WASHINGTON, D.C.—If there was ever any doubt about the depth, breadth, diversity and authority of the vaunted Fletcher network, the mingle and buzz at the cocktail reception of the School’s annual D.C. Career Trip put it to rest.
The reception, just blocks from the White House and the Capitol, hosted hundreds of students and equal number of alumni of The Fletcher School at Tufts University. During the event, Dean Stephen Bosworth offered this advice to students, many harboring nervous doubt about landing a job in a tough economy, post-graduation:
“Exploit your fellow alumni. Shamelessly,” he said to laughter. “They are here to be exploited.”
The reception—the most highly attended of any past Fletcher career event—was one of many high points for the MALD, MIB, LLM, MA and PhD students who made the trek from Medford to Washington, D.C. in February. Painstakingly organized by Fletcher’s Office of Career Services, the trip featured two days of panel discussions, site visits, happy hours and informal chats with just a small portion of the thousands of Fletcher alumni who populate the Washington corridors of government, business, philanthropy and advocacy. (Pictured: Victoria Esser F’99, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs for Digital Strategy, U.S. Department of State.)
“The D.C. Career Trip is a wonderful way for students to survey the wide landscape of careers that are possible after obtaining a Fletcher degree,” said Branden Grimmett, associate director of the School’s Office of Career Services (OCS). “Despite a persistently tough job market, through the various panels, site visits, lunches and receptions, students come away empowered by Fletcher alumni doing amazing work in amazing places.”
Fletcher’s Washington alumni network features the largest concentration of the School’s graduates of anywhere in the world; according to the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, almost 2,000 graduates work, live or frequent in the U.S. Capital’s environs.
Alumni panels organized by OCS focused on a myriad of topics, including International Communications and Media, Humanitarian Assistance, Conflict Resolution, and U.S. Security and Intelligence. Students also could participate in alumni-hosted luncheons or go on different site visits to institutions and companies such as Bloomberg, Eurasia Group, the FBI, the World Wildlife Fund, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), McKinsey & Company and ExxonMobil.
And rounding out the two days of events were various receptions hosted by student clubs, as well as the Board of Overseers, among others. (Pictured: Joshua Gross, F'10, Director, Government Relations, The Glover Park Group)
Many alumni participating or hosting students offered practical advice in planning for a post-Fletcher career, while also acknowledging the difficulty in simply getting in the door to begin with: Be persistent. Develop a skill set. Don’t time the market. Don’t turn down a job that you haven’t even been offered yet. “It’s often the situation that in order to get a job, you have to have had a job to begin with. It’s a chicken-and-egg kind of thing,” said one alumnus.
An alumna spoke about how unlike other graduate students and job applicants, Fletcher students are uncommonly known as broad thinkers, with a much broader perspective on the world. “Multidimensional, smart, multiple areas of focus: the Fletcher experience allows you to look at the world in lots of different ways, in ways that other people don’t know,” she offered.
A popular sentiment expressed by many alumni was the value of utilizing the Fletcher network; for contacts, for job leads and as a way to get one’s resume to stand out from hundreds of others that may be piling up in a recruiter’s inbox. (Pictured: Elena M. Suarez, F'91, Chief, Development Communication & Special Programs, Office of External Relations, Inter-American Development Bank.)
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without my Fletcher degree,” added alumnus Brett Freedman, ‘03, who works as a staff attorney at a U.S. federal government security agency. “You’ll never be able to anticipate the path you might be on in 20 years. What you can do is gain the necessary tools, skills, however you select it, so you can open as many doors as possible.”
-- Mike Eckel, MALD Candidate (F13); Photo credits: Dennis Drenner