Jobs, Learning

How do you hire?

I always ask about the thing you’re most proud of and the thing you’re least proud of, and sometimes it could be a four-part question, because they’ll give something personal and professional for each of them. I’m listening for whether they talk about their accomplishments with “I, I, I,” or what their team was able to do.

This is from an interview with Lloyd Carney, CEO of data handling company Brocade.

I’m currently in job application purgatory and often find myself wondering ‘what do these people really want to know’?  Little cues like this seem pretty useful to me.

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Advice, Learning

Getting To Grips With Your Social Media Self

Of late, I have been on a Twitter ‘sabbatical’.

This sabbatical was not the product of a conscious, thought-out decision in which I actively decided to remove myself for complex reasons of social network activism or in an attempt to reconnect with the ‘good old un-connected days’. Rather, it happened slowly and without me realising, until one day, I logged on to Twitter and realised that I hadn’t engaged with the network for over six months – my account was just sitting there, quietly waiting for me to come back, asking me what I wanted to Tweet about next?

It would seem that my Twitter sabbatical coincided with a period of time in my life in which my goals and career focus were in a state of flux.

A year ago, my Twitter ‘space’ had a clear identity.

I was actively engaging with a relatively defined community of people (those working in or interested in the cross-section between Africa, information, technology, media, development, human rights) and most of my followers were (or still are) from that community. The rest all probably have something to do with coffee, the other passion which made it regularly into my Twitter feed. My network, by and large, was relatively ‘bounded’.

In my days working in the newspaper industry and studying at SOAS and the University of Oxford, I used Twitter as a professional and career development resource. I have blogged before, on this very page, about how I used Twitter as my ‘rolling online CV’. I Tweeted my own ideas, I engaged, I re-tweeted, I live-Tweeted at events and conferences, I hashtagged, I plugged blogs I had written, I got jobs through Twitter, and I came across endless accounts of people and organisations whose work I still follow and admire. Essentially, I became an expert in how to curate a useful, successful online community network – and I gave you guys nine tips so that you could do the same!

It seems strange to re-read that ‘nine tips’ blog now, in the context of now writing this one. At that time, I wrote: “Watch what you Tweet – If you imagine your Twitter page as a rolling online CV, you automatically become more aware of what you allow on to your feed” (this statement remains true, by the way).

Because the thing is, that in order for Twitter to serve this purpose for you – for it to be used as a way of tapping into a specific community (whether that be #globaldev or otherwise) – you have to have a very clear idea of who and what that community is, and what your role is and could be within that community. By knowing those things, you can ‘curate’ your Twitter feed to cater to that particular audience.

Every Tweet becomes a clearly-made choice and every interaction is treated as a key step in building new professional relationships. You become a hyper-aware manager of your online presence. You constantly criticise, and critically analyse, whether your online Twitter ‘self’ is an accurate reflection of your offline non-Twitter self, and if it could be improved. For those of us on ‘the bottom rungs of the ladder’, those choices carry that little bit more weight.

But what happens when that network needs some re-shaping? If you move to a slightly different ladder? What happens to your carefully-defined Twitter then?

The totally brilliant Danah Boyd writes extensively about the ways in which we manage identity in different contexts (online and offline) and coming across her work while studying for my Masters at the Oxford Internet Institute was one of the many revelations of my postgraduate degree. My main takeaway from her extensive work is that the Internet has confused and disorientated the ways in which we have historically, or traditionally, always managed our identities. We haven’t ever had just ‘one’ identity; we are a complex set of identities, which we have always been able to manage and curate between different contexts relatively easily.

Back in the day, would we have let our friends, grandparents, employers and ex-boyfriends all see the same set of holiday pictures? Would we have included on our CV a short section titled ‘Political Views and My Attitudes Towards Gender, Race and Religion’? Probably not. We would have navigated our way between these different contexts and presented the aspects of our identities, of our lives, that were appropriate to each of those contexts.

Life on the Internet completely throws those contexts into disarray. Boyd describes these contexts as becoming ‘collapsed’ – i.e. that those contexts are no longer as easily defined or ‘bounded’ and are therefore harder to navigate.

Do I accept this work colleague on Facebook? If I tweet about this salted caramel brownie, will this very impressive and important consultant unfollow me on Twitter? If I share this article on the EU Referendum, will I have a bunch of random people I worked with five summers ago and haven’t spoken to since all start to judge me for my political views?

