International trade consultant at a large professional services firm
New York, New York
Briefly introduce yourself and describe your educational and professional background prior to enrolling in the GBA program.
My name is Elyse Clonan, and I am an international trade consultant at a large professional services firm in New York City. I received my B.A. in International Relations with minors in Economics and Political Science from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. During my time as an undergraduate, I spent a semester abroad in Madrid, Spain, and another semester interning in Washington, D.C. I also completed a semester-long Mini-MBA program at Rutgers Business School.
What drew you to the Global Business Administration program?
Pursuing a master’s degree has been a long-term goal of mine. However, I found it challenging to find a program that not only interested me but also that I could commit to realistically. I considered traditional MBA programs but eventually came to the realization that I would find business programs that had a strong international focus more interesting and relevant to my professional goals. The GBA program was the first degree program I found in which I could see myself enrolling. I appreciate that the curriculum is interdisciplinary, and it affords me the flexibility I need to continue to work full time. Equally important to me is the academic caliber of the education—attending an institution at the forefront of international affairs such as Fletcher is something I always envisioned for myself, which is another reason why I was excited to come across the GBA program.
What is one course that you have taken thus far in the GBA program that has been instrumental in helping you achieve your current professional goals?
One of the reasons I wanted to pursue a post-graduate business degree was because I needed to improve my understanding of core business concepts, some of which I was familiar with in the abstract, but had not formally been exposed to in a classroom setting. I took Corporate Finance during my very first term in the GBA program, and while I found the class difficult, I also felt that the course content helped me to develop a better understanding of how the corporate world operates. Within a month of finishing my first term, I found myself applying some of the logic and mathematical formulas we learned in the class at work, and it was rewarding being able to utilize some of the skills I learned so quickly.
What has been your favorite course thus far and why?
I have liked all my courses thus far, but I really enjoyed Politics of the Global Economy because it covered the history of global economic relations and trade, which ties directly into my job. It put some of the subject matter I encounter at work into perspective.
What was one of your favorite international experiences?
I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel a significant amount over the course of my life so far. However, I think the most meaningful experience I had overseas was an immersion trip I took to Morocco during my semester abroad. My host university had an affiliation with a nonprofit student travel organization, which was dedicated to introducing Westerners to the Muslim world by fostering an open dialogue between Moroccans and Americans and Europeans. I took a ferry across the Strait of Gibraltar, visited three cities (Tangier, Rabat, and Chefchaouen), spent a few nights with a host family, tried different kinds of food, and had a number of meaningful conversations with Moroccan students about the similarities and differences between our lifestyles. Morocco is a beautiful country, and the people I met were some of the kindest people I had ever encountered. I have been trying to find my way back there ever since.