Jump to content

Decision time: share your dilemma


Recommended Posts

Coming from:
India, with nearly 3 years of mixed work experience in Private, Non-Proft and Local Government Sectors.

Deciding between: 

Tufts- MALD($10k/year)

UPitt- MPIA(0)

University of Denver(Korbel)- Master of International Studies($15k/year)

National University of Singapore- MIA(0)

Other factors:
I want to focus on Negotiation & Conflict Resolution and be a politician in long term.

How I'm leaning:Tufts University brings prestige with itself, but NUS will have a course concentrated on Asia. I'm a bit confused.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 215
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Well my Micro class got cancelled today so in my boredom (I mean sincere altruism) I'll go through and try and add my two cents where I feel I can. As a disclaimer much like most of you in here I am a

Well, given I'm the original poster, I should close the loop I guess!  A lot of soul-searching, discussions with my wife, dialogue and negotiations with USC and UT-Austin, working out logistics a

I think Goldman is a slam dunk for what you want to do. Columbia's bread and butter is health or international affairs policy, whereas Berkeley's reputation is more along the lines of your background/

19 hours ago, homesicksub said:

After about of a week's worth of deep thought, I'm still deciding between SAIS' MA and Georgetown SFS' Asian Studies program. I'm quite torn – while the MA program at SAIS is their flagship program and would carry a lot of weight in the post-graduate job search, Georgetown's faculty in the field of East Asian affairs is impossible to top, in my opinion. The two programs' curricula are also different in nature: whereas SAIS is heavier on the economics and its offerings on Asia are relatively thin, Georgetown's program is more directly focused on East Asian policy, history, and current affairs. The Asian Studies program is an interdisciplinary program that allows students to take courses in the Foreign Service and Security Studies programs, as well as courses beyond the SFS. I intend to pursue a career in U.S.-East Asian policy in the public sector, but I'm still not sure exactly which type of curriculum is more appropriate for such a path.

My question for anyone willing to answer is this: is pursuing a lesser-known, regional studies program in the Georgetown School of Foreign Service going to put me at a noticeable disadvantage when compared to the better-known MA program at SAIS? 

I think it really depends on how confident you are that you want to focus specifically on East Asia policy. If you know for sure that that's what you want to do, then Georgetown's program seems better for that path. If there's a chance that you'll want to focus on foreign policy more broadly, then a SAIS degree with a regional concentration (and if you'd be able to study in Nanjing, that could be super useful) will be more versatile. 

Bottom line,  is that they're both great programs. If you're still conflicted as you get closer to the deadline, I'd say pick whichever one is going to be cheaper. I don't think you can go wrong between these two options!

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/17/2019 at 6:56 PM, bac said:

Good question. I am going to approach both schools this week to ask about the process and mechanisms, and what it would mean for USC re: funding. 

 

Of course.

 

Michigan was your top pick and they are ponying up for a free ride? Get on the horse and take that ride.

Any update on USC deferring by any chance? 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/24/2019 at 1:15 AM, A.T. said:

No money from SAIS. I’m reevaluating my options, planning to ask all three to re-review me on financial aid. Has anyone had any luck with this? I guess it gets easier to get a revised aid offer, the closer we get to deadline?

The LBJ decisions went out really early. Does anyone know the range of their grants/waiver/stipend financial aid? Do they go up to just full tuition (including out of state waiver) or do they have tuition+?

I’m also creatively thinking about faculty at Harris and SAIS I may want to work with. Sometimes they have pots of money, but usually for research assistants. It could help make the decision for me, especially if I really connect with a professor.

Had phone conversations with professors at SAIS, LBJ, and Harris. They were super willing to talk about their work, and one exception, a guy who was rude.

Harris: Unclear about $$ for research assistantships, it sounds like those decisions will be made post-deadline. I doubt it's connected to admissions though. The two professors I spoke with seemed open to taking on staff, but noncommittal. TA-ships exist, but you have to connect with non-Harris undergrad faculty for that.
 
LBJ: Spoke to three professors. I really connected with one. He gave me a soft offer for a research assistant position at his center. He can't make the formal offer until after I matriculate, but this bodes well. I would be doing the 2 year LBJ program, so he liked that ability to commit. There's also the option to work in the summer, if I don't intern.
 
