And now a quick word for our prospective 2018 Januarians.  The applications submitted by folks hoping to enroll in January are now working their way through the process.  Many have already been reviewed.  Dan spent yesterday reading and Liz is following up today.  (Thank goodness for my Admissions pals, since I haven’t had a chance to read a single file yet.)  We even pulled a student into the process.  One of the returning members of the Admissions Committee was able to jump in to read a few applications and help push the process along.  Though we’ve had plenty to read, there’s about an equal number of applications still waiting for materials (recommendations or test scores, generally).  If that’s your story, make sure everything is going to come together very soon.

We’re often asked how long the process will take.  International students, especially, are concerned that they won’t have time to secure their visas.  Even U.S.-based students want to know that they’ll have time to arrange a move.  You can be sure that this very short turn-around period is at the front of our minds.  Decisions will be released in time for everyone to make plans — all the more reason to speedily submit those lagging elements of the application.

 

David Tykvart was an Admissions staff favorite during the two years when he worked in the office.  With his post, I’ll close out the updates from the Class of 2016 on their first year post-Fletcher.  David’s early career is a good example of how an international career can be based in one’s home country.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was standing in the Hall of Flags one April, jet-lagged from having flown in the night before from the Czech Republic and taking a quick break from my Fulbright teaching duties to try to make the decision on what graduate program to attend.  The few hours I spent seeing Fletcher firsthand during the Admitted Student Open House solidified for me that Fletcher was more than an academic program with famous professors at the forefront of research on topics from international law to the role of gender in post-conflict reconstruction, who were drivers of important policy decisions as practitioners; or big name administrators like the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO.  That day was the beginning of a lifelong journey.

Fletcher was the perfect fit for me.  I arrived thinking that I would join the U.S. Foreign Service.  Most of my international experience was in South America and Eastern Europe.  I had studied international relations, Spanish, and Russian as a college student, and spent most of my summers in South America leading service immersion projects in Quito and working with indigenous communities.  I also studied the West African education system in Ghana, worked at the U.S. Embassy in Peru, spent a year in the Czech Republic as a Fulbright Scholar, and even dabbled in the NGO world working at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.  I always loved exploring the world and getting to know the people and diverse cultures along the way.

I can say that the majority of my classmates’ accomplishments and experiences outnumbered mine.  For example, in my class there were: leaders in the armed forces; diplomats from all over the world; an individual who trained local journalists in Iraq to help build the nascent press corps; UN and OSCE employees; educators; medics who worked for Doctors without Borders; conflict resolution experts who worked with the Rohinga.  It was these individuals who became my Fletcher family.  And they very much are today, a year after having left.

As I said, Fletcher is more than an academic program.  It’s a community full of people from all around the globe who are very similar in their passion for the world and making it a better place, but also different in the sense that they bring their views, passions, cultures, and experiences to Medford, Massachusetts.

Besides the incredible student body, the curriculum at Fletcher is designed to give you the flexibility to pursue your interests, while giving you an opportunity to explore new fields of study and to build new skill sets.  For example my two areas of study were Human Security and Democracy & Good Governance.  I was always interested in democratic strengthening and the democratic backsliding we are witnessing throughout the world today, and I was able to create my own Field of Study that aligned with my interests and career aspirations.  I also was able to take a wide variety of classes that mixed theory with practice.  I learned how to write memos and give brief oral briefings working with the former German Ambassador to the United States.  I wanted to strengthen my quantitative skills so I took Econometrics and Corporate Finance.  I learned how to look at global events on a macro and micro level, and learned how to apply the lessons of history into decision making today.  I took classes such as Gender, Culture, and Conflict in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies, Rule of Law in Post Conflict Societies, Law and Development, and Migration and Governance in the Global South.  I was even able to squeeze in some classes that were fun and fascinating like Maritime History and Globalization.  One of the hardest parts about being a Fletcher student is trying to narrow the variety of fascinating classes to four per semester.

