Beauty of Mathematics” series, with Abhishek Maity, MALD ’16.

Development and Equity,” 2016 Leontief Prize and Lectures, with honorees Dr. Amit Bhaduri, Professor Emeritus at Jawaharlal Nehru University and Dr. Diane Elson, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Essex.

Discussion on Leadership,” Francesco Tortora, brand director for Procter & Gamble, sponsored by the International Business Club.

“Water: Security, Productivity, Management, Linking Global Water Resources to Health and Security,” a lecture by Dr. Kate Brauman, Lead Scientist, Global Water Initiative, Institute of the Environment, University of Minnesota, sponsored by the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy.

Social Hour — a weekly event to which all community members are invited to eat, chat, and relax.  Each week’s Social Hour has a different sponsor.  This week, the sponsor is the Arctic Conference.

Friday, March 11:
The Third Annual Fletcher Women’s Leadership Award Ceremony, in honor of Nahid Bhadelia, F05.

3/11 Five Years After: Recovery and Resilience,” an interdisciplinary panel sponsored by Fletcher’s Japan Club, with opening remarks from Fumi Tataki MIB ’16, Professor Shinsuke Tanaka, and panelists  Professor Michael Golay (MIT), Professor Keiko Hirao (Harvard University/Sophia University), and General Yoshikazu Watanabe (Eastern Army Commanding General, Ret.).

Conference on Impact Investing and Community Finance, presented by the Fletcher Social Investment Group, Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, Tufts Gordon Institute Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies Program, and Tufts University Department of Economics.

Saturday, March 12:
The Fifth Annual Fletcher Opening Arctic Conference.

Monday, March 14:
Assessing the Costs and Benefits of Mixed and Integrated Farming Systems as an Adaptation Strategy in Mozambique,” a research seminar led by Dr. John Duncan, Fletcher Postdoctoral Scholar of Agriculture, Forests and Biodiversity, sponsored by the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy.  Lunch will be served.

Pascali’s Island,” film screening and discussion with Fares Center Director Nadim Shehadi and Professor Elizabeth Prodromou, sponsored by The Fares Center.

“Water and Conflict: From Academic Debates to Urban Wars,” Dr. Mark Zeitoun, School of International Development, University of East Anglia.

Transnational Organized Crime Threats to the U.S. and Latin America: A USAF Perspective,” a lecture (including lunch) with  Lieutenant General Mark C. Nowland, Commander, 12th Air Force and Air Combat Command.  Sponsored by the International Security Studies Program.

Apple v. the FBI,” the semester’s second Fletcher Reads the Newspaper event, at which a panel will discuss the legal debate around Apple and the line between security and privacy.

Extreme Inclusion: A Poverty Graduation Approach in the Arid Lands of Africa,” a discussion of poverty graduation programs in Northern Kenya by Professors Kim Wilson and Jenny Aker, and Kathleen Colson, founder and CEO of the BOMA Project.

Discussion of the current situation in Yemen with Bettina Muscheidt GMAP ’01, Ambassador and Head of Delegation for the European Union to Yemen, sponsored by the Global Master of Arts Program (GMAP), the Institute For Human Security, and the Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies.

Tuesday, March 15:
International Water Law and China’s Management of its International Rivers,” a lecture by Fletcher Professor James Fry.

“Understanding the Impact of War and Displacement in Cities: an Information Approach for Urban Settings,” a lecture in the Myron Weiner Series on International Migration at MIT by Fletcher Professor Karen Jacobsen, Acting Director of the Tufts Feinstein International Center.  (For those who can’t get enough of the Fletcher faculty and want to travel to hear them speak.)

Wednesday, March 16:
Board Service: The Why, How, and What It Is Like, of Serving on Boards as Part of a Post-Fletcher Career, sponsored by Fletcher’s International Business Club, the Institute for Business in the Global Context, and the Fletcher Alumni Club of Boston.

