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PolicyStud

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    Carnegie Mellon MSPPM

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  1. Focusing on your intentions and your experiences, Carnegie Mellon offers masters programs in Arts Management (MAM) and Entertainment Industry Management (MEIM). I am not as deeply familiar with these programs as I would like to be, but these may be something up your alley. The Entertainment Management (MEIM program) in particular allows students to do their first year in Pittsburgh (CMU main campus) and their second year in Los Angeles (satellite campus). During your second year, you work ~30 hours a week at an internship (most students work for film companies, and the like) while taking some coursework. This could help you build connections throughout the industry. Carnegie Mellon also has an MSc program for Public Policy, which has a great curriculum for data science, urban policy, economics, and other fields. Thus far, I've been given opportunities in fields stretching far beyond the CMU stereotype because of how versatile data science and modeling concepts, as taught here, are. However, I wanted to bring up the MAM and MEIM programs up first, as I'm not sure that the typical public policy program would best fit your goals, unless you are set on policy in a strictly traditional/literal sense.
  2. Could you clarify what you mean by 'specifications'? If you're talking about people's background, I'll speak on my observations and experience. Students: I didn't come in with a coding background, but I'm walking out of my first year with knowledge on major database, machine learning/data mining, operations research, econometrics, and modeling concepts--stuff ranging from the traveling salesman's problem to predictive decision trees. I'm not going to be an operations research whiz with extensive knowledge of the most complicated methods like ARMA/ARIMA, but I am coming out with a broad foundation in the field. Some students (esp. in the data analytics and MISM-BIDA programs) came in with some knowledge on these subjects, but you definitely don't need an extensive coding background to perform well or learn a lot in the classes. I'd never done serious coding or math modeling before coming into the program. What's much more important is your capacity to learn and solve problems, and apply your technical knowledge to messy issues in social science. Professors: Focus on methodology vs. subject-matter-expertise: There's a good mix of quantitative and non-quantitative professors. I'm not focused on urban policy, so I don't have extensive experience with professors in the field. Most of my friends in the field seem to find the coursework sufficient and complementary to their data analytics education. CMU-Heinz, and the university as a whole, certainly has an extensive network of economists and data scientists working on a variety of issues including racism in housing policy and police bias. Perspectives on data science: As I noted before, there's a variety of quantitative topics covered well here, so that's pretty great. But there's something else that's almost as important: a variety in how data science concepts are taught. I've found that professors teach machine learning here in a variety of different contexts, ranging from the conceptual to the programming/application-focused. Sometimes, the former is helpful to take a step back and familiarize ourselves with the breadth of the field. You'll find both here. Difficulty: I don't think there's anything unique about this school's difficulty, so in brief, it depends. Like at any institution, you'll find that a few professors have a reputation for making students' lives hard, while a few others are relatively easy, and still others (the great majority of professors here) challenge us to grow.
  3. I would recommend checking CMU's MSPPM program. You don't need to apply to the "data analytics" track specifically to take their classes. I've written some pros/cons here: Since CMU's MSPPM program is housed in the same college as the information science program, you'll have access to a wide range of data-related courses, from the more social science-oriented like econometrics to programming courses in machine learning. Courses at the School of Computer Science are available as well if you're up for them. When I was applying to other policy schools, I compared the curriculum with other programs, and I must say that the breadth and depth of CMU's courses in data science far exceeds that of any public policy program and even many data science programs. Most topics you might be interested in--from data warehousing to unstructured data mining and from visualizations to operations research--are available, and pretty much any other topic you can think of is covered in the computer science department. If you have any questions, feel free to message me.
  4. I'd think it'd be a good idea to go to CMU as well, though of course, that's partly because I'm at CMU right now. Aside from that...: There's no doubt about the fact that Duke is an amazing school. But even when I've interviewed at highly selective employers focused on international affairs, my interviewers have been consistently impressed by the CMU name. You have two great institutions here, and so, in the long run, Duke's slight edge in terms of national prestige may not be such a big deal. This is CMU's strength. The things we learn in the analytics classes can be applied to any issue you're interested in--international affairs, social policy, public health, etc. In fact, most of my internship offers have revolved around my ability to integrate my technical skills with my field-specific knowledge in international affairs. I'm sure Duke's social policy classes are great as well, but just know that you may be able to go just as far if you can apply the technical skills you will have learned here to your area of interest. I've covered the pros/cons of going to CMU's Heinz school here: http://forum.thegradcafe.com/topic/88578-has-anyone-heard-from-cmu-heinz-msppm-pittsburgh/?page=3#comment-1058483744 If you have any other questions on CMU, feel free to PM me.
