Welcome to the GradCafe

Hello!  Welcome to The GradCafe Forums.You're welcome to look around the forums and view posts.  However, like most online communities you must register before you can create your own posts.  This is a simple, free process that requires minimal information. Benefits of membership:

  • Participate in discussions
  • Subscribe to topics and forums to get automatic updates
  • Search forums
  • Removes some advertisements (including this one!)

SenNoodles

Members
  • Content count

    47
  • Joined

  • Last visited

1 Follower

About SenNoodles

  • Rank
    Caffeinated

Profile Information

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

Recent Profile Visitors

508 profile views
  1. Hi! MPP at Georgetown here (who's focused on international development/am friends with most of the MIDPs). If you consider math/econ/quant in general to be a strength, I wouldn't worry. There's a math camp during orientation that will remind you of everything you need to know. You also don't *need* calculus, but you're definitely better off if you can remember how to take basic derivatives/integrals and what they mean. This will be reviewed during math camp, though, so there's little need to stress out about it. Technically, you aren't supposed to have to know it. Micro II is focused on market failure and how government policies come into play when the private market can't provide (largely with social services). The underlying concepts are largely the same between the MIDP and MPP versions though they have different course names, but the applications are much different. On the MPP side, we're applying these concepts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc., while my MIDP friends are more focused on developing country contexts/programs. Quant II is actually far less numbers-y than Quant I was - lots of interpreting residual graphs, learning how to overcome biases/errors in data, plus some slightly more advanced OLS techniques from Quant I as well as learning the basics of probit/logit. As someone who likes numbers, Quant II has been slightly tougher than Quant I because it's more qualitative. Finally, in terms of the MPP vs MIDP course sequences - overall, the first year curricula are pretty similar in that the foundational concepts you learn in both are pretty similar, but the applications are different (as explained above wrt Econ). The MPPs also take policy process (basically a poli sci course) that's different from what the MIDPs take that semester. In the second year, I'm not as sure of how similar the courses are (since I'm a first year), but I do know the MPPs get an extra elective each semester while the MIDPs don't. However, we have the option of taking the extra MIDP core course as one of our two electives each semester. Overall, I've worked almost exclusively in development, am a part of development-focused groups on campus, hang out with a good number of MIDPs, and am doing a development internship this summer, but I don't regret doing the MPP. I feel like I get the best of both worlds in that I have a bunch of MPP and MIDP friends, while most of the MIDPs I know tend to hang out with each other and don't really get to know many of the MPPs. My 2 cents! Feel free to PM me if you have more specific questions!
  2. I don't think accreditation matters much...if it's any indication, HKS, WWS, and the like aren't either https://accreditation.naspaa.org/resources/roster-of-accredited-programs/
  3. They can't in their first year, so many work as RAs and GAs on campus. The restriction lifts after that though
  4. I'm at McCourt for GU's MPP and they definitely encourage you to work. We don't have Friday classes to help facilitate this and many students also stack their schedules so they don't have classes several days of the week. However, working is less common in the first semester, and 20 hours is on the higher end of how much students work in their first year (it goes up in the second).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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).
  8. 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!
  9. 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
  10. Nope, as @Econ360 hypothesized, they don't - confirmed at an info session last year
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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!