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Returning to the second-year student bloggers, we pick up Scott’s story as he considers the post-Fletcher future that awaits him after graduation next May. As you’ll read, to Scott’s surprise, the learning and exposure he gained at Fletcher have caused him to reconsider his planned career path.
It’s interesting being a graduate student (and the ripe age of 32) and confused about the type of work I want to do after Fletcher. I came in with a very set plan: to use the Master of International Business (MIB) program to transition from the global health sector to the field of international economic development, by filling gaps resulting from my lack of work in the private sector. I was focused on international organizations, such as the World Bank, or consulting firms that would value my non-profit work and mindset but would also (thanks to the MIB program) be confident in my abilities to understand financial markets.
Fletcher offered me the chance to meet and listen to many individuals who worked at the organizations I had originally targeted. Unfortunately, around February of last year, after multiple career panels, information sessions, and my own research, I started to question whether this career track would be the right fit for me. At the same time, I was enjoying all my business courses and dissecting cases — especially within the areas of strategy and business development.
Coming to this realization in February/March was a problem because I had to completely switch my internship search, and by the time I did, most of the internships I had pinpointed were already filled. I made the best of this situation by taking a position in May that was similar to my previous work (but was salary based — always a good thing) and then took the remainder of the summer to do something very exciting. I used the time to cycle across the US — from the west coast of Oregon to New York City — raising funds for the charity run by one of my best friends from college, the Ace in the Hole Foundation. (If interested in that journey, you can read about it here.) It was the experience of a lifetime, but it didn’t boost my future job search the way a summer internship could have.
Which leads me to where I am in the first semester of my second year at Fletcher. I have decided to cast a wide net and to try to meet with as many people as possible this fall, to help focus my job search, which should start this winter. I have learned a lot already, namely that I’d love to focus on technology, health/wellness, and, if possible, to work at a start up or even start a venture of my own. My current classes — Starting New Ventures, at Fletcher, and Strategy and Technology, at Harvard Business School — definitely have had an influence on my current thinking, but I’m also continuing to speak with individuals outside of that realm. Making up for lost time last summer, I also have an internship in downtown Boston at a hybrid venture capital and creative agency, which has given me exposure to multiple industries that could interest me.
With these commitments, and a couple more classes, I have found myself busy. It’s a different kind of busy than my first year, when most of my time went into tough, but great, classes. As a second-year MIB student, I have completed the program’s core courses and I have the flexibility to choose classes that allow me explore new avenues. I’m actually excited for the whole process, even if it will be a challenge.
This past weekend, I made a quick trip to visit friends in San Francisco. On my way home, I was watching the flight progress map on the seat-back TV and realized I might have been flying over Scott Snyder during his cross-country bike trip. The plane’s path later veered to the north, but the map nonetheless reminded me to update you on his progress. Scott’s recent blog posts describe their days in Wisconsin, and his fundraising page indicates he has passed the halfway mark on his goal to raise $12,000 for the Ace in the Hole Foundation.
The other aspect of this update is that (being a little slow to connect the dots), I only realized last week that Scott’s travel companion is a fellow Fletcher MIB student, Joel Paula, who is also blogging. Same trip, different perspective!
I have one more cross-country adventure to describe, this time an alum’s trip, but I’ll hold that for now so that you can catch up with Scott and Joel’s progress.
Last week I received an email from student blogger Scott, who wrote about the cross-country trip from Oregon to New York, a distance of more than 3,000 miles, that he is undertaking accompanied by a friend. By the time I received the email, Scott had crossed through Oregon and into Idaho. (The photo shows him at his first stop, the Pacific Ocean coast of Oregon.) His message detailed the motivation for the trip:
On May 11th, 2006 tragedy struck one of my best friends and his family. Greg LiCalzi was my roommate freshman year at Union College, and although I was probably not the easiest person to live with at the time, we became great friends. Greg’s twin brother, Michael, was serving our country in the Marines when he died in a tragic tank accident in Iraq.
Two years later, with the support of his family, Greg founded the Ace in the Hole Foundation to remember and honor his brother’s sacrifice. The Foundation provides financial aid and material assistance to charitable organizations and causes. The Foundation’s support is administered directly to deserving recipients or through contributions to charitable organizations with which the Foundation has working partnerships. Through numerous events, fundraisers and corporate partnerships, Ace in the Hole has raised and donated over $300,000.
I have been unable to participate in many of the events for Ace in the Hole Foundation. Because of my previous job I was always out of the country or on assignment. I have been looking for a way to contribute with more than just a donation, and this summer I will have that chance.
Scott is using the trip to raise awareness and funds for the Ace in the Hole Foundation. His goal is to raise $12,000 by the end of his ride.
