Jump to content

tacos95

Members
  • Content Count

    24
  • Joined

  • Last visited

About tacos95

  • Rank
    Decaf

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Man
  • Location
    Washington DC
  • Application Season
    2020 Fall
  • Program
    MPP/MA

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. 5 may be a little on the high side. I right around 2, and managed to get into SAIS with significant funding. Granted, I was an Econ undergrad, but still, if work experience can be fairly technical (data analyst jobs are a clear step and seem to be growing out the wazoo), that may ameliorate quant deficiencies. This is a great step. I think an Econometrics course on the side (with an A) would really increase your profile. Also, pound the GRE study materials and practice tests! This is something you have control over. Fellowships, getting papers published and getting an impressive job in the interim are all partially outside your control. But you can bump up your GRE scores if you put in the hours. Your starting points aren't too bad. But get a bunch of flashcards, and memorize every word on the Magoosh list. And the math stuff, buy a good used test prep book on eBay for $10 bucks, and do every problem until you know how to do it without hints. When I was studying, I took a full practice test every Saturday for like two and a half months. Do that. I know it sounds like a drag (it is), but if you really want to get into an elite school, it could be worth it. If you tack on 4-5 more points for verbal and quant each, you'll have fairly competitive scores. And as others have been mentioning around here, school seem to be weighting the GRE more, for good or ill. Another possible way to get some quant rep, learn some Python or R, and make a website where you explain a question/issue/challenge and post some pretty charts. Topic may not even matter loads. Baseball could be fun. Maybe a Coursera certificate or two in one of those languages? May be BS, but I don't know if admissions can tell that. Not sure, but maybe others (@GradSchoolGrad) could speak to whether this could help. Just trying to think of things you can control.
  2. I mentioned the savior complex at least once, and summer hours have been implemented at my office, so I'll bite. My answer is long, but after all this is a forum for hopeful academics, and it really was a question in the spirit of intellectual curiosity. 1. I think it's the sense an individual has that he or she brings skills to the table which are crucial to some institution's goal. Institution could be broadly taken: I think the complex is broadly observed -- the academy, industry and the policy arena. There are people who think their particular package of skills, perspectives, life experience, ideology, etc. make them extremely important (I'll follow the outline and get to whether this is good or bad in point 3). I'm headed for the policy/IR realm, and I think the savior complex may be most robustly represented here. People applying to top MPP/MPA/IR programs are by definition interested in social and political issues, and some of them seem to think that the folks they hope to help via policy can only be helped by super sharp people with degrees from an ivory tower, lest all the common people die. Of course different areas of policy exist to structure society to help people. Yet some people who are interested in social, education and health policy, just for example, think they will get into the policy world and write the white paper that changes the sector, or execute something similar that liberates people via some government/nonprofit program. They either don't consider or they think they can overcome the possibility that a) common people don't want help or are fine, or b) that some issues are far too complex for an abstract economic/sociological/psychological model to solve (or else we would've solved a whole lot more by now). TBH, Vox kind of epitomizes this for me. Societal progress happens slowly and incrementally, not only because of sclerotic and intransigent people and institutions, but also because some problems are just tough nuts to crack. I hear plenty of naively optimistic and admittedly smart young people who act like no one has been trying to fix social problems for decades, and believe that, if only they can get into a position of power and tweak the knobs of the policy machine to just the right calibration, all will be well. TL;DR version: Arrogance characterized by compassion, with lots of self-congratulation. 2. I guess it might easily be confused for sheer ambition. A helpful contrast may be a person with the savior complex as an MPA student focusing on urban housing vs. a finance undergrad who follows up with an MBA to go to Goldman or whatever (not that there's never overlap), the former having the potential to have a savior complex, and the latter just being ambitious. And I'm perfectly willing to admit there are some sincere and earnest people going to policy school who are humble and recognize their limits, yet also hope dutifully to chip away at society's (or a firm's, or an academic discipline's) challenges as one in a long line of smart people. I won't deny my cynicism may have blinded me erroneously to label some such people as the compassionately arrogant. 3. I'm inclined to say bad, simply because I think many of the world's problems could be boiled down to people thinking too much of themselves. But I did also say it is characterized by compassion, and I certainly wouldn't say compassion is bad. A bit softheaded, or naive, but not bad. And it isn't fitting to despair in the face of challenges, so I admire their optimism. 4. Heck, I think whole "disciplines" have been invented because of this. I also think some people probably take on too much debt because they suppose it'll be worth it when they lift a whole generation out of poverty.
