21st Century Negotiating Skills for Global Leadership

The test of an interesting course may be to offer it at 8:30am on a Friday morning for a two and a half hour block and see what the enrollment is.  If that is a marker, then the first semester of “21st Century Negotiating Skills for Global Leadership”, taught by practitioner Elizabeth McClintock, has been a success, with a full enrollment plus two audits.

Taking the course are five seniors, four juniors, six sophomores, three first years, plus a Fletcher student and a staff member auditing the course.  The majors include International Relations, Quantitative Economics, English Psychology, History, and Russian and European Studies.

The class mixes lectures with role-playing simulations, and Professor McClintock also brought in a range of guest lectures with practical experience.

The guest speakers included:

  • Anand Balachandran the Coordinator of Monitoring and Evaluation for the World Health Organization (WHO) Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Secretariat, who is a Fletcher graduate.
  • Ken Hyatt, Founder and Partner at CMPartners, and former Acting Under Secretary and Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade.
  • Alison Kuah, Youth Programs Coordinator for The Welcome Project, Somerville's leading immigrant organization.
  • Michael Phelan, former senior foreign policy advisor to the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations for the African continent, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

Leila Li, a Senior International Relations major taking the course, said the reasons she decided to take it were threefold: an interest in pursuing diplomacy, either at the governmental or civil level; developing skills and versatility for engaging in business, and being part of an interactive classroom and a community interested in developing these skills.

She said her favorite part of the class was the simulation component – from a prisoner’s dilemma scenario over an oil crisis to acting as an agent for a professional soccer player to acquiring a company on behalf of a boss who had annoyed the company leadership.  She also acted as an engineer working to rebuild Liberia, which was based on Professor McClintock’s experience in working in Liberia. 

One of the things Leila said she learned through the simulations was, “I realized that it’s not just about the winning process but it’s about building relationships and gauging other people’s interests and intentions.”

Brie Gates, a Junior majoring in Russian and European Studies, noted that “the Negotiations class has been one of the highlights of this semester. While most classes are taught in a lecture style, Professor McClintock has created a very interactive environment that keeps us engaged and excited for new activities.”  She added that the “simulations are designed to test what we have learned about different styles and tactics of negotiating, as well as how we can alter our negotiation style to achieve a specific outcome.”

Matthew Jourlait, a Sophomore majoring in International Relations, said that the guest speakers “not only encouraged us to consider a career in public service, but they have also shown us that negotiation skills are transferrable across industries and roles.”   He said, “This course will help me this summer, during which I will be interning at a private equity firm. I believe that I have learned negotiation skills that will be valuable to me during the deal-making process, and I hope to be able to practice what I have learned.”

The Institute plans to offer this course again in the future and to build it into a program that also provides opportunities for internships and research.