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  1. I am in the process of deciding between pursuing a Master of Public Policy at The University of Chicago and a Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy at Columbia. I would appreciate any insight that you all have to offer! Here are the factors I am currently considering: UChicago Pro: I received a substantial scholarship Pro: How general the MPP curriculum is Pro: Joint JD, MBA and PhDs are always a possible Con: Knowing my learning style, I am not enamored with the two-year format, especially in an unfamiliar city Columbia Pro: 12-month format--back into the workforce quicker, more suited to my learning style Pro: Location in New York Con: No scholarships Con: Limited experience studying earth sciences Con: I am nervous about whether I want to exclusively work in the environmental policy area after school/its transferability as a degree To make matters worse, I am still waiting to hear back from the Georgetown MPP program. Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
  2. As the application season has begun, I felt we should have a thread for prospective applicants for MIA/MPA and other Graduate programs at SIPA (commencing in Fall 2021). We can discuss application related stuff and other other relevant topics here.
  3. For all those waiting it out
  4. Hi all! I'm currently making the decision today and tomorrow whether to accept my offer of admission to SAIS Europe w 20k yearly scholarship or wait a year to reapply for SIPA (they didn't consider me for aid as they said I didn't ask for it), apply for Kennedy, and then maybe Princeton or dual degree programs. A bit of background on me, I went to a top 3 US college and ivy for undergrad. Pulled an A range GPA with a history degree and special economics concentration. Went to work in consulting after college, but that unfortunately took me down the wrong road, and now I'm in a career I truly hate and that lacks valuable experience or prestige: tech and ops consulting. I've only been out of college since may of 2019 and love where I live in NYC and friends, but am actively depressed by my job. A policy degree has always been my goal and dream, but I decided to apply a year early in sort of a rushed manner during covid, and only applied to Columbia and JHU and was admitted to both. I'm wondering if it's worth deferring or saying no and suffering another year in a dead end job, just to have the opportunity to get my GRE score up from a V:167 Q:158 Essay: 5.5 to be able to reapply and mull over a dual degree. For reference, I'm looking to work in political risk, economic consulting, or just anything more international trade and globalization focused after Graduation in NYC. I'm also considering working in-house at a financial services firm or tech company in a more politically focused role or strategy role. Thank you all! Being tortured by this decision. I was more excited about Johns Hopkins at first, but after examining the student body, it just doesn't seem as accomplished as Harvard or SIPA.
  5. I got conditionally accepted (need to complete a calculus course from any institution) to Columbia SIPA for MPA without any financial aid so far. I got the decision on March 16th and in it they said more information about cost and financial aid would be given in a few weeks. Still waiting! I want to pursue a Policy PhD after this. I am a 36 old Canadian (originally from Bangladesh but now a Canadian citizen), married (my wife is working too), have a 6 year old son, and have a house mortgage to pay. I have an MBA from Canada, do not have any previous student loans and have been working in the non-profit and academic research sectors for the past 7+ years. Is taking on student loan to pursue my dreams worth it at this stage? I am passionate about public policy and really want to join the academia. Thoughts? By the way, I got waitlisted for Georgetown MPP and rejected by Harvard for MPA2. Still waiting for a decision from Cornell CIPA for MPA.
  6. Hi everyone! This is my first post on gradcafe after lurking for a while, because I really need advice. I've been admitted to both SIS and SIPA, for very similar programs (the SIS program I was admitted to closely matches my chosen SIPA concentration). SIS gave me a good amount of merit aid and an assistantship, and SIPA gave me nothing. My initial reaction is to go with American. I was admitted a while ago, so I've been going to various admitted student events, and I've had great experiences with all of them--I love their mission and the specific academic program, and it seems like a place I could really thrive. The two programs are closely ranked, as well, so this seems like the obvious choice. However, when I've asked around, the impression I've gotten is that, regardless of rankings, the Columbia/Ivy League name will open doors that American simply will not. Obviously, the end goal of going to graduate school is a career, and above everything I want to secure a good job moving forward in my life, especially in this competitive field. I guess my main question boils down to this: is it really worth it to push for Columbia, even if it would quintouple the debt I already have for undergrad (American would only double it)? That prospect is scary to me, but I'd hate to lose opportunities that would otherwise make it worth it (also, obviously, I do love SIPA and their program. These are my top two programs and if they had offered me comparable funding, it would be a very hard decision, but I'd ultimately lean towards SIPA). Thanks so much!
