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  • Interests
    Health / Social Policy
  • Application Season
    2019 Fall
  • Program
    MPP: Ford, Sanford

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TalkPoliticsToMe's Achievements


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  1. I also second applying and seeing what funding packages are offered your way. MBA programs generally have a LOT more funding available than MPP/MPA programs. I am going the dual MBA/MPP route and have a similar background to you (4 years healthcare consulting, 1.5 years at a Fortune 7 company). I chose to add the MBA for similar concerns about job security/selection and for “insurance”. Many of the roles I’m currently interested in specify they prefer MBA, MPH, or MHA candidates—even those within the government and public sector space. My MBA program is unfunded at the moment but I plan on applying to various scholarship programs to lower the cost. I’m doing the MPP because it interests me and will help me get my foot in the door in the public sector space, while the MBA is more insurance for longer term career prospects. In terms of the courses being the same - I can see what the previous poster was getting at. A lot of the skills and management emphasis will be similar—both MBA and MPP will teach you financial skills (eg Econ, statistics, finance) and management skills (leadership, ethics, how to work in a team, communications, etc). The key difference is the setting in which the above is applied (largely private sector orientation in MBA vs public sector services in MPP). Either way, I do not think you can go wrong! Happy to chat more offline if needed.
  2. I have a friend that did the Georgetown part time program while working full time. I have notes from a conversation I held with her — I’ll send them to you privately.
  3. How are people finding roommates? Anyone still in need of housing?
  4. I don’t know that it matters. I took some finance / Econ courses as an undergrad (business major). I didn’t do stellar (2.9-3.2), and my GRE Quant score was on the low end (151). I had four years private sector consulting experience, and one year working in corporate functions within a retail company. I got into all schools I applied to with funding (Ford, Sanford) and into MBA programs as well. It’s more about the story you tell on your resume and how you demonstrated analytical and quantitative thinking, as well as crafting compelling essays outlining your rationale for each program. If I were you I would focus on getting a great quant score on the GRE/GMAT. It will help tremendously with funding in the MPP but more importantly for MBA scholarship funding. MBA programs are a lot more stingy than policy programs. If your GRE/GMAT score is still lacking then I would look into taking a course or two to show you can handle the coursework.
  5. Honestly no idea. I share the same concerns as you (although not first gen or low income) so a large part (85%) of my decision was related to funding. I think if USC is where your heart is I would call admissions and see if there’s anyway they can match or offer you an equally compelling stipend like LBJ. That will at least remove any “what if” scenarios from plaguing your mind.
  6. Really up to you and your need for funding, as well as the program features. If the USC program excites you more (which it seems it does) then I would go with USC and be fine with covering all other expenses. I will say if you want to end up working in LA or California then USC is the way to go. The Trojan network is a real asset in that regard. I have never been to Austin but have had several friends visit and two that are there for graduate school (MBA). They all love it so I wouldn’t worry too much about the city itself.
  7. I wouldn’t get hung up on the prestige of your undergraduate institution as you performed extremely well while there. Not all of us can attend Ivies and schools know that—especially for first generation students / low income households. If anything, your undergad institution can be mitigated through your essays. You can expand / reflect on how your undergrad experience and personal background influenced you to pursue graduate study etc etc
  8. Oh wow! What made him decide to pursue the MPH after law school?
  9. I went to Ford Spring Preview - happy to address further questions and/or hear the perspectives from others that attended Ford as well. I will be attending Ford this fall for the following reasons: Faculty: This was the biggest factor in my decision and one that I was not prioritizing going into Spring Preview. However, the Faculty Panel and lunch changed my tune. The faculty at Ford are doing very cool things and were quite approachable. The Director of Academics shared with us that all Ford Faculty are evaluated not only on research and teaching but also service. As such there seems to be a lot of opportunities to get involved in on the ground projects with faculty, and that faculty address real world issues in real time pertaining to their fields of focus. Many faculty also have appointments in other schools which brings a different lens to instruction. Curriculum Flexibility: My impression at Ford is that the program follows a “choose your own adventure” approach, although they do have formalized tracks should students seek a more structured route. This was important to me as I am unsure of which policy area I would like to pursue; currently leaning towards health policy but I have several areas of interest. I tis also heavily encouraged to take courses in other departments. Michigan makes it easy to cross-enroll and they pride themselves on that. Additionally, Ford leadership is invested in revamping their curriculum--they seek feedback from Ford alumni on ways they can improve the program. That is one the reasons why they rolled out formalized tracks. They are also evaluating ways they can reinvent how they teach econ to graduate students in a way that is more applicable for professional settings. Geographic Spread: I was worried initially that Ford's imprint in DC metro and west coast would be limited due to their Midwestern location. These are the two areas that I see myself post-graduation. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that DC has the largest base of Ford alumni and California is within the top 6 locations in which Ford graduates gravitate towards. The others in the Top 6: Michigan, D.C., International, California, New York, and Illinois. This is based on roughly 4 years of both internship and FT data that was shared by Ford's Graduate Career Services staff. Dean and Program Funding: The Dean has an extensive background in policy, politics, and law. He has worked in the administrations for two Presidents, including management of special task force and headed up an an agency. As such, he is very much attune to what the MPP is, its value, and importance of forming connections on the Hill. From what students shared he has also increased the amount of donations the Ford School received. This has allowed them to do things like open up the new Diplomacy Center (Weiser) and further invest in international opportunities for students. He also makes himself available to students by offering office hours once a month. He also came by to greet students throughout the day and wish