Maybe not everybody asks themselves these questions, but I do.

There are two points to this blog, really. One was selfish – to force myself to write some of this experience down; to put academic ideas of ‘collapsed contexts’ and ‘online identities’ into actual practice and everyday experience; and to explain to anybody who wants to read this why I disappeared off the map for a while.

The second is to add a final, tenth ‘tip’ to that blog I wrote three years ago:

10. Don’t let your Twitter, or any social network, define you. Twitter and social media are great resources for putting ‘who you are’ onto the professional map, but if that ‘who you are’ changes – don’t panic. Human beings are dynamic, not static, and so too should be our social networks.

For the record, I do now intend to be back, re-defining and re-curating my Twitter space. Maybe some people will drop off that network, hopefully new people will join. I think that’s kind of the whole point.

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Experiences, Learning

Development Hotel-ology

The closer I’m getting the end of my internship the more I reflect on what I have learned in 10 months working in the development industry in East Africa.

Besides the big important life lessons (I will probably write about that once I am back home) there are hundreds of small things I encountered that I would have never imagined to play a big role in my work. One of these interesting little characteristics of aid work is the importance of that one big question: Which hotel do we go to?

I always used to have quite a pragmatic relationship with hotels. Usually when I travel I want them to be cheap, more or less clean and in the best case offer a relaxed atmosphere that attracts like-minded backpackers. When I started working here I assumed that the choice for venues and accommodation would be driven by a similar kind of pragmatism. You want them to offer the service you need and the choice should be cost-efficient. Any average hotel with a conference room should do the trick, right?

Boy, was I wrong.

I work for a regional integration program and a big part of the job is to organize trainings, stakeholder meetings or policy development workshops all across the East African Community. With every new event the delicate question came up which hotel should serve as host. What I didn’t know: The chosen venue is so much more than just some venue. After 10 months of interning I present you a check-list for picking the right hotel for a fancy development meeting.

1. Think location.

All the three major cities of our region are crazy with traffic.

A commute from the airport to Dar, Kampala or Nairobi will leave you pounding your forehead on the dashboard and then slowly curling up on your seat sobbing about your stolen lifetime.

So, more than 3 participants coming from outside Nairobi? Pick that charmless hotel along that horrible airport highway instead of the nice one downtown. Similarly, you might want to find a place in the outskirts if your meeting promises to be long and boring. A small retreat at the lakeside in Entebbe (30 kilometers from downtown Kampala) makes it less likely for your participants to leave once they signed the attendance sheet.

2. Status matters.

I really don’t care if my hotel door has golden handles and staff in tuxedos. Turns out most of the people around me think differently. When I naively asked why we could not simply take the cheapest decent option on the menu, my colleagues smiled at me and told me that simply nobody would show up. The name of the place needs to be known – unfamiliar hotels often raise some eyebrows.

Then it depends on whom you want to invite: You want the ministry’s Permanent Secretary? You better add another star. I have the feeling that counts especially for public sector people. Private sector managers aren’t convinced to attend by a purpose of the meeting but by the venue’s marble columns.

3. Individuals and their distinct tastes

You won’t believe the amount of small talk I come across among my coworkers about their favorite hotels: the nicest hotel garden, the conference hall with the great view or the one time when their favorite cheese was not on the breakfast buffet…everybody’s got their favorite.

Our partners behave the same way. My most baffling moment was when a representative of our Partner Organisation just ignored that I had rented a room for him at a perfectly nice (and expensive) hotel and decided to rebook himself into a fancier venue. What really left me in awe was that once I asked him if everything was in order, he started complaining about details like water pressure in his shower like a spoilt child. None of the other participants staying in the original location ever complained – I guess they don’t travel too often to development industry meetings.

4. A word to costs.

As I wrote above, I thought, with limited budgets for development aid, we would go for cost-efficient solutions. That’s pretty impossible with the local conference hotel industry mostly charging rates of 100-150 US Dollar per night for something that most of the people involved find acceptable (I think they are pretty fancy). Our headquarters force us to get three quotations, but if you prefer a different venue, that’s fine too. It is only when budget pressures get too high that we begin to start thinking about some “innovative solutions” to hosting (like using our partner’s facilities… crazy thought).

I never imagined that I would learn so much about hotels in East Africa.

