A degree that combines international affairs with business acumen is to be offered next year by the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Boston.

The Master in International Business degree (MIB) will play to Fletcher’s strengths, combining the school’s expertise in international relations with its
multi-disciplinary approach. Having set up the degree as a two-year, full-time programme, the school hopes initially to attract a cohort of 25-30 students with a balance of 50 per cent US students and 50 per cent overseas.

Successful applicants will be expected to have at least three years’ full-time work experience and to have either worked or lived outside their home country. The programme is aimed not only at students with corporate experience, but also those who have held management and strategic responsibilities within the military, NGOs, or government.

Charles Bralver, an alumnus of the school. will direct the new degree and has also been named as executive director of Fletcher’s International Business Center as well as director of the Center for Emerging Market Enterprises.

Mr Bralver will take on his new role at the beginning of May, upon his retirement as executive director from Mercer Oliver Wyman, a financial consulting firm.

He describes the new programme as “a hybrid – both an international business and an international relations degree”, one that combines the academic with the practical. “My core experience in working in international capital markets, both with the corporates and regulators, allows me to bring an understanding of that dynamic and the positioning of the programme.”

In today’s business world, adds Mr Bralver, leading corporations and banks must work with state and non-state areas. Business affairs today, he says, are far more complex. “The chaos of the world can significantly affect your business strategy or your business profitability. This degree is a solution to this issue.”

Concrete skills

Fletcher says the MIB differs from an MBA in that, while it still provides students with the concrete skills of an MBA, MIB participants also study the full spectrum of issues that arise when conducting business in an international environment.

Topics covered include international geopolitics, trade legislation, business law, negotiation and the role of international NGOs.

The programme is linked to the launch of the Center for Emerging Market Enterprises, which will run executive courses. Fletcher has only dipped into the executive education market recently. Last year it was approached by Raytheon, the military contractor, Microsoft, and a non-profit group and asked to develop tailored programmes for all three. The programmes were, by all accounts, very successful. This year Fletcher has three repeat customers. It is also working to attract other clients.

The Center for Emerging Market Enterprises is one
of the newest centres at Fletcher. Others include the Center for South Asian and Indian Ocean Studies and the Center for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution.

Deborah Nutter, senior associate dean at Fletcher, says the school is entering a very exciting phase of its development.

“The school is being transformed in a fundamental way,” she says.

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