Kudrat Dutta Chaudhary is from the Batch of 2017. In this interview, she talks about why she chose Fletchers School for doing her LLM programme and how she got selected for the same.
The Blue Pencil: Why did you choose the Fletcher School?
Kudrat: Choosing a Graduate school can be an extremely daunting task especially when you are sure of your needs and wants from the University that you shall be applying to. I from intermediate was exceptionally clear that I wanted to build a career in International Law and Public Policy focussing on Conflict Resolution and Women’s Rights.
It is in this scenario that The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, USA’s oldest and the most prestigious school for International Affairs and Diplomacy, comes into picture. I was always aware of Fletcher’s unmatching reputation and the standing that it commands in the field of International Affairs, a living example of which is the fact that the entire Network of Fletcher Graduates spread across International Organisations is called the ‘Fletcher Mafia’.
Apart from its world class reputation and the belief that its expertise fit completely with my professional goals, what really appealed to me about this School was their interdisciplinary approach to teaching and a small class size.
The interdisciplinary nature of Fletcher’s curriculum prepares one to understand and view a situation from very many prisms, which ultimately leads to broadening of one’s perspective and horizon. Fletcher is very selective in its admission process and this helps one foster strong bonds with one’s Professors and peers.
So all in all, when I finally had to lock my option considering all factors, I was sure that Fletcher was the place to be.
TBP: How to build one’s CV to be able to apply at such prestigious schools?
Kudrat: Every school has a different criteria of selection with regards to the attributes, experience and personality of the candidates, that they are looking for.
Fletcher in this regard looks for a strong understanding and an interest in International Law and International Affairs along with respectable grades in one’s respective Degree Programs. Since it’s a Diplomacy school, Fletcher also lays a lot of stress on one’s internships and International experience which could either mean working/interning abroad or working/interning with organisations in one’s country that deal with issues that impact the world community at large. They also very fondly consider students who have a strong line of extra curriculars in their CV’s than the ones who do not.
Since I was aware of these degree requirements since the first year, I tried and revolved my internships and additional courses around issues of International Law and International Relations. And consciously built my CV in the required direction.
If one is aware of the path that one wants to choose, then its best to build one’s CV in that way whilst figuring out the school that one intends to attend and how one can fulfill its requirements atleast nearly, if not completely.
TBP: How is the admission process in America different from the ones you undertook in India?
Kudrat: The admission process in America is totally different from the ones that one undergoes in India. In India, admissions atleast for Graduate school mostly depend on an Entrance Exam that one takes except the Young India Fellowship to name the least, which had more of an International Approach in their selections.
However, on the other side for applying to countries abroad whether the United States, Australia or The Great Britain one has to go through a detailed Application Procedure.
The applications open around August/September for the next session and one needs to apply either by November or January depending upon when one wants the answer. For me, I applied for the January deadline.
The application practically is a mirror to one’s entire experience of five years at a Law school. All details about oneself including a comprehensive CV forms a part of the application. The challenging part of it are the very many essays that one has to draft which not only have to be specific about one’s aims and ambitions but also have to lay a decisive plan as to what one intends to do in life.
Apart of all these factors, the essays that one writes have to be extensive and interesting so as to build a strong case regarding one’s candidature in the desired Program.
In terms of an interview, it can safely be said that most Graduate schools don’t conduct an interview, but Fletcher makes an exception in this.
There is a voluntary evaluative interview that one can choose to sit for which is mostly taken by one of Fletcher’s esteemed faculty members.
I sat for the interview in November and it lasted for about an hour.
TBP: Tell us about the subjects that you’ll be studying there and why you chose them?
Kudrat: As an LLM student at Fletcher we need to take minimum five and maximum six courses under the International Law and Organization Division. One subject out of this division can be studied at the Harvard Law School and vice versa. Needless to say, both Fletcher and Harvard work in tandem to provide their students with the best intellectual and educational experience in every way.
Then we are supposed to take one course under the Diplomacy, History and Politics Division along with one course from the Economics and International Business Division and even under these heads one course can be studied either from the Harvard Business School, Harvard Law School or the Harvard Kennedy School.
Along with this, I’ll have to take up another language either Hindi or any other apart from English.
I am yet to finalize my subjects and am in the process of interacting with my Professors who are practically there to guide me at every step. I should be deciding upon my subjects soon, but for now what I can tell is that most of my subjects would be inclined towards International Law, Conflict Resolution and Gender Studies.
TBP: What are your plans after you finish Grad School?
Kudrat: The truth about plans is that they are always subject to change and hence I cant really give a very definitive answer at this moment. However, figuratively my plan after Grad School happens to be about working for women in an International Setting, hopefully in a place best suited for my skills and interests. And rest, I shall see what the universe has in store and the opportunities that I come across while I am at Fletcher.
TBP: Any message for the AILians?
Kudrat: It doesn’t matter how bizarre, unconventional or unattainable your dream sounds; If you believe in it enough, that’s all that matters.
You can contact Kudrat at email@example.com.