SAIS: Spoke to two professors. One was rude, but I guess that's his style. With SAIS, it sounds easier to get a research position for year two than year one. I can't imagine it would be impossible to get one first semester. I'm torn on SAIS. I love the school, but I'm not sure it has the amount of things I want to get out of grad school, like a non-IR course in policy economics. And of course, no money.
 
I asked a LBJ professor about switching to DC for a bigger award, and he said it's not worth it. Only a few faculty teach DC, the research is all in TX. The track sounds like Northeastern, just a long internship to get work experience. I have that already.
 
Today, I'm leaning more LBJ. Every day I like the idea of Austin more and more. This professor sounded like he had loads of leeway to work on things we are mutually interested in. If it all falls through, I guess I can bartend at a honky-tonk.
 
This was a lot to do all at once this week, but it helped relieve my anxiety about options.
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/27/2019 at 12:09 PM, somewhatslightlydazed said:

I think it really depends on how confident you are that you want to focus specifically on East Asia policy. If you know for sure that that's what you want to do, then Georgetown's program seems better for that path. If there's a chance that you'll want to focus on foreign policy more broadly, then a SAIS degree with a regional concentration (and if you'd be able to study in Nanjing, that could be super useful) will be more versatile. 

Bottom line,  is that they're both great programs. If you're still conflicted as you get closer to the deadline, I'd say pick whichever one is going to be cheaper. I don't think you can go wrong between these two options!

I agree with this. SFS is a great grooming ground for area specialists and the foreign service. From what I've heard.

Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, A.T. said:

I agree with this. SFS is a great grooming ground for area specialists and the foreign service. From what I've heard.

Thank you @somewhatslightlydazed and @A.T.! I find myself leaning towards SFS for the same reasons you both have stated. I’m definitely confident that I want to be a) an area specialist and b) in the public sector, so it sounds like Georgetown might be the right choice.

Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, madrid said:

Any update on USC deferring by any chance? 

I haven't asked them yet. My wife is broaching a possible move with her work which is now our preference, so I'm going to raise deferment with USC and Texas next week.

I did reach out to both USC and Texas to negotiate funding, but have not heard back from either yet, so 🤷‍♂️

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hope I'm not too late to the game.

I've been agonizing over SIPA vs SAIS ever since decisions came out, as both have lots to offer. Some background: I'll likely explore government/policy positions in Washington and private sector/policy jobs in Japan, where I've lived the past six years. My longtime goal has been to join the Foreign Service, but I'm hesitant to commit to government, especially with the ongoing hiring slump.

My thinking so far on each school's merits:

SIPA:

- Offering $$

- Possible dual degree with University of Tokyo, which has dirt-cheap tuition and sets me up for Japan jobs

- Strong global brand

That said, I got weird vibes from a reception I attended in Tokyo recently. The one American I talked to didn't exactly gush about his experience, claiming the school's culture is highly transactional, and that students are most interested in whether you're a useful future contact. However, I don't want to make sweeping judgments based on a handful of interactions.

I also wonder if the dual degree would severely handicap my U.S. job search.

SAIS:

- In Washington

- Very impressed with the reception I attended. Everyone was incredibly friendly and professional, and I felt like they were the kind of people I want to be around

- The required international economics concentration helps with private sector jobs

On the other hand, I didn't receive funding from SAIS, which was a huge letdown. I think I'd enjoy SAIS more, but SIPA offers more financial upside.

At this point, I thin my decision hinges on the importance of location. If living in DC gives me a clear advantage with jobs, that might push me toward SAIS. But if location isn't THAT crucial (NY isn't far away, and SIPA has a strong alumni network), I'd be more inclined to pick SIPA.

Any thoughts--especially on the the importance of location and each school's culture--would be super helpful. Congrats to all and best of luck with your decisions!

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, lost_in_translation said:

Hope I'm not too late to the game.

I've been agonizing over SIPA vs SAIS ever since decisions came out, as both have lots to offer. Some background: I'll likely explore government/policy positions in Washington and private sector/policy jobs in Japan, where I've lived the past six years. My longtime goal has been to join the Foreign Service, but I'm hesitant to commit to government, especially with the ongoing hiring slump.