Turmoil in Yemen: Uprising, Civil War and Saudi-Led Intervention,” a conversation and Q&A with Rashed Al Dhaheri, Doctoral Fellow at the Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies.  (Rashed has since defended his dissertation and can now be called Dr. Al Dhaheri!)

Thursday, March 17:
Charles Francis Adams Lecture Series presents Carrie Hessler-Radelet, director of the United States Peace Corps. (Lunch will be served.)

Israel in Pursuit of Peace: The Role of Religion,” Dr. Tal Becker, fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, sponsored by the Fares Center.

Social Hour — a weekly event to which all community members are invited to eat, chat, and relax.  This week, the sponsor is the Fletcher China Studies Society.

Friday, March 18: 
Spring break begins at the end of classes

Friday, March 18-Sunday, March 27:
Fletcher treks!  Groups of students will travel to Cuba and to Israel/West Bank.  The trips are subsidized, but the groups are limited in size and students must apply to join these educational trips.

Monday, March 28:
The Nuclear Hedging Phenomenon and the Iranian Nuclear Deal (JCPOA),” a luncheon lecture by Ariel (Eli) Levite, Nonresident Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment’s Nuclear Policy Program, sponsored by the International Security Studies Program.

Technology Transfer and Adoption for Climate Resilience,” a research seminar (over lunch) with Laura Kuhl, doctoral candidate at the Fletcher School, sponsored by the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy.

Governing Adaption: Bridging Scales for Water Security,” Dr. Anita Milman, Department of Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Lean Production, Sustainable Consumption: Lessons from the Global Seafood Supply Chain,” a lecture by Roger Berkowitz, President & CEO of Legal Seafoods, sponsored by the Institute for Business in the Global Context.

21st Century: Security vs. Privacy,” a panel discussion moderated by Dean James Stavridis with Dan Schulman, President and CEO of PayPal and Eli Sugarman, Program Officer, Cyber Initiative, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Tuesday, March 29:
The Future of FinTech 2.0,” a round table discussion with Arthur Sculley, senior fellow with Fletcher’s Center for Emerging Market Enterprises, sponsored by the Institute for Business in the Global Context.

Faces Of Our Community,” a TED-style event featuring Fletcher students and other members of the community.

The Palestinians: New Challenges, Uncertain Horizons,” a lecture by Ahmad Khalidi, Senior Associate Member, St. Antony’s College, Oxford University.  Sponsored by the Fletcher Seminar on International Conflict.

Wednesday, March 30:
The Hazards in Attempting Rapid Attribution of Cyber Attacks,” a luncheon lecture with Eric Greenwald, General Counsel for the Cybersecurity Company Redacted and former Senior Director for Cybersecurity on the National Security Council Staff, sponsored by the International Security Studies program.

Andrea Glorioso, Counselor for ICT and the digital economy at the Delegation of the European Union to the U.S. will speak on future prospects for digital markets and transatlantic relations in a digital context, as well as ongoing discussions on privacy issues in the EU.  Sponsored by Fletcher’s Cyber Working Group, the Hitachi Center, and the Murrow Center.

Palestine and Syria: Transition and Upheaval in the Middle East,” lunch discussion with Mouin Rabbani, analyst, commentator and researcher.  Sponsored by the Fares Center.

U.S. Economic Engagement in Asia,” Ziad Haider, U.S. Department of State Senior Adviser on the Policy Planning Staff, sponsored by the Fletcher China Studies Society and the Fletcher Society for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies.

Military 101: U.S. Marines, Major John Bidwell, F’16, sponsored by Fletcher Students in Security.

Thursday, March 31:
Technologies to Bend the Arc of the Future,” a luncheon lecture with Dr. Arati Prabhakar, Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), sponsored by IBGC Speaker Series and the Tufts Institute for Innovation.

Opportunities and Challenges for Peace and Democracy in the African Great Lakes Region,” Thomas Perriello, U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa, sponsored by the Institute for Human Security.