Sometimes it really felt as if some participants in these meetings  cared much more about where they were discussing a policy than about the policy’s content.

Initially, I was quite sceptical of the development industry and wanted so see the truth behind the stereotypes. While I have been positively surprised in some aspects, the strange concept of discussing poverty reduction in a 4-5 star hotel seems to be the reality. If I think only about the total amount that we spent on my own hotel nights for the five meetings I attended in these 10 months, I get to about 20% of what I earned during my whole internship!

To most East Africans who – like me – usually opt for pragmatic solutions to accommodation and venues, all this has a weird feel. Regardless, if you want to play the East African policy game, you better have a PhD in the science called Hotel-ology.

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Learning

An Unexpected Return To History

It is perhaps a little paradoxical to say that, in studying the Internet, I have discovered a new love of history.

Maybe ‘love’ is a little strong; let us go with ‘appreciation’. After years of hating history at school, and not understanding why studying history was important, I have unexpectedly found it to have woven itself back into my academic interests. Bear with me: I promise there are some reflections here that I hope we can all learn from!

Let me start with why I never liked history in the first place. For me, history was always associated with learning the names and dates of Anglo-Saxon battles. I remember learning about the Romans. I know that Henry VIII had six wives, three of which were called Catherine. I have sparse memories of dressing up in a pinafore and a bonnet, and going on a school trip to a place where we made bread. We studied World War I and the Battle of the Somme. These examples do not mean to trivialise the importance of these moments in history; nor to attack the design of the UK’s History curriculum. For whatever reason, History was just not a subject that I saw the point to. And so, when we had to make our subject choices in Year 9, I chose Geography and my days with History were over.

The revival of history in my educational interests first emerged in my undergraduate years. It was while at SOAS that, for the first time, I came across histories I was interested in. I wrote essays on the impact of colonial legacies on democratisation processes in Africa. The contribution of Botswana’s historical pre-colonial institutions in its management of ‘diamond-led’ growth. The importance of the 1951 Geneva Convention in shaping current policy approaches to refugees and forced migration processes. And the representation of South Africa in films such as De Voortrekkers (1916), Jim Goes to Joburg (1949) and Come Back, Africa (1959).

All of a sudden I found myself fascinated, disappointed, enraged and intrigued by these historical narratives.

Again, during my current postgraduate studies, I find myself drawn to history. This wouldn’t be much of a revelation was it not for the fact that I study the Internet – that whizz-bang, techie, supercharged technology that has come to revolutionise, re-define and re-network the world. What has amazed me is that there is space even here, for a consideration of historical narrative. Mark Graham, for example, compares the discourse around the arrival of the British East African railway (which connected Mombasa, Kenya to Victoria, Uganda in 1903) to the discourse around the arrival of undersea fibre-optic cables in East Africa in 2009. The hopes pinned on each period of connectivity transformation for sparking Africa’s growth and development are strikingly similar.

For anyone interested in the media and journalism, Elizabeth Eisenstein’s book The Printing Press as an Agent of Change is a powerful read. In this current age of digital journalism, citizen journalism, free press debates, issues of censored journalism, and a multiplicity of other issues currently swirling around in the complex media ecosystem, a look back at the days of the first printing presses in Western Europe is fascinating. The parallels between the tensions of new media then, and the tensions of media change now, are striking. And then there’s Tom Standage’s book The Victorian Internet (1998), which tells the story of the telegraph and how it transformed the Victorian world in a fashion not dissimilar to the transformative spread of the Internet.

This blog article is not meant to debate the parallels and differences between previous technological revolutions and the revolution of the Internet. Despite the historical parallels the Internet is arguably unprecedented in its potential and impact. Rather, I highlight these examples to frame two key reflections that I think are worth sharing:

History has to be relatable. My hate-love-appreciate relationship with the study of History is testament to how important it is that the subject tells histories you can connect to. For whatever reason, my 11-year-old self never connected with the Anglo-Saxons, or the Romans, or even to World War One. At SOAS, I found a closer connection to historical narratives in my studies – perhaps because my parents, and extended family, are all from South Africa. And while studying my postgraduate degree here in Oxford, I found a connection to the historical work of authors such as Eisenstein and Standage – likely because my work experience is in online and digital journalism.

History is about learning lessons. Finally, I ‘get’ the point of studying History. This might sound a little cliché, but, fundamentally, the study of History allows us to better understand our present, and to better plan for the future.