  7. Hello world! Has anyone done the video response as part of SIPA's admissions package? I know it's being implemented as of 2017 application cycle, so I am wondering if there are any Spring 2017 candidates that have already done it. Helpful tips, feedback, etc. would be much appreciated!
  8. Hi team! I am admitted to SIPA MPA-DP and SAIS IDev with the same amount of aid which amounts to similar costs of attendance for both. I am trying to decide between the two. I have about 6 years of experience in International development and want to transition into working in sustainable development finance. Based on what I have gathered - SIPA - great for working in sustainability in general with the option to take classes at SUMA, great campus etc. Lots of flexibility in coursework. Older cohort with people coming from more experience background (in the DP prog) However, I am not able to map out how well connected sipa alums are within themselves as well as to policy networks in multilaterals etc and I am not necessarily keen on working at the UN. I am generally less aware of the opportunities NYC offers as a city for international development professionals. SAIS - Less flexible coursework with a lot of quant requirements that I have done before & taking waiver exams is not a risk free option. there aren't many courses focusing on sustainability issues within international development, in comparison to SIPA. SAIS does not have a campus vibe at all. younger cohort - significant number of students, straight out of undergrad Situated in DC - with great access to multi-laterals think thanks working in sustainability. SAIS alum networks seem tighter and more well-knit within certain institutions. Generally, so far having interacted with the two schools through the admissions process, I found SAIS folks to be way more approachable and readily available with information than SIPA. At SIPA, it definitely felt like a struggle trying to get info and connect with alum. I am trying to assess how much of a difference that would make in the overall experience. Any inputs/suggestions for people who know more on either course/school would be great!
  9. Hi everyone! My decision process has kind of been turned on its head, so I wanted some outside perspective. Just last week, I committed to Johns Hopkins SAIS (MA), where I received a really generous scholarship offer of $80k for the 2 years. However, today Columbia SIPA (MIA) matched the offer and slightly more, so now I am seriously considering it. Within the IR framework, I’ll be concentrating in security/conflict resolution with a further focus on the Middle East. I want to use grad school as a way to open myself up to career opportunities, but want to focus on the diplomatic track, think tanks/UN, or even the possibility of journalism which has always been a passion. SIPA always had a bit of an edge for me personally due to several faculty members with research interests/backgrounds more directly relevant to mine, more interesting course options/curriculum, the ability to take courses at other departments (like journalism or law), plus perhaps more name recognition here and abroad. However, SAIS had the benefit of being in DC, with more direct access to security/Middle East-focused think tanks and gov agencies. Something that really turned me off from SAIS, though, was the heavy emphasis on economics, and I feel that the econ courses required at SIPA may be more relevant for my career interests. At the end of the day, I'm kind of just shocked at this turn around and would love to hear any and all thoughts!
  10. Hi everyone! My decision process has kind of been turned on its head, so I wanted some outside perspective. Just last week, I committed to Johns Hopkins SAIS (MA), where I received a really generous scholarship offer of $80k for the 2 years. However, today Columbia SIPA (MIA) matched the offer and slightly more, so now I am seriously considering it. Within the IR framework, I’ll be concentrating in security/conflict resolution with a further focus on the Middle East. I want to use grad school as a way to open myself up to career opportunities, but want to focus on the diplomatic track, think tanks/UN, or even the possibility of journalism which has always been a passion. SIPA always had a bit of an edge for me personally due to several faculty members with research interests/backgrounds more directly relevant to mine, more interesting course options/curriculum, the ability to take courses at other departments (like journalism or law), plus perhaps more name recognition here and abroad. However, SAIS had the benefit of being in DC, with more direct access to security/Middle East-focused think tanks and gov agencies. Something that really turned me off from SAIS, though, was the heavy emphasis on economics, and I feel that the econ courses required at SIPA may be more relevant for my career interests. At the end of the day, I'm kind of just shocked at this turn around and would love to hear any and all thoughts!