“The Ancients: From the Vedas to Al-jabr,” final session of this semester’s “The Beauty of Mathematics” series, this session sponsored by the Religion, Law, and Diplomacy Club.

Social Hour — a weekly event to which all community members are invited to eat, chat, and relax.  Hosted this week by Fletcher Veterans.

Thursday, March 31 and Friday, April 1: 
The Fusion of Religion and Nationalism in Comparative Perspective: Implications for Conflict Dynamics, with keynote speaker Michael Sells, John Henry Barrows Professor of Islamic History and Literature at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago.  What better way to close out a crazy busy month than with a two day conference?

Climate Change: The Role of the University,” a two-day symposium on the role that universities will play as the world moves to implementing the Paris Agreement, sponsored by the Provost’s Office and the Tufts Institute for the Environment in collaboration with Tufts Climate Action.

And that sums it up.  I wish I could say that I managed to capture every single event during the month, but I know that I didn’t.  Still, even this 90% complete list gives you a sense of how much is happening every day, how diverse the different options are, and how regularly students can score a lunch, for the low price of enjoying a lecture that interested them anyway.

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During the students’ break last week, we were lucky that we had some help from the student staffers who weren’t traveling.  Several times during the week, Dristy popped in to ask a question that had arrived via phone or email from a prospective applicant to the PhD program.  With most of our brain cells pointed toward the needs of newly admitted students or those who have decided to accept a place on the waitlist, it’s easy to forget that a new admissions cycle is already beginning, even as the previous one is still wrapping up.

The fact is that, while our work is entirely cyclical, there’s more than one cycle running at any time.  In January, for example, we’re both welcoming students who start that month, while also accepting applications for September.  Right now, we’re primarily working with the incoming class, but we’ve already started compiling lists of projects for the summer that will (we hope) make the next cycle run more smoothly.

All of this is to say that, if you’re starting your graduate school research this spring, you should feel free to contact us at any time.  We’re happy to help you lay the groundwork for an application in the fall.

 

Four years ago I reached out to a few students and asked them to write for a new Student Stories feature on the blog.  I ask these volunteers to write four posts each year, mostly on topics of their choosing.  Not all quite meet the mark, but I understand that it can be hard to take time to write a post while also writing for so many other classroom-related purposes.  I try not to assign subjects for their posts.  Rather, they write about topics of importance or interest to them.  Because the spring always brings new readers, I want to reintroduce each of the students who have contributed their stories.

This year’s writers are:

Adnan: first-year MALD student from Pakistan

McKenzie: first-year MIB student

Tatsuo: first-year MALD student from Japan

Aditi: second-year MALD student from India

Alex: second-year MIB student

Ali: second-year MIB student, who originally applied through Fletcher’s Map Your Future pathway to admission

And, on a time-available basis, Roxanne, F14, will write about her experiences with the PhD program, having previously written about her two years in the MALD program.

Previous year’s writers were:

Maliheh, F13, MALD

Mirza, F14, MALD

Scott, F14, MIB

Diane, F15, MALD

Liam, F15, MALD

Mark, F15, MIB

And in the first year of this fledgling effort, I also included a first-year graduate, Manjula, who gave me the idea to create Student Stories, which then led to the posts from First-Year Alumni.  I hope you’ll enjoy scrolling through and reading about their Fletcher experiences.

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There’s always something happening in Fletcher’s Center for International Environment and Resource Policy.  The center hires student researchers each year and regularly sponsors lectures, and the professors teaching courses on the environment are frequently cited in the media.