  3. I didn't see this earlier when I posted on basically the same topic over on the SAIS thread in Government Affairs. I would also be interested to hear from the broader range of people people who came into the job market in the last recession. And if they want to bank off any of my thoughts, here they are: - Opportunity cost of going to school for next two years, if predictions about lengthy recession are correct, is much lower; the economy won't be as hot, salaries will be lower, promotions more scarce. Of course, there's the case that it's a crucial time to be in the workforce, to gain experience, network, credibility etc. I suppose that's only marginally more true than it always is though. - There's argument is that our cohort will be graduating into a crap market. Therefore, foregone income and loans accrued during grad school will hurt all the more. Maybe I'm being pollyannaish, but most recessions are well under 2 years, and I doubt this is going to be as catastrophic as the Great Depression. So Summer 2022 could be just the right time to enter the economy. Sure, the prospect for internships during school may be lower than normal. That's a bit worrying, but not overwhelming to me. Fall 2020 application cycle could be construed as the perfect time: right now the economy is bad, and though everyone else knows it at this point, the admissions process is over, so we get the opportunity to tool up when we'd likely not be having a great experience in the labor market. And we didn't have to face as stiff of competition (no offense to everyone here, including me) as there will be during next year's admissions cycle. - Some have said stuff about geopolitical flux totally changing landscape for public affairs/IR. But I very much doubt a reconfiguration in trade, etc. would reduce demand for people who have studied international affairs/trade/public policy. Sure, the dynamics would be different, but all the more reason for there to be more technocrats weighing the costs and benefits of trade structures, right? If, for example, the US halts trade with China, do you think there will be less analysis and commentary on trade policy? Of course not. However, I get the risk aversion. I'm fortunate enough to have a wonderful wife who can cover living expenses while I'm in school, and I got good funding, so we won't have to take on any debt. I'm on board with all the posts about big loans being a bad idea. I wouldn't take out more than $40k in a booming economy. Our decadent and indulgent culture, along with romance of being degreed, causes many people to incur costs they shouldn't and cannot take on. Particularly among idealistic, overweening policy types with a savior complex, who too readily apply MMT to their personal lives.
  4. Of course not. If you got more funding at SAIS, go to SAIS. SFS is obviously really great, and the rankings aren't totally meaningless. But as your question correctly addresses, it is decidedly not twice as good.
  5. I very much doubt a reconfiguration in trade would reduce demand for people who have studied international trade. Sure, the dynamics would be different, but all the more reason for there to be more technocrats weighing the costs and benefits of trade structures, right? If, for example, the US halts trade with China, do you think there will be less analysis and commentary on trade policy? Of course not. In the case of cycles of pandemic, it is unlikely that folks with graduate degrees would fare worse than those without. That doesn't mean a graduate degree is worth an unlimited amount, but a fluctuating economy doesn't eliminate the relative employability of the more highly educated. It's also exceedingly predictable that some are hailing near apocalyptic consequences of this virus. They make their livings on that. Many expect a treatment and/or vaccine within a year or two. And even absent a treatment, it seems quite likely that the world would develop ways to coexist with the virus rather than remaining home until 2022. So a recovery delayed until 2022 feels extreme. But I grant that nothing is certain. Couldn't agree more. I wouldn't take out more than $40k in a booming economy. Our decadent and indulgent culture, along with romance of being degreed, causes many people to incur costs they shouldn't and cannot take on. Particularly among idealistic, overweening policy types with a savior complex, who too readily apply MMT to their personal lives.
