Ali Edelstein, 2016, United States

Director of Social Responsibility at Kentucky Distillers' Association

Briefly summarize your work experience prior to enrolling at Fletcher.

I completed a years' worth of full-time Public Affairs internships in Ottawa, Canada; Brussels, Belgium; and Washington, D.C during college. After graduating, I returned to Brussels, for two years to manage the Fulbright Belgium and Fulbright-Schuman programs for the U.S. embassy there.

Why did you choose the MYF pathway?

The MYF pathway kind of chose me. I wanted to go to Fletcher right after university, because I thought my internships had given me sufficient insight into what I wanted to do with my life. I was wrong. I'm glad the Admissions Committee introduced me to the MYF pathway and encouraged me to gain some work experience first -- one, because I would have felt lost in the Fletcher classroom without it, and two, because that experience totally shifted my career plans to what they are today.

Why did you choose Fletcher?

I'm at Fletcher because of the people. Few of the other international affairs programs I considered had Fletcher’s level of camaraderie between the students and the alumni. Here, the diversity, knowledge, and experience of my classmates create a stimulating learning environment that encourages collaboration, and the alumni always make time to connect. I’m excited about what I’ll learn during my time at Fletcher, but I’m even more excited about the people I’ll have on my team when I leave.

How has the work you completed between your undergraduate studies and Fletcher added to your Fletcher experience?

At Fulbright, I had a more in-depth view of the bureaucracy, budget cuts, and effective public-private partnerships that go into making the program a success. It was these insights that spurred my desire to study international business at Fletcher, so that I could learn to drive the same social and environmental change that inspired me at Fulbright with the efficiency and financial resources offered to me by the private sector. Ali Edelstein

What advice would you give to future MYF applicants?

Make every effort to find a "real" job -- not just an internship, fellowship, etc. -- and stay in it for at least two years before matriculating. The level of responsibility you'll receive in a real job is different than that of most internships and fellowships, and it will better inform your academic and professional career path later on. I personally believe that two years in one position is the minimum time needed to solidify valuable skills and see the results of any longer-term, strategic work worth doing.

Fields of Study

  • International Business and Economic Law
  • Strategic Management and International Consultancy

Activities involved in at Fletcher

  • Net Impact
  • 180 Degree Consulting

Education before Fletcher

  • BA, Political Science, Western Kentucky University

Experience before Fletcher

  • Program Manager & Educational Adviser, Fulbright Commission, Brussels, Belgium
  • Public Affairs Assistant, Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C., USA


Sustainability Analyst, Yum! Brands, Louisville, KY


  • French
  • English