Elmira Askerova, 2019, Kazakhstan

On a favorite class: I am taking Foundations in Financial Accounting and Corporate Finance, which is considered one of the most difficult classes at The Fletcher School. As a first-year international student with limited previous exposure to finance, I was worried about being unable to keep up in class. The first week of classes I did not understand much and I decided to drop it. However, I had a conversation with the instructor, Professor Laurent Jacque who told me: “Do not be scared of struggle. You came to graduate school to challenge yourself. Come to my office hours every week and slowly, with patience and hard work, you will master finance.” His words left a strong impact on me and I started going to his office hours regularly. I feel that a transformation within me is happening. Now, I am in love with the subject and am even considering pivoting my career towards this field.

How did you first learn about Fletcher? At first I was not considering Fletcher, because I wanted to pursue a graduate degree in Washington, DC. But a friend of mine, an alum from a DC area school, encouraged me to apply. He introduced me to the “Fletcher mafia” at the birthday party of a recent alum last October. I had a chance to network with the alumni and by the end of the day, I was struck by how friendly and engaging they were. I started following the Fletcher blog and subscribed to the online Fletcher newspaper, The Fletcher Forum. I also read most of Dean James Stavridis’ articles, and I was impressed by his TED Talk and his perspective on how global security should operate: “instead of building walls, we need to create bridges.” For me, it was a great sign of how open-minded the school was.

Favorite book
Think and Grow Rich

Favorite author
Napolean Hill

Favorite city

Most rewarding trip
Langkawi island in Malaysia

Global issue that brought you to Fletcher
Central Asian development

Fields of Study

International Development

International Security

Activities at Fletcher

Harvard Law and International Development Society

Eurasia Club

Political Risk

Education before Fletcher

BS, Public Administration, Indiana University

Study Abroad, Yonsei University, South Korea

Experience before Fletcher

Assistant to Public Officer, US Embassy in Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan

Consultant, Deloitte, Kazakhstan

Personal Banker, Chase Bank, New York