Alumni Reflect on the ROI of a Fletcher Degree
Each fall, The Fletcher School's Office of Career Services and Office of Alumni Relations join forces to host the Boston Student Alumni Networking Event in the Hall of Flags. "Fletcher alumni are generous in supporting students and each other," says Elana Givens, Director of the Office of Career Services. "We have had great success using sector-themed tables to make it easy to find people with similar professional interests."
With some of our alumni recently back on campus to attend the event, we took the opportunity to ask them to reflect on their own Fletcher experience and what it is that makes Fletcher graduates uniquely relevant in today's changing job market.
Lynn Schenk (F01)
Associate Director, Business and Environment Initiative, Harvard Business School
"Fletcher completely changed the trajectory of my career, and the experience - even 18 years later - has continued to influence my path and my approach to important issues, such as climate change. Fletcher provided me with the base skills to launch a career in banking and to choose an area of banking (infrastructure and energy finance) that could provide a very wide, multidisciplinary perspective on financial markets and on key issues that will continue to evolve. Having had such a range of exposure at Fletcher planted the seeds to always consider and incorporate multiple issues and disciplines when analyzing risk or dimensioning an opportunity.
Fletcher students have deep exposure to multiple disciplines. Just think of the combination of international law, security studies, and business when it comes to topics of climate change, human rights, and others. None of the big issues of today can be addressed in isolation and graduates with informed perspectives on all of the interrelated disciplines that Fletcher excels in are at a real advantage. Further, think of the valuable global network Fletcher graduates have. As each of the world's major problems require multiple solutions with partnership across disciplines, a Fletcher student probably knows someone at every major institution in the world grappling with whatever issue it may be. That is certainly true when I think about my F01 classmates - they are everywhere - and because of the close community we formed while at Fletcher, we remain networked. That is both relevant and valuable to an employer of any Fletcher graduate."
Arkady Ho (F19)
Assistant VP, Fixed Income Portfolio Specialist, State Street Global Advisors
"During my time at Fletcher, I was focused primarily on finance and impact coursework (Fields of study: International Finance and Development Economics), and I also did MIINT [MBA Impact Investing and Network Training] and got involved in FSIG [Fletcher Social Investment Group]. Coming into Fletcher and for much of my first year, I'd expected to go into impact investing, but ultimately the opportunity that arose for me was a graduate summer internship in the Private Equity Investments group of State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), with whom I went on to accept a full-time offer in their Fixed Income Portfolio Strategists group. In the end, my finance-related experience has lent itself well to both classroom learning at Fletcher and my current role at SSGA. I also consulted part-time with the Rhode Island Foundation during my second year, assisting them with their impact investing practice. I was thus able to maintain my connection to work that I'm passionate about, and I do plan to return to philanthropic, nonprofit, and/or social enterprise-related work in the future.
In my opinion, the three biggest factors [that sets Fletcher students apart in today's job market] are critical thinking, engagement and collaboration. We have had some of the most interesting discussions inside the classroom on topics ranging from the ethics of selling skin lightening cream in rural Bangladesh, to establishing a financially viable supply chain for an INGO, to why the negative convexity of mortgage-backed securities were (or were not) fairly valued when they first appeared back in the 1980s, and it's thanks to the high quality of students that Fletcher attracts. Fletcher also has some truly unique experiential opportunities outside the classroom, such as the MIINT, which I found to be invaluable and great fun. I even had a chance to travel to Hong Kong with some fellow MIBs for the Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge toward the end of my second year. I feel well prepared to tackle the multifaceted challenges of today's modern economy, and I attribute this in large part to my experiences inside and outside the classroom at Fletcher."
Cacilda Teixeira (F15)
Project Manager, Mass General Hospital
"Fletcher opens up the world and trains its students to look at problems from a global perspective. In my current position, it is essential to look at the geopolitical and cultural issues that affect how we do business, and Fletcher prepared me well for this environment. I think I do my job better because of my Fletcher education.
Business is becoming increasingly global, and companies and their customers are increasingly widespread. Fletcher provides its students with the skills to think about the political and cultural factors that are important in today's economy. Being able to understand and navigate cultures is omnipresent in business, and there's no better place to hone those skills than at Fletcher; that's our differentiating factor."
John Harper (F85) Partner, Clean Energy Venture Group
"The Fletcher MALD degree and the school’s reputation helped me to secure a summer internship between the first and second years and then the first international positions after graduation. Put short, they enabled my international infrastructure project finance career.
Virtually all institutions, whether global, national, or local, public, private, or non-profit, are facing challenges due to demographic changes, climate & sustainability imperatives, income inequality, and questions of legitimacy. These challenges cut across traditional areas of expertise and organizational structures. Fletcher offers the training and the context to understand these emerging global issues and to build coalitions supporting viable solutions."