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  1. Hello Starting this thread to discuss trepidation and any or all emails you got. How is everyone waiting it out? For starters I randomly logged into my application page today and saw that it had been verified, even though I received no email. Wondering if I should email and ask them???
  2. For all those applying to Harvard Kennedy School's Masters of Public Policy(MPP) program. Let us get our conversations going!
  3. Just starting a thread for HKS waitlist this year! I saw the MPP thread but opening this for other programs.
  4. Hello to the Grad Cafe community! I have been reading through lots of posts here over the past few weeks and decided to write one of my own to get some advice on a slight dilemma I am facing. To provide some background, I have been out of undergrad for about two years serving at a Federal financial regulatory agency. I am committed to the work I do and am hoping to gain some additional experience needed to move into the policymaking aspect of the area I am in, so I applied to several master's programs in public policy for the upcoming semester. After receiving all my decisions, it turns out that my choice of where to pursue my degree may be a bit more challenging than I had anticipated. I do apologize for asking a question on which similar posts have been made in the past, but I was hoping to get some more current feedback from the community for my specific circumstances. In summary, I was lucky enough to be accepted two weeks ago with full-tuition funding to the MPA program at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA), which had been my top choice from the start. Another offer I had in the running was the MAIR program at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) for approximately half-tuition funding, but I felt the cost difference was great enough to make SPIA the clear winner. Last week, however, I was utterly shocked to be accepted with full-tuition funding to the MPP program at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS). Though I had been set on SPIA at that point, I felt I could not simply ignore this new offer. So, that puts me in the fortunate position to be deciding between SPIA and HKS. After weighing the pros and cons of each program, I believe I have boiled down the differences between the two options to the following: Cost - SPIA is offering me full tuition (as they do all students), plus a generous $30k/year living stipend, while Harvard has offered me "only" full tuition with no stipend, which leaves me to cover living costs. While I have been saving aggressively and would likely be able to cover these expenses without taking on debt, a $60k difference over two years remains substantial. Moreover, the cost of living in Princeton is certainly lower than in Cambridge, and SPIA offers additional benefits like guaranteed graduate housing, funding for unpaid internships, and reimbursement for travel to career events, so the total difference would likely be greater. Size - SPIA is a much smaller program than HKS (~70 students for the MPA vs. ~200 for the MPP). On the one hand, this makes SPIA a more intimate learning environment where I will get to know my cohort very well and have many opportunities for interaction with professors and speakers. On the other hand, it means that there are possibly fewer opportunities and choices than at HKS, where there are likely more classes to choose from, more clubs, and more events. The SPIA alumni network is also substantially smaller when considering future networking opportunities, but I did speak to a recent SPIA alumni who said the network is very strong and was able to land him his post-graduation job. Focus - SPIA is a small, focused program geared heavily toward public service and policy. HKS, though also committed to service and the "public good," appears to be broader in scope and caters to a wider range of interests. For example, when looking at recent job placements, HKS graduates ended up in a broader variety of jobs, including many in the private sector. Neither of these are necessarily good or bad, and in fact students in both programs appear to place very well after graduation, but it is something to bear in mind. I am fairly certain I want to end up in a policy-related public sector role after graduation, or I would not have applied to SPIA, but I am also aware of the oft-repeated cliché of going into grad school with one goal and leaving with another. HKS would simply provide me more degrees of freedom if that ends up being the case for me. So, that leaves me to decide whether the size and focus considerations discussed above weigh in HKS's favor or not. If not, then SPIA is the winner. But if they do, then the next question is whether they weigh in its favor by at least $60k+. If not, then SPIA again. Another consideration is that while SPIA is arguably one of the top public affairs schools in the world, I am aware that the Harvard "brand" can be a powerful asset (not to say HKS is not also a top school!). But, I do not believe that brand should be worth $60k by itself, especially in the public policy space, where I would assume that most employers would be equally familiar with SPIA, and where SPIA alumni are abundant. I feel extremely grateful to be presented with such amazing opportunities, and I realize how lucky I am to be facing this "problem." Regardless, I hope some of you may be able to offer some words of wisdom that may help me as I make this decision. Thank you, and good luck to you all in your own graduate school endeavors!
