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SenNoodles

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About SenNoodles

  • Rank
    Caffeinated

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    DC
  • Application Season
    2016 Fall
  • Program
    MPP/MPA, IR

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  1. FWIW, McCourt is usually pretty open to negotiating - if you got in and it's your top/a top choice but didn't get enough funding to make it affordable, you should try to negotiate. I'm a first-year at McCourt now and most of my friends have a significant portion of their tuition covered, but many had to negotiate to get it.
  2. Along with the rest of us - that's what I'm concerned about. Competition for nonprofits is going to go way up, and if these groups lose any government funding they were getting (especially since, as @Nasty Woman noted, many nonprofits are federal contractors), they're also going to be hiring fewer people. To 1) yes, but for those of us interested in IR/international development, there aren't many opportunities at the state and local levels. And to 2) for sure - I'm not denying the degree is useful. But I am in an MPP program now, and I know many of my classmates and I are considering private sector which we wouldn't have if the election had gone differently. Anecdotal, yes, but it's not unreasonable to say simply that competition for nonprofits and policy-related private sector jobs will go up as a result of the hiring freeze.
  3. For those interested in MPP/MPA programs, Trump just announced a hiring freeze for the federal government. Full details don't seem to be available just yet, but it seems to be indefinite and going into effect immediately. It's worth remembering this affects not just the federal government but also NGOs and policy-related private sector - those who would otherwise have been going for federal jobs will likely be applying to these positions instead, increasing demand and probably making it harder to find policy jobs. As decisions come out, it's also a factor to consider when deciding how much debt to take out. If you're considering public service loan forgiveness, it just got a whole lot more difficult to find a job that qualifies for it (and that's assuming the program will stay).
  4. I've worked in DC for several years (albeit more on the development side of things, but have many IR-focused friends), and I've never heard of MIIS or met anyone who went there. You're going to grad school to learn but also to network and make good connections (including through alumni networks), and if your goal is to end up in DC, I would not suggest going with MIIS. Unless you got a full ride and would literally not spend any money, I'd recommend working some more and reapplying to the DC schools and others mentioned in this thread. Whole different matter if you want to stay in CA/an area with a visible MIIS presence, though!
  5. If your plan is to do a PhD after, I think your main focus should be on acquiring the skills (via coursework) and pursuing the opportunities (via internships and especially research) that will set you up for maximum success. Here are some relevant questions I think you should consider: Have you spoken with the directors of the two programs on how successful recent grads have been in applying for PhD programs? (You say Northwestern "seems" to be more successful - I'm not sure how much you looked into it, but if it's very clear that Northwestern has several alumni in PhD programs and DePaul has 1-2 or even none, then you may have your answer) Have you spoken with admissions directors of the PhD programs to see what kinds of backgrounds they're looking for? Does the curriculum at one school (DePaul vs Northwestern) fulfill those more than the other? Why does NASPAA accreditation matter? Most of the top schools (HKS, WWS, Ford, Harris, etc.) don't seem to be on that list... Can you register in one program and take a few electives via the other? I know many schools let you cross-register with other programs in the area - if it's really about a few select classes at one program, this could be one way to solve the issue Does one program offer more research opportunities? This is crucial for PhD programs If most of the other factors appear to be the same/one doesn't jump out at you over the other: have you already gotten in and if so, have you heard back on funding? Especially if you're considering getting another degree, you want to keep Master's debt under control
  6. Nope, as @Econ360 hypothesized, they don't - confirmed at an info session last year
  7. It's also worth noting there will likely be a federal hiring freeze. If it happens and depending on how long it lasts/how it is structured, you may not have the State Dept option for a while. I'm in DC and have been for several years (working, now at Georgetown for grad school) and there's a good bit of alarm from former co-workers and classmates about their future prospects in the government. That said, if you're willing to go private as you say, you'll be OK job prospect wise (but likely will have more competition to get the job since if the govt isn't an option a lot of people will be looking for substitutes). Not sure how the salary would break down (does Fletcher have average salary stats for private sector? don't look at overall stats since that includes nonprofit and government. If you can't find it online, email and ask). That could give you an idea of the salary to expect and whether it would be affordable based on the stats others above have posted on monthly repayment and cost of living. Good luck!! Tough decision for sure.
  8. I'd also suggest looking into Georgetown's Masters in International Development Policy (within the school of public policy) for a more quantitative curriculum or the Masters in Global Human Development (SFS) for a more qualitative curriculum. Both have amazing connections within DC that virtually no schools on your list (besides GW and American) really have. In particular, being in DC means you can be interning at the World Bank or US Government during the school year, which is essential for building up connections.
