L'ESSOR Newsletter of the Professional French Masters Program FALL 2014

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Volume 11, Issue 2

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From the Executive Director : The PFMP as Human Resource Rare opportunity, unique niche, vital, flexible, efficient…These are the kinds of words we often hear when we ask our alumni to describe how the PFMP helped them get where they are now. It is easy for those of us teaching in the Professional French Masters Program to be interested in our students’ projects—after all, those projects are not only a bridge to the next phase of a student’s career, they can also help us deepen our own sense of the variety of experience one finds in the massive French-speaking world. But how do our alumni see the program itself, once they have gone? A lot of them see it as a community they are fully part of. I get the chance to see this most often as I tend to one of the most regular communications duties I have directing the PFMP: introducing current and even prospective students to program alumni, after I have gotten a sense of the professional interest and direction that student has acquired after a few weeks in the program. Our alumni mentor a lot, especially on the fly. A student is working on a project involving wine? He might have already been in touch with one of two particular PFMPers currently working in the world of wine internationally (both of them, in this case, based in New York City), and then found his way to the other one, via a third program alumnus whose internship had immersed him in market research on the popularity of French liquors in the Chinese market. This all happened in fact, last week. For this particular student, finding and connecting with involved alumni had quickly be-

come part of building that concrete“unique niche” our alumni so often talk about. Networking is also something our students and alumni talk a lot about, and we require a fair deal of it in our actual program policy. (PFMP students fill their professional portfolio with “networking events” that have occurred outside of program courses, and sometimes even outside the country.) But read the “Alumni Profile” sections of this and other issues of L’ESSOR, and you will see the results of PFMP networking in action. Asking our alumni to reflect, after the fact, on the wealth of their PFMP student experience is a little like understanding your own career by spending a little time revising your résumé. Ah, you realize, looking back over the five or six years’ worth of job and volunteer experiences on the page, I see the logic here. Once you take into account the unusual talents and aspirations of each of our alumni, the biggest logic to emerge is probably the PFMP as a network. Person-to-person, email by email, and you have a network rich with possibilities for the student whose main goal is to work in a particular industry where French can take you far. And our program alumni surely embody one of the words we see so often in language they use themselves to describe the PFMP: resource. In terms of how PFMP students build their own professional networks, our program alumni—having been there themselves—are one of the most important resources our students have.

Ritt Deitz Read the “Alumni Profile” sections of L’ESSOR, and you will see the results of PFMP networking in action.


tion phase. So I hope that the work I do encourages a more “global mindset” from start to finish.

There’s an incredible and increasing amount of competition for a decreasing amount of resources and funding. It’s also sometimes difficult to find a balance between what truly interests me and what will “sell.” I can’t afford to do only what I find interesting, so I often have to decide which concessions are worth making, when to “mettre un peu d’eau dans mon vin” and when to just stick to my own ideas and sensibilities.


WHAT DO YOU HOPE YOUR WORK WILL ACCOMPLISH ? Since most of the projects I work on are French my goal is to find a foreign audience for them. In order to actually interest foreign audiences in these French projects, however, I need to make sure that we keep these same (and very diverse) audiences in mind during the produc-

Think of yourself more as a professional than a student in the PFMP... you’ll learn a ton but the program is flexible enough that you can make it work for you. A research project shouldn’t just be a research project for the sake of getting a grade and finishing a class... really think about how you can use your time and projects to help get the job you want after the PFMP. Also, tell people what you’re interested in doing after the PFMP, talk about yourself and your aspirations! It's more fun than obsessively updating your Linked-In profile and usually much more efficient!

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Think of yourself more as a professional than a student in the PFMP—you’ll learn a ton but the program is flexible enough that you can make it work for you.