My thinking so far on each school's merits:

SIPA:

- Offering $$

- Possible dual degree with University of Tokyo, which has dirt-cheap tuition and sets me up for Japan jobs

- Strong global brand

That said, I got weird vibes from a reception I attended in Tokyo recently. The one American I talked to didn't exactly gush about his experience, claiming the school's culture is highly transactional, and that students are most interested in whether you're a useful future contact. However, I don't want to make sweeping judgments based on a handful of interactions.

I also wonder if the dual degree would severely handicap my U.S. job search.

SAIS:

- In Washington

- Very impressed with the reception I attended. Everyone was incredibly friendly and professional, and I felt like they were the kind of people I want to be around

- The required international economics concentration helps with private sector jobs

On the other hand, I didn't receive funding from SAIS, which was a huge letdown. I think I'd enjoy SAIS more, but SIPA offers more financial upside.

At this point, I thin my decision hinges on the importance of location. If living in DC gives me a clear advantage with jobs, that might push me toward SAIS. But if location isn't THAT crucial (NY isn't far away, and SIPA has a strong alumni network), I'd be more inclined to pick SIPA.

Any thoughts--especially on the the importance of location and each school's culture--would be super helpful. Congrats to all and best of luck with your decisions!

If you want to be in DC after grad school and you’ve never lived in DC, you should go to grad school in DC—especially if you liked the school more. It’ll help you establish your network, explore various internships during the school year (when you won’t have as much competition as you will during the summers), and living in DC is cheaper than NYC. I would take that into your financial calculations as well. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest ke7312
17 hours ago, lost_in_translation said:

Hope I'm not too late to the game.

I've been agonizing over SIPA vs SAIS ever since decisions came out, as both have lots to offer. Some background: I'll likely explore government/policy positions in Washington and private sector/policy jobs in Japan, where I've lived the past six years. My longtime goal has been to join the Foreign Service, but I'm hesitant to commit to government, especially with the ongoing hiring slump.

My thinking so far on each school's merits:

SIPA:

- Offering $$

- Possible dual degree with University of Tokyo, which has dirt-cheap tuition and sets me up for Japan jobs

- Strong global brand

That said, I got weird vibes from a reception I attended in Tokyo recently. The one American I talked to didn't exactly gush about his experience, claiming the school's culture is highly transactional, and that students are most interested in whether you're a useful future contact. However, I don't want to make sweeping judgments based on a handful of interactions.

I also wonder if the dual degree would severely handicap my U.S. job search.

SAIS:

- In Washington

- Very impressed with the reception I attended. Everyone was incredibly friendly and professional, and I felt like they were the kind of people I want to be around

- The required international economics concentration helps with private sector jobs

On the other hand, I didn't receive funding from SAIS, which was a huge letdown. I think I'd enjoy SAIS more, but SIPA offers more financial upside.

At this point, I thin my decision hinges on the importance of location. If living in DC gives me a clear advantage with jobs, that might push me toward SAIS. But if location isn't THAT crucial (NY isn't far away, and SIPA has a strong alumni network), I'd be more inclined to pick SIPA.

Any thoughts--especially on the the importance of location and each school's culture--would be super helpful. Congrats to all and best of luck with your decisions!

I'm not going to pretend to be an expert in IR schools, but it sounds to me like you significantly prefer SAIS. If you're able to withstand the additional costs, I think you should trust your gut and go there.

Link to post
Share on other sites

US student, 4 years out from undergrad.

€50,000 scholarship from SAIS Bologna campus for two years (MAIA). 2 years Fulbright ETA, short term PC  service, internships at UN & Goethe Institut. GPA 3.8, GRE V 162/Q 158/W 5.5. Fluent in German/French, working knowledge Russian/Italian. Age 25. 

Uncertain if it's better to take the offer or wait and accept a position as a research coordinator at a top business school (HBS) for 1-2 years before trying for Wilson/Jackson or simply combining said coordinator experience with an MBA down the road. 

A life in Europe/European Affairs is the dream (not huge on quant/IMF/WB work), but this job at HBS just seems too good........... Insight? ??

