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went_away last won the day on April 16

went_away had the most liked content!

About went_away

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    Graduated from Fletcher
  1. Yes. DC is about power, not money.
  2. Probably yes.
  3. That's a great list. I would add one program to it - Harvard's Master's of Education. I know a lot of people with your profile who have gone there. It's not as powerful as an MPA from Kennedy, but would send a strong signal of your expertise in and commitment to education that would be helpful for employment purposes given that this is the field you want to be in.
  4. If you're going to make the terrible decision of going into that much debt, you might as well go for broke and go to SIPA. Your chances of landing a relatively well-paid job are much, MUCH higher in NYC than they are in DC.
  5. Lol yes go to Wisconsin no brainer.
  6. Now go do some good in the world.
  7. I think it's shades of grey and am not sure anyone really disagrees here. Know before you go, do your due diligence, have a plan, etc. My basic point is that full-freight tuition prices at elite public affairs grad schools - and the level of financial aid given out - is inconsistent with expected career earnings and job stability, much like how many have viewed law schools since 2008. My other point is that there's more than one way to skin a cat and that an elite master's degree is not the most sure-fire way to break into the field. One of those more 'surefire' ways of breaking into international and public affairs types of jobs is by being a veteran. When I talk about veteran's preference I am, of course, speaking about US federal government jobs and about federal government contracting in which there is an explicit preference. Being a veteran is also a traditional background for top-tier consulting and investment banking and given how business works in DC is a great background for any number of other private sector jobs, much like how being a former staffer on the hill is a great background for being a lobbyist.
  8. My scholarship offer worked out to half tuition and I continued to work at my moderately well-paid job while in school.
  9. Amen to that. Welcome to 1-3 month STC's (short term contracts). It's the 'glamorous' life of a temp worker. Veterans' preference will do FAR more for one's career prospects than an elite international affairs degree. Those who do the best coming out of these programs have a strong combination of things working in their favor. First they are probably quite successful BEFORE going to a top grad school. This means they come from a well-off family that values education and they were able to go to a top undergrad (think University of Chicago or U Penn). Next they joined the military as an officer and/or had a series of very elite level internships at top institutions. They likely also have family friends/acquaintances who are high level executives in the federal government, diplomats, or a Senator or Member of Congress. By the time they go to grad school they are already well on their way with a solid career assured to them. Others working low-prestige jobs see these glittering examples of success and think a grad degree on its own will get them there. Sadly, that's really not the case and most will struggle. Doing well is a result of a long series of good choices, fortunate breaks, family wealth (in most cases), and big investments in yourself.
  10. You are completely correct in your assessment. The inescapable conclusion is that the elite (public affairs) grad school market is completely out of synch with career outcomes.
  11. Hear hear!!! I work in DC policy circles as well. Those with money, power, and prestige - or even a decent paying upper-middle class - are not generally there because they went to a prestigious grad school. Far more relevant factors are, as you say, being a veteran or having worked for a successful political campaign.
  12. Check out median starting salaries coming out of these programs. Even the most elite range from $55-90k annual. I am talking about Hopkins SAIS, Fletcher MALD, Georgetown MSFS, and Columbia SIPA. These numbers are abysmal when you consider the perceived prestige of the programs, the competitiveness to get in, and the (usually very significant) prior work experience of the entering class. Top-tier public and international affairs programs cannot compete on salary with even third-tier regional MBA programs. I went for the intrinsic value and because it was a life-long dream, but I would advise all out there to be very careful about "just going" and to drive a hard bargain if you get in. Paying full or nearly-full tuition just isn't worth it for at least 80% of prospective applicants.
  13. The MALD is probably a superior program overall because it's far better established and will likely provide you with a stronger network and brand name over the course of your career. Both, however, are great and both are very much overpriced. This will come down to your personal preferences and fit and feel.
  14. Coming out of an MA in International Affairs, you'll struggle mightily to get into international finance without a background in the field. SIPA wins this game, but you would likely have better luck with an MBA from NYU.