If we can learn lessons from historical experience then we can make better choices.

For development, the connection here is pretty simple. Relating in some way to historical narratives of development will a) avoid repeating past failures and b) encourage better decision-making and policy choices. For example, how are m-agriculture development approaches learning from the mistakes and challenges faced by more ‘traditional’ development agricultural interventions? How well do development practitioners and policy-makers understand, and take into account, historical context?

Ultimately, I have found that it is important to study historical narratives because it forces us to look backwards. In this age of the Internet – where time and distance are compressed, where the pace of life has sped up, and where the world never ‘switches off’ – it is important to not get swept up by the speed afforded by technology and the excitement of the ‘future’.  Rather, in this fast-paced digital age, there is perhaps an ever-greater need to make an unexpected return to history.

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Commentary, Experiences, Learning, Platform

The Danger Of Playing Doctors

Back in March 2014 I caught malaria.

My host organization took me to a clinic for a test but it was closed so we went straight to the pharmacy and bought malaria treatment. From my previous 9 months experience in Africa I had found that most people self-diagnose malaria. I allowed myself to be self-diagnosed too.

I thought, “Well they certainly know more about malaria than me”.

The symptoms were pretty much like a flu, feeling unwell, vomiting, diarrhoea, but nothing too extreme. It lasted a week.

But now I know it wasn’t malaria. It was the acute infection, seroconversion or primary HIV infection phase which usually appears between the 2nd-4th weeks after the person has been infected with HIV.

One of the MDGs is about combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. Some of the WHO recommended strategies for this MDG include diagnostics and treatment with quality-assured antimalarial medicines, tracking every malaria case in a surveillance system.

If people can get malaria treatment in the pharmacy without a test that confirms you actually have malaria, some real cases of malaria aren’t being reported properly. Treatment efficacy can also be reduced as a result of drug resistance.

After my experience of an erroneous malaria self-diagnosis finding out that I could get malaria treatment from the pharmacy just by saying, ‘hey, I am not feeling well, they think I have malaria,’ a few question comes to my mind:

  • Why did I follow self-diagnosis and self-treatment in Africa knowing the high prevalence of these diseases if I would never do it even with just the flu back home?
  • Is self-treating with anti-malarials as prevalent as taking, for example, an ibuprofen for a headache?
  • What are the regulations to sell medicines without medical prescription in Africa?
  • Are the drugs sold without prescription actually quality drugs?
  • Do they sell malaria medicine so easily because people can’t afford the cost of transport to a health facility or the tests once they’re there?*
  • Do they practice free malaria tests?
  • Are there any program focused in training pharmacist to advise about the importance of testing?

Until I was diagnosed with HIV I didn’t know about the acute infection. I think it should be an important concept when giving information about HIV as people in general could realize two things:

  1. Feeling unwell doesn’t always mean you have malaria.
  2. Infections have phases and symptoms, and so has HIV/AIDS. From a prevention phase with sexual education, used of condoms and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), to the different stages of the HIV infection.

Stages of HIV infection

stages-of-hiv-1LINKS: Post Exposure ProphylaxisAcute infection

stages-of-hiv-2

LINKS: Window periodELISAWestern Blot

stages-of-hiv-3LINKS: CD4Viral loadOpportunistic infections

After my time in Africa, and not because I thought I had contracted any disease, just as I always do after long periods abroad, I went for a general check-up.

Although I was feeling great and active, It didn’t surprise me to find that I had a deficiency in iron and vitamin B12, but then my doctor called me in to hear the other result:

“You have tested positive for HIV”

I still remember the scary feeling when I understood the meaning of my 274 CD4. Without specific antiretroviral treatment, people will progress from HIV to AIDS in a span of 8-12 years, but mine in 6 months were almost as little as 200.

18 days after I was diagnosed HIV positive, with CD4 of 274 and a viral load of 94.200 copies, I started my antiretroviral treatment. I take 3 tablets each morning at the same time (Prestiza Norvir, Kivexa). After 2 months under treatment my CD4 were 542 and my viral load 516 copies. In the doctor appointment after 4 months under treatment, my CD4 continued to increase, to 581, and I have undetectable levels of virus (<20 copies). My HIV specialist is aware of my plans to continue my aid career and has given me advice and recommendations and has approved for me to move back to Africa.

