McKenzie Smith, 2017, United States

Program Manager, Omidyar Network - Redwood City, CA

On the MIB vs an MBA: At my previous job, I helped public and private sector clients address challenges related to strategy, operational efficiency, organizational design, and program management. While consulting exposed me to a diversity of projects, I wanted to combine my undergraduate studies in international development with my experience helping clients solve important problems. Ultimately, I aim to leverage those skills into a career in impact investing that supports the growth of vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems in emerging and frontier markets. When considering programs, I knew I had to find one that integrated three key elements: the core business skills of an MBA; a deep understanding of the social, political, and economic elements associated with conducting business globally; and the flexibility to mix and match courses to fit my career goals. While traditional MBA programs tend to filter people into pre-defined tracks, I wanted a program that allowed me to integrate these elements across classes and student activities. With a Masters of International Business from Fletcher, I’m able to do just that.

The Flexibility of the MIB Program: Every day, I sit in classes with people who helped lead start-ups, served in the military of multiple countries, managed microfinance portfolios…I could go on. Because we come from such diverse backgrounds, we are each seeking to give and get different things from our time at Fletcher. For the MIB in particular, Fletcher’s curriculum provides the right balance of structure and flexibility. Through the MIB core, I know I’ll walk away with marketable business skills. This lets me focus my energy on building the right mix of courses that differentiate and help prepare me for the next step in my career. Flexibility also extends beyond the classroom to student organizations and the broad range of speakers that frequent campus each day. This semester, I’m working with a team of Fletcher students through the Fletcher Social Impact Group (FSIG) to help a local start-up solidify its revenue model and customer acquisition strategy. I’m also participating in the CFA Institute’s CFA Challenge to strengthen my understanding of how analysts and investors identify investment opportunities. Only halfway through my first semester, I’ve already attended events on topics as diverse as negotiations with Iran and social enterprise. Whether through classes, activities, or other events, as an MIB at Fletcher, I have the freedom to tailor the program to help me meet my professional goals.

Favorite musician or band
I'm always looking for new music -- got any suggestions?

Favorite landmark
The view of Paris from the top of Sacre Coeur

Most memorable international experience
Thailand for a close friend's wedding

Global issue that brought you to Fletcher
The role of business in profitably promoting inclusive development

Favorite location on campus

The sidewalk in front of Ginn Library, just as the sun is setting. The sky lights up in shades of orange, pink, and purple on a deep blue backdrop

Fields of Study

  • International Finance and Banking
  • International Political Economy

Activities involved in at Fletcher

  • Fletcher Social Impact Group (FSIG)
  • International Business Club
  • Fletcher CFA Challenge

Education before Fletcher

  • B.Sc in the Foreign Service, International Politics and Development, Georgetown University

Experience before Fletcher

  • Senior Associate, PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, McLean, VA
  • Corps Member, Teach for America, Colorado Springs, CO

Languages

  • French
  • English