But much of the learning and Fletcher experience takes place outside of the classroom.  There is a multitude of ways to be involved and there is a club for literally every interest.  Personally, I was a co-president of the European Club, a researcher on the Fletcher-ICRC joint research study on conflict migration in the Sahel, and I worked in the Admissions Office.  We had culture nights that would bring everyone together; social hours every Thursday in the Hall of Flags; a ski trip to Maine; group hikes; and performances by the Los Fletcheros — the immortal Fletcher cover band.  Not to mention the countless impromptu group outings that led to the inevitable bar crawl with friends.  I even was part of a 12-person Fletcher Ragnar team (FletcherRunEmployed) running a 200 mile team relay that took us to the tip of Cape Cod.  I have friends who have told me they are jealous of my Fletcher crew and how close we are.

While most Fletcher graduates end up somewhere abroad or on the U.S. East Coast, my path took me to Chicago.  During my second year at Fletcher, I was named a Presidential Management Fellow and accepted a position with the Chicago Asylum Office with the Department of Homeland Security.  Currently, I am detailed to the Southwest Border where I work with families from around the world seeking humanitarian protection.  I never imagined that I would be interviewing asylum seekers, coordinating logistics, serving as the on the ground liaison with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and would work with various stakeholders throughout DHS, the private sector, and the advocacy community all at the same time.  Throughout my job search, the Fletcher community never failed me as I spoke and met with Fletcher alums throughout my agency who helped provide me with the insight and advice I needed to get to where I am today.  And no doubt I was able to get to places I never dreamed of today because of my Fletcher experience.

In addition to working in asylum, back at home in Chicago, I also began serving as a board member on the Chicago Sister Cities Prague Committee to keep me connected to the Czech Republic, even as my Fulbright days have long passed, which has allowed me to continue dabbling in what I consider to be public diplomacy.

It has been a little over a year since I graduated and I miss Fletcher.  I had to skip my Fletcher graduation because my sister graduated from college on the same day.  When I returned, my Fletcher family threw me my own graduation: they pulled out the champagne, had me put on a robe, and marched me to campus, through the Hall of Flags and straight to the Registrar’s Office where my diploma was waiting for me.

Now, my former classmates, who are now my lifelong friends, are all over the world and not a day goes by that I don’t hear from one of them.  And when we are all reunited, it feels like we were never apart.  One recent day, at 6:00 a.m. in the lobby of my hotel at the Southern Border, I ran into a good friend from Fletcher.  We used to be in the same study group for our Gender and Conflict class, and she was also sent to the Southern Border as a refugee officer.  When we saw each other at the coffee bar, I was reminded that inevitably our many paths will cross, and whether it is in DC, abroad, or at the Southern Border, we will always be there to support each other.  Because we are forever part of the Fletcher family.

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Some eagle-eyed Jeopardy fans in the Fletcher community spotted this question as they watched the show recently.  The answer (in the form of a question), of course, is “What is Tufts University?”

 

As promised, today’s post comes from second-year MIB student, Adi, who provides the final summer update from our continuing Student Stories bloggers.  Adi’s internship gave him a chance to test a new field, as he continues the career shift process he started in his first Fletcher semester.

At one point during my first year at Fletcher, someone told me that, in the end, everything was going to be o.k.  Everyone will do something during the summer break, be it an internship, research, writing, or catching up with old friends and family for two or three months.  As much as I wanted to believe that, I couldn’t help but get a little nervous when it was a couple of weeks after the last final of the spring semester, summer had officially started, and there was still no official offer letter for a summer internship.  I even flew back home to Indonesia, not knowing whether I was going to intern at all during the next few months, or just plain relax (or maybe start writing my capstone).

