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hambergrrr

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About hambergrrr

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    Decaf

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  • Program
    MPA/MPP
  1. umer--i'll take a stab at this. I am an international student and have been accepted at SIPA (MPA) and GSPP (MPP). I have a couple of questions: 1. Which program, in your opinion, is more geared towards international placement? ( the kind of effort career service dept puts in and the support alumni network shows?) -- GSPP is *supposedly* more domestically focused, but one of their current students that I was in contact with the past year had gone abroad during her summer internship, and even did her Advanced Policy Analysis (APA) thesis paper on recommending how that specific country could improve its (I believe) health services. I forget the exact topic, but she did say that the resources are definitely there for you to take advantage of. She told me that career services were very helpful in that respect. I think being at SIPA probably affords you lots of international contacts as well, but I can't comment on that as much, since I didn't look into it there. My sense is that you get more individualized attention in career services at Berkeley b/c the smaller class size. It might be helpful to check out the list of employers they have: http://gspp.berkeley.edu/admissions/doc ... lletin.pdf (page 45) and compare that to SIPA. It seems like they do overlap quite a bit in the int'l realm. 2. When you say more more/less quantitative what exactly do you mean? From the looks of it SIPA and GSPP both offer the same kind of core courses. Then how do you differentiate? -- The way I've been looking at it is that at GSPP, it seems like developing strong quant. skills is more required (i.e. you have to take a year-long series of micro/macro and econometrics). At SIPA, the second semester of their "quantitative techniques" course is optional, but *strongly recommended* according to their website. But my friend who is there currently says that it can be as quant-heavy as you like (dependent on your concentration). Overall though, GSPP seems more geared toward rigorous analysis, whereas SIPA seems more broad (but I think that is partially b/c the MIAs and MPAs are in the same school?). 3. Why, and how, do you say that GSPP MPP is domestic policy focused? As i said earlier, SIPA is offering almost the same kind of core courses and its supposed to have an international focus (or atleast thats what my impression is) -- Again, I think it's what you make of your experience and whether you use the resources available at both schools. I think both schools have lots to offer in that respect. If you look at all the departments aside from their own respective ones, both Berkeley and Columbia have strong business, law, economics, and public health schools...not to mention all the other depts, but those were the main ones I looked at. 4. Are professors accessible/helpful at each university ?(especially at SIPA which takes in a lot more people than GSPP) -- I can't comment on SIPA as much on this, but when I went to visit GSPP, I met with John Ellwood and he was very helpful (I was looking at joint MPP/MPH programs at the time, and he's the director). Given the smaller number of students at GSPP, I'd imagine you get more individualized attention there. I've heard that professors actually know your by name by the time you're done at GSPP! Maybe that's the case at SIPA too but I don't really know enough to comment. 5. What was the batch size last year at SIPA and GSPP? (Do they divide the incoming batch into different sections or everyone goes into one section?) -- Not sure about this... 6. Which degree has more international prestige ? (Does columbia's ivy status really matter that much?) -- Again, not sure, but I would think either name gets you far as long as you take initiative! Hope that's somewhat helpful... I wish I had gotten into GSPP so I'm sure that biased view comes through, but maybe better luck next year! Good luck w/your decision.
  2. I agree with hopeful grad. I'm in a (somewhat) similar situation--no fellowship offers from anywhere, but I wasn't expecting to get any given my relatively lower grades. So that means I am attending a program, regardless of any debt I might incur. Maybe the whole idea of carrying a whole lot of debt just hasn't hit home yet, but I know it will be worth it in the long run. Another way to look at it is to see how much your lifetime earning potential would increase, and what that amount looks like relative to the debt and interest paid on the debt. A friend of mine who came out of J-school at Columbia w/$50k of debt recommended Suze Orman's book, Young, Fabulous, & Broke, which I think does a pretty good job of laying out a plan to attack any sort of debt while saving up for the future. It's a quick read, too. I don't have it in front of me right now, but she shows that if you were to put $500/month toward say $30k of debt for 10 years, you'd be paying $10k in interest (don't quote me on the exact numbers cuz they're probably wrong...), but relative to the increase in income, she points out that it's well worth the investment.