Link to post
Share on other sites

Coming from

Attended small liberal arts school where I studied IR and Middle East studies. Will have 1.5 years experience as a program assistant at a Foreign Policy think tank.

Deciding Between: 

Cornell CIPA- Offered me 20k scholarship a year plus 3k to fund a summer internship. Tuition is 36k per year 

Tufts Fletcher- 15k scholarship , 20k in unsub loans and 2.5k in work-study per year.  Tuition is 47k per year

Other factors: 

I would rather be in Boston than Ithaca, but that being said..

How I’m Leaning: 

I'm leaning towards Cornell because I'm not sure its worth the extra 28k to go to Tufts.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Congrats to all for your offers!

Still thinking here, especially as I live overseas and won't be able to attend any Admitted Students' Days...and I second @lost in translation's question about the importance of location, which is the biggest thing I'm struggling with.

Deciding Between:

Evans ($0): A bit surprised I wasn't offered any scholarship funding (aside from Work/Study, which is minimal). Even if I negotiate I feel like funding would be minimal. However, I'm from Seattle originally and am hoping to be there/in the Northwest area after grad school...for that reason, Evans was always particularly attractive. I know they speak highly of their connections with the city and I'm wondering how much of a difference this really makes career-wise.

LBJ ($$): Offered a good fellowship and added another 17k on top after negotiating. Seems the teaching is great and focused on grad students, and Austin as a city is looking increasingly attractive. However, if I want to move back to Seattle, would a degree from Evans just make more sense despite the funding differences? 

SIPA ($): Offered around 25k & certainly its global brand recognition is tempting. I think there's a healthy debate to be had about the importance of name brand schools, but overall the program & city is just so expensive I'm not sure it's justifiable. Also need to think about my partner's ability to get a job in NY, which is difficult moving from abroad. 

Leaning towards: LBJ -  it's hard to pass up their funding offer. 

If anyone had thoughts on the significance of location/regional reach of a program that would be great!  

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, acl said:

Congrats to all for your offers!

Still thinking here, especially as I live overseas and won't be able to attend any Admitted Students' Days...and I second @lost in translation's question about the importance of location, which is the biggest thing I'm struggling with.

Deciding Between:

Evans ($0): A bit surprised I wasn't offered any scholarship funding (aside from Work/Study, which is minimal). Even if I negotiate I feel like funding would be minimal. However, I'm from Seattle originally and am hoping to be there/in the Northwest area after grad school...for that reason, Evans was always particularly attractive. I know they speak highly of their connections with the city and I'm wondering how much of a difference this really makes career-wise.

LBJ ($$): Offered a good fellowship and added another 17k on top after negotiating. Seems the teaching is great and focused on grad students, and Austin as a city is looking increasingly attractive. However, if I want to move back to Seattle, would a degree from Evans just make more sense despite the funding differences? 

SIPA ($): Offered around 25k & certainly its global brand recognition is tempting. I think there's a healthy debate to be had about the importance of name brand schools, but overall the program & city is just so expensive I'm not sure it's justifiable. Also need to think about my partner's ability to get a job in NY, which is difficult moving from abroad. 

Leaning towards: LBJ -  it's hard to pass up their funding offer. 

If anyone had thoughts on the significance of location/regional reach of a program that would be great!  

I am a current LBJ student. I would say that with any region program (i.e Evans, La Follette, LBJ, etc.), there is going to be more on an emphasis on where the school is located. However, that does not mean that you are stuck in one location for which you go to school.

As someone currently a Masters of Public Affairs Student, these degrees are useful, but not worth going into significant debt. Therefore, I would immediately cross of schools that are not offering any funding. The LBJ school is a fantastic school with top-notch faculty. Additionally, people in this program are spending their summer internships all over the country. Some stay in Texas, some go to DC, others back to the West-Coast.

SIPA's reputation may slightly surpass LBJ, but is a huge investment. Additionally, SIPA is a global brand, but is not HKS or WWS. Thus, do not go into debt just to go to a "name-brand" school.

I may be bias, but LBJ gives you the financial flexibility and the brand required to make the most of the degree.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all!