In 2015 HIV is a chronic disease for all who can access care and treatment. Going back to Africa will open a window to all of us interested in the real similarities and differences between being HIV positive in a developed country and in a developing one.

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* I went to the doctor/hospital on another occasion and whilst I mentioned that I had had unprotected sex, HIV was never mentioned nor a test recommended by the doctor. The costs of consultation, blood tests, surgery, anaesthesia, etc… would not have been affordable with my local salary. Luckily, medical travel insurance took care of it.
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Advice, Experiences, Learning, Platform

The Non-Academic Things I Learned During My Master’s

It’s been a while since I wrote for Development Intern, and I’m here to tell you why.

I must start by saying, that on completing my undergraduate degree in the summer of last year, I had grand plans for my blogging prospects. I was a fired-up newly-grad! I had things to say, founded-opinions to muse on, theories and ideas and people to take from the lecture theatre and into the context of real-world development conversations. I was sure that I would blog monthly. I started a word document with all my writing ideas. I assured my [ED: long-suffering] editor that come September, there would be a blog waiting in his inbox.

September got off to a good start. Despite being in my early twenties, the month of September still for me evokes the start of a new school year. I was full of the joys of buying new stationery, of stocking up on new books from Amazon, and of making grand plans to hand assignments in a few days before deadline (ha ha).

Of course, this year was slightly different: I was embarking on a postgraduate degree at the University of Oxford, and I knew that this was a feat that would not be conquered with new highlighters alone. Still, I was ready for the challenge and I was confident in the choice I had made for the next stage of my academic and professional career.

I was not prepared for the crisis that would follow.

The first term of my postgraduate degree was characterised by a never-ending process of self-questioning.

For someone that has never once lost confidence in the education-related decisions or career choices I have made, this experience was entirely new to me. I no longer had things to say, and the word document remained untouched. Mainly, my crisis areas stemmed from:

1. Funding.

Somehow, writing that cheque at the beginning of term and depleting all my savings felt far more significant than clicking some buttons on the student loan website and borrowing the government’s money. Although the substantive amounts are probably about equal, spending what is already your own money is a much more tangible thing. As a result, you feel under more pressure because you’re only accountable to yourself (that’s for the development people), and you will go stir-crazy in a constant analysis of opportunity cost (that’s for the economists).

2. The course choice.

Those of you who read this blog will hopefully be more likely to understand my choice here, but most people don’t. My undergraduate degree was in Development & Economics; and my MSc degree is in the Social Science of the Internet. Before starting I could defend my course choice to the hilt, but once term got going the link between these two courses seemed increasingly tenuous, even to me. I knew I wanted a development-oriented and Africa-focused career, but I still didn’t know what that was. And instead of helping to clarify that, my Master’s gave me more questions than answers.

3. The Master’s bubble.

Admittedly, a master’s at Oxford is probably the most bubble-like of them all, but I would argue that to do well in any postgraduate course you have to retreat from the real world just a little. Or in my case, don’t retreat from the real world at all and then really struggle to balance the two. Studying at postgraduate level requires a different academic headspace to the one required at undergraduate, so you need to be in the right mindset before starting out. Again with the opportunity cost (but with life choices, rather than money choices).

If this all sounds a bit doom-and-gloom, fear not. My crisis is over, and I’m back to being a self-confident, driven student who still doesn’t know what she’s doing next, but who knows she’s going in the right direction (and who is going to try to blog more). And so, if there are any of you out there who are considering doing a Master’s, I leave you with a few lessons:

  • Be confident that you want to do ‘a’ postgraduate degree. Don’t do a Master’s because you can’t think of anything else to do.
  • When you do choose a degree, be confident in the one you choose. For many of us, a Master’s will be the last stop on our academic careers. Make sure that the course is the right one for you, and that you’re happy for it to be directing and driving whatever you do next.
  • Doing the degree won’t solve everything for you. If you’re thinking about doing a Master’s in the hope that it will give you all the answers about what you want to do with your life: it won’t. It will just raise questions, and throw them right back at you. Be prepared for that.
  • Think creatively. Doing a Master’s degree to get into development does not necessarily equal an ‘MA in Development Studies’. There are a plethora of courses out there that are more specific, more nuanced, and will demonstrate a more innovative way of thinking about development. Read: doing a Master’s in the Internet.
  • Finally, ask yourself the difficult questions. You know that little voice that sits in some corner of your brain and fires stuff at you sometimes? Seriously, listen to him. It’s a pain in the short term, but it’ll stand you in good stead to tackle his questions in the long run.
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Advice, Experiences, Learning

Course Reviews: Development at Tufts University’s Fletcher School

Don’t be fooled by its full name: The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy isn’t a law school or a Foreign Service training program. A graduate school at Tufts University, Fletcher’s course offerings cover the full range of topics in international affairs, including business, security, communications – and, of course, development.