  11. Hi everyone! My decision process has kind of been turned on its head, so I wanted some outside perspective. Just last week, I committed to Johns Hopkins SAIS (MA), where I received a really generous scholarship offer of $80k for the 2 years. However, today Columbia SIPA (MIA) matched the offer and slightly more, so now I am seriously considering it. Within the IR framework, I’ll be concentrating in security/conflict resolution with a further focus on the Middle East. I want to use grad school as a way to open myself up to career opportunities, but want to focus on the diplomatic track, think tanks/UN, or even the possibility of journalism which has always been a passion. SIPA always had a bit of an edge for me personally due to several faculty members with research interests/backgrounds more directly relevant to mine, more interesting course options/curriculum, the ability to take courses at other departments (like journalism or law), plus perhaps more name recognition here and abroad. However, SAIS had the benefit of being in DC, with more direct access to security/Middle East-focused think tanks and gov agencies. Something that really turned me off from SAIS, though, was the heavy emphasis on economics, and I feel that the econ courses required at SIPA may be more relevant for my career interests. At the end of the day, I'm kind of just shocked at this turn around and would love to hear any and all thoughts!
  12. Hey guys, hope this grad season is faring well with everyone! I just got offers from two of the programmes for the coming year (hopefully the virus outbreak won't affect my plans). If someone could provide some insights into how they compare (in terms course design, career opportunities, how these programmes are perceived in the field), that would super helpful! 1. Oxford Blavatnik School Master of Public Policy 1-year programme 2. Dual Degree Sciences Po Master in Public Policy & Columbia SIPA Master of Public Administration 2-year programme, 1 year in Paris and 1 year in New York Some background: I studied undergrad in the UK and graduated not long ago so I don't have super extensive work experience. I am interested in working in international organisations that will allow me to access developing countries but may also take up further studies, either a Doctorate degree or perhaps a J.D. in the US. Thank you all in advance.
  13. Hi all, I've been reading through the threads to get more insights into the programs I've applied to, but figured I'd ask here, in order to get people's opinions on some of the schools I've applied to/heard back from. Thank you so much in advance for your help! Some background: I'm an immigrant, have my undergrad from a top-20 uni in the U.S. Not entirely sure what career I'd pursue, but I've applied to international development as my concentration & hoping to work either in the i-dev sector or in the World Bank/UN. What are the general reputation of the following programs (both in the U.S. and abroad)? I'm aware they're all generally well-ranked, but curious to hear about some of the advantages or disadvantages of these schools (things I won't be able to find out from their brochures or by talking to admission). I've gotten accepted to the first four on this list, and waiting to hear from the last three still so thought I'd start this discussion to get some insights - thanks again! Johns Hopkins SAIS MA (IDEV), UChicago Harris MPP, Tufts Fletcher MALD, Georgetown McCourt MPP, Columbia SIPA MIA, Harvard HKS MPP, Princeton WWS MPA.
  14. Hello everyone! I was wondering if there are any PEPM (Columbia SIPA) applicants in this forum. It would be nice to share thoughts about the application process, and share together all the anxiety about the decisions of the admission committee.
  15. ¿Someone have obtained a response about the admission of the PEPM program?
  16. Hi all, I have been lurking on the website for a while and this is my first post. I am applying to MPA/MPP/MA in Intl Affairs programs for 2020 fall but now I am a little lost. I am an Intl student who went to a top US uni (top20) and graduated last year. I have been interested in international affairs and politics for a while (was writer for school politics magazine, did research in IR, etc) but eventually I went into investment banking after graduation. I was not particularly into banking but I guess I did not think about my career paths clearly before getting into finance. One year after doing the job I realized that banking really is too boring for me. I then quit and joined a multilateral organization as an intern (6 months) focusing on sustainable investment policy in region, while making plans to go back to the states for a MPA/MPP degree. I did my gre in Sept. and luckily got a full score (writing 4.5) Currently I am applying to SAIS MA, SIPA MIA, HKS and Uchi Harris + maybe stanford However, after spending some time doing research and browsing this website, I started to have a bit doubts. I kinda feel like I was too silly to just quit a high-paying job and jump into this field without knowing the difficulties ahead. I do know that a policy job for intl students is not going to be lucrative, but I don't really mind the salary as long as I really enjoy it and I am not starving. My issue now is I dont know if I am THAT into the policy field. Doing my current internship makes me feel like maybe politics and stuff are just my hobbies on the side. I know that I don't wanna go back to banking, so I am starting to think about maybe consulting or macroeconomics research or equity research in the future, while still exploring the policy sector after I get into one of those programs (like maybe world bank, IMF, Asia Dev bank, etc) My question is should i also apply to dual degrees in MBA? My dilemma is that I stupidly quit my job so I only have one year full time experience in banking + an internship before MBA. I think most private sector companies will look for those with 3-5 work exp post-MBA grads, let alone the fact that top MBAs normally don't take those with work exp less than 2 years. Thanks for your inputs in advance.
