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GradSchoolGrad last won the day on September 15

GradSchoolGrad had the most liked content!


About GradSchoolGrad

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    New York
  • Application Season
    2016 Fall
  • Program
    Graduate of Georgetown McCourt MPP

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  1. In all fairness, Princeton MPA will be much harder than SAIS. SAIS does at times take some risk on a candidate who may not have all the quant in background, however usually they are people with extensive work experience. However, indications are that this will be an exceptionally difficult application cycle due to COVID-19 by virtue of deferrals wanting their slot back... but that could easily change by many other COVID factors TBD. As to answer your question. 1. Emphasize quant based projects and how you used data to be successful 2. Highlight Math aptitude and curiosity. Can you please highlight why you are dead set on SAIS? Sounds like there is a story there.
  2. Kiss Princeton MPA and SAIS goodbye. I honestly don't know why you want to do Princeton MPA if you are going IR unless you are trying to do something super academic. I would say Georgetown MSFS and SIPA are both more robust options (in terms of academic opportunities).
  3. I don't think you realize that your "very different' undergrad education" actually makes you more competitive by virtue of making you unique + messages the ability to handle quant (I believe you are a science guy). So that actually comes as an advantage. I totally get the money thing, but there is money and timing. These schools will be around next year and their financial situation can't be worse than this year to dole out money (with the exception of Princeton which garauntees). As for nuances, I recommend you talk to some student ambassadors (or equivalents) + get on the phone with some recent alums that are in your network. It will help you make better choices among the limited choices I understand that you do have.
  4. They don't reveal their numbers (unlike MBAs) since MPP programs don't want to be perceived as playing an admissions numbers game. Anecdotally, everyone that I know who qualified for Princeton MPP at my policy school who weren't location tied (except for myself) applied for it. I have heard back of the envelope numbers from people in industry say roughly 25% admissions rate for HKS in general and 15% for Princeton MPP, but that was year's ago and uncertain reliability. I would take it with a grain of salt, but I would say it is directionally correct. MC/MPA and Princeton MPP isn't a straight forward apples to apples comparison. MC/MPA still has quant but is not as quant intense at Princeton MPP. Princeton MPP is kind of geared more towards career switchers going deep in Policy than career advancement per se. HKS MC/MPA is geared more towards Policy leadership roles. I mean hypothetically, there is a lot of cross over in terms of jobs being targeted, but the programs are decently nuanced with different strengths and weaknesses. Overall, it sounds like you are targeting a top tier program that fits you broadly in terms of timeline and eligibility, but I think you have failed to do your due diligence in researching the nuances to see if your goals actually align with each program's strengths and weaknesses. Otherwise, you wouldn't be asking so many of the same type of questions over and over again in more unique situations. Not trying to be mean. Just trying to help you make a plan for next steps.
  5. Ya but NYU Wagner and Columbia SIPA (assuming you not doing IR) are much easier to get into than Princeton MPP due to supply and demand (# of students apply vs. # of seats available). Huge difference.
  6. Hey man, I went to grad school with 8 years of work experience. It wasn't the end of the world. If you are really eyeballing Princeton MPP, I would just apply next year. If you apply this year and they smoke you out as A. Being unqualified or B. Being unqualified and knowing you are unqualified after checking with admissions Worst case scenario is that it could look really bad for you and you become an automatic reject next time you apply. Like I said, I don't 100% know Princeton's admissions practices. I'm just speaking to industry common practices I have seen. Also, it is likely easier to get in for the fall of 2022 class than fall of 2021 class. I mean at this point, especially without submitting standardized tests + being on the lower end of career years, you are coming from a position of weakness and not strength so you need every advantage you can get (not disadvantage).
  7. Unless that person giving you advice has insider information, that is a terrible idea. A lot of times (and in no way am 100% sure Princeton does this, but every admissions officer I encountered in IR and Policy does), admissions offices have Graduate assistants do initial screens of resumes to make sure you match up the pre-reqs. If you are in question, you go into the questionable pile (if not outright rejection) for adjudication. That is when the professionals do a further screen of you. If the person who originally told you no is a graduate assistant, then that means you didn't pass the sniff test. If it was a professional admissions person, that means your story will likely be remembered (they won't remember your name, but they will remember your unique story from your resume). ALSO - especially given how you are the lower end of career experience, your resume would be given more scrutiny, lowering your chances of actually getting in. If you want to take that risk, then it is on you. I am just giving you a real shake. Honestly, what is so bad about taking the GRE for HKS or waiting a year (maybe you wrote it before and I missed it)?
