AIGAC’16 visited The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University

By Candy Lee LaBalle, LaBalle Admissions

On Friday, June 17, attendees of AIGAC’16 visited The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy on the bucolic campus of Tufts University, located in Medford just outside of Boston. AIGAC members from the US, Spain, India, Germany, and India were warmly greeted by Fletcher Director of Admissions Liz Hurley and Kristen Zecchi, Senior Associate Director of the Masters in International Business (MIB).

Over coffee and pastries in the wood-paneled art deco Edward R. Murrow room, lined with the late journalist’s books and personal effects, Steve Bock, Academic Dean and Professor of International Economics, gave an overview of Fletcher’s star programs, the Masters of Law and Diplomacy (MALD) and the MIB. He highlighted the school’s incredible diversity with over 80 countries in the current class, its multi-disciplinary makeup with lawyers, economists, anthropologists, journalists, security experts, veterans, and more fields filling the classrooms and the faculty roster featuring military and governmental leaders such as former Ambassador to Spain, Alan Solomont. However, Bock pointed out the commonality that brings these diverse people together—a passion for international affairs.

Next, AIGAC members enjoyed a surprise visit from Dean James Stavridis, a retired Navy Admiral, former Supreme Allied Commander at NATO, and a Fletcher Ph.D. He took glee in pointing out that the deanship at rival school John Hopkins is also held by a Fletcher Ph.D.

Dean Stavridis covered what he considers the three differentiators for Fletcher: 1) its incredibly international flavor, 2) a 95,000+ alumni network worldwide that includes top diplomats, non-profit leaders, directors of humanitarian organizations, security experts, and members of dozens of governments worldwide, and 3) a 360-view. While students can focus on a single area, they are given a very broad view of classes and opportunities.

A panel of four students confirmed the Dean’s assertions as they discussed their varied goals in microfinance, cyber security, international business development, and governmental affairs. Despite their differences, they surprised us when they all mentioned “hard business” courses as their favorites, especially statistics and corporate finance.

Kristen Zecchi explained that this intersection of business and international affairs is at the heart of the Masters of International Business (MIB), a two-year program that graduates consultants, business developers, general managers, and social entrepreneurs. A recent grad founded Andela, a tech startup in Nigeria that recently secured a $24 million grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

The unique MIB is a small class of just 35 graduates per year and students have only one required course in macroeconomics. Beyond that, they can choose from 160 electives across Fletcher as well as the various schools at Tufts, and there is even an agreement for students to take classes at HBS or Sloan. Zecchi called it the “ultimate buffet” where students can truly create their own specific curriculum. All classes are taught in English except for Islamic Finance, taught in Arabic. AIGAC members who counsel strictly on the MBA should give a deeper look at the MIB as a unique alternative.

This versatility and internationality definitely result in jobs. My Doan from Employee Relations and Helen Anderson from Career Services revealed that over 95% of grads receive top job offers within 6 months, with about a third entering the private sector (finance, consulting, marketing…), a third entering the public sector (diplomacy, policy, trade…) and a third choosing other opportunities.

We finished our visit with a tour of the school and a frank discussion from Admissions Director Liz Hurley. Applicants must have two years of professional experience, speak at least one foreign language, take either the GRE or the GMAT (average 640-720), and also the TOEFL (for non-native English speakers). Most importantly, applicants must have a true interest in the international aspect of their future and what Zecchi calls “a desire for a truer purpose.”

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