  6. I see people in Gov Affairs forum quite frequently offering the likely recession as a reason to reconsider attending grad school/taking out loans/foregoing income. I have a couple thoughts on this, and since I don't want to clog the feed with a new thread and since I'm going to SAIS, I thought I'd throw them out here and see what comes back. So lots of us are Econ-oriented right? SAIS obviously has the Econ focus, and most MPP programs are economics-lite/applied, watered-down economics. So we should all be familiar with opportunity cost -- the concept that by making a given choice on something, other options are missed, which must be considered as costs of making a decision. So, in a recession, with fewer job opportunities and lower chances for raises, won't we who attend school be missing out on less? i.e. if I'm in school while the economy is booty, won't I only be missing a party a no one is enjoying anyway? Even if pay cuts don't happen during the presumed recession, raises and promotions are less likely in a recession for sure. So the opportunity cost of attending grad school is lower than normal, not higher. Of course that's why everyone on here is saying applications will be way up next year -- smart people will be in jobs without prospects for growth or without jobs at all -- yet the same folks who recognize that apps will be up fail to apply to their thinking why apps will be up, namely because the labor market isn't worth staying in, that is, the cost of dipping out of the labor market is lower than during a boom. Of course, there's the case that it's a crucial time to be in the workforce, to gain experience, network, credibility etc. I suppose that's only marginally more true than it always is though. The other argument is that our cohort will be graduating into a crap market. Therefore, foregone income and loans accrued during grad school will hurt all the more. Maybe I'm being pollyannaish, but most recessions are well under 2 years, and I doubt this is going to be as catastrophic as the Great Depression (my intuition is that most of this is a pause in the economy, not an actual contraction or loss of underlying value, but I could definitely be very wrong about that). So Summer 2022 could be just the right time to enter the economy. Sure, the prospect for internships during school will probably be lower than normal. That's a bit worrying, but not overwhelming to me. I'll still have a shiny new MA at the end. If I'm right, our application cycle could be construed as the perfect time: right now the economy is bad, and though everyone else knows it now, the admissions process is over, so we get the opportunity to tool up when we'd likely not be having a great experience in the labor market. And we didn't have to face as stiff of competition (no offense to everyone here, including me) as there will be during next year's admissions cycle. I get the risk aversion. I'm fortunate enough to have a wonderful wife who can cover living expenses while I'm in school, and I got pretty good funding, so we won't have to take on any debt. I'm kind of just spitballing, and maybe rationalizing my choice to start at SAIS, but I'd be interested what folks here think, particularly you regular commenters. For those of you wringing your hands about the decision, maybe my rationale, flawed or not, can give you some peace of mind, and just don't read responses.
  7. Yeah, I'm not going to McCourt. I got a much better offer from SAIS, and I was already more interested in the curriculum and institutional longevity of SAIS anyway, so it worked out well. I've noticed you're very actively anti-McCourt on here but also an alum. Very interesting.
  8. I know this is a super (most likely too) late response, but I sent GW a significantly higher MPP funding offer from a more highly ranked school, and they said they'd get back to me Never did. Whatever, maybe I was just a garbage applicant. Also heard someone trying to renegotiate with McCourt was told they weren't doing reconsideration because they found disparate impact in reconsideration allocations. Maybe they just didn't like this candidate because I feel like I've heard about loads of people bargaining with McCourt, but idk. Anyhow, I know this is a month and a half after you asked, and all decisions are most likely past. And these are both MPP things, not IR, but I think they're interesting data points to share.
  9. Program Applied To: MPP, MA Schools Applied To: Johns Hopkins SAIS MA, Georgetown McCourt MPP, GWU Trachtenberg MPP, American MPP, Carnegie Mellon Heinz MPP, George Mason MA in Econ Schools Admitted To: SAIS (initially 50%, ultimately 77%), McCourt (33%), GW (0%), American (47%), CMU Heinz (55%), GMU w. Mercatus Fellowship (100% + stipend) Schools Rejected From: Schools Waitlisted: Undergraduate Institution: tiny liberal arts college, not top 150 Undergraduate GPA: 3.5 Undergraduate Major: Economics (English minor) GRE Quantitative/Verbal/AW Scores: 160/170/5 Years Out of Undergrad: 3 Years of Work Experience: 2.5 Describe Relevant Work Experience: Data analyst at "boutique" consulting firm (startup, not impressive name), plenty of technical work but also client-facing Strength of SOP (be honest, describe the process, etc): Pretty strong. I can communicate well, and I'm (perhaps obviously) super interested in policy. I leveraged my quantitative work experience into a relevant qualification, discussed international travel (for SAIS anyway), focused on reasons why each school was right for me, offered ethical/big picture reasons for wanting to study policy. Strength of LOR's (be honest, describe the process, etc): One from chair of undergrad department, one from founder/CEO of my consulting firm, one from executive methodology type at consulting job. Fairly certain all were positive, could speak to academic, technical, leadership and communication skills. Notes for others (probably future rounds of applicants): 1) Play to your strengths, even if they don't apply directly to your top choice. This definitely helped me: I was very familiar with Austrian and public choice economics, which are basically the foundation of GMU Econ and Mercatus. So I had a kickass application for the Mercatus MA Fellowship and received the offer. Though it was tempting to be paid on net, I wanted to go to SAIS. And then SAIS ended up giving me a much better award than their initial offer, at least partially due to the Mercatus offer. If some school has a center or feature with which you are extremely familiar, even if you have 0 intent of attending there, submit a baller application that employs your existing knowledge. Also, specifically within the MPP world, Heinz doesn't even have an app fee, so if you already have all your stuff together for your other applications, slap in that app to CMU (a highly ranked school) and see what comes out. Worst case you don't mention it to other schools, but Heinz may happen to like you, and you can use that as leverage with schools you actually do like. I got 55% funding from them, and though I had no intent of attending, that could've been really useful in haggling with McCourt. 