  9. I was in a very similar boat! 3.25ish GPA, but had 5 years of work experience (mostly in DC) and good GRE scores. Ended up getting into SAIS with a massive scholarship, full ride to Georgetown, plus admitted to Michigan and Chicago. No luck at HKS and WWS but in everywhere else. So don't sell yourself short - I'd suggest getting a few more years of real world experience and then applying to the top and see what happens. I definitely had the same fears as you and am so glad I still aimed high. Feel free to PM me if you want to chat further.
  10. There's definitely quite a focus on domestic health policy, and Don Taylor stands out immediately as someone who's involved in that - he had something to do with health care reform when I was a student. However, I got the sense that the focus is more through a racial/SES-based disparity lens. If you're looking more at health systems objectively, you're not going to be too successful (unless something has changed significantly in the past few years). That said, IMHO you'd be better off with a health policy and management MPH if you're that honed in on systems. Glad you found it helpful! Honestly, it sounds like your gut is telling you Duke and I think you should go with your gut. However, I would point out that the number of faculty working on any one issue is pretty immaterial at the MPP level in that if you're seeking out a research position, the number of faculty doesn't matter so much as whether MPP students can get those RA jobs. If you're focused research options, I think McCourt offers more options because it doesn't yet have PhD tudents and all RA positions are given to MPP/MIDP students. I don't know the situation at Sanford, but I know I and many of my friends at the undergrad level had RA jobs within Sanford through our work study, and I rarely ran into MPP students doing that kind of research - it seemed it was either the undergrads or the PhD students. But of course, I may be mistaken as this is quite anecodtal! Another issue to mention is that if you plan to be in DC immediately after graduation, you may have a slightly easier time networking since you can meet up with prospective employers whenever you want. But as I said, it should be okay coming from Duke as well. I still think, though, that your first few jobs out of grad school will be bigger determinants of your career trajectory in your home country than the name of the school you went to (different story if you are heading back immediately upon graduation). But all that said, I think there's really no wrong answer here - the fact that nothing jumps out as clearly the right "rational" choice indicates that. And in that case, I say you should go with your gut, and it sounds like that's Duke.
  11. Haha not sure how much I can help since I think a lot of it depends on what you're interested in and since I'm not actually a student in either program. But my 2 cents on the issues you raised on prestige, quant rigor, and placements: In terms of prestige, I'd say overall Sanford wins in most of the country/world. However, if you're talking specifically about DC and how people perceive the two, it'd be about even. I think as a general rule, it's hard to beat the name recognition of the local school. So, where would you ideally work and live after graduation? Quant rigor: as far as I'm aware, McCourt is among the most quant heavy programs out there. I went through the public policy undergrad major at Sanford and didn't apply to the MPP (nothing on Sanford - I just wanted a change), so I don't know much about the MPP curriculum. But if it's anything like the undergrad major, there are a few quant courses, but it's not quant heavy unless you seek it out. Placements: if you are staying within the US, you'll probably be fine either way. You'll definitely have a slight advantage in DC just because it's so much easier to grab coffee with prospective employers because you're here vs. when you're in Durham. However, you'll definitely also be fine with placements if you're at Sanford - you'll just have to work a bit harder for it. I noticed that was a challenge when applying for jobs out of undergrad. But if you are interested in being in DC after graduation, the Duke alumni network here in DC is huuuuge. However, as you might imagine, I've also run into plenty of Georgetown affiliates and I think just going to McCourt gets you in with the broader Georgetown network (as going to Sanford can help you with the broader Duke network). Outside of DC, I'm less sure of placement potential and would suggest looking at placement stats. But again, what are you actually interested in? While I may not know much about the MPP curriculum at Sanford, I do have a pretty good idea of what focus areas Sanford is and isn't good for since I interacted with all the same faculty the MPP students will interact with, took MPP electives at Sanford, and took classes across Duke University. One thing to remember, though, is that your overall career trajectory isn't determined by where you went to school so much as what you do after. So if you get a really great job immediately after graduation, you'll be much better placed to get a fantastic job after that regardless of where you went to school. So in my mind, among the biggest factors to consider after debt is job placement in the specific positions within the organizations I'm interested in. Another really helpful thing is to just go through the course offerings in each program. Which one has more classes you're really excited about? Often, I think the general feel of the classes gives a good sense of what might be a better programmatic fit. If you remain unsure, a final piece of advice I got a lot that I'll pass on to you is to think about where you want to actually live for two (or more) years. By the time you're in grad school, you may be at a point in your life where you truly care about whether you're in a city or a smaller town and what the overall vibe is like. I lived in Durham for four years and absolutely loved it and would go back in a heartbeat. But I've lived in DC for three now and absolutely love it here as well and am thrilled to continue being here for at least two more years. Additionally, many programs have the best placement in the area where they are located for obvious reasons. So if it came down to it, where would you want to be going forward? For many state and local issues, Durham and the Triangle more broadly are really fantastic. For international issues (except global health - Duke and the Triangle in general are actually pretty high up there for global health issues), DC is the obvious place. Obviously, all this is voided if your goal is to work elsewhere in the US or internationally, though. In that case, just focus on where you want to be for 2 years! Best of luck to you! And again, if you want more thoughts on Durham life, let me know. While I can't speak to the MPP curriculum at Sanford, Durham and Duke more broadly as well as life in DC are definitely things I can speak to And if it was any program but Sanford, I'd end this by saying that I hope to see you in the fall, but I know first-hand that Sanford and Duke in general is pretty fantastic and definitely a great choice!