  5. Can anyone share their experiences, both positive and negative, working with admissions consultants for Harvard Kennedy's MPP program? Any experience with Stratus, the MBA Exchange, Fortuna, Personal MBA Coach, Stacy Blackman, or The Art of Applying?
  6. Hello, Has anyone applied to HKS many times and got dinged? What should I do? I was admitted to MPA/MPP at other Ivies and other programs at Harvard (GSD and GSE). Since HKS is my dream school, I decided not to attend any program. Any advice would be appreciated!
  7. Hi there! Didn't see a thread for HKS waitlist this year, starting one right here. I got waitlisted for MPP. I was expecting a rejection, so this is a pleasant surprise. I didn't know I was this close. Maybe I should reapply next year if I don't get in?
  8. For all those waiting it out
  9. Hey everyone - I realize it's only April, but I figured I'd get started on the HKS thread for 2019 matriculation. A little about me: I'm a 2010 grad from a competitive small liberal arts college, 2012 masters in city planning from an ivy (both with honors), worked in public finance consulting for three years, now working as a civil servant in a policy office in transportation. I'm active in a few LGBT causes, and have a fellowship with a large, international professional organization that focuses on urban revitalization. I'm taking the GRE in August. I'm attracted to HKS and other MPP programs that offer programs in domestic policy, economic development, and urban policy. I'm nervous but excited to go through the application process, and to be nearly 30(!). Currently brainstorming essay topics, and how to best hone my story. What about you?
  10. Hi all, I just received an offer from HKS MPP program, with no scholarship offered. I am currently debating whether I should take the offer or go for the MA program at SAIS in DC, which provides me a $40k scholarship per year. What are your thoughts? In the long run I am interested in development economics and international affairs. I may do a PhD after graduation as well, but nothing is set yet. I am really keen on to take the MPP offer but 40k per year is no joke.... My family is ok to support the MPP tuition but I feel bad letting them do this. Thanks.
  11. Hi! My dream program is Harvard MPP, and I wanted to get some opinions on my chances, based on my background. Undergraduate degree: UC Berkeley Economics, and Political Economy, 3.7 GPA Work experience: 2 years of experience at a technology startup (IoT) in San Francisco with Biz Dev/Product Marketing roles; internships with a political party in India, The Scottish Parliament, and consulting companies Post Grad school ambition: Public Sector Consultancy for a couple of years and public administration in India (I am originally from there!) I am also considering other programs like Oxford MPP, and Princeton MPP. Please let me know if you have any advice/suggestions to improve my profile. (for instance, 1 more year of experience, in a government consulting role in India). Thank you!
  12. Hey folks! Couldn't find a thread for 2019 waitlisted candidates for HKS so wanted to start one. Anyone from MPA/ID, MPP, MPA, MC hear back yet? Any ideas on when we'd get the first update given April 16th was the date to reply to decisions.
  13. Hi all, I'm in an extremely lucky position of getting to decide between GSPP and HKS for an MPP starting in Fall 2019 (hope many of you all are as well). If funding weren't an issue, which would you choose? What are the major factors you would consider? As context, I'm a native Californian and am interested in local/state government policy creation/implementation. I anticipate winding up in CA long-term, but wouldn't mind a short break back east. It's hard to know exactly what questions to ask or what aspects of each school I should weigh in making this decision, so all comments and thoughts are appreciated. Thanks!
  14. For those of you admitted to both HKS and WWS and planning on trying to get to both visit days what's the gameplan for travelling and looking for reimbursement. I would ideally fly up to Boston then take a train to Princeton then fly back out of Newark but it looks like the timing may be cramped. I'm a PPIA Fellow and I remember being told that I'm guaranteed travel compensation for visits to PPIA consortium schools but it's impossible to find those kinds of guarantees written down online. Let me know what your plans are and maybe we can link up at some point or split a rental car. Congrats everyone!