Adi (in the red shirt) and the CCB team at Citi Indonesia

Then the moment I had been waiting for finally arrived.  I was offered a spot in the Global Consumer Summer Associate batch at Citigroup’s Jakarta office.  While extremely relieved, I also came to realize that now the hard work would start.  This would be my first exposure to working at a global corporation, first time at a financial institution, in an industry far away from my previous professional background.  I was put on the Commercial Lending team.  My role was to support the business analysis and marketing staff in the division.  My main deliverable was an official guide for new employees of Citi Commercial Bank (CCB).  This meant that I had to learn how CCB operates, understand the complete business process down to the individual roles of each person on the team, and package all this information into a guidebook that would be easily digestible to a newcomer.

Throughout my time at Citi, there were many new learnings for me.  What was very noticeable from the onset was the fast pace of the work.  Prior to Fletcher, my experience was in the non-profit and public sectors.  Life at a private corporation like Citi was definitely different, in that on any day you could suddenly receive a million (figuratively) new tasks to be completed within the next couple of days (if not by the end of that business day).  Second, people were not lying when they said that working at a bank means you have to get good at Excel fast.  I learned more spreadsheet shortcuts and functions in the first week at Citi than I did in one year at Fletcher (or even my three years of work prior to grad school, for that matter).  Finally, I realized how vast the finance world is.  The Commercial Lending work that I had been doing during the summer was just a minuscule percentage of the whole operation that Citi does as an organization.  I really enjoyed learning about other functions within the bank, including corporate development, investment banking, and risk management.

In the end, it was a fruitful summer.  The skills and knowledge I learned from all three of Professor Jacque’s classes that I took in my first year, Professor Schena’s investment class, and Professor Trachtman’s fiscal and financial law class all came in very handy at different points of my internship.  To anyone pivoting to finance, or simply needing a refresher on the topic, I found the Wall Street Prep workshop both in the fall and spring semesters to be very useful during my time at Citi, and I highly recommend it.  Now that I have entered my second year at Fletcher, I have more context on how things click in the financial services industry.  I still am very much interested in exploring career opportunities in other parts of the industry, specifically asset management.  Hopefully, I will be able to build on my experience this past summer, and successfully navigate this exciting industry.

Family picture in Bukittinggi, Indonesia

 

 

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I’ve recently published posts by Student Stories writers Pulkit and Mariya.  Coming up next week is a summer update from Adi.  For those readers who are new to the blog, I should take a step back and point you toward the stories of all our past writers.  Each of these folks volunteered to write several posts during their two years at Fletcher.  I try to leave it to the student writers to choose their topics so that they reflect their own experience, but a little structure has developed over time, this year even including deadlines.

To make it easy to access each writer’s posts, here’s your Blogger Table of Contents.

This year’s returning writers are:

Adi, second-year MIB student

Mariya, second-year MALD student

Pulkit, second-year MALD student

Previous year’s writers were:

Adnan: F17, MALD

McKenzie, F17, MIB

Tatsuo: F17, MALD

Aditi: F16, MALD

Alex: F16, MIB

Ali: F16, MIB, who originally applied through Fletcher’s Map Your Future pathway to admission

Diane, F15, MALD

Liam, F15, MALD

Mark, F15, MIB

Mirza, F14, MALD

Roxanne, F14, MALD, who has also written occasionally as a PhD student

Scott, F14, MIB

Maliheh, F13, MALD

Plus, when I first launched Student Stories, I also included a first-year graduate, Manjula, F12, whose experience inspired me to ask students to write about their time at Fletcher, and which then led to the posts from First-Year Alumni.  I hope you’ll enjoy scrolling through and reading about all the writers’ Fletcher stories.

I’ll be introducing four (!) new bloggers in the coming weeks.  Stay tuned!

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I was walking outside the building at about 4:00 yesterday and saw a cluster of students huddled around suitcases.  They were in the first stages of their trip to Iceland for this year’s Arctic Circle Assembly, the world’s largest gathering of Arctic-oriented policy makers, business people, and other stakeholders.  The Fletcher contingent, including students, faculty, alumni, and staff members, is organized by Fletcher’s Maritime Studies Program, in collaboration with Fletcher’s Center for International Environment and Resource Policy, Science Diplomacy CenterInternational Security Studies Program, LLM Program, Institute for Human Security, and Institute for Business in the Global Context, as well as Pan-Arctic Options and the Institute for Global Maritime Studies.  Having so many different organizations on board means that students were able to have their participation subsidized with a travel stipend, in hopes (expectation!) that Fletcher would (for the third year in a row) bring the largest non-Icelandic academic delegation to the Arctic Circle Assembly.