  17. Guys, Now that it’s almost the end of February, I think it’s the right time to ask for more funding at SIPA for the early admits. I had received 80k for 2 years. But coming from a public sector background and planning to go back to the sector, the cost of attendance is still unaffordable for me. I had sent a mail to their financial aid office yesterday to which they replied it won’t be possible to give any more aid that what is already given right now but I can apply for assistantships in the second year. Anyone else tried reaching out?
  18. I’ve been struggling for weeks with the best choice, and would love some input. Choosing between: SIPA (68k), SAIS Europe (45k), ESIA (42.5k), MSFS (59k), SIS (still waiting on funding info) Criteria: alumni network, abundance of internship opportunities, cohort atmosphere, career services, location (preference for big cities) I’m also concerned about debt. After my savings I’m facing a loan somewhere between 40k and 60k depending on the school. How much debt is good debt for a MA in IR? While I would like to work in non-profit, I know it’s not finanacially smart. Therefore, I’m aiming for a career in consulting. At first I was 100% invested in SAIS Europe, and SAIS (according to most) has a pretty heavy Econ focus which I need for my professional goals. However, the locations of the NY and DC schools are really advantageous. I won’t have to deal with the summer rush to get internships and can have access to those opportunities during the fall and spring. I would say that MSFS is my second top choice, but the distance from the metro as well as overall cost of living in that area are a bit of a drawback. I’m going to try to ask for more funding. Just to see if I can get more and to make my decision easier. Im really unsure about which one I should go for.
  19. Hi all, I am currently having a hard (but sweet) time deciding between these two great schools. I am an international student and hope to stay in the US for at least a year or two. My target employers would be NGO and International Organizations like the UN. And as I know, the international can get a different visa type if working in NGO/IO to stay (not H1B) so it would be nice. I don't know if I should consider more about Harris' s solid quantitative courses and the study atmosphere where social life might not be a large part. The data analytics skills will definitely give me more leverage on job hunting since I am an international student and hard skills can be a thing helpful. Anyway, I would love to hear some advice and more information on what you know, the jobs in UN/NGO or whatever. Thanksssss!
  20. Hi all. I applied for the 2019 fall and have already heard back from SIPA, SP2, and some others (Sanford $, McCourt $, Wagner, etc). There are still many others to come (SAIS, CIPA, Luskin, etc.). But since my only reach school WWS has basically sent out the offers (while I did not receive one), I think I may make my decision between SIPA's MPA program and UPenn SP2's MS in Social Policy +Data Analytics program (with $). I'm an international applicant and am interested in poverty alleviation or broader development issues. I came right from my undergraduate studies, double-majoring in English and Finance. Most of my former experiences are as a research analyst in some research institutions, or as an intern in some private sector companies (technology consulting, and investment banking). At this moment, I am still not so sure about which sector to go into upon finishing graduate studies. So I kind of tailor my experience to fit in the strengths of both programs: for SIPA, I stress my preparations and devotion to enter an international organization to solve global poverty challenges; while for SP2, I write more about my data analytics skills and propose to use Fintech to help microfinance practice in alleviating poverty. Although they actually do not contradict with each other, there are certainly some differences. Also, I visited both cities and schools 3 years ago and can see they are indeed very different. My current pro-con list is below, but I'd love to hear others' thoughts or if there are some other things I should be considering! Pro-SIPA: - location! NY is truly a vibrant city and is close to the UN and many private companies - having the chance to select from tons of classes and some electives in other schools - flexibility in changing concentrations and specializations (while I am currently very satisfied with the EPD concentration) - reputations of SIPA (it is more prominent if I would return to my country) Con-SIPA: - no scholarship; total costs ++ - one score away from their international 110 TOEFL score requirement; may be required to attend a language school before or during the fall semester - just too biiiiig for a cohort (MIA+MPP = 400? /year) - increasingly hard to secure long-term contracts with international organizations these years, more in the form of 1-2 year consultants Pro-SP2: - STEM-designated! - may work in US NGOs - data analytics track: I might be more competitive since I may be more "tech" than many other policy graduates and most policy-eligible in comparison to those with a pure Data Science/Computer Science degree. - with $ (however, it seems that this year people are getting less than last year? ); may negotiate for more - small cohort (15-20?) Con-SP2: - very new program, especially with the DA certificate - not sure about the placement for international students (especially when this year's cohort is expanding) - only one elective available Thanks for your advice!