You can read more about the trip directly from Scott. He’s chronicling it through various media, most notably a Tumblr page and via Twitter. I’ll try to provide occasional updates on his progress throughout the coming weeks, or you can check out his Tumblr and spread the word about his trek for a cause.
In only four days, on Monday, April 15, Boston will host its famous annual marathon. In addition to well-known long-distance runners, you’ll find the Tufts Marathon Team, which includes a Fletcher squad. And one of the Fletcher runners is student blogger Scott Snyder.
Spring semester assignments are coming due and internship application season is in full gear, but I’ve also been concentrating on another yearlong goal — the Boston Marathon.
For the 10th year running (no pun intended) the Tufts Marathon Team (TMT), which consists of students, alumni and staff, will run to raise money for Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, mainly geared towards fighting child obesity. I had heard about the opportunity to run the marathon before I started this year, but didn’t realize how much fun it would be to train under coach Donald Megerle and with the team.
I ran my first marathon last summer in the grasslands of Inner Mongolia and trained all over Asia — Myanmar, Vietnam, Singapore, and cities throughout China. I didn’t think training in Boston, with a bunch of people who run at different speeds, would be as interesting and fun as that experience. Turns out it has been even better and has given me an outlet outside of the classroom — like so many of the opportunities here at Fletcher.
During this training process I have spent my weekends running the actual course — from Hopkinton, through Wellesley and Newton, to downtown Boston — so I’ll start the race having run the whole route and knowing all those brutal hills. I’ve run Heartbreak Hill about six times; if you don’t know the myth/story behind it, you can view it here. Along with my training partner, fellow Fletcherite Morgan Lerette, I trained on the route twice with Greg Meyer, the 1983 Boston Marathon winner with a time of 2:09:00 and the last American to win it. We got to hear plenty of stories about training in Boston during those two runs — luckily he’s a good storyteller.
Running is a passion of mine, and along with the TMT, Fletcher also has a running club, if you are not up for running 26.2 miles in April. There are also numerous other clubs here that can fit with your own personal and professional interests. All these clubs are student run and are always looking for new leaders to take them over. They bring in renowned speakers, put on conferences, and most importantly, sponsor our weekly Social Hours (really, Happy Hours) to educate the student body on the issues of the day.
So, not matter how busy Fletcher will make you academically, you can always find time to put in hours working on something that may be different from whatever you are doing in the classroom. Or, if you are a very studious individual, you can build on your academic interests through your clubs focus.
Scott’s photo above includes from left to right, second-year MALD student Mario, head of the Fletcher running club, Marathon-winner Greg Meyer, Scott, and running-partner Morgan. Fletcher TMT runners, whose profiles can be found on the TMT page, are: Natalie Bowlus; Oscar Camargo; Katherine Ferrari; Jacob Fromer; Amy Heading; Alex Kaz; Morgan Lerrette; Brennan Mullaney; Tomo Nagasaki; Maki Nakata; Jane Phelan; Davie Wallsh; and Annie Wanlund.
Prospective students always ask about the path to Fletcher from wherever they are in their education or professional life. Today I’m introducing first-year MIB student, Scott Snyder, the next participant in the blog’s Student Stories feature, and I’m going to do so by walking you through his résumé. Scott and I sat down recently to talk about the different intertwined factors that led him to enroll at Fletcher last fall. Though résumés generally flow reverse chronologically, my goal is to walk you from start to finish, so let’s start with Scott’s undergraduate education.
Union College, Schenectady, NY; BA in political science, minor in history, June 2004
Research Assistant – Political Science Research Grant, Summer 2003
Semester Abroad, University of Ireland, Galway
Scott was a political science major with an international relations focus. His thesis was on the war in Iraq. He also had the opportunity to participate in an internship that turned into an independent study project.
Office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Albany, NY; Intern, September 2003-March 2004
• Organized conference involving Senator Clinton, the mayors of five major Upstate New York cities and their economic development staff, federal government officials, and business and economic development experts, to discuss the Renewal Community program.
Scott’s supervisor always required interns to take on a project, and Scott’s was to consider how the Renewal Community program (a piece of domestic economic development legislation) was implemented in the area near Union College. The project led to the conference described above, a great introduction to politics, Scott said.
Margaret Walsh for Family Court Judge, Albany, NY; Campaign Manager, June-October, 2004
• Managed a campaign that placed a progressive underdog judicial candidate in office. Involved in all aspects of the campaign including development, communications, oversight of headquarters, and volunteer organization.
Once the internship was complete and Scott graduated from Union College, his internship supervisor helped him get a job with a candidate for a local judicial position. Scott was thus the 22-year-old, nearly completely inexperienced, campaign manager. Judge Walsh won the election. The campaign reinforced Scott’s interest in politics.