Recently, the Tufts Now newsletter highlighted some CIERP accomplishments:

Mieke van der Wansem, F90, the associate director for educational programs at the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy at the Fletcher School, is the new co-head of faculty for the International Programme on the Management of Sustainability, a one-week executive education course organized by the Sustainability Challenge Foundation in the Netherlands.  She also organized a new one-week executive education program in December for senior officials of the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission titled “Industrial Implications of the Circular Economy,” led by Kelly Sims Gallagher, F00, F03, associate professor of energy and environmental policy at Fletcher.  Several Fletcher professors taught in the program, including Gallagher, on “U.S. Climate Policy”; Avery Cohn, on “Metrics and Lifecycle Analysis in a Circular Economy”; Shinsuke Tanaka, on “Economic Policies for Pollution Control and Innovation”; Joel Trachtman, on “The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Environmental Provisions and Implications”; and Bhaskar Chakravorti, on “Innovation and Corporate Entrepreneurship.”  Two professors from the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning in the School of Arts and Sciences taught sessions: Ann Rappaport, on “Corporate Environmental Management,” and Weiping Wu, on “Sustainability and Industrial Parks.” Jonathan Harris, from GDAE, spoke on “Principles of Ecological Economics.”

While these programs don’t directly affect current Fletcher students, they do add to the general knowledge residing in the School.

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I started the week with a post from a student, so why not end the week with a graduate from the Class of 2010.  Let’s hear from Beka Feathers, whose post-Fletcher path include a law degree, as well as a new career.

Before Fletcher

Beka Feathers 1Unlike many Fletcher students, I had no prior international work experience before starting at Fletcher.  After graduating from Lewis & Clark College in 2006 with a degree in international affairs, I took a position as a policy adviser for the Oregon State Legislature while applying for the U.S. Foreign Service.  I discovered a deep affinity for the work done by state and local government officials to support the everyday lives of Oregonians and to help them achieve their political and economic aspirations.  I maintained my interest in international affairs, and I saw more and more parallels between my work in Oregon state government and the needs of developing and post-conflict countries, where weak or missing governing institutions contribute to political instability, corruption, poor economic growth, and low standards of living.

Fletcher was my first choice throughout my grad school search.  I was drawn by the high caliber of the students as well as the faculty, and the collaborative atmosphere I observed on a visit.  Additionally, I wanted a practitioner-focused school that would help me meld my domestic government experience with my international career aspirations.

During Fletcher

Many students find that the focus of their studies shifts over the course of their time at Fletcher.  I stayed in the same field, but could not have anticipated how much Fletcher would change the trajectory of my professional interests.  I was lucky to end up in two important classes my very first semester: The Rule of Law in Post-Conflict Societies with Professor Louis Aucoin, and Design and Monitoring of Peacebuilding and Development Programming with Professor Cheyanne Scharbatke-Church.  These two classes (and many others) helped me find my true passions: working with post-conflict states to develop representative and transparent systems of government, and developing monitoring and evaluation tools to ensure that international governance interventions are having the effect that we hope they will have.

Professor Aucoin was especially influential to my course trajectory, particularly my decision to attend law school after Fletcher.  I was also fortunate to study with Professor Shultz, who taught me to seek the intersection points between “hard” and “human” security issues.  I can’t condense into a blog post how much I learned from my fellow students, who met and exceeded every one of my pre-Fletcher expectations (including introducing me to bhangra!).  Also critical was my summer work with the National Democratic Institute, where I helped to develop a set of benchmarking standards for evaluating democratic legislatures.

Following Fletcher

Beka Feathers 2After graduating, I moved down to DC for three years of law school.  Through a Fletcher friend, I was connected to the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG), where I started working in my second year of law school.  I am still with PILPG today, where I have worked with clients in Burma, Georgia, Kosovo, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, among others.  I currently manage a program focused on transitional justice in Syria, but I have worked with constitution drafting committees, members of parliament, high-level peace negotiation delegations, civil society coalitions, the UN Human Rights Council, and rebel movements.  I use my Fletcher degree in my job on a daily basis.