Regardless of their specific field of study, all students in the school’s primary program earn a MALD (Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy). However, many graduates refer only to their area of focus – for example, by listing “M.A. in International Development” rather than MALD on their resumes. It’s a two-year, full-time, in-person program, and most students do an internship, often abroad or in D.C., during the summer.

Fletcher differs from many similar schools in the U.S. in that there’s no one track for studying development. So, how do you study development there? The school’s curriculum has two main components. The first is a breadth requirement, which mandates that students take classes from three categories: law, diplomacy and politics, and economics.

What? I thought you said it WASN’T all about “law and diplomacy!”

It’s still really not. The categories are broad, and each one has development-related classes: Law and Development, Political Economy of Development, and Development Economics: Policy Analysis, for example.

To fulfill the second component, the breadth requirement, students complete two fields of study.

But wait, I only want to study development!

Don’t worry, multiple fields of study focus on different aspects of development, like Development Economics, Law and Development, or Public and NGO Management. Some can also be tailored to emphasize development, like Human Security and International Organizations. And others can be complementary to development, like International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution if you’re interested in post-conflict reconstruction.

If none of that sounds quite right, you can also design a field of study to either complement or deepen your development studies. Some recent self-designed fields include gender studies, monitoring and evaluation, education, and social and political development.

The bottom line: as a Fletcher student, you can really study whatever you want, and you can keep your focus as broad or as narrow as you choose. Regardless, you’ll come out of the program with some background in both quantitative and qualitative work.

The perks of Fletcher

Besides the flexible curriculum, I think the school has three big draws.

Diversity

Around 40 percent of Fletcher students are international, and all areas of the world are represented. No matter what region you’re interested in, you’ll almost certainly have a classmate who can tell you what life is really like there. Because the school’s admissions process emphasizes professional experience, most students come into the program after working at least a couple years – and backgrounds run the gamut from finance to non-profit and the military to the UN. Students come in with a range of interesting international experience, and there’s a large population of former Peace Corps Volunteers and Fulbright scholars. Fletcher is a place where you’re guaranteed to be introduced to a host of new perspectives.

“The Fletcher Mafia”

Fletcher’s known for its close community feel – and, equally, its tight-knit alumni network. We’re not called The Fletcher Mafia for nothing! While most schools maintain alumni relations and provide opportunities for students to network with alumni, Fletcher goes further. Fletcher alumni really look out for their own. Students looking for internships and recent grads on the job hunt have access to the entire network of alumni – most of whom are more than willing to help out a fellow Fletcherite. And after graduation, you’ll inevitably find yourself with dozens of people to visit and couches to crash on, in all corners of the globe.

Cross-registration

Even though I doubt you’ll have too much trouble finding the courses you want at Fletcher, the school’s offerings are only the surface of the available classes. Fletcher students can cross-register in classes in nearly any other department at Tufts, as well as at Harvard’s business, public health, education, design, and Kennedy schools (and, unofficially, at a few other universities, including MIT). If like me, you’re interested in impact evaluation, there are hardly better professors to have than those at Fletcher, Kennedy, and the MIT Economics Department.

So, who is Fletcher NOT right for?

If you want to work while in school.

There’s no option for part-time, evening, or online study at Fletcher. If you’re looking to work full-time while in grad school, Fletcher’s not an option.

If you want to sit in a circle for discussion with five other students.

While some classes are very small, and many promote participation, a lot of classes have 30 to 60 students or more. You’ll probably be able to have a small-group discussion feel for a few classes, but it won’t be the norm. Many students, though, find that the sometimes large classes are offset by the fact that, because there’s no cap on class sizes, students can take all their top-choice classes each semester.

If you hate the cold.

The Fletcher School is in Boston, and it gets cold. But hey, that means you’ll get some snow days!

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