Saken Shayakhmetov, 2016 (dual degree), Kazakhstan

Why Fletcher? I have always been interested in geopolitics, diplomacy and economic policy-making. I guess it comes from being part of a family that has been involved in such things in Kazakhstan for the last 40 years. But I never thought that I would be in a position to receive a professional education in any of these spheres. I have always felt a desire to travel the world and meet new people – it has always fascinated me how the same event can be perceived in such different ways. Thus, I think it was natural that when the opportunity presented itself for me to go to Fletcher, I eagerly pursued it.

On the classroom experience: There is a class that I am currently attending that is taught by Professor Legvold, an expert of the highest caliber in his field. The class consists of 30 students: 15 at Fletcher and 15 at MGIMO (the Moscow State Institute of International Relations) in Russia. We discuss hot topics concerning world affairs from the perspective of competing Russian and U.S. interests, with a rising China as a backdrop. It is amazing to be able to communicate with peers in Russia and to be able to freely and openly converse on a broad range of topics. This is a truly one of a kind experience.

Favorite movie:

The Last Samurai

Favorite landmark:

The Puente Nuevo Bridge of Ronda

Most rewarding trip:

Everest Base Camp

Most pressing world issue:

Waning U.S. dominance

Most interesting person you’ve met at Fletcher:

An army translator who has taught himself to speak 7 languages in a war torn country

Fields of Study

Development Economics

International Negotiation & Conflict Resolution 

Activities involved in at Fletcher


Europe Club

Post Soviet Countries Club

Asia Club

China Club

Education before Fletcher

MBA - China Europe International Business School (CEIBS)

BS - Petroleum Engineering - University of Texas, Austin 

BA - Economics - University of Texas, Austin

Experience before Fletcher

Development Economist - CMOC, Aktau, Kazakhstan

Analyzer Specialist - PSN/WoodGroup, Atyrau, Kazakhstan

Intern - Chevron, Bakersfield, California, USA