Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


ExponentialDecay last won the day on September 1 2018

ExponentialDecay had the most liked content!


About ExponentialDecay

  • Rank
    Latte Macchiato

Profile Information

  • Location
  • Application Season
    Not Applicable

Recent Profile Visitors

10,487 profile views
  1. @GradSchoolGrad I mean, I don't know when you got your masters, but things changed a lot in the policy masters arena even in the past 5 years. None but the most competitive programs have out of undergrad proportions as low as 25% lol. Programs at the level of Georgetown, SAIS, SIPA accept anyone who can put together an application in English. Really? It's pretty common. Harvard may disclose when spotlighted applicants are dual-degree, but they absolutely still feature them. HOWEVER, it is one thing for a well-established school to add a new program, create a new research center, or create a joint degree. I'm talking about reorganizing or eliminating existing flagship programs and culling staff. This sector is in a great deal of upheaval. Every policy masters today is having an identity crisis because employment options for policy generalists with 6 figure debt from a 2 year masters have dried up long ago. Schools are trying to plug large and persistent cash flow holes. Of course no one knows what will happen post-corona - hopefully, there will be a boom in student applications and at least the top schools will get more time and budgetary space to work through a gradual transition, but shit was moving scary fast in the past two years. I'm not privy to the reorg happening at CIPA and it is indeed not a good idea to go to a grad school that's going through a major transition. What I'm saying is that many of the students who are matriculating this fall at schools you consider "prestigious" are stepping into the same mire. I think a policy degree is still the right career choice for many people. But I don't think the decision can be made on prestige anymore. Most of the grads from Harvard and Princeton are stuck in the same employment situation as people from lesser schools.
  2. How the fuck are you going to pay back 200k in debt with interest working in the humanitarian sector???
  3. Check that the people placing into 120k consulting jobs from HKS aren't dual-degree MBA students. To my knowledge, the MPP placement is not great. If you want to work in consulting, stop wasting your time with policy programs and get an MBA. If you must get a policy degree, take the option that minimizes your debt. A policy degree isn't a huge hamper to your career options, but the humongous student debt will screw over your professional and general life choices for decades.
  4. SAIS econ courses are not rigorous and will not improve your PhD application. The only people who go on to econ PhDs from SAIS are people who had a strong econ and math background prior to coming to SAIS. If you think you need to improve your academics, you should have applied to econ MAs, not policy programs; although, as you already have real analysis, you may be more competitive as a PhD applicant than you think. If you can take graduate courses from the actual econ department at Columbia, you are better off going to SIPA than SAIS (since it would be difficult to take classes in Baltimore from DC...) but in general, the notion of attending a very expensive professional program in order to prepare yourself for an academic program is inherently wrong-headed.
  5. @GradSchoolGrad I have also never met anyone from CIPA, but all of the red flags you point out are true of almost all policy programs, including Georgetown McCourt. The proportion of students matriculating straight from undergrad has risen everywhere in the past few years, including very competitive programs like the HKS MPA-ID. I'm sure that share will tumble now that we are entering the recession, but if this is an issue for you (and I agree that it should be an issue if you are an early or mid-career professional looking to expand their knowledge and professional network with people who have held at least one job), you should apply to highly ranked MBAs. That's the only professional masters that isn't riddled with undergrads. Most policy programs don't differentiate between regular and dual degree graduates in their job publications. They also don't track how many people went back to their employer after the degree (which is a lot of people). And reorgs, unfortunately, are underway at several highly-ranked policy programs that I shan't mention on the internet and, in the coming couple of years, are likely to hit even more schools. In large part the education reorgs are part of a structural change happening all over the policy world, which now values a very focused training in in-demand skills over 2 more years of liberal arts education.
  6. I suggest reading the stickied chance me thread. You will find that a large proportion of applicants are both 3+ years out of undergrad and coming from an unrelated field. The thread is also a trove of advice on several years' worth of applications - assuming, of course, that you are willing to see yourself as not so unique that nobody else's experience could possibly apply to you.