The education I received at Fletcher allowed me to jump into my work at PILPG at a level of expertise and confidence that put me years ahead of my peers.  The friends I made at Fletcher, and the broader Fletcher community, remain a constant resource for me as well — they are my go-to experts on anything from the rules of procedure for truth commissions to best practices for post-conflict land reform to where to eat on a last-minute trip to Amman.  Beyond all that, the Fletcher ethos is a core part of my identity as a member of the international development community and continues to shape how I perceive the world and my role in it.

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Professor Michael Glennon published a book in 2014 on “double government,” and that book, National Security and Double Government, has resonated for many with the themes of this year’s election.  You can hear him in an extended conversation on “Radio Open Source.”  It’s worth a listen.

 

You may have seen on Fletcher’s Facebook page or Twitter feed that a group of students has traveled to Cuba during this week’s spring break.  When the trip was planned, the students wouldn’t have known that their adventure would coincide with President Obama’s.  The trip was already a special opportunity, but it turned out to be a historic one.  I’ll let a Miami TV news crew tell the story.

Kat Trujillo

 

Most Fletcher students pursue an internship between their first and second years of the MALD or MIB programs.  While some internships are paid, and others come with a stipend, many (alas) are unpaid and might be out of reach for students.  That’s where Fletcher summer funding comes in.  There are quite a few sources of support for internship-pursuing students.  At the time of year when students are making their final summer arrangements, here are a few of the announcements I’ve seen lately:

The Blakeley Summer Fellowship will provide stipend funding to up to ten students to support a summer internship in a developing country, with a focus on microfinance, private sector development, public-private partnerships, SME development, or NGO business development.

The Slawson Fellowship will provide stipend funding to one first-year MALD or MIB student who accepts a summer internship with an NGO to work in a developing country.  The student must be interested in a career in NGO management, and must be a U.S. citizen returning to Fletcher in fall 2016.

Each year, the Fletcher Alumni of Color Association awards internship stipends to Fletcher students of color pursuing unpaid or partially funded summer opportunities.

The Topal Family Foundation will offer stipend funding to three or more  MALD, MA, MIB, LLM, GMAP, or PhD students selected as Topol Scholars in Nonviolent Resistance for summer research or a summer internship that focuses on nonviolent resistance.

The fellowships may not make students wealthy, but they certainly go a long way toward covering travel or living expenses during the summer months.

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Throughout their time at Fletcher, the Admissions Blog’s student writers primarily discuss their extracurricular lives, whether through student activities, internships, or the job hunt.  But I have been asking all the second-year bloggers to provide an overview of their academic work by creating an “annotated curriculum.”  As you’ll see from Ali‘s notes below, a lot of thought went into her course selections for the MIB program and, in the context of her other posts, I hope it will paint a picture of her curricular life.  (Note that (1) MIB students take an “overload” of five credits in two of their four semesters, and (2) Ali switched programs directly before starting her first semester.)

Pre-Fletcher Experience
Program Manager, Fulbright Commission, Brussels, Belgium

Fields of Study
Strategic Management and International Consultancy
International Business and Economic Law

Post-Fletcher Professional Goals
Investor relations and corporate responsibility

Curriculum Overview

I came to Fletcher to learn how to promote private-sector investments in international social and environmental initiatives.  As I prepare to leave, I’m confident I’ll be able to use my new corporate finance vocabulary and arsenal of corporate responsibility strategies, gleaned from the classes below, to do just that.

Semester One (5 credits)

Registering for Fletcher’s Strategic Management summer pre-session course was one of the best decisions of my Fletcher career.  Coming from Belgium’s public sector, I wanted to introduce myself to basic business concepts and arrive early to campus to give myself time to adjust.  I enjoyed the course material and MIB students so much that, by the time the Fall semester started, I switched from the MALD to the MIB program myself!  The Admissions team made the application/transition process easy, and my decision resulted in a more structured curriculum with the opportunity to take more credits overall.  I slowly strengthened my quantitative skills in the Corporate Finance, Accounting, and Managerial Economics courses similar to those found at most business schools, and supplemented them with two electives in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability to familiarize myself with the field.  These courses gave me the confidence I needed to assume leadership of Fletcher’s Net Impact Club and begin networking with corporate responsibility professionals from Coke, Southwest Airlines, and other leading companies at the network’s 2015 annual conference.

