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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! 

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