  8. Okay, clearly we have a major gap between what you think schools look for and what they more realistically look for / view what hurts you. So lets reframe this: Your strengths: 1. Your work experience. It sounds like you are in a leadership role and you are in a high intensity job. My bet is that you are probably are in are reputable brand name firm too. These are things that public policy schools look for. Another thing is that coming from finance makes you very unique compared to most of our colleagues at policy programs and helps with a school's interest to become more diverse. Not to be mean, but it sounds like you haven't done your research on policy schools and what they look for in terms of perspective students. If you go on some websites, its pretty much all there. Its 100% fine (even potentially advantageous) if your work experience is completely unrelated. 2. Your passion for social impact (you just were messaging it poorly). You want to highlight how you care about making social impact and realized by XYZ activities (just don't mention the Asian thing). 3. Academics. Same deal as before... Weaknesses: 1. Why policy school. You need to do a better job explaining what your career goals are (broadly speaking) and how policy school can get you there. Just saying Federal consulting or Federal employee with out more of story won't get you far. You also need to better explain why policy school will make a difference for you, both in terms of career and making social impact. Finally, you need to more coherently explain why you want to pivot your career. Right now I'm just hearing speaking in vague thoughts and generalities. You need to weave together a coherent story. The first thing you might want to do is have some meaningful conversations with students and recent alums with significant pre-grad school work experience. Schools. I think you are within striking distance of SIPA and Harris, if you manage to tell a convincing story about your interests in policy school. I would say the schools that are the best fit in order are: 1. Harris --> best able to leverage your quant skills. Also, they have a robust consulting pipeline (commercial and public sector) 2. Terry Sanford --> Strong focus on social policy 3. Wagner --> If you want to focus on an operations and programming perspective, that would be a good opportunity. I already explained why I'm not a big fan of McCourt for you. I think very uniquely for you, I would like you to reconsider SIPA. Someone correct me if I'm wrong here, but I don't view them to be a strong school for social policy. They got some flashy stuff going on, but substance wise I view them as their core strengths being all things international relations/international development. They have a social policy focused cohort but social policy folks don't exactly go running towards it.
  9. So here are my thoughts: Strengths: 1. Academics: I think you can mitigate your freshman year issues with an addendum explaining your Freshman year woos (assuming you have a good story there). Your grades in key class items are generally good. Your GRE is amazing. NYU is a pretty good school from a brand/difficulty perspective. + you check of the major boxes of showing quant proficiency. Weaknesses --> Everything Else 1. Work Experience --> Maybe there is a messaging gap, but although your work is showing great intentions, you are not really highlighting that you did anything of significant intensity / extreme difficulty. Don't get me wrong, I totally applaud what you are doing in being a good human and etc. However, based off of how you are currently describing it, it shows good intentions, but isn't identifying your ability to overcome hardship/challenges in any capacity. You have to realize schools are impressed by work experience that highlight that you can make a meaningful impact by doing the hard stuff and going for big things. Another issue with your work experience is that it doesn't make you unique in anyway. If anything, Policy schools are disproportionately overpopulated with teachers, social workers, community resource type folks (I'm bucketing them in one group because schools generally think of them in one group). 2. Academic Interest --> The easiest way to make yourself less competitive is to highlight that you are interested in social policy broadly (this can vary decently by school) and want to go to the social policy cohort (for those schools that have cohorts). Again, in terms of resources set aside to social policy, there is disproportionate demand, both from those who come from the social policy sphere and those who want to switch into it. You don't want to be disingenuous and lie and say something else, because people can sniff that out in essays and god forbid you have to do a soft interview (some schools present the opportunity to do so). 3. The Asian thing and Policy Schools --> So this is interesting. The bottom line is that most policy programs are trying to be more diverse. It used to be being more diverse meant having loads of Chinese International students and identifying them + US asians bucketed as minorities with all the other minority groups. However, with the draw down of Chinese international students, this has generally disappeared as a practice. That being said, being Asian doesn't really help you as schools are trying to boost historically disadvantaged minorities. Also, I am fully aware about the issues of Asian poverty and etc., but not to sound mean, but that is not something that really flies well in public policy schools beyond brand spectrum impacts (like oh Obama care impacts XYZ Hispanics and XYZ Asians). Asians are simply not as severely disadvantaged in the US as a minority group in comparison to others (African American, Hispanic, and Native American) as a whole, so there isn't a real public policy targeting impoverished Asians other than some language programs. I honestly can't think of a single policy school professor I ever encountered who could mentor you in this area appropriately. Asian studies professors, sure, but not policy. I say this because you are really indexing the Asian community thing, but perception rightly or wrongly could work against you. 4. Career interests Right now you haven't coherently identified why consulting (or what type of consulting) or being a Federal employee. You need go in to an application with a story and right now you don't s sound like you have one. You also mention you want an MPA, but you do realize some of the schools you mention only provide an MPP??? My Take: I think you'll be able to get into NYU Wagner, McCourt, and Batten Pre Covid. Of these schools, NYU Wagner is probably your best fit. If you want to go to McCourt, I really hope you are able to be a solo operator because the culture won't really help you work on your career opportunities. If you want to go to UVA Batten, I hope you really like team dynamics and values based education, because UVA Batten has the most intense team building and values based emphasis. Harris, Sanford, and SIPA might work for you Pre-COVID, but given how COVID is currently suggesting higher application rates, I think those look really rough for you.