  15. Hi everyone, I know admissions decisions are still a long ways away, but I thought it could be helpful to discuss the comparative merits of these great IR and public policy programs. I applied to HKS's MPP, Columbia's MIA, Georgetown's MSFS, WWS's MPA, and SAIS's MA. I also applied to Georgetown's Security Studies Program, but am leaning away from the latter now because of high tuition costs and rumored lack of aid. How do you feel these schools compare to one another, in terms of job prospects, curriculum/course offerings, school culture, academic rigor, faculty? Which would be your dream program and why?
  16. Hi Everyone! I am applying to HKS, WWS, SIPA, and SFS. Harvard Kennedy School is my dream school, and I wanted to know what you guys think my chances are: GRE: 164 Verbal, 163 Quant, 4.5 AWA Education: NYU Stern School of business, Major: Business (concentration was Marketing). GPA: 3.4 Work Experience: Currently work as a policy research analyst for the NYC Department of Transportation (8 months), worked at Unilever’s Future Leaders program for a year and a half prior this role Non-Profit Experience: Director of a non-profit I joined my freshman year, organization was small but I arranged a meeting with the Prime Minister of India and so popularity skyrocketed – also proposed a highly-impactful program within the organization that highly scaled impact. Part of two other large Indian non-profits currently, on the leadership board of one for their young professionals chapter. International experience: Travelled to 35 countries over the past four years, volunteered abroad in Tanzania and Bali, upon returning I fundraised to expand the school I worked at in Tanzania from primary to secondary school (experience featured in an article on usblastingnews). Travel photographer with 10K followers on Instagram (handle @travelwithkrishna) Analytical experience: A’s in all statistics courses (freshman statistics, Time Series Regression, Multivariate regression and analysis), A in calculus, B+ in macroeconomics and B in microeconomics LORs: One from a professor, one from CEO of non-profit, one from Manager at unilever. Should all be solid. Concerns: My undergrad GPA is low as I developed a severe skin condition my sophomore year, and was very sick and depressed. I took a semester off my junior fall and my condition healed, but it severely impacted my grades both sophomore year and junior spring (transitioning back was very hard.) I explained this in the optional portion of my application – but do you think it is far too low to be excused? Thanks so much for your help ?
  17. Please tell me everything you know about support letters! I just found out about them and i'm feeling completely lost!
  18. I'm currently a practicing corporate attorney for a large law firm (3 years experience) and would like to transition to the public sector. Does anyone know the stories of any US lawyers who were admitted to HKS's MPP program? I've come across a lot of JD/MPP candidate profiles but have yet to come across an MPP candidate who already earned their JD.
  20. I'm thinking of applying to HKS next year but just read the following long form article on the effectiveness of HKS. Some points are unduly harsh and off base. Is it really a problem that more grads go into the private sector? Yet, some points he makes seem valid. What do you think? http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/article/2017/01/22/harvard-kennedy-school-america/#iframe-disqus Even HKS's own Crimson has weighed in: http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2017/5/25/school-for-government-commencement/ What are you looking to achieve with an MPP/MPA?