us congratulations. Other things to keep in mind: Facilities: underwhelming relative to other graduate schools on campus (e.g. Law School, Business School, School of Public Health). It is definitely an older building with less focus on natural light and spaces to congregate for group work. etc. Policy vs. Adminstration: the Ford School is definitely policy-centric as opposed to management/administration centric. Something to keep in mind for anyone more interested in managing an agency or other public/NGO entity vs. policy making. Students: It was hard to gage the incoming class as most folks were still considering multiple offers (from Harris, HKS, Sanford, and Columbia were the ones most frequently mentioned. I also met a young people there (defined as individuals with two or fewer years of experience), but again, this may have been random coincidence and not truly representative of the incoming class. The individuals I interacted with left me feeling underwhelmed but again that may have been a bad draw of who I interacted with. Thus, I spent majority of my time interacting with the current cohorts and faculty to understand who the Ford student is. The students were friendly, a mix of extroverts and introverts, and very honest. I met military members and students with families. A professor described the ideal Ford student as "a realist that is optimistic about addressing social problems" while another said simply "they genuinely care about doing good in the world." Cost of Attendance: Faculty, alumni, and current students were very upfront about money. Faculty I interacted with stressed the importance of funding and taking that into the decision making process--even if that meant they would have to decline Ford. I was amazed how open people were about this. There were a lot of alumni who attended Ford with no funding, but have since been advocating the school provide heavier tuition assistance. However they enjoyed their experience and did not regret attending. Similarly, there were also Ford students who turned down funding elsewhere to attend but they were able to justify their rationale. Diversity & Inclusion: Ford (and University of Michigan as an institution) is very aware they have issues with diversity & inclusion and are actively working to make faculty and the student body more inclusive. The Dean was very transparent about their efforts, as were the students. I'm used to being in spaces lacking diversity so this was refreshing to hear and glad the Dean addressed it head on as part of his opening.
  10. Hi there - I just got back from Ford’s Open House. A common theme from the faculty, alumni, and several students was not to underestimate the debt burden. A very prominent professor in poverty research in fact told me straight up to go to the institution that would result in the least amount of loans. For me, that so happens to be Ford. That said I think it’s 100% wise for you to focus on UVA and UT Austin. They are both large public research institutions like Michigan. As such you will have easy access to all the research centers, academic departments, and support services offered. This gives you flexibility to tailor your degree to your choosing vs being restricted to courses within the policy school only. They are both also very fun college towns with people moving there to study and build a network (vs Columbia or other city schools where folks treat school as a secondary experience, with returning to work and associating with their existing networks as a primary). As long as you will be happy in the environment / school culture at UVA or UT, go for it. Just my two cents! (Additionally, if you haven’t done so already, I would also try negotiating with Ford leveraging your funding offers from Batten and LBJ. Never know what they may come back with.)
  11. I applied to two programs (Ford, Sanford), but if I were to do it over again I would only apply to one more program: Harris. I was looking for dual MBA/MPP programs so that limited my scope quite a bit. I found out about Chicago late in the game and after asking for recommendations for essentially 4 programs felt guilty about asking for additional on top of that with such short notice. However, the funding and acceptances worked in my favor so I don’t have any regrets! Applications take a lot of time and energy so I’m glad I kept my pool smaller.
  12. Have you visited either campus at all or taken into consideration what learning environment you work best in? Berkeley’s campus is beautiful and concentrated in its own area, vs Columbia being sprawled around the city of New York. While you may focus most of your studies within the policy building, layout and structure of the campus is something to consider should you want to explore other departments. Berkeley also has a thriving sports culture / school spirit relative to Columbia. Is that appealing to you? Is it important to you to be surrounded by open spaces and natural landscapes? Is cost of living important to you? (I’d argue Berkeley is higher cost of living than NYC given the growth in SF) I would also say that if you’re goal is to end up returning further east then Berkeley may not be the best option. Not that you couldn’t return to the east coast but you may have to work a little harder. Lastly, based on your post above, it seems Columbia is much more appealing to you. If it’s the ranking of Berkeley that’s making you reconsider, I’d toss that aside. Both programs are so strong that their relative rankings (in my opinion) should not factor into your decision making. Additionally, as someone who attended a large state school for undergrad you can make your experience as worthwhile as the effort you put forth. I never felt shortchanged for opportunities, however, I always made it a point to remember why I was in school vs becoming distracted by the allures of college life.
  13. The apprehension is due to instability in student debt (and the individuals in charge of the Dept of Education @ the federal level) / rising costs of tuition, as well as rising costs of living. Columbia is in a VERY expensive city and taking on six figure debt for a degree that doesn’t hold the same market value as an MBA, JD, or MD is scary for many. I would create a budget sheet if I were you to see if it really makes sense, keeping in mind the cost of living for where you you will be attending and where you want to end up post grad. I’d factor in healthcare, transportation (will you have a car? Public transit pass? Uber/Lyft?), personal expenditures (movies/concerts/etc), food/groceries, housing (will you rent? Own? Do you want to live downtown or further out from a city?), etc. Liferally anything and everything and see if the $150K is worth it.
  14. My sister went to Stanford for undergrad without a car. She got around just fine, but highly recommends investing in a bike at the very least just to get around campus. For any needs involving getting out of Palo Alto (or really campus) she relied on friends that had cars, sucked it up and Uber/Lyft’d, or if she had to, navigated the public transit system to get into town.
  15. They do re-negotiate. I sent them a note asking if they could match another offer I had (from Ford) and while they were unable to match, they did increase their initial offer to me.
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