  7. You should read your own "article" for MPA-PhD stuff, because the guy with the MPA and PhD in Public Policy is perfectly right - an MPA is not good preparation for a PhD. If you attend open days or prospective applicant presentations for the top policy masters like Princeton and Harvard, their reps will tell you the same thing. The reason is not so much that a bunch of classes will be irrelevant, since curricula at these programs are pretty malleable, but that even the relevant classes are designed for practitioners, not researchers. For example, your econometrics class will focus on interpreting and understanding regression outputs, not on how to build an econometric model and apply it to data. You will also have limited opportunities to work on stuff that will make you more competitive for PhDs, like writing a great thesis or getting real tight with professors in your subfield, because the program will be focused on trotting you out to employers and getting you a job at the end. There are programs that are better geared for an academic application, like the MPA-ID or some of the Harris School's programs, but they are an obsecenely expensive option that isn't tailored to what you want, and choosing them over going to a dedicated poli sci MRes in Europe that will cost you pennies on the dollar is a strange decision. I don't think a master's is a bad idea, but if you want a PhD, don't get an MPA. I don't think your GPA is bad at all (although I'm confused if that's a first or an upper second), but the GRE really is quite low for top programs and unfortunately they pay extra attention to that when you're not from a US school.
  8. The fears over getting a job on this forum are a bit overstated - the difficulty highlighted here really applies to international students and people who are unemployable because of some exogenous factor, like being really picky or being unable to hold eye contact with anyone but their mother - and your consulting experience will be a definite plus on the job market. That said, a lot of people who go into international development drop out the moment they understand what these career paths are actually like. The downside risk here is that you will realize by the end of your first semester (at which point applications are probably past due) that the jobs you can get in this sector aren't worth your effort. Further, I wouldn't waste your 2 years on learning IR - it's not useful in international development, and in diplomacy only nominally so. The useful classes at SAIS and such will be roughly the same as offered at an MBA program. If you can be bothered to, I'd apply and see how much funding you get. You have good experience so I don't think you'll strike out (also, I'd investigate whether SAIS allows you to dual-degree with a program outside of those three on a case to case basis, as many schools do).
  9. You can just as easily work in the non-profit sector with an MBA as with a policy degree, but you would have to at minimum take a pay cut relative MBA grads to work in the private sector with a policy degree. If you have a specific target organization, a specific policy program can be more efficient at getting you networked there, but outside of that, the on-campus hiring at policy programs is vastly inferior to MBA programs. The core of useful classes, assuming you are aiming at industry and not at reading IR at some PhD program afterwards, is the same at both. The difference is in the time invested (policy programs are 1-2 years, MBAs are 3), cost (although among elite programs that gap is pretty narrow), and difficulty of getting in. The three programs you mention are very similar in every respect. There's really no point in delving into the fine details like their respective quant training (weak across the board), professor and student quality and so on. They admit a comparable student body according to comparable criteria. Unless there is a specific professor you want to work with at either of the three and you know they are open to working with you closely, I'd pick based on cost, location, and ability to get a STEM extension on your OPT (which none of these three will give you, but there exist econ/finance programs, including at policy schools, that will). Regarding DC private sector, word of caution: much of the private sector employment here, including the big MNCs that traditionally hire many internationals, works primarily with or around the US government, which means that employers may require a security clearance or simply have an unwritten requirement to not hire foreigners.
  10. Haven't been to Berlin, but would 100% go back in time and spend my youth in either Vienna or Barcelona. Both are very cosmopolitan, fairly cheap, and there's a lot to do any day of the week, especially for young people.
  11. Only if you perceive the verbiage as hostile in itself, which is a strange choice in our life and times, but whatever. Given the paucity of data, any employment effects comparison between these schools is untempered speculation.
