Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


ExponentialDecay last won the day on September 1

ExponentialDecay had the most liked content!


About ExponentialDecay

  • Rank
    Latte Macchiato

Profile Information

  • Location
  • Application Season
    Not Applicable

Recent Profile Visitors

8,268 profile views
  1. ExponentialDecay

    Most selective IR program

  2. Come on OP. They're not going to run LORs through Turnitin. This is a situation where you need to sit down and think whether your fear is rational or it's your anxiety talking. Professors reuse letter structure, have letter templates they use for all their letters, and so on. Relax.
  3. ExponentialDecay

    Most selective IR program

    WWS is most selective because it funds everyone, so it has to keep the class very small. HKS is a bit more selective than the other ones because it's Harvard, but their MPP class is huge (I think the MPAID is more selective than the MPP but that's the natural result of the mathy prereqs). Then it's all the other ones. The real competition is for funding, not admission.
  4. ExponentialDecay

    JHU AAP Masters Applied Economics (Cash-Cow?)

    Technically all master's are cash cows by definition, but that doesn't mean the degree can't have value for you. The AAP are explicitly designed for "working professionals", i.e. they are very applied and not rigorous in the academic sense. You also don't need all that rigor to be a competent mid-level analyst in industry or government, which is one reason that you're not going much above high school math (another is that most people in these programs wouldn't be able to hack it). The applied economics course isn't meant to be preparation for a PhD, and last I looked, they explicitly say so on their webpage. No, it's not part of the JHU economics department, it's not taught by faculty from that department, and again, all this is explicit on their website. I guess my question would be why you need this degree when you already have an econ BA and MPA. Unless your MPA was very non-quantitative, I'm not sure that you will learn much that is new. So, clarify your goals, do your research, and you'll figure your dilemma out in no time.
  5. ExponentialDecay

    Does anyone know of any "woke" MPA programs?

    I think Attiah's critiques of the development industry are exceptional because they speak to laymen concerns without annoying professionals (occasional outliers considered). I know few other people who can toe this line. I would be deeply surprised if an applicant with no development experience could. Regarding SOP. Naivete exists on a spectrum, and OP's level of naivete is certainly at home among the average policy program applicant. They are, however, applying to some ambitious programs (I do wonder whether they've carefully read program requirements before making this selection). Funded programs (and funded spots at unfunded programs) will expect to see more nuanced criticism than what OP is producing. The reality is, everyone in development is disillusioned about development. There are seasoned scholars (Pritchett, Rodrik, Duflo, Deaton) who have made their careers critiquing development along the axes OP suggests. When we say it's not new, we mean if OP's mother wrote this personal statement, it would not be new. And there's nothing wrong with mentioning some of these issues - as Attiah notes, many of them are unresolved - and OP is probably smart and can probably learn a lot in a short time, but it matters how they write this. Applicants who seem like they'll need to break down defensive attitudes and cover a 50 year gap before they're up to speed with everyone else in the program don't get funded much. Regarding going into development work with this attitude. A lot of people get disillusioned with development when they realize that problems in the development industry didn't arise because everyone is too stupid to have had ideas like community-based development, the weaknesses of the top down approach, and unequal power relationships. That it takes more than a woke white lady showing up with a scathing and innovative critique. As OP is partial to "nothing about us without us", they should consider that the development community has the features of any other community. Just like corruption in India didn't arise because Indians are inherently immoral and Liberia isn't a fragile state because black people are by nature criminals and can't govern themselves, the development industry isn't fucked up because development professionals are evil and dumb. Development is what it is because of inequalities that are systemically ingrained and backed by powerful stakeholders, and because social engineering is a very young field where we still don't really know what we're doing and don't have a good idea of how we could know more (but at least we've moved away from Nazism, so that's a plus). A big reason, I think, for reactions like J's is that people in development think about these issues all the time and, ime, thinking about it doesn't do shit. So they resent being told to do something that a) they already do, b) doesn't work. In practice, development models are less about thinking fancy thoughts and more about delivery. The reason international financial institutions and development consultancies etc exist is because they can deliver funding and expertise for development. If OP can operationalize a more equitable model, that would be a huge innovation. Yapping about how this and that isn't right? Nah. Another thing I want to say is about this: Especially if OP is averse to more interventionist approaches (such as conditional loans), they should be prepared that, as an educated outsider, they will be pretty much limited to "just" talking, writing and teaching about these topics. Their audience wouldn't be college kids, but OP should think about whether that's acceptable for them.
  6. ExponentialDecay

    Low undergrad GPA - Chances of admittance at HKS?

    Another one who thinks himself too special for the sticky thread
  7. ExponentialDecay

    The 'Am I competitive' thread - READ ME BEFORE POSTING

    Well, SIPA, SAIS, and Georgetown require intro economics courses for matriculation so... imperative? Also, you will struggle in an ID degree if you are this resistant to math. These schools also require you to take some intermediate economics courses with a B- or above in order to graduate. Frankly, the math in either the intro or intermediate courses is middle school level - if you belong to the human species, you can learn it. You just have to sit down and make an effort.
  8. ExponentialDecay

    Is a 2nd Masters Worth It?

    Do you mean another international affairs degree with a focus on trade/finance or a real degree in economics or finance? If the former, it would be redundant. If the latter, it would be a substantially different degree to the extent that, unless you have some significant exposure to math and economics already, you wouldn't be admissible for a lot of programs without first completing a lot of prerequisites. But like the others said, ultimately the only thing that matters is what you want the degree for.
  9. ExponentialDecay

    PhD for Economics? Should I even Consider?

    So, the lack of linear algebra and multivariate is going to kill your application for any econ PhD (and for worthwhile public policy PhDs as well) but the good news is, you can take those at community college or online. Frankly you can't do anything statistically or mathematically until you take linal and multivariate respectively, so these classes are really important. Aside from that, get a research assistant job at a reputed place (JPAL, the Fed, etc), work there 2 years, and provided linear algebra and multivariate, you should have a chance for an econ PhD.
  10. that's not a low GRE but yes
  11. ExponentialDecay

    Definition of International Student?

    International student is a visa category. It has nothing to do with where you do your undergrad. As long as your friend is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, he is considered an international student. That said, it's alarming that your friend is apparently so ignorant about his own immigration status that he is sending random buddies to post questions like this on internet forums (not the right place to go for this information either). So tell him that.
  12. ExponentialDecay

    Indian Law grad wanting to work abroad

    If by abroad you mean US, Europe and other first world nations with heavy migration restrictions, a minimal-math degree that you could get with no work experience and a foreign law undergrad that will provide any employment opportunities worth speaking of is a tall order. You're probably best off choosing a country that gives you a path to a work visa (if not permanent residency) after completing a degree there (i.e. not the US or UK) and studying something business-related there.
  13. ExponentialDecay

    Living with parents as a grad student in early 30's?

    ...are there not MSW schools in PA? Seems silly to apply to Columbia if you want to live in a different state. I lived with my mom for a year once. It was fine. I don't think one's living situation is a typical subject of social discussion, so I'm not sure that anyone knew where I lived - not that I'd care if they did.
  14. ExponentialDecay

    Bad stats grade - is it worth applying to MPA/MPP?

    you'll be fine but the other guy is right that a lot of schools require intro micro or stats before matriculation, so get on that
  15. ExponentialDecay

    How do you explain employment gaps on a resume?

    A gap of a few months isn't really considered a gap, so you could get away with not mentioning it at all. Or, if your resume is chronological, you could just put in a section that says what you say here.

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.