I'm an international student with an economics degree from a top Canadian uni. (But I am not a Canadian). I was admitted to Johns Hopkins SAIS MA in DC, Heinz MSPPM-DA and Cornell CIPA MPA
In general, I was struggling with a stronger interest in macro research (SAIS) vs a possibly better employment outcome from a STEM degree (Heinz)
I found myself more interested in macroeconomic research + international relations. So SAIS is more closely related in that regard though the curriculum as many overlaps with my undergrad degree and less quantitative focused (Econ waiver exams, self-study in data analysis and possibly CFA is the way to go). But as an international student, the best way out is probably the RA position at IMF, then jump back to macro research in banking sector in London, Hong Kong, Singapore..etc But SAIS MA might not be competitive enough comparing to a finance degree. Also, SAIS's alumni network is the strongest and I do find that we have shared academic interests and career goals.
2. Heinz MSPPM-DA is a STEM degree primarily focusing on data analytics + public policy. The curriculum is rich and challenging for sure. The class size of the DA track is much smaller than SAIS (50 vs 200+). The employment outcome is much better at Heinz as DA/DS is always on demand. But many DA track alumni work in tech. Eg, data scientists in FANG, which is not the path that I wanna pursue. But I do think the MSPPM-DA is a great program for training digital transformation consultant. I'm interested in digital consulting in public sector, just a bit more interested in macro research.
3. I'm more leaning toward the first two programs. CIPA definitely shows its flexibility of taking a variety of courses but I think narrowing down my focus and get specialized in one domain will be much more beneficiary in the job market (for the next 3-5 years). However, please share your thoughts on CIPA as I might miss some really good opportunities there.
4. OPT: MSPPM-DA program does allow me to potentially work in the U.S. for a longer period of time. But TBH as this point, I'd prioritize personal growth over locations, meaning I don't mind relocating to Asia, Europe or anywhere that will accelerate my career development. So OPT will probably be a secondary priority.
5. I did receive funding but the amount of funding received for each program. I got the most from Heinz > = SAIS > CIPA. But there's no huge gap in funding received. So I guess the question is really about the program and employment outcomes.
So, I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments, advice or just anything.
Thank you and appreciate it