Semester Two (5 Credits)

The second semester of my first year was full of more MIB requirements – marketing, regional studies, macroeconomics, and stats.  My regional EU studies course was particularly insightful because Professor Laurent Jacques is an EU citizen and provided a firsthand perspective of the political and business environment there.  Luckily, I still had room for two electives since this course and marketing were only half credits, so I took International Business Strategy & Operations and Lean Six Sigma, for which I cross registered at Tufts University’s Gordon Institute.  International Business Strategy & Operations was one of my favorite classes at Fletcher – I enjoyed working with classmates to make recommendations about where to invest in sovereign bonds, and I used the class paper I wrote about Brown-Forman’s internationalization opportunities as an incubator for my capstone project this year.  Lean Six Sigma is such a practical skill to have, and the Gordon Institute offered me a certificate for completion of the course.  Being able to cross-register between schools like that is an oft-overlooked Fletcher benefit.  Overall, I recommend taking five credits each semester the first year for MIB students because – even though it was stressful with internship hunting – I’m even busier spring semester this year!

Summer Internship
Global Sustainability, YUM! Brands (KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut), Louisville, KY

I was blessed with a wonderful summer internship at YUM! Brands.  Thanks to some networking and hard work, I landed a position on the Global Sustainability team, where I reported directly to the Chief Sustainability Officer on water stewardship and ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) Investor Relations strategies.  You can read more about my internship here, so I’ll spare the details.  What’s worth noting is: I was able to transition to the private sector; after living abroad for two and a half years, I really enjoyed working at home; and I received my internship offer only a few weeks before the semester ended.  People spend most of spring semester at Fletcher worrying themselves away about internships.  Overall lesson: don’t do that to yourself!  It all works out in the end.

Semester Three (4 Credits)

Ah, the last year of graduate school.  It was time to take it easier with four credits so that I could pursue a part-time job.  I ended up obtaining a great position as an intern ESG analyst at Breckinridge Capital Advisors – a $22 billion investment advisor in downtown Boston.  You can read about how much I enjoyed breaking out of the Fletcher “bubble” to commute downtown and try my hand at investment management here.  I would definitely suggest waiting until second year to pursue a significant internship, though it was hard to balance with the intense set of Corporate Law classes listed above.  I was pleased with the classes used to fill my International Business & Economic Law concentration – especially Mergers & Acquisitions – but it was probably too much to enroll in them all at once.  Spread them out!  By my third semester, I was also winding down my leadership of Fletcher’s Net Impact Club, as well, so I recommend throwing yourself into club activities and leadership roles in the first year while you can.

Semester Four (4 Credits)

In my final semester, I’ve chosen to enroll in a lighter course load with a capstone-based independent study course to give myself the time I need to continue interning at Breckinridge, apply for jobs, and complete a really awesome capstone project and report.  My internship at Breckinridge lets me solidify my new learning from graduate school, and applying for jobs has been a full-time job in itself!  Soon, I hope to return to my hometown in Kentucky to work for a company in the corporate responsibility or investor relations space.  My activities at Fletcher continue to keep me in touch with companies I’d like to work for – my colleagues from my internship at YUM! Brands will come to Boston in February for a Net Impact Career Summit I’ve helped plan — and my capstone project will send me back to Brussels and Amsterdam this month to do field research for my Brown-Forman business proposal.  It’s all coming to an end so fast.  I’m excited for what’s ahead, and I hope to finish the semester strong!

Ali, ski trip

Ali, second from right, on January’s student-organized ski trip.

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