  21. Hi there, So I'm in the process of deciding what to do moving forward and whether I still want to try applying for the MPP program at HKS. To give a bit of background, I'm just out of undergrad (graduating in May) and applied to law schools this cycle with the intention/hope that I'd land at HLS and would be able to apply to their joint degree program to do an MPP with HKS while I was there. It would be pretty easy since I'd be able to use my LSAT score and just have to write my essays. However, that was before I got into Yale Law. Now, I'm almost 100% going to be attending YLS and am unsure about what I should do moving forward based on a few factors including (1) my likelihood of success at getting into the HKS MPP program from Yale and (2) whether the program is really useful to me at this point and adds enough value for the cost. I'd love to get some insight on these First, I'm deferring my admission this year and will be enrolling at Yale in the Fall of 2018. I was pretty much always planning on doing this no matter what law school I got into, primarily for personal reasons of needing a bit of time to rest before heading right into law school and also to earn a bit of money on the side to help cover personal costs during 1L year. Now, this also gives me the opportunity to take the GRE and write my essays for the HKS MPP program if I decide to apply. I'm not really worried about either of those components (I self-studied for the LSAT and scored in the 99th percentile and from what I've heard the GRE is no LSAT. I'm also pretty confident in my ability to craft some great essays). However, my biggest concern is the fact that, having just come out of undergrad, I don't have much professional experience that I've heard is really necessary for HKS. On the plus side, I think that I have more and more substantial experience than most in my position (and all of it has been in government, in the office of a Congressman who I've gotten really close to and has given me substantial projects to work on) but it still doesn't compare to a person who may have been working in policy for a few years out of undergrad. My Congressman is also an HKS alumni and said he would personally write a recommendation for me, but I'm not sure if any of this is enough to overcome that experience gap. If it's not, there's not really much I can see myself doing about it because while I may get a policy-related job during my gap year, that would be the extent of the experience I could use while applying and once I'm in and through law school, I highly doubt I would ever find the time or desire to go back to school (particularly coming from Yale, I just want to get out there and do the work I'm passionate about already). So, unfortunately this is the only time where I really see myself having the opportunity to go to HKS. Do you think that applying my 1L year at Yale would help my chances of admission given the prestige of YLS? Or am I screwed because of my lack of a career at 23? Second, I'm trying to assess the cost-benefit of doing the HKS concurrent program with YLS even if I were to apply and get in. On the one hand, many of the people I've worked with personally in the policy realm have done MPPs at HKS and have told me a great deal about the program and it is definitely something I'm intensely interested because of my desire to work in domestic policy. I feel like there's a lot of skills that I could pick up by taking on the MPP program that I might not otherwise get with just plain law school (particularly in things like economics and foreign policy analysis which I'm very interested in). However, doing the program would take an extra year and likely tens of thousands of dollars of increased debt (although, I was awarded the maximum need-based financial aid at both HLS and YLS so I have high hopes that I could at least get a good amount of whatever aid HKS offers). And while I think the program would be personally beneficial in the skills it could teach me, I'm skeptical about whether it would really help me in any way in my actual career. I highly doubt there is any job out there that the addition of an HKS MPP would get me that my YLS JD would not already qualify me for. I think the most compelling part of HKS would be the access to the Harvard alumni network which is stronger than that of Yale due to its sheer size and something I definitely am going to be bummed that I'm missing out on now that I won't be going to HLS. Anyway, I hope this is the right forum for this question. Because I'm so government and policy career -oriented and because my question is HKS-specific I thought this would be the place to post. I'd love to hear any feedback anyone has. Thanks so much!
  22. Hi everyone, I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on a dual-degree at Harvard with the Graduate School of Design (GSD) for Urban Planning and the HKS' MPP or MPA. Seems like the GSD skills would be more niche, so perhaps getting more general policy skills through the MPP (negotiation, economics) would be a good complement. I know the MPA is more flexible but tends to produce more administrative/managerial positions than policy analysts. Anyone who's in the same boat or has completed the dual-degree? Is it worth the extra year to complete in exchange for having two degrees, and which program is more popular for GSD students?
  23. Hi, everyone. I have a query on academic prerequisite of HKS MPA2 program. According to HKS homepage, applicants are required to have substantial graduate-level coursework similar to core MPP courses. Situation: WRT this requirement, I did not take lectures in graduate schools; but, I passed the Higher Civil Services Exam, which consists of several subjects including micro/macro/international economics, and international politics, and the exam needs graduate-level understanding on each subject. As wiki says, it's really challenging exam, and my recommenders, including Former Minister of Finance of Korea, will guarantee the authority and the level of difficulty of it. Plus, I was runner-up at the moot court competition, held by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Korea; since most participants were graduate students, I think that it would also prove my capability. Question: Does anyone know whether my case can be regarded to qualify the academic prerequisite of HKS MPA2? I hope to get valuable advice, opinion, or knowledge from you. Good luck to all!
  24. Hi everyone, Does anyone have any update to share on the MPA/ID waitlist?
  25. Anyone know this year acceptance rate of HKS MPP, SIPA MPA, WWS MPA? Which school is the most selective policy school? I heard that HKS rate was around 25-30%. Has anyone attend admitted student day, how was it? I am unable to attend any. Please share your experiences. Thanks!
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