  21. Hi all - hoping for some advice on choosing between SIPA's MIA program and SAIS's MA program. I'm interested in studying human rights and conflict prevention/resolution and I'm hoping to work in an advocacy-based NGO after finishing grad school (though I'm also interested in multilateral work or possibly federal gov work under a different administration). I've visited both schools and overall had great impressions of both, so I'm not sure how to make a final decision. My current pro-con list is below, but I'd love to hear others' thoughts on what I should put the most weight on or if there are other factors I should be considering! Pro-SAIS: I'd get to spend my first year living in Bologna and traveling through Europe and North Africa during breaks, which seems like a really amazing, unique opportunity More tight-knit cohort from spending a year abroad together SAIS seems more prestigious than SIPA, though perhaps only marginally I live in DC now and probably want to continue working here long-term, so having a mostly DC-based network would be useful Their program is smaller than SIPA's and the classes seem smaller in general Pro-SIPA: I got scholarships from both schools, but SIPA will be about $10k cheaper/year* (but I can still afford either with no debt) Being close to the UN and having school connections there would be a great way for me to get internship experience in a multilateral org and figure out if I like the sector Studying in NYC for 2 years would be a great way for me to test out living in the city and see if it's somewhere I'd be interested in living long-term (since most jobs that interest me are in DC or NYC, and I already know what I like and don't like about DC life) Their "human rights and humanitarian policy" concentration perfectly aligns with my career goals (I can study human rights at SAIS, it would just be under the "international law and orgs" concentration so it might be a bit less focused) I could cross-register with Columbia Law School and take courses in international law *Assuming I get the FLAS fellowship, which I find out about next week. If I don't get it, I can't afford SIPA and in that case the decision is easy! Thanks for sharing any thoughts you have 😃
  22. 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?
  23. Hi all, I’ve been lucky enough to be accepted to my top two programs, the Master of Public Administration at Cornell and the MPA- Environmental Science and Policy at Columbia. I am kind of torn as to what to do, as both programs have strengths that seem equally important for me, so I was hoping I could get some advice from a forum I have religiously stalked this entire process ? With the funding I have received, what I have saved, and living expenses factored in, Cornell is about 13k cheaper, but I would be alright paying a little more for the program from Columbia if that was a better opportunity. So while finances are important, they’re not a huge factor at this point in my decision. I’m planning on entering the field of environmental policy/management (in the public or nonprofit sector), and because Columbia’s program actually includes some environmental science I thought this might be beneficial. However, Cornell’s program seems to be more well-rounded in all aspects you’d typically expect to find in an MPA/MPP program. Columbia’s program is also only a year long, which is great for the financial aspect of things but does condense the material into a much shorter span of time, and I worry will not be as in-depth. On the flip side of the coin, I think Columbia’s degree is (obviously) more geared toward the environmental side of things and could be a good opportunity to really specialize, and the degree seems very marketable as such. As far as location of the program, I am really not a huge NYC fan- I know, it might not have seemed like the smartest decision to apply to Columbia then, but the MPA-ESP program seemed absolutely worth it to me. The only other school with this option is Harris, and that seemed was way too expensive for me. I could be ok with NYC for a year, but honestly that’s it. I visited both campuses and found Cornell and the Ithaca area to be very comfortable and much more of my ideal grad school experience, however I don’t know how much weight this should hold on my decision. Finally, although I feel like this is very superficial detail, I’m a little worried about the benefits each degree would hold to employers. By all means Columbia is traditionally a more prestigious school, but at this level is it important? Would it hold weight between these two schools? I went to a big commuter school that was somewhere from 200-300 in the rankings, and although I think I made up for it with work experience, I don’t know if this would be worthwhile grounds to choose a more prestigious school, even amongst Ivies. I really don’t think it is, but again I’m not an expert and wanted a second opinion. I don’t have that long to make my final decision, so I would really appreciate any input you guys have on either of these schools or this decision. Thank you so much in advance!
  24. 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 ?
  25. Would love to hear what the average GRE score is for Columbia's SIPA. Thanks!
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