  5. I'm a current Heinz student. I exempted out of the core economic analysis course, so I can't speak for that specifically, but much of my economic/social science-related coursework is so focused on methodology that it's hard for me to tell whether my professors are more Keynesian or neoliberal without asking them. The empirical methods we learn in econometrics I/II, management science, decision analysis, etc. are often applicable whether you're far-right, far-left, or somewhere in between. If I were you, I would not immediately rule out taking classes with professors that have political leanings I disagree with. The professors you have differences with are the ones you have the most to gain from, and the pure empiricism you will hone at Heinz is far more important than ideology. That being said, when I've asked, it seems like at least a significant proportion/majority of professors lean at least slightly to the left. And whenever they've formed their political leanings, left or right, their commitment to empiricism has enabled them to bring nuance that can be appreciated by all who are willing to listen.
  6. I was in a similar position last year, with offers from SAIS (both years in DC, no funding), Duke (50% scholarship), and CMU Heinz (80% scholarship). I chose CMU because of the funding and the skills I would obtain at the school. Courses related to operations research, machine learning, and econometrics, among other subjects, have enabled me to compete with SAIS grads for the same positions and obtain internships at the most selective employers. Because of the way I've structured my course schedule, I've been able to argue time and time again that I am capable of analyzing international issues with a more rigorous lens than an average MPP or SAIS MA. If you're concerned that the MS-DC track may leave you with few electives, you can always transfer to the MSPPM program with little difficulty. On this: companies like PwC and Deloitte regularly recruit CMU Heinz students. Not everyone gets in (no school can promise that), but a substantial proportion does. There are considerable resources available here to help you prepare for the interviews. Consulting, finance, and data science clubs, along with the career services office have developed strong links with these companies and regularly sponsor competitions and networking events through current employees. I discuss the pros/cons of CMU in greater detail from an international affairs perspective in the post linked below. You can always message me if you have any questions. To put this matter into a broader context, you may want to consider the tangible benefits that each school has to offer. Financial aid is the most obvious factor but there are other things as well: Professional and financial benefits of being able to work in DC via CMU's MS-DC track Cornell's CIPA isn't a full-fledged department as I understand it. It seems more like an amalgamation of courses from other departments, which may grant you more flexibility but result in a weaker network. What are the outcomes associated with GWU's Philosophy and Social Policy grads? Are they employed at organizations you want to work for? I'm posting this question as most IR students apply to GWU's Elliot school instead and I'm not familiar with the Philosophy/Social Policy program. The following point initially sounds worse than it means to be, but I would also be cautious on this and be open to a broad array of options. I know of certain individuals who wanted to get into State/UN/etc., but with the turbulent politics of our times, cuts may be coming to the jobs you're hunting for. They've typically done well, though--while agencies like USAID may be cut, the budget at DoD, DoJ, and other related agencies is increasing. A job at the NSA, for example, might not be what you're initially looking for but can be immensely rewarding.
  7. What are your goals? Where do you want to be when you graduate? Also, I'm currently attending CMU. I discuss the pros and cons of attending the school here: As noted in the post linked, the skills I am learning at CMU have enabled me to get into some highly selective employers, transcend its reputation, and compete with HKS and SAIS grads for the same positions. If I were you, CMU would be my choice given your funding (3/4 funding is awesome) and other offers. Comparable schools like Michigan, Berkeley, and Chicago might have a slightly "better" reputation (whatever that means...) but I do not believe that's worth losing the chance to learn the data analytics techniques taught here or an extra $40,000 over two years. Being on the east coast also helps. Last year, I was admitted to Johns Hopkins SAIS with no funding and Duke Sanford with a 50% tuition scholarship, and I still chose CMU (80% scholarship). But that's just me. It'd probably help your decision-making a little more to read the pros/cons post I linked above. Feel free to message me if you have any questions.