So I was accepted to UW, UT, UCLA, U of Denver, and Cal Poly SLO. Kind of a mix of calibers but I really wasn't sure where I'd get in with my credentials. I currently work on homelessness and want to stay in the realm of social policy in my career but also want to use grad school as a chance to broaden my scope of policy knowledge and be more of a generalist. At this point, I am between UT LBJ and UCLA Luskin. 

LBJ: I really think I'm leaning towards LBJ for location, ranking, wide range of classes and faculty specializations, and overall experience BUT I haven't visited yet (will be doing so this weekend). I am from CA so not sure how Texans take to Californians coming to town (mostly joking) but it would be a big move so not sure.

I didn't get any money from LBJ but I am wondering if anyone has ever had any luck trying to haggle with them on providing some funding? I applied after the priority funding deadline so I am assuming that's why I didn't get anything.

UCLA: I am less enthused about living in LA but understand the Luskin school is great. I feel like I know less about it than I do UT... does anyone have any insight?

UCLA is definitely the most affordable of my options and nearby so the move wouldn't be horrendous. BUT LA kind of stinks and the cost of living is so high. 

HELP! Just feeling very torn between my two options. Any input is appreciated. :)

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel extremely lucky to have some great offers:

Coming from: ~5 years at a big global consulting firm; currently based in Singapore. Prior to that, undergrad degrees Business & International Studies (heavy focus on China).

Goals/Rationale for attendance: When I got into my UG program, I thought I would pursue a career along the IR track but ended up consulting to banks instead on issues mostly unrelated to policy. This is a chance for me to try a move back towards the policy side of things, either directly through the government route, at a think tank, or at a multilateral organization (WB/IMF). If that doesn't work out, hopefully after 5 years and a couple promotions in consulting I can come back to that industry (though maybe at a firm with a better public sector practice than my current one).

Deciding between: 

Realistically:

  • Johns Hopkins SAIS MA: $35K (this is the most affordable option for me by a significant margin)
  • Columbia SIPA (MIA, Econ & Political development + East Asia): $30K + International Fellows Program giving an addt'l $10K for yr 1 only
  • Tufts Fletcher MALD: $18K

Decision factors other than funding:

I think SAIS's program offers the appropriate balance between flexibility and specialization (I would likely concentrate in either American Foreign Policy or Strategic Studies and try to take on a minor in China Studies). I also like SAIS's location in DC and think it may give me the best resources to meld together a few separate interests I've acquired in undergrad and at work (in undergrad I did work on Chinese politics / international relations; the policy-related issues I've covered at work generally relate to financial sector regulation). However, it seems the student body at SAIS is a bit younger on average than at SIPA and Fletcher, and I do wonder if that has an effect on available job opportunities through the school.

Also, I'm considering a one-year deferral, reason being that while I've been at my company for 5 years and am very excited about doing this degree now, staying for another ~8 months will probably result in a title bump to "Manager," which will probably be much more helpful than my currently ambiguous title "Associate" in finding jobs down the line.

How I'm leaning:

Leaning strongly towards going to SAIS (split on whether or not to defer), with SIPA and Fletcher both potential options as well. Lots of thinking/conversations/soul-searching to be had over the next 1-2 weeks.

Wish everyone else all the best in their decision process. I honestly couldn't feel more grateful to be in this position. Any thoughts either on choices or deferral are much appreciated.

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, MPPKollege said:

I am a current LBJ student. I would say that with any region program (i.e Evans, La Follette, LBJ, etc.), there is going to be more on an emphasis on where the school is located. However, that does not mean that you are stuck in one location for which you go to school.

As someone currently a Masters of Public Affairs Student, these degrees are useful, but not worth going into significant debt. Therefore, I would immediately cross of schools that are not offering any funding. The LBJ school is a fantastic school with top-notch faculty. Additionally, people in this program are spending their summer internships all over the country. Some stay in Texas, some go to DC, others back to the West-Coast.

SIPA's reputation may slightly surpass LBJ, but is a huge investment. Additionally, SIPA is a global brand, but is not HKS or WWS. Thus, do not go into debt just to go to a "name-brand" school.

I may be bias, but LBJ gives you the financial flexibility and the brand required to make the most of the degree.