A key link between Fletcher and the Arctic Circle Assembly is Fletcher alumna Halla Hrund Logadóttir, F11, who is organizing the Arctic Innovation Lab component of the Assembly.  According to the Fletcher trip organizers, the Arctic Innovation Lab is a platform to bring young and entrepreneurial thinkers into the Arctic debate to help solve its myriad social, economic, and political challenges.  Each participant gets two minutes to pitch an idea, which can be related to anything, but the focus is on sustainable solutions, and then students participate in round-table discussions with experts on their idea.  The top three ideas will be selected as winners by the event organizers.I always feel an ongoing connection to students whom I meet before they apply.  Way back in (probably) 2008, I interviewed Halla before she applied to Fletcher.  It’s very satisfying for me to see the relationship she has built with current students and staff.And Fletcher’s connection to the Arctic won’t end with the Arctic Circle Assembly.  In February, students will organize the seventh annual Fletcher Arctic Conference.

Here is a short video that shows images from last year’s Arctic Circle Assembly and Arctic Innovation Lab and an article on the ideas presented at the Arctic Innovation Lab.  Of course I don’t yet have photos from this year’s Arctic Circle Assembly, but you can follow along on Twitter as Fletcher participants post their observations and the organizers tweet about each day’s panels and events.

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Continuing to welcome back our second-year bloggers, today I’m sharing the first report for 2017-18 from Pulkit, who brings us up-to-date on both his summer activities and the start of his fall semester.  When you read about everything he’s engaged in, you won’t be surprised that he is also offering time-management support to other students.

Last time I wrote for the Admissions Blog, summer had just started and I was in the middle of my teaching assistant responsibilities with Professor Ian Johnstone.  After the course ended, I decided to stay in the Boston area for a long, warm, and wonderful summer.  I enjoyed it especially because it was quiet in Medford, and on campus.  I did not have to worry about rushing to classes or scheduled meetings in Cabot basement.  I took time for leisurely walks around campus, and went swimming and cycling.  I also spent time with my housemates, all Fletcher folks, cooking, watching movies, and traveling around Boston.

Later in August, I had the opportunity to visit Vienna, Austria and Geneva and Zürich, Switzerland.  The purpose of my visit was to gain exposure, for professional networking and academic activities.  I attended the ten-day International Summer Academy at the Institute for Peace and Dialogue in Baar, Switzerland, where I learned about the history of the Middle East, arms control, non-violent civil resistance movements, peacebuilding, and conflict resolution.  I also did a lot of sightseeing, and ended up walking 70 miles (112 kilometers) in a span of two weeks.  It was my first visit to mainland Europe and it was a great learning experience.  One of the highlights of my trip was meeting Fletcher alumni in Geneva.

As school started gearing up for another academic year, and in the lead-up to new-student Orientation Week, I decided to volunteer with the Office of Student Affairs.  This gave me a nice opportunity to interact with the incoming class.  I volunteered to facilitate the Navigating a Diverse World session and, along with Zoltan (a current Ph.D. candidate and former diplomat), led one of the sessions on Social Media Skills and Strategies.

As I jump into my second year of school, there are many things lined up for me.  I am taking four courses, and auditing one.  I will also be the teaching assistant to Professor Johnstone for ILO 220: International Organizations.  Even though it may seem a lot, this is essentially the story of every Fletcher student.

In my first year, I was elected to the Committee for Diversity and Inclusiveness, and I thoroughly enjoyed working as a student representative.  In spring 2017, I was nominated and elected to the Fletcher Student Council, and being an active student representative will be one prime responsibility and commitment this academic year.  For me, taking up these roles was about giving back to the School, as much as the School has done for me.  I also wanted to work with the school administration.

