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Every year the Mid-Career/MPA Mason Fellows are the first to arrive on campus for a two-week summer seminar program. This year, several of them have volunteered to introduce themselves through the Harvard Kennedy School School (HKS) admissions blog with a self-authored post.
Below is a selected portion of the blog recently written by Sonam Tobgay:
I am from the small Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan where I have been working in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the past 19 years. The last four years I was posted at the Permanent Mission of Bhutan to the United Nations in New York as Consul General and Minister Counselor.
We have just completed the two-week Mason Fellows summer seminar that commenced on July 1st. When we began, several colleagues and I were anxious about returning to a university after many years of working. However, the summer seminar was a perfect way for us to transition back into the rhythm of student life.
The classes provided a good introduction and understanding of case teaching and participatory learning used at HKS through the examination of a few case studies. The regular “Information, Data and Decision” sessions helped us get reoriented with statistics and quantitative analysis, which many of us had last done as undergraduate students. Through interaction with faculty and former students we have gained a good understanding of what to expect in the year ahead in terms of courses and events at HKS, and living in Cambridge and the Boston area.
What I have enjoyed the most so far has been the lively and interesting conversations with my 89 fellow students who come from 50 different countries, from a wide cross-section of professions that include government, non-profit, media, academia, multilateral organizations and the private sector.
We have begun working in groups for our case studies, and getting together after classes has helped to strengthen the bonds of friendship between us. I am sure the conversations will become even more interesting as we welcome the other mid-career students and are later joined by the new as well as second year students at HKS when the fall semester begins. From my experience of the past two weeks, I sense that the year ahead will be highly challenging, yet an exciting and a fulfilling one.