Thanks a ton for your input! That's helpful - you've kind of confirmed my thinking, and good to know students are getting internships across the country. I'm getting more and more excited about LBJ.

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, BLyles said:

Hi all!

So I was accepted to UW, UT, UCLA, U of Denver, and Cal Poly SLO. Kind of a mix of calibers but I really wasn't sure where I'd get in with my credentials. I currently work on homelessness and want to stay in the realm of social policy in my career but also want to use grad school as a chance to broaden my scope of policy knowledge and be more of a generalist. At this point, I am between UT LBJ and UCLA Luskin. 

LBJ: I really think I'm leaning towards LBJ for location, ranking, wide range of classes and faculty specializations, and overall experience BUT I haven't visited yet (will be doing so this weekend). I am from CA so not sure how Texans take to Californians coming to town (mostly joking) but it would be a big move so not sure.

I didn't get any money from LBJ but I am wondering if anyone has ever had any luck trying to haggle with them on providing some funding? I applied after the priority funding deadline so I am assuming that's why I didn't get anything.

UCLA: I am less enthused about living in LA but understand the Luskin school is great. I feel like I know less about it than I do UT... does anyone have any insight?

UCLA is definitely the most affordable of my options and nearby so the move wouldn't be horrendous. BUT LA kind of stinks and the cost of living is so high. 

HELP! Just feeling very torn between my two options. Any input is appreciated. :)

 

I did manage to get more funding from LBJ this past week, and they responded fairly quickly, which was nice. I used a more competitive funding offer from another school and asked if they could help close the gap. You may as well ask, and ask soon - good luck! I don't have much knowledge of UCLA, sorry.

Would be interested in hearing your thoughts from your visit to LBJ! 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/1/2019 at 12:05 AM, acl said:

Congrats to all for your offers!

Still thinking here, especially as I live overseas and won't be able to attend any Admitted Students' Days...and I second @lost in translation's question about the importance of location, which is the biggest thing I'm struggling with.

Deciding Between:

Evans ($0): A bit surprised I wasn't offered any scholarship funding (aside from Work/Study, which is minimal). Even if I negotiate I feel like funding would be minimal. However, I'm from Seattle originally and am hoping to be there/in the Northwest area after grad school...for that reason, Evans was always particularly attractive. I know they speak highly of their connections with the city and I'm wondering how much of a difference this really makes career-wise.

LBJ ($$): Offered a good fellowship and added another 17k on top after negotiating. Seems the teaching is great and focused on grad students, and Austin as a city is looking increasingly attractive. However, if I want to move back to Seattle, would a degree from Evans just make more sense despite the funding differences? 

SIPA ($): Offered around 25k & certainly its global brand recognition is tempting. I think there's a healthy debate to be had about the importance of name brand schools, but overall the program & city is just so expensive I'm not sure it's justifiable. Also need to think about my partner's ability to get a job in NY, which is difficult moving from abroad. 

Leaning towards: LBJ -  it's hard to pass up their funding offer. 

If anyone had thoughts on the significance of location/regional reach of a program that would be great!  

There’s old advice out there that you should go to a school in the state where you want to work. But I think that applies more to MBA or law than policy degrees. You can build a network anywhere after graduation. What matters is what you accomplish during the program.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest ke7312

OK so I'm down to La Follette and Heinz now (Harris was, uh, not helpful in closing the financial gap between them and my other choices.) I have a better scholarship at LF—full ride plus stipend vs 75% at Heinz. I want to choose La Follette, and I kind of feel crazy. I have sort of disparate career goals, but here are some of my main ideas: I'd like to work in policy research for a think tank or NGO, I'd consider going for a PhD or even JD eventually, I'd like to end up living and working in a major city (especially Chicago, where I'm from). I'm interested in environmental and social and urban policy and policy analysis (I know I'm gonna have to choose, but it's hard.) I came in looking for a school where I could learn quantitative skills, which I don't really have currently. I also have this (maybe naive) idea that I want to work to fight injustice.

Heinz seems to fit most of my goals a little better than LF. LF seems very focused on training people to work in government and advocacy in Wisconsin, and those really aren't my goals. Heinz seems like it's training people to work in business and consulting, first and foremost, but think tank/research work is probably #2, and they have a more national reach. And they're perhaps *the* quantitative skills school.