In addition to my committee activities, I am also the Managing Director for Digital and External Affairs, 2017-2018, for the student-led journal The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, where along with my co-editors, I will be responsible for the timely publication of articles for the print journal and web.  For The Forum, I will be managing a team of 12 senior and staff editors.  Further, I am the co-President of the Science Diplomacy Club.  Science Diplomacy is a rather new self-designed Field of Study at Fletcher.  With increasing conversations around nuclear security, environment, health and infectious diseases, Arctic issues, and cybersecurity, this specialization has become all the more important.  The club’s mission is to bridge the gap between science and policy, to ensure informed decision making.  Underscoring the club’s vision, we hope to bring science diplomacy practitioners and experts to the School for them to share their knowledge and experiences.

Besides my TA responsibilities, I am also working part-time at the Office of Development of Alumni Relations (ODAR), and as a Time Management and Study Strategy (TMSS) consultant at Tufts University’s Academic Resource Center.  ODAR is primarily responsible for Fletcher alumni relations, fundraising, and stewardship.  My responsibilities as a Graduate Student Assistant, among many tasks, involve project management and assisting with stewardship projects and annual fund initiatives.  As a TMSS consultant I work with undergraduate and graduate students at Tufts, to help them overcome academic challenges, and by providing them effective strategies to manage their work and time.

As I mentioned earlier, while it may seem like too much, Fletcher students are always known to juggle between multiples tasks, roles, and responsibilities.  For me personally, remaining involved in extracurricular activities is as important as academics and I wanted to prioritize out-of-class learning as much as in-class learning.  These experiences have helped in my personal and professional development, and are what I will eventually take with me as I move on to my post-Fletcher career.

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Today is a University holiday, but we’ll be back in the office tomorrow to answer any last-minute questions before the October 15 deadline.

Meanwhile, folks in the local area will want to know that Fletcher will be well represented at HUBweek, a festival of art, science, technology, and big thinking in Boston and surrounding towns.   There are so many great discussions on the agenda that it’s hard to know what to choose.  Start with the Fletcher-connected events and you can’t go wrong!

 

It’s great to have the Student Stories bloggers back on campus.  I’m in the process of selecting new writers even as continuing writers are sending me their first posts of the academic year.  Kicking off the summer reports is Mariya.  As it happens, she first wrote about her summer for the Fletcher News & Media page.  Check that out for the details on her work.  Today, she’ll tell us about some of her out-of-office activities.

While my internship at U.S. Embassy Bangkok was phenomenal, I want to share with you adventures that occurred outside the office.  Here is an assorted list of 14 unexpected things I did this summer — mostly in Bangkok, but also a few in South Korea and Singapore — that are not mentioned in the interview linked above.

1. Kissed, fed, and bathed with elephants at an elephant sanctuary in the northern city of Chiang Mai.  I learned that elephants are not camera-shy — one of them even flapped his ears in a video with me!  Too bad the elephants were a bit heavy to zip line with me afterward.

2. Became addicted to “boba” (bubble tea), especially green tea flavor.  I also loved coconut water, which I ordered at my every meal; and yes, I carved out the coconut with a spoon afterward.

3. Ate a range of exotic fruits I had never heard of or seen before, including mangosteen, pomelo, rambutan, water chestnuts, dragon fruit, papaya, and durian (known as the “King of Fruits”).  Fresh fruit from the street vendors was only $1.20 — I felt like the queen of fruits.

With Fletcher friends.

4. Toured various temples in Bangkok with Fletcher classmates Jittipat and Takuya.  In Thai, “wat” means temple, and it was interesting to learn about and compare the architecture and intricate designs of Wat Pho, Wat Saket (Golden Mount), Loha Prasad, Wat Benja, and the Grand Palace.  “Wat” fun!

