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Heinz MSPPM vs. Ford MPP


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University of Michigan, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy (MPP) - I have been offered 100% tuition and fees, health insurance, and a $20,000 stipend for both years

Carnegie Mellon University, Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy (MSPPM) - I have been offered 100% tuition and a $6,000 stipend for both years

(I am in the process of reaching out to CMU to see if they'd be willing to match Ford's offer)

Background: I am a social services professional looking to transition from non-profit program delivery and fundraising to public sector consulting, with a specialization in evaluations, service design, and behavior change. Longer term, I'd also like to position myself to pursue a quantitatively heavy social science Ph.D like Economics or Sociology. My BA was in Cultural Studies at a lackluster art school, which is equivalent to reading a lot of social theory and continental philosophy. Major concerns:

Connection to Consulting Firms. Because I don't have a strong background in consulting fields, I want to be at a school with a strong relationship to places like Deloitte, IBM, and McKinsey. (I'm aware that an MBA would put me in a better position... but that's now what I am in the market for right now). 

Quantitative Focus. I want a school with a quantitative focus that can close the aforementioned skill gap and allow me to be competitive with folks that may have had a more robust undergraduate education. Classes which are interesting to me include program evaluation, applied econometrics, operations research/management science, statistical modeling, and data analysis (e.g. Python, SQL). In other words, whether it is management or analysis, I want a program that provides me a hard, technical approach. 

Applied and Experiential Learning. I want a school whose curriculum applies the aforementioned courses and methodologies to real world situations, preferably through client projects. 

Adaptability. I want a degree that will best position me in terms of network and skillset to hop from consulting to public program direction to research. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well they are both fantastic schools and at least you wont be paying anything for your masters unlike the majority of us. In terms of doing a quantative heavy PHD, I think CMU has a better reputation than Michigan, but I dont think you can go wrong with either. For consulting connections I think it depends on what type of consulting you want to do. From my limited research I think the top consulting firms (Mckinsey, Bain, BCG) only seem to consitently hire MPP graduates from Harvard with a few exceptions based on expertise from other top policy/IR schools. I would think Michigan would have slightly better connections just because its MBA program is ranked so highly and will place people in top consulting jobs. While both CMU and Michigan are considered top 25 MBA programs (according to poets and quants) Michigan consistently places more people at top consulting firms than CMU (see link at bottom). I honestly have no idea about Carnegie Mellon for public policy, although overall the school has a great reputation. Public Policy graduates tend to work in consulting firms with a solid government focus (Booz Allen Hamilton, Boeing, ect....) but that isnt to say you cant get a job at a top firm. You will have to spend your time mastering case studies with the rest of the top MBA graduates, and business knowledge would help you stand out, so maybe take some MBA and finance classes. Good luck!      Top consulting firm placement by school/MBA program -https://news.efinancialcareers.com/us-en/329415/top-mba-programs-job-mckinsey-bain-bcg 

Edited by HBLB
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