  8. I'd disregard the USNWR rankings if I were you. I have a post about the issues of USNWR rankings below. But long story short, unlike law and business school rankings, public policy rankings do NOT reflect the reputation perceptions among employers. It makes no sense to rank Indiana above HKS and WWS when the grads of the latter two schools are getting into the most influential employers. It also makes little sense to put HKS over Indiana if your goal is to get into Indiana's state government. I suggest you reframe your question as follows: should you choose the characteristics of Brown's program or the characteristics of Syracuse's program? I don't know much about either of those programs, but off the top of my head, some points of comparison are as follows: Brown, pros and cons Ivy league name, which may be valuable on the east coast. It's a simple and unfortunate fact that many people on the east immediately associate Ivy League with intelligence and success. Smaller program resulting in smaller (but maybe more intimate?) network. This can be a disadvantage or an advantage depending on your needs. Where do grads of this program end up? Is there a focus on state government? International issues? And how does that relate to your goals? What skills will Brown's curriculum teach you that Syracuse won't? Finances? Isn't Brown a 1-year program? That might not give you enough time to really build much up. and etc.... Syracuse, pros and cons Relatively large program that has a wide network Again, where do grads end up and what are your goals? Also, what skills will Syracuse's curriculum teach you that Brown won't? Finances? A two-year program won't feel as rushed. You can do an internship and build your network over a longer period of time and learn more. and etc. And so on. Your decision between two public affairs programs should not be concerned with the vague and ultimately misleading question of Ivy League vs. program ranking since program rankings are meaningless in public policy/affairs. It should be focused on what genuinely makes the two schools different from one another and how they can get you to where you want to be.
  9. How to know which one is a better school? Ask about their employment reports. See if you can skype a current student. Google their curriculum and courses. From what I hear, Georgetown and Duke are almost always seen in a good light. However, the problem with Cornell CIPA is that it isn't a full-fledged department. It seems like an amalgamation of courses from other departments without any attempt to truly integrate the material, networks, or students. That should be something to keep in mind. Name recognition and ranking: don't bother with USNWR. It's basically useless for public policy. Unlike law and business rankings, public policy rankings don't reflect real employer reputations. There are 9 schools, in no particular order, that I've repeatedly heard of and have strong public policy reputations: Princeton*, Harvard, Columbia, Chicago, Duke*, Georgetown, CMU*, Berkeley*, Michigan*. Cornell isn't included for reasons noted in the first bullet point, among others. I've posted about ranking issues in greater detail here: Can't speak for Georgetown specifically. I'd imagine that it is a very significant advantage to have employers like the State Department just a 15 minute drive away. If you don't go to Georgetown, be sure to take advantage of networking events. I've done just fine without the DC advantage at CMU, but DC may be more important to certain individuals. Things I wish I knew: specific coursework can be *very* important for job prospects. Obviously, CMU isn't on your list, but just from personal experience: most of my interviewers have been impressed by my quantitative skills because CMU gave me the opportunity to explore quant fields like machine learning. I lucked out in choosing my school and instinctively focusing on the school's strengths in data analytics. If either Georgetown, Cornell, or Duke offers an array of coursework that can give you specific *skills* in the field you want to focus on (e.g. I've heard that Georgetown's language and security studies departments might be cool if you're interested), give that school extra consideration when picking between the three.
  10. I'm going to shamelessly plug for my school (CMU Heinz). I've posted some pros and cons here: But also, I'd like to echo the above posters. Rankings (esp. USNWR) are NOT helpful for public policy applicants. UNSWR has Indiana ranked above HKS and WWS, and schools like SAIS aren't even included. Yet HKS, WWS, and SAIS grads are the ones getting into the most influential employers. Several things that matter more than rankings include: The actual reputation of the school. A good rule of thumb is to go by the general reputation of the school. I.e. you can expect Berkeley grads to be hired before Indiana grads, all else held equal, with a few exceptions. The curriculum and focus of your school. Some schools, like UPenn Fels, are heavily focused on local government. So if, for example, you wanted the UPenn name but didn't want to go into local government, you'd be better off just going for Wharton or an M.S. program instead. Also schools' coursework may not help you prepare you for what you want to get into if you're not careful. If you want to go into data-focused policy but you also want Georgetown because of its name, then you may want to choose CMU instead. Location. DC or NYC will help. And etc... All that being said, there are nine schools that I repeatedly hear of, have strong reputations in the policy fields, and have enough breadth to appeal to a wide range of students. I've put an asterisk next to schools that provide more financial aid than others. Note though that Berkeley and Michigan aid typically comes in the form of assistantships that you don't get until after you commit. They are listed below in no particular order: Princeton*, Harvard, Columbia, Chicago, Duke*, Georgetown, CMU*, Berkeley*, Michigan* A firm sent me the list in a survey concerning my perceptions of the reputations of various public policy schools and I felt that the list almost perfectly mirrored my experiences. I can't think of another school to add to the list and I can't think of a school to take off it. Of course, take it with a pinch of salt. If you're comparing Duke to American and the DC location factor is extremely important to you, the list doesn't imply that you should ignore DC or the scholarship that American may give you. The list also doesn't focus on schools from an international affairs stance (e.g. SAIS and Tufts Fletcher should be on there), but for that, I've actually found the Foreign Policy rankings to be somewhat helpful.