  10. So anecdotal, but everyone I know who went to think tank straight from undergrad or master's ended up leaving to go to another grad program (J.D., MBA, or something random) to move to a 2nd career after being so frustrated with Think Tank world. Maybe I just. run with a bunch action oriented people who have no patience. However, I wanted to give a sample of what I have seen.
  11. Here are my thoughts: 1. About schools: I think you are way stronger of a candidate than you think you actually are. No one cares about 1 grade as long as your overall GPA is great. I think you shown enough math/programming skills to show you are dangerous even if you haven't done full blown econometrics. I actually think you are within striking distance of HKS Pre-Covid. Again - not sure how competitive this application cycle is. If you don't get into Harris, I would be surprised. I think the best options for you would be HKS, Harris, and Sanford in that order. McCourt is interesting because you are right about its quant advantage + network... HOWEVER, granted many professors have networks to Think Tanks, only about 1 person (if any) go to a Think Tank a year (pure think tank like Urban or Brookings, not just a research institute or org that has a research arm). I think its interesting that the 1 Think Tank alumni who comes back is essentially worshipped on career day, but few have been able to ride that. The reason is because Think Tanks are so competitive among PhDs and Post-Docs already, let alone the Master's crew. I bet McCourt will probably give you the most scholarship because they like people from brand name schools. However, if your Think Tank plans fall off the wayside, the school doesn't have a good culture or structure to help you with other career options --> AKA: unless you go to one of the few historic recruiting paths - Deloitte or Mathamatica, you are on your own. 2. Careers: Think Tank - you might want to think twice about doing the Think Tank role. Obviously there are some cool points, but: a. Not really a great place to work in terms of career development and mentoring (especially as Master's person where you'll forever be 2nd class to PhDs) b. Very very very rarely have I seen a person last past their early 30s in a think tank (without a PhD and some even with a PhD). At a certain point you are just stove piped unless you manage to go to the managerial track. Federal Government: The three easiest ways to get in the Federal Government are: a. Presidential Management Fellowship (what I recommend). It used to be super competitive, but not as much anymore. b. Pathways internship --> good luck finding those anymore... hence the advantage of being in DC is diminished c. Competitive Application --> Depending on demand this ranges greatly... and honestly you can backdoor this if you make targeted connections (which if you have strong Professors with connections, they can help you).
  12. 1. Stats and Micro-Econ puts you in a good position directly, but it would be helpful if you identified if your took Calc or. Econometrics. Your work experience is legit, but nothing extra ordinary. Like between straight from undergrad to Navy Seal, you are in the middle. 2. I honestly don't know the West Coast schools that well in terms of admissions, so I don't feel comfortable answering. 3. I am a big fan of Duke Sanford and UVA Batten MPP as awesome programs. HOWEVER... those are East Coast schools, and it doesn't really make sense for you if you want to stay out West. 4. Just drop CIPA from your list. It is like Stanford MPP - great University, but not a great program.
  13. @EveningLeaves To answer your questions. 1. Exit opportunities from Federal Consulting generally land in these three areas a.. Transition to Private sector that does business with Federal government a lot (example - Adobe cloud sales team to Government) b. Transition to Private sector tangentially related to Federal Consuling role (example - user experience person does customer experience at Hilton) c. Transition to Public sector as a contractor or senior level career government official (higher end GS or special pay grades) 2. Its funny that you ask me about stress of Federal Consulting vs. Big Law. I would say the sources of stress can be different. a. In Big Law the stress is how you sometimes have multiple masters as an associate (multiple partners want things from you), making you work 90 hours a week on terrible work weeks. Also there are plenty of deadlines. Granted firms vary greatly, but generally speaking, you are too busy for the daily drama of things. b. In Federal Consulting the stress is generally focused on 3 areas. i. The drama. Because the hours are relatively relaxed + with lots and lots of opportunities for socializing --> there is a fair amount of intra-work drama that happens due to team dynamics + social events ii. The waiting on your client to do something (not their fault, but waiting on the gears of government to turn) to see if what you done for XYZ months/years with millions/billions of dollars Is a failure or not iii. FOMO on networking opportunities 3. As for me, I went to the tech space. Not a common MPP route, but I was able to do it because someone took a chance on me to let me work in a big tech company and I was able to turn that a experience around to greater career opportunities that are tangentially policy related. That being said, Tik Tok has been on a hiring spree of MPPs, but I WOULD NOT take that job because of all the negative perceptions about the company (not just the China thing, but how they are struggling with getting their act together from a business organization angle too(.
  14. @EveningLeaves Before we talk to you about schools... I recommend you read my posts about Federal Consulting first. Like you, I entered grad school gunning for Federal Consulting, but I'm so glad I got diverted from that path.
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