But in terms of the philosophy of the two schools—which is important to me—LF really seems closer to what I'm looking for. They seem a lot more progressive and focused on public service. If I'm going to be with classmates who mostly have different goals than me, I'd way rather be among people who have goals to work in the public sector than classmates who want to work at PwC. (No offense if your goal is PwC, it's just not my thing.) But maybe I'm misjudging Heinz—there are certainly people there who focus on public service.

Also, LF is closer to Chicago, seems to be really good at finding employment for their graduates (even if with less geographic diversity), and seems to have more extensive/interdisciplinary research opportunities (good for my possible PhD goals). Between that and the culture thing and the scholarship, I'm ready to choose it over Heinz. Especially considering my goals are to work in policy research, am I crazy to turn Heinz down?

Edited by ke7312
Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, ke7312 said:

OK so I'm down to La Follette and Heinz now (Harris was, uh, not helpful in closing the financial gap between them and my other choices.) I have a better scholarship at LF—full ride plus stipend vs 75% at Heinz. I want to choose La Follette, and I kind of feel crazy. I have sort of disparate career goals, but here are some of my main ideas: I'd like to work in policy research for a think tank or NGO, I'd consider going for a PhD or even JD eventually, I'd like to end up living and working in a major city (especially Chicago, where I'm from). I'm interested in environmental and social and urban policy and policy analysis (I know I'm gonna have to choose, but it's hard.) I came in looking for a school where I could learn quantitative skills, which I don't really have currently. I also have this (maybe naive) idea that I want to work to fight injustice.

Heinz seems to fit most of my goals a little better than LF. LF seems very focused on training people to work in government and advocacy in Wisconsin, and those really aren't my goals. Heinz seems like it's training people to work in business and consulting, first and foremost, but think tank/research work is probably #2, and they have a more national reach. And they're perhaps *the* quantitative skills school.

But in terms of the philosophy of the two schools—which is important to me—LF really seems closer to what I'm looking for. They seem a lot more progressive and focused on public service. If I'm going to be with classmates who mostly have different goals than me, I'd way rather be among people who have goals to work in the public sector than classmates who want to work at PwC. (No offense if your goal is PwC, it's just not my thing.) But maybe I'm misjudging Heinz—there are certainly people there who focus on public service.

Also, LF is closer to Chicago, seems to be really good at finding employment for their graduates (even if with less geographic diversity), and seems to have more extensive/interdisciplinary research opportunities (good for my possible PhD goals). Between that and the culture thing and the scholarship, I'm ready to choose it over Heinz. Especially considering my goals are to work in policy research, am I crazy to turn Heinz down?

Woof! That is a lot to unpack here.

1. The less debt the better when all is equal, but it seems like Heinz would not be too much of an investment financially compared to others on this forum. I would say that there are people from La Follette who had wanted to work in Chicago and found work. The La Follette Chicago network is quite strong. 

2. To improve your quantitative skills, the top public policy schools differ on this scale (SOLELY MY OPINION). The first tier quantitative programs are Ford, HKS, WWS, Harris, and Heinz. The next tier is generally Goldman, LBJ, SIPA, and SEPA. The following tier is where you would find Evans, La Follette, and others. Regardless, you will get the quantitative skills necessary to work at a think tank at any of these schools. (Note: All of these programs have courses in which you will use Excel and STATA, as well as Python or R if you so do desire)

3. I visited La Follette...and yes, there is a STRONG focus on Wisconsin (which is going to be hard to avoid). This something you will find at all regional schools (LBJ, Evans, Humphrey). I do know La Follette has a network in DC and other big cities, but not as much as other schools

4. I assure you that you are going to find a decent number of people wanting to do public sector consulting at most policy schools, so I would NOT hold that against Heinz. La Follette has people going to Deloitte each year. 

5. Be cautious of going to a school because of the ideological bend. I understand you may be progressive, but there is concern when you are in a program, and there is no one to challenge your viewpoints. Graduate school is based largely on discussion. Individuals who all share the same ideology does not lend itself to be a conductive classroom. Sure, the majority of your cohort at these schools will be left-leaning, but you will be sure to find some people at LBJ, Heinz, other programss interning for Republicans or AEI. It is not the norm, but it is there. 

