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Advancing a Global Affairs Career Through Graduate Education

The Fletcher School at Tufts University

A Multidisciplinary Approach Combined with Real-World Experience Produces Problem Solvers

On many minds at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, no matter what the master’s or PhD program, “are three big issues that cross international boundaries: data, money, and greenhouse gases,” says Bhaskar Chakravorti, dean of global business at The Fletcher School. “Those issues are very much the topic of conversation in practically every class.”

They also help explain graduates’ career choices. “We are seeing an increasing footprint in the private sector,” Chakravorti says, echoing employment statistics, which show, over the past few years, a boost in the percentage of “Fletcherites” entering the private sector and a decrease in those taking public-sector jobs. Numbers for the nonprofit and international organization sectors remain steady.

“Our students are not only keenly aware that they’re inheriting a world beset with challenges, they are also eager to do something about it.” Bhaskar Chakravorti, Dean of Global Business, The Fletcher School, Tufts University

A few factors are at play. For one, the private sector’s influence has grown and, accordingly, so have the number of opportunities to make a meaningful difference, “whether as part of a business unit committed to environmental responsibility or social equity, or part of an organization advancing impact investing,” Chakravorti explains. At the same time, budgetary shifts at employers like the United Nations and World Bank have increased the need to leverage consultants and contract workers.

To prepare its 500-plus students, Fletcher immerses them in multidisciplinary studies taught by what Chakravorti calls “the complete table”—faculty representing all aspects of global affairs, including development, geopolitics, innovation, technology, and international law. The approach is apropos, seeing as many Fletcher graduates are focused on acquiring the skills needed to become problem solvers, he says, adding: “someone able to wrap their mind around an issue, bring evidence to the table, analyze it, and arrive at some kind of action. The destination for people in that space is consulting.”

Accordingly, one of Fletcher’s most popular programs is the Master of International Business, which requires that students focus on two fields of study—one in business and one in global affairs. Examples of the school’s many career-preparation opportunities include the Fletcher Social Investment Group, a student-run organization offering services to Boston-area nonprofits and companies trying to solve specific challenges; and Digital Planet, a research initiative in which students, studying technologies’ effects across 125 countries, engage in cutting-edge research and deliver outcomes to companies.

“It’s great synergy,” Chakravorti says. “The company gets cutting-edge advice, the students help solve a hard, real-world, market-facing challenge an enterprise has and, simultaneously, they advance a significant action—on climate or social inequalities or other issues.”

The Fletcher School at Tufts University
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