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MaxwellAlum

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MaxwellAlum last won the day on July 25 2018

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About MaxwellAlum

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    Double Shot

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    Washington, DC
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  • Program
    MPA/IR

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  1. I hear you. The ILO might be one exception (one would hope so given what they do). Also your university's career office might have information on funding for unpaid internships.
  2. Not when I was there 6 years ago. At that time a lot of people were pushing for them to start paying interns. There were definitely cases of interns being homeless due to the high cost of living in New York and Geneva. Not sure if any progress has been made on that.
  3. Prestige can help, but who you know matters more. Probably the best thing to do is to intern at one of the organizations where you want to work. A word of warning - a lot of UN agencies are increasingly relying on consultant contracts, which basically means you don't get any job security or benefits, and while it can perhaps be a foot in the door, there's really no guarantee. If you pass the YPP exam (doing an internship and studying the history of the UN can help), you're likely to get offered a (non consultant) position in the Secretariat. The problem there is you don't get a choic
  4. Definitely - MPAs and MPPs are perfect for going into budgeting and finance related jobs. Might be worth arranging informational interviews with people in a local/state/federal budget office. I know several people who enjoying that career path and doing interesting work, but it's not for everybody.
  5. I'm not against more quant in MPA programs nor do I think it is useless. The more quant you have the better consumer of research you can be. That's important for any policy job. To what extent you can use the skills you learn in those programs to conduct rigorous impact evaluations or design surveys I don't know. All I can say is that in my experience MPAs and MPPs are not research focused degrees and if hard research is your goal, a PhD will get you much farther skills-wise and in terms of credibility on the job market IMO.
  6. I agree with ExponentialDecay. I have an MPA and work in a research/policy analysis job in government, but the type of research I do is really different from that which a PhD in an academic position might do. I don't conduct or analyze the results of robust, random sample surveys and am not qualified to do so. I don't run regressions because, while my MPA gave me enough stats to know how to run a regression, it certainly wasn't at the level you see in academic papers. Mostly my work involves interviewing government officials, describing government programs and budgets, and analyzing data b
  7. This isn't on your list, but Syracuse offers significant aid in the form of graduate assistantships. Some of these are awarded as part of the initial offer, but I remember a handful being available for students to apply for when they arrived in July (Syracuse's MPA is a 12-month program starting in the summer).
  8. Not specific to IR (lots of people with IR degrees don't go into IR jobs), but in my experience, several of my peers who went into local or federal government in the DC area were making $70k+ two years out of grad school. Most of us are over in the $90-$110k range now that we are 5-6 years out (GS-13 level in the federal government). Salaries won't increase as fast from here on out (a lot of the increase comes from noncompetitive promotions, which stop at a certain point), but assuming reasonable cost of living increases (more likely at the local level than federal at this point, unfortunate
  9. We use income-based repayment plans. Although I was fortunate to graduate with less than $50k in debt, my spouse has over $100k. Now that we've been in the workforce for five years, our salaries are each in the $90-$100k ranges. We pay a combined $1,000 a month on our loans on an income-based plan. It's a lot to pay (it'd be really nice to have that money freed up), but we're still able to save a lot for retirement and for a down payment in a relatively high cost region. The problem with taking out so much debt for a public policy/IR degree is that return on the investment is hard t
  10. I think these rankings are useful mainly for identifying programs to apply to that you wouldn't have otherwise thought of. As an alum of the Maxwell School at Syracuse, I have no illusions that my MPA is somehow seen as more prestigious than a degree from HKS or Princeton - it's definitely not. But it wouldn't have occurred to me to look into applying if it wasn't for the US News rankings. No employer will care about your school's public affairs program ranking in US News. They're not going to look up the most recent ranking when deciding who to interview. Many (particularly private
  11. With the major caveat that any amount of debt is too much if you can get the same result by spending less, I would say that $30k is definitely manageable. You can pay that off in 10 years with monthly payments under $350. It's still a significant amount of money to fork over every month, but assuming you're looking at jobs that pay $50k out of grad school, it's reasonably affordable and is not that much higher than what you'd be paying on an income based plan. And if you're really motivated and don't have a lot of other expenses, it wouldn't be totally impossible to pay it off faster by mak
  12. Glad to be of help! I do just want to echo some of the points gelatinskeleton made. When you are this early in your career, so much can change. Of my cohort that did a dual MPA/IR degree several years ago, about half are working in something related to IR, and the other half are working on domestic and local policy. A surprising number of us are in local government. At least in my case, I made a choice to work in local government, despite having an offer to work in an international organization, because I realized I didn't want to live abroad again. I think a lot of people who study IR r
  13. Re: PSLF As someone who is cautiously hoping to receive forgiveness and been submitting my certification forms, I will say it is an awesome deal. Paying 10% of your income over 10 years is significant (after 5 years of raises my husband and I are paying a combined $1,000 each month, and boy would we love to be able to do other things with that money), but the forgiveness is a massive benefit and fortunately tax free. Laugh if you like, but my understanding is that there are people who have received forgiveness, just not many because of the intricacies of the repayment plans available in 200
  14. Over a decade ago when I was in high school looking at colleges, most of my peers were planning on taking out loans to be able to afford elite private universities. My parents strongly discouraged that, and I ended up graduating debt free from undergrad (I chose a school that offered me significant scholarship money over a slightly higher ranked school that offered me basically nothing). I'm so glad that I did that, especially since I ended up studying English literature and was never super motivated to seek out high powered private sector jobs. I did take out some loans for grad school, bu
  15. Your story sounds quite far-fetched and is not consistent with the experiences of friends with IR degrees, many of whom did not attend prestigious schools or have "flawless" GPAs. Not saying they all have perfect careers, but as far as I know none are hiding from debt collectors in Latin America hoping for regime change in Venezuela to get a full-time job. Were you not eligible for federal loans when you attended grad school? Fellow GradCafe readers, do not to take out private loans for grad school if you are eligible for federal loans. With federal loans you have access to income-base
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