5. Interviewed a Fletcher alumni couple, Deputy Chief of Mission Peter Haymond and his wife Dusadee Haymond, over lunch at their home.  Keep an eye out for the exclusive interview coming soon in my next blog post!

6. Visited pork, cattle, poultry, and dairy farms to learn about the efforts of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  My internship supervisor was keen on my learning about the interagency process at an embassy and I definitely learned a lot about the “farm to table” supply chain process.

7. Shopped until I dropped — literally — at the Chattuchuk Weekend Market.  After a few hours in the heat and maddening crowds at the market, which sold everything you could ever imagine at bargain prices, I would come home and collapse on my bed.

8. Snorkeled for the first time during a speedboat daytrip to Phi Phi Islands with my college friend Dashawn, who was traveling for the first time outside of the United States.  Our weekend in Krabi also included riding ATV’s through a muddy obstacle course, riding an elephant through the jungle, shopping for gifts at the night market, and attempting to hike the monkey-ridden Tiger Cave Trail before sunset.  I am honored that Dashawn spent his first international trip with me.

9. Rode motorbikes that weaved through traffic.  While not the safest choice, they were definitely faster than the local “tuk tuk,” Thailand’s version of a rickshaw.

10. Invested in a custom-made suit in Phuket after feeling major FOMO (fear of missing out) when another visiting friend purchased multiple suits for his business school endeavors.  Tuk tuk drivers have a habit of dropping you off at suit stores to lure you in, and it’s quite tempting (case in point), so be careful if you visit Bangkok!

11. Relaxed at the spa at least once a week.  Thai massage is famous for combining acupressure techniques and yoga postures; in other words, compressing, pulling, stretching and rocking your body in every which direction.

12. Was captivated by the beauty of Super Trees and multimedia shows on the waterfront in Singapore.  Shortly after Ramadan, on Eid al-Fitr holiday, I was lucky to tour the Istana, the official residence of the President of Singapore, because it is open to the public only a few times during the year.  Singapore is known for its “racial harmony” and it was beautiful to see a mosque, Hindu temple, and a Buddhist temple lined up on the same street downtown.

13. Walked through the Third Infiltration Tunnel, one of four known tunnels under the border between North Korea and South Korea, as part of a tour of the demilitarized zone (DMZ).  During the DMZ tour, we also visited Imjingak Park, Freedom Bridge, and the Dora Observatory, where I looked across the border into North Korea.  I felt like I was at the juncture of history and present.

14. Had serendipitous encounters with Fletcher friend Angga and a high school friend in Seoul. The Fletcher family, and apparently the West Potomac High community, is in every corner of the world.

A wise man once said, “we have nothing to lose but a world to see.”  With that mindset, I said yes to every adventure that knocked on my door, and blogged, as much as I could, about all of them.

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This is Murray.  Murray’s human is my Admissions pal, Dan.  The rest of the Admissions staff has embraced Murray (more accurately, the thought of Murray, since he has seldom visited the office) as our Admissions Canine Representative.

Today, Murray is here to remind readers of the upcoming October 15 deadline for January 2018 enrollment.  (When we say the deadline is October 15, we mean that you should submit your application by 11:59 PM EDT (UTC-4) on October 15.  Delay one minute longer and it would no longer be October 15.)

While we’re on the subject of deadlines, Murray wants applicants for September 2018 enrollment to remember that they can take advantage of the November 15 Early Notification deadline.  Though I admit that we’re happy to front-load a little of our application-reading work, you shouldn’t worry that your application will be at a disadvantage if you wait until January.  Early Notification can be great for people who will need to relocate for graduate school or, really, anyone who simply wants an early answer.  If that’s you, please stay on top of the November 15 deadline.

And to everyone, the materials that are due by your selected deadline are the application, transcripts, test scores, and any other pieces that originate with you.  If your recommender is a little slow in writing, we understand.  You need to provide the recommender with timely reminders, but we won’t consider your application to be late if the recommendation is late.

Murray looks forward to seeing your application.

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