What to do after the election? Scott decided to move to Washington, DC, a fun place to be as a newly-minted graduate.
Campaign for America’s Future, Washington, DC; Program Assistant, April-October 2005
• Collaborated on Project for an Accountable Congress – a campaign to educate the public about ethical lapses of members of Congress, including paid media, press releases, constituent outreach, research and events.
Even as he worked at Campaign for America’s Future, Scott was planning his next step, which he thought would be the Peace Corps. But having completed most of the Peace Corps application process, he decided instead to move to Norfolk, VA for a new opportunity.
Operation Smile, Inc., Norfolk, VA; Mission Coordinator, March 2006-February 2007
• Administered pre-mission organization, on-the-ground logistics, and post-mission assessments for medical programs aimed at surgical repair for children with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities.
• Recruited and led international medical volunteers, coordinated local patients and families, and communicated with local hospitals and governments to perform over 125 surgeries in a 10-day period for each medical program, with an average of six missions per year in China, Kenya, Peru and Cambodia.
Scott didn’t know at the time that his year in Norfolk was only step one of a six-year career with Operation Smile. In fact, Norfolk wasn’t exactly where he wanted to be, given that he had enjoyed living in DC, but his job required about six months of travel each year, and he was working with a great group of people.
Operation Smile was expanding, and he, along with another coordinator and friend, took positions with a new Hanoi office, requiring a two-year commitment. Though based in Hanoi, he spent much of his time in other Asian locations.
Operation Smile, Inc., Hanoi, Vietnam; Regional Program Coordinator, February 2007-May 2009
• Increased surgical productivity through logistical troubleshooting, staff development, and programmatic upgrades. Conducted trainings for local staff in partner countries at headquarters in Vietnam and Norfolk, VA and in the field.
At the end of the two years in Hanoi, Scott decided to step away from Operation Smile. He took some time to prepare for graduate school and consider other professional opportunities. What he found was that his best opportunity was back with Operation Smile.
Operation Smile, Inc., Norfolk, VA; Senior Program Coordinator, November 2009-May 2010
• Directed a scale-up medical program in Guwahati, India. Created new initiative to be replicated around the world, which increased surgical capacity from 150 patients treated during a mission to 967 in a three-week period.
• Facilitated program coordination for United States Navy Pacific Partnership. Conducted two missions aboard the USNS Mercy Hospital Ship in Sihanoukville, Cambodia and Dili, Timor-Leste.
Scott had been thinking that he would go to business school, and he applied for enrollment in 2010. Instead, he left Norfolk yet again, this time for China, where he was charged with smoothing the occasional cultural differences and communication problems between Operation Smile and their Chinese partner foundation. Plus, he would gain experience in project management and fundraising, skills he wanted as he moved forward in his career.
Operation Smile, Inc., Beijing, China; Program Development Manger, May 2010-May 2012
• Managed programmatic and development team of five in China. Created and managed a $1.5 million budget per year, raised over $500,000 from companies and individuals within China, and oversaw the completion of more than 30 medical missions and 5,000 free surgeries performed.
• Developed strategy and initiated execution of Operation Smile’s 20th Anniversary in China – The March of Smiles — involving medical conferences, fund raising galas, and medical programs that operated on over 3,000 children in 2011.
This time, Scott was really ready to pursue a graduate degree. In fact, he applied in 2011 to Fletcher’s MIB program, having decided that the MIB’s blend of a core business curriculum and international relations courses was exactly what he needed. It was the only program to which he applied — a risky strategy that worked out for him — and then he deferred his admission. 2011-2012 was an enjoyable year, especially because his grad school plan was in place. He left Operation Smile in May 2012 and spent the summer in Beijing working on his language skills.
The Fletcher School, Tufts University, Medford, MA, 2012-2014
Master of Arts in International Business
• Concentrations: International Political Economy, Strategic Management, with China focus
• Activities: Non-Profit Sector Representative on Committee for Career Services, VP of ASEAN Society, International Development Group, Asia Club, Tufts Marathon Challenge
Scott is hoping to transition careers from global health to economic development, ideally at an international organization such as the World Bank. What ultimately sold him on Fletcher was the great network of alumni at organizations that interest him, a network that he believes will be a stronger support in his future job search than having a more traditional degree, such as an MBA. Meanwhile, he says he’s “learning a ton” and is getting great base knowledge in finance and accounting. His only regret from last semester was that the transition back to the classroom was a challenge, and he didn’t take advantage of lectures and other special events, at least not as much as he would have liked. He hopes to do more of that this spring.
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