  12. I don't think it is if you're talking about job placement. Several of my coworkers are from SAIS and several others did the HKS MPP. I work in international development, and the SAIS people had a far easier time finding a job in DC (especially at the Bank - I swear half the Bank is run by SAISers who aggressively recruit other SAISers). It's just easier because of location - you just email someone and set up coffee and that very often leads to a job interview and sometimes a job, whereas you can't really do that from Boston. That said, if you ever want to move to your home country, Harvard may be more easily recognized. I also know a few people who went to SAIS for the MA and then went on to do PhDs at a variety of schools, including HKS. Plus, I personally am very risk-averse and so I'd go with the lower cost. In general, I've found with the DC job market and with international development in general that there are so so so many people trying to break in that there's nothing quite like networking to give you the leg up. And for networking, you have to be here.
  13. This was actually my dilemma exactly. It'll depend largely on 1) your area of interest and 2) the amount of work experience/connections you already have. That said, here's my generic answer: I think on these boards you'll generally hear that SAIS has the better placements and reputation in DC, and I think that's probably accurate. It definitely is better known and there are so many SAIS alumni in this city (I work in DC now, but only going to grad school this fall) that finding jobs in high-profile government agencies and multilaterals will be easier. That said, I actually ended up choosing the Georgetown MPP over the SAIS MA. I have the good fortune of working in DC now and knowing a number of people who went to SAIS and to Georgetown for the MPP (when it was GPPI) as well as a lot of people who hire for the World Bank, USAID, etc. Almost unanimously, the answer was that if you have the work experience, the school won't really make much of a difference because you'll get the connections at either school and that I should choose the school based on the program and how good a fit the coursework, institutes, RA/TA positions, etc. are. If you don't have any DC connections and/or little work experience in your chosen field, it might be a different issue - SAIS may have slightly better connections, but not by much if you look at job placement and average starting salary stats. On the quant rigor: I think if you seek it out, Georgetown has more options. While SAIS is very economics-focused and requires a substantial number of econ courses, the list of offered courses makes it pretty apparent that Georgetown has more variety. It's extremely data-driven so you have all the stats courses you could dream of to a level not offered by SAIS (I spent a lot of time going through the list of courses offered at both schools haha). Additionally, you have the benefit of the other Georgetown schools being right there so you can take classes in the math/econ/whatever department if McCourt doesn't happen to have the specific material you're looking for. Through the DC consortium of schools, you can also take courses at GW, American, and George Mason. These opportunities simply don't exist at the same level at SAIS - it isn't part of the DC consortium, and all the other JHU schools are up in Baltimore. Additionally, if you want more IR courses, Georgetown's SFS is on par with SAIS and you can take courses there to fulfill your MPP. In the end, I chose Georgetown because I think it simply offers more opportunities in terms of the types of quant courses I can take, the ability to take courses across Georgetown and DC, and also because of all the institutes and centers on campus. In particular, because McCourt has no PhD students, the MPP students get first dibs on all the RA/TA positions and you have more access to research opportunities in general. But again, all that said, it comes down to 1) what your area of interest is and 2) how concerned you are about job placement after grad school and whether you have significant work experience in your field and/or DC connections. You can always make very good connections at McCourt and at SAIS and both schools' job placement stats indicate similar starting salaries and job placement rates, but I think connections may be slightly more of a sure thing at SAIS.
  14. FWIW, I do know two people who did the MA at SAIS, worked for a couple of years, and then got PhDs. So not entirely impossible. Plus, this may not be reflected in the employment stats since both of them went to work at government agencies immediately after graduation. PM me if you want more details.
  15. Just accepted McCourt! So glad to be done with the whole grad school admissions process. Buuut now to deal with 2 years of actual grad school... Who else is officially going?? See y'all in the fall!