2) Beefing up your GRE can be big. You can see from my profile that I didn't have anything super prestigious -- I'm almost positive most admissions officers haven't even heard of my undergrad institution -- and my employer was a 20 person company, not at all related to policy. And you can improve here. Math is practice. Just do it a million times. I got PrepScholar, which was super cheap, and improved significantly. If you're serious about getting into an elite school and with getting good funding, this is the most obvious way to spiff up your profile in a shortish time. I didn't love those 2 hours studying every weeknight for a couple months, but I feel like it really made a difference to have 5-6 more points, particularly on quant.
  10. I got aid reconsideration results (in an email from financial aid like the first round) late this afternoon. It felt like "finally," but they said they would reply by 4/17, so it really wasn't too bad of a wait and considerate of them to provide the decision in time for the numerous 4/15 deadlines. Went from $27k/year to $42k/year, so I'm super stoked. As I mentioned before, I had a substantial fellowship offer from Mercatus/GMU, so I think that helped move me along, despite the programs being pretty different. Anyway, it looks like they really are bumping some up, so good luck!
  11. I haven't heard back about reconsideration yet either. I got an invite to a virtual happy hour, but it doesn't seem like something indicative of favor for aid reconsideration. It looks like the folks who have received word on aid already were both for the HNC program, so I'm hoping DC applicants are yet to hear.
  12. Yeah, I had similar concerns. It probably varies loads by program, but I asked and was able to get an extension on my decision date for one program. They didn't even seem at all put off by my asking.
  13. So is everybody else with an aid reconsideration request out thinking we won't hear anything until right on 4/17?
  14. thanks @GradSchoolGrad Those line up with my general concerns as well.
  15. Hi Karam, Thanks for starting this thread, makes loads of sense. I'll offer my thoughts on your situation, though my insights may be limited. First off, I don't really think American is worth considering given tuition coverage for your other great options. If you didn't have any funding at Yale or Columbia, then American would definitely be a great option (and DC living expenses aren't loads enough lower for this to make up that gap, even besides the quality of program). But to have funding and Ivy name recognition is incredible. Then picking between those two, my understanding is that Columbia is ranked a bit better than Yale for international affairs, so it gains an edge there. New York has loads of opportunities and activity to access right around campus. And finally, if you're thinking of working internationally, do you think Yale would have better name recognition? I know people say that about Harvard, and my perhaps very limited impression is that Yale is more well known than Columbia, but that's definitely contestable. Hope that's at least a little bit helpful. Alright, here's my own situation (sorry if somebody saw my own thread or saw this in SAIS 2020 -- I'll admit that I'm desperate for help): Coming from: US, small liberal arts college in Econ, a couple years working in analytic consulting Deciding between: George Mason MA in Economics - tuition covered and $25k/year stipend Johns Hokpins SAIS MA in International Econ and second concentration - 50% of tuition Other factors: I'm wondering if the fairly obvious ideological bent of those GMU (school and Mercatus Center are both definitely pretty libertarian) and generally heterodox nature of the department will typecast me when I'm looking for my first post-grad school position. While I'm not intellectually averse to the institutional and Austrian economics, etc., I'm wondering how everybody thinks this would affect my opportunities for work afterwards. I'm nervous that I would only be able to land jobs at Cato, or Mercatus itself and other libertarian type places, or, worst case, something private sector. It's also just not a super highly ranked program overall. Ideally, I want to end up in a big-name think tank or government as a policy analyst, eventually with chances to write for a relatively broad audience. How I'm leaning: SAIS is clearly a much more widely respected institution, especially in DC and especially in government. The rigor of the program and the professors have me really excited. I have significant funding from SAIS, but it's not nearly the same on net. I can handle to take on some debt for this, but I'm just wracking my brains over whether it's worth it. If anybody has thoughts, they would be greatly appreciated.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.