Program: MPP/MPA (Fall 2020)
Potential Schools: HKS, Columbia SIPA, Chicago Harris, Lee Kuan Yew
Interests: Would like to work in government advisory practice of consulting firms or international organisations like WBG, ADB, etc.
Undergrad Institution: State University in India
Undergrad GPA: 9.3/10 (rank 2 in class of 150)
Undergrad Major: Economics (Elective: Political Science)
Post-grad: Applied Economics
Postgrad Institution: Top 3 Universities in India
Postgrad GPA: Not great; around 3.1ish out of 4 when converted, I think
GRE: Planning to take by end of November
Quantitative Courses: relevant courses in undergrad/postgrad level including real analysis, stats/maths for economics, econometrics, etc. but did not score very well (mostly B and B+) Have working knowledge of STATA and basics of R
Age: 24, will be turning 25
Languages: English, Hindi and 2 other regional languages
Work Experience: 2 years (excluding internships and volunteering)
Since 2017, I have been working as a public policy researcher in the #1 management school in India, along with providing teaching assistance to faculty in said school (for courses like Public Economics). I have prepared and delivered research inputs for a few International Policy Conventions/Workshops; have also co-authored a paper with faculty but it will only be published by next year.
I have also worked in the implementation of a National Program for Skill Development under Govt of India; responsibilities have included designing program content and proposals; structuring budgets and contracts and stakeholder communication
Have the opportunity to work as the lead Program Associate in the Skill Development Program from November/December; will give me a first hand experience of working with state level bureaucracy while also allowing me to provide inputs to district development plans.
Besides this, I have interned with a Member of Parliament for two months; developed a research framework for poverty analyses which has facilitated further policy intervention. Also, worked as a research intern in a think tank where I contributed to two large scale projects pertaining to urban slum formation and violence against women. I also volunteered with an NGO as a teacher for homeless children while pursuing undergrad (not regularly, though).
Strength of LORs: Strong; professors that I've closely worked with and my thesis supervisor from postgrad
Why MPP: professional degree like MPP would complement my economics background; could help to gain expertise in specific policy issues while teaching new skills like negotiations, management, strategy, etc. Also, I want to work towards implementation and strategy from a policy perspective, so MPP seems like the right choice.
Concerns/questions: Not well-known school for undergrad, low grades in post grad. Hopefully, I can make up for it by getting decent scores in GRE? I am/was hoping to apply for Fall 2020, but would I be competitive enough to apply this year since I still have some time to appear for GRE and write the SOP or should I stick to the plan and apply next year?
Would having a postgrad degree hinder my chances?
I would really appreciate any advice on whether I'm competitive enough for the schools that I'm applying to.