  12. This is a strange dick-measuring contest. Both Harris and HKS have constrained programs that are objectively quanty and competitive and therefore have separate admissions processes, but the vanilla MPP at any of the three programs is going to be the same 200-person bullshit humanities deal that isn't worth the paper it's printed on. You can take your American Foreign Policy class with the risen spirits of all 44 former US presidents and it's not going to matter because no employer cares about that.
  13. Which program at Harris? From what I remember, the PhD-level classes are reserved for MACRM and that quant-heavy policy program. idk if MPPs can get into them, even if they are technically allowed to take them. Regarding quantitative work, it's not only reserved for PhDs (especially the low-level stuff), but if you're definitely committed to it, I'd reconsider doing a policy degree at all. If you have a strong enough math and programming background as is, you can get a low-level policy quant job now (depending on the prestige of your undergrad, that will take more to less cold-calling, but it's totally feasible). Likewise, if you're fixated on getting another degree, I'd get a degree in stats, economics or DS. You can build a quantitative background at most policy schools right now, but the rigor is definitely geared towards humanities majors, which may work for you if you're very good at math or you're a humanities major, but if you're in between, I think you'll struggle to get a deep enough understanding to succeed in a quanty job. I wouldn't take out 6 figures for a policy degree. That's an unnecessarily high debt load for almost any degree.
  14. You're not arguing that a hobbyist shouldn't be admitted at all. You're arguing that a hobbyist shouldn't be admitted over a candidate who would see the PhD as a job. Do you think that a candidate who sees the PhD as a job is going to be easier competition for your internal funding or whatever else than a hobbyist? I.. wouldn't care? As long as the person knows what they're doing and is easy to work with, I don't care what their motivation is. That's their private business. And like I said, I see no reason why the quality of scholarship should be impacted by lack of desire to turn scholarship into a paid job. There's certainly more than enough examples of terrible scholars who want a job in academia. I think this is sour grapes. Like, if you're not fully committed to battling against impossible odds in obtaining TT, you can't sit with us. Your attitude is functionally no different to the attitude of some quasi-emeritus who looks down on people for having an alt-ac plan B. And your attitude is your private business, except I don't understand why you align yourself with a view that is expressly counter to stated beliefs and even interests. If you are a "serious scholar", more people getting your degree for fun is better for you in every possible way. These people represent a more (or should I say, de facto) sustainable source of demand for the training that you want to be paid for to provide, yet they at the same time are not part of your competition for those professional positions. The age of people getting generic humanities degrees to be more employable is over - so I think catering to people who get your degree for personal growth purposes only is in your field's future. And moreover, perhaps they'll be able to inject perspectives into the profession that people who are desperate for history jobs are disinclined to express even if they hold them. It may be uncomfortable to view your field as something people enter for fun, but why the hell not?
  15. I've seen many of the users represented here lament the overproduction of history PhDs and the state of the history job market, not to mention shepherd hopefuls towards reconsidering their PhD ambitions, so I'm curious at the viciousness with which you receive someone who has admitted that the PhD would be a hobby. Isn't it good that they've already decided not to compete for increasingly rare TT positions with the rest of y'all? Isn't it good that they'd be taking up the chair of a young person who will spend 10 years on this "career" only to be cheated out of it by the job market? Why decry the myopic attitude of history departments to alt-ac opportunities and the recruitment of fruitless strivers on one hand, and engage in this self-defeatist gatekeeping on the other? Statistically,the majority of history PhDs are doing the PhD as a very long and stressful hobby until they are forced to leave academia and get a job that only uses their PhD training in a very perverted sense of "use". How are the majority of the posters on this forum different from this hobbyist? In that you don't admit to yourselves that your chance of getting TT is miniscule and that you're going to treat the PhD as a consumption good from the outset? Why not admit people who see the PhD as a retirement project? Nothing says they can't produce compelling research, and they might actually be useful to the department in the form of cheap TA labor that then don't grow bitter when they can't get any practical benefits out of it. That's probably the only kind of PhD admit that in this climate could be called ethical. Sure, it's not prestigious or whatever for the department - but what's your incentive to protect bullshit exploitative academic practices?
  • Create New...

Important Information

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