6. Understand that a PhD for Public Policy is not similar to many other PhDs. 

Overall, you have two great choices. This is simply my random opinion off of the internet. Both are highly respected schools and you need to make the best decision for yourself. 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't speak on Berkeley, but I just successfully negotiated with Harris for an increase from 40% tuition to 70%, using a full-tuition scholarship at USC (in addition to some other offers) as leverage. I basically made it clear that Harris is my top choice (and that I would go definitely go there if provided a feasible package) and the only factor stopping me at this time is $.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ke7312 said:

OK so I'm down to La Follette and Heinz now (Harris was, uh, not helpful in closing the financial gap between them and my other choices.) I have a better scholarship at LF—full ride plus stipend vs 75% at Heinz. I want to choose La Follette, and I kind of feel crazy. I have sort of disparate career goals, but here are some of my main ideas: I'd like to work in policy research for a think tank or NGO, I'd consider going for a PhD or even JD eventually, I'd like to end up living and working in a major city (especially Chicago, where I'm from). I'm interested in environmental and social and urban policy and policy analysis (I know I'm gonna have to choose, but it's hard.) I came in looking for a school where I could learn quantitative skills, which I don't really have currently. I also have this (maybe naive) idea that I want to work to fight injustice.

Heinz seems to fit most of my goals a little better than LF. LF seems very focused on training people to work in government and advocacy in Wisconsin, and those really aren't my goals. Heinz seems like it's training people to work in business and consulting, first and foremost, but think tank/research work is probably #2, and they have a more national reach. And they're perhaps *the* quantitative skills school.

But in terms of the philosophy of the two schools—which is important to me—LF really seems closer to what I'm looking for. They seem a lot more progressive and focused on public service. If I'm going to be with classmates who mostly have different goals than me, I'd way rather be among people who have goals to work in the public sector than classmates who want to work at PwC. (No offense if your goal is PwC, it's just not my thing.) But maybe I'm misjudging Heinz—there are certainly people there who focus on public service.

Also, LF is closer to Chicago, seems to be really good at finding employment for their graduates (even if with less geographic diversity), and seems to have more extensive/interdisciplinary research opportunities (good for my possible PhD goals). Between that and the culture thing and the scholarship, I'm ready to choose it over Heinz. Especially considering my goals are to work in policy research, am I crazy to turn Heinz down?

@MPPKollege Has some really great points, but I'll throw in my 2 cents too.

If money is a concern for Heinz and is holding you back... don't hesitate to negotiate. I got my offer up from 80% to 90% tuition. There is a link in an email about financing your education where you can request a scholarship consideration (or email the director of admissions). They have you fill out a spreadsheet with your competing offers, and since you have a better offer, my guess is they will try to close the gap.

Because I live in Pittsburgh, I know several people who are attending/have attended Heinz and they are all public sector focused. Sure, there are probably people interested in consulting, but from my visit in the fall and personal contacts, there are a lot of people who are public service oriented. And to add another data point, I'll probably choose Heinz, and my interests are international development and policy analysis so I'll probably find myself at an NGO or think tank after graduating. Have you visited both schools? I think it can be hard to get an idea of the culture without visiting and talking to a lot of students. If you can't visit a school, I would suggest trying to reach out to several students at each school (always talk to more than one!).

As you said, Heinz is one of the top quant skills schools. And if you're interested in policy analysis, the RAND office is a couple of blocks away. I can't really comment on which school would be better for your PhD goals since I have no idea what PhD you're interested in, but if that is a serious consideration for you, I would suggest looking at the associated gradcafe forum to see what makes a strong applicant. You don't want to get to the end of your master's journey only to realize top Econ PhD programs won't give you a second look if you haven't completed linear algebra or multivariable calculus coursework.

Ultimately, I'm an internet stranger and you know what's best for your career goals and finances. But, the main point I want to make is to seek out more info in these final two weeks! Talk to more students, to professors, to the career services office, the academic affairs office, etc. so you can feel more confident you're making the right choice for you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

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