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Fletcher To Launch New Degree Program

Fletcher To Launch New Degree ProgramA $5 million gift from Swiss businessman and philanthropist Thomas Schmidheiny has paved the way for a new international management degree program at The Fletcher School.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [05.12.06] In fall 2008, The Fletcher School at Tufts University will launch a two-year interdisciplinary International Management master’s degree program, thanks to a $5 million gift from Swiss businessman and philanthropist Thomas Schmidheiny, who “says he was attracted to Fletcher because of its unique approach in understanding the social and cultural issues of other countries,” according to the Financial Times.

“The dynamic international environment and the increase in international business transactions are providing more professional opportunities worldwide,” Schmidheiny said, according to a Fletcher statement. “Additionally, the nexus between the public and private sector is becoming stronger and increasingly critical in effecting change. I believe that The Fletcher School has an important role to play in facilitating these changes.”

The new program, which will target young professionals with at least three years of work experience in the private sector, aims “to prepare leaders with a global perspective,” Financial Times reported. The Fletcher School hopes to have 25-30 participants initially and to enroll 40 students within five years, according to the publication.

The first year of the program, according to Financial Times, “will blend international management with a core business curriculum. Participants will study international law and politics, security and diplomatic history as well as environmental policy.” During the second year, students will have an opportunity to take a wide range of business electives.

According to Fletcher School Dean Stephen W. Bosworth, the new degree program will better prepare Fletcher students for leadership roles in the international business environment.

“We are deeply appreciative of Mr. Schmidheiny’s generous gift,” Bosworth said in the statement. “The changes in the global environment today mean that in order to lead effectively in the 21st century, business leaders must have well-developed management skills as well as a broad and deep understanding of the international arena.”

The program will also feature an interdisciplinary Center for Emerging Market Enterprises, dealing with issues such as risk in global asset management, micro-finance and development economics, strategic challenges for emerging markets-based multinationals and corporate governance in emerging capital markets.

“The new center and program will give us a dimension that is aimed at the private sector but will also be of interest to the public sector,” Bosworth told Financial Times.

Together, the new program and center will bolster The Fletcher School’s reputation for excellence in international affairs. Since its founding in 1933, Fletcher has offered coursework and programming in international business and, over the last decade, approximately 30 percent of Fletcher graduates have chosen careers in international business in areas such as consulting, financial services and management at prominent companies all over the world, including Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Shell Oil Company India, Hitachi and General Electric.

Schmidheiny, chairman of the Zurich, Switzerland-based Spectrum Value Management Ltd., holds an engineering degree from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, a Master in Business Administration from IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland. He also holds an honorary doctor of business administration from Tufts University.




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