  3. The MPA program is weaker for a number of reasons, even aside from rankings--and I meant that it is weaker compared to other MPA programs, NOT its own MIA program. My understanding of the SIPA program is from having friends w/in the MPA program, and working with profs here in CA who collaborate directly with a handful of profs at SIPA. And I just have to add that even with all the distinguished professors you speak of, that does not always equate to a quality education. I went to Berkeley, where there are a ton of distinguished profs, but I certainly don't think they all have the same enthusiasm for teaching as they do for their own research!!
  4. I wouldn't stress out about it or take it personal. Professors are busy people... especially if it's a quarter-system school, it's the week before finals right?
  5. I agree. People don't choose Columbia for economics training, and their MPA is notably weaker... much lower ranked, too, than either Syracuse or Chicago if you follow or care about rankings.
  6. If you're looking for strong economics training, I would say go for Chicago. For defense policy, perhaps look at faculty profiles for more information? I don't know the defense policy arena well, but from the looks of it, Columbia's faculty for that concentration are based within the polisci department, whereas at Syracuse, they seem to be core faculty in the MPA program. I don't know if that says anything about strengths of the program, but my inclination would be to think that within the MPA/MPP program specifically, there maybe aren't as many resources pooled into that specific concentration if there aren't core faculty w/assignments at the MPA/MPP school. Does that make sense...? For example, if faculty has assignments in polisci, maybe they're more likely to give polisci student priority over others?
  7. I don't know if that comparatively makes it better, especially relative to other schools. But in any case, I have a few friends at SIPA--both current students and graduates of the program. Some of them liken it to being an undergraduate at Cal (where I went)--the network is bigger w/Columbia, but you still gotta make your own contacts. I personally didn't even look at career services at schools for this reason, but maybe I'm just more skeptical of what career services can really do.
  8. I'd go with either Georgetown or Syracuse. Georgetown for closeness to the Hill; Syracuse for smaller class size, so perhaps that means more attention from the career services/administrative end.
  9. I agree with brlbrl. I was looking into MPP versus MA in economics early on, but knew I wasn't competitive enough to get straight into an econ program... not enough quantitative coursework as an undergrad, so I went the MPP/MPA route because I wanted at least more quantitative work than I got as an undergrad. I'd say go with the economics degree. It would give a stronger set of quantitative skills that are probably more transferable, no matter the job. I tend to think that quantitative skills are more marketable and less "learnable" on the job, if that makes sense. I've also had a number of professors tell me the same thing indirectly.
  10. Yea, I'm thinking that is usually a last resource, but I'm not sure where to start! I'm also thinking that I'll constantly call my credit card companies to lower my interest rates in the coming months, in case I really need to revert to charging expenses.
  11. Wow, that's a rough situation, and it sounds like you have LOTS going for you! Congrats! Also sounds like a lot is contingent upon fellowship awards... wish I could be in the same boat. When do you hear back from all the schools for fellowship awards? Seems like Berkeley & Columbia would be "no's," given that you have credit card debt & loans, but that's just my opinion.
  12. Could someone explain the process after a FAFSA is done? I am currently wait listed for a school, and I think it's unlikely I'll get into the other two I applied for. I won't find out for another 2 months or so if I get in, but I'd like to start researching financing options. I'll be in China all summer, so in the best case scenario, will be back in the states to take care of any paperwork about 2 weeks before classes start in fall. What is a good rate to get on a student loan? What websites are best to refer to? How often do students end up putting things on their credit cards? My expected contribution is rather high in my opinion, especially given my salary from last year, and given that I'm spending a huge chunk of my savings in China this summer... any advice? I forgot to add that I didn't apply for fellowships really because my GPA is not competitive... basically anything merit-based is probably not up for grabs on my end.
  13. You have to consider also that Columbia is a MPA program, not MPP, so can't be as fairly compared to Berkeley.
  14. Yea, I think a lot of it depends on what you want out of the program too. I know lots of schools say their quant. program is the strongest, but just looking at how strong the strictly-quant. programs are at each school maybe gives a good indication too? For example, U of Chicago and Berkeley have VERY strong economics departments that probably somewhat feed into their MPP programs. I really don't know much about the other schools to comment, but I do know SIPA is rather weak on the quant. end.
  15. I doubt that SIPA is anywhere near the top for the MPA program. GSPP is highly selective. When I spoke to one of the admissions officers there a few months ago, she told me that they lose very, very few people to other schools. In the past year's pool of applicants who were given acceptance letters, only 1 or 2 opted for another school. From almost everyone I've talked to, Berkeley is the strongest for quantitative work and strength lies in the policy/economic analysis concentration.
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