  11. The answer to your questions depends on where you are, where you want to go, and how driven you are. I'm currently a student at Heinz College, so my views may be slanted in favor of it, but here's what I know: Pros: I've received internship offers from several highly selective employers (i.e. many top 20 schools represented, less than 1% interviewed, intelligence tests required, previous experience including PwC and the White House, etc.) and they have all been impressed by the Carnegie Mellon name. This isn't Harvard, but it's clear that for all except the snobbiest of employers, the CMU name will help. If you want to go to a policy school that will grant you technical skills, CMU is it. The reason why I chose the school is because I couldn't find the range of quantitative courses in any other public policy program. If you're careful, you can set up your entire curriculum to be focused on things like decision science, operations research, data mining, machine learning, and etc. With the exemptions I have and the focus of my course planning, I'll likely have at least 45 (i.e. 1.5 years) semester credits (or 135 units in the CMU system) of coursework in these technical fields. And you can always take less if it's too much---the point is that the opportunity is here. Of course, the flip side of this is that if you're not careful, you may end up taking softer courses that you don't want or need. I've never heard anything bad about the softer courses since the subjects are interesting, but make sure you know what you want. CMU's strength is in computer science, data analytics, and related subjects. I feel it is wise to take advantage of this. Most of my interviewers have been impressed by the skills I've gained at CMU--R data mining, SQL, econometrics, decision analytics, and etc. that help me to analyze international issues with greater rigor than a typical MPP. Also, the information science school is housed in the same building. We can share classes, students, and perspectives, which broadens our networks and friend groups. A majority of my closest friends are in fact in the MISM (MS information system management) program. My most rigorous and interesting courses are oftentimes part of the MISM elective/core curriculum. Below, I note that one con is that there isn't much available in the way for careers focused on diplomacy/international affairs. But right next door is the University of Pittsburgh. If you join CMU as a student, you are always free to travel to Pitt to network with professors and students. You can key skills during the day at CMU and at night talk to people at Pitt to get a different perspective and/or develop your network. Students here all have strong backgrounds. Two founded NGOs in their home country. Several worked for CBO. One worked for the UN, founded a startup, and worked in state government. Another worked in a senior position at the Ministry of Defense in his home country and yet another fought in Afghanistan for several years. There's always something to learn from these people. If you got in, be proud of your accomplishments and be ready to listen to others' stories of what they did before grad school. Cons: Not really a con, but just a reminder: brand name isn't everything. Deloitte and PwC, along with major public sector employers like CBO, GAO, the NSA, and the Treasury all recruit heavily here. Many Heinz students are hired. But they're all still competing with each other like they would at any other school. Just like not every grad of a top 25 school is hired into a top employer, not every Heinz student makes it through Deloitte's case interview. If you really want a specific position, the resources *are* here to help you get in. But be prepared to work for it. If you want an internationally focused career (UN, etc.), then CMU isn't as well connected as WWS, SAIS, or HKS. 40% of students are international, so students sometimes end up working for the World Bank and other top employers. I've received internship offers from these organizations. But that's because we've worked to get into those organizations. Professors here are top-notch, with ground-breaking research being done in domestic policy and quantitative disciplines, but it's not like at SAIS where the dean of your school happens to sometimes be a former undersecretary of the State Department. It's not DC. While employers from all over the country recruit here, public sector and multilateral employers aren't always a 15-minute drive away--we're 4.5 hours from DC. As noted before, employers like the NSA and GAO have sent their representatives to recruit at Heinz multiple times this past year, but the DC factor is something we Heinz students obviously don't get unless we're in the MS-DC program. I've heard from other grads that our core curriculum is a bit more restrictive than it is at other grad schools. I haven't had any issues personally--I got exemptions and I actually love their quant core courses like stochastic and optimization management science--but that's something to consider if other schools allow you to customizes your studies more and have a reputation that ranges more broadly. If you want more info, feel free to PM me. I may not check the Grad Cafe every day, but I'll try to respond when I can.
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