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Sending good vibes to everybody. Good luck!  I was pretty much going to settle on my offer to UChicago Harris (25k per year, going to argue for more). But now this waitlisting from HKS changes a

Definitely Goldman. The program (and Berkeley) hit all the marks for me. I would be really happy to go there. 

I would say Harris is near HKS level of quality and not worth the $60K total difference.

If their class is full/almost full, you’ll hear after the 30th. If the class has a lot of space, they might tell you before that date, as you all have to pay deposits elsewhere and they would be asking you to break them (i.e. the melt rate).

You all seem to have some incredible offers with great funding elsewhere, so there is zero upside/benefit that derives from accepting a potential waitlist offer, with zero funding, while also having to break a deposit from a funded offer/fully funded offer — and HKS knows that. This is why you might hear an answer in the coming days (if there is indeed a lot of space)...

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On 4/12/2020 at 5:16 AM, Yass said:

Why do you think is the international student % so low for the MPP program as compared to other schools like SIPA (50-70%) or SAIS (30-40%)? The other MPA programs at HKS also has a very high % of international students...

The real answer is because SIPA is a major cash cow unfortunately. MPA-ID is a great program, but is internationally focused, so US domestic folks don't apply as much—I'm a domestically focused MPP, and some of the MPA-ID courses I took were among the best classes I took at HKS.

I can't speak to SAIS.

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16 minutes ago, wittgensteinsbladder said:

The real answer is because SIPA is a major cash cow unfortunately. MPA-ID is a great program, but is internationally focused, so US domestic folks don't apply as much—I'm a domestically focused MPP, and some of the MPA-ID courses I took were among the best classes I took at HKS. Take Hausmann's DEV-309, it's worth it.

I can't speak to SAIS.

Having worked abroad, people view Harvard as a purely academic, theoretical place with bookish individuals. They view Columbia as having a more cosmopolitan, pragmatic student body. Nothing wrong with each, people just gravitate towards one or the other based on their preferences.

Important to note that all public policy/IR programs are cash cows to a certain degree, as HKS is also notorious for being stingy with funding, as almost all scholarship money comes from CPL full rides.

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3 hours ago, wittgensteinsbladder said:

The real answer is because SIPA is a major cash cow unfortunately. MPA-ID is a great program, but is internationally focused, so US domestic folks don't apply as much—I'm a domestically focused MPP, and some of the MPA-ID courses I took were among the best classes I took at HKS. Take Hausmann's DEV-309, it's worth it.

I can't speak to SAIS.

I disagree with you. HKS is a major cash cow even bigger than SIPA. 

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9 hours ago, AltioraPeto said:

I disagree with you. HKS is a major cash cow even bigger than SIPA. 

From my understanding, SAIS and SIPA have recently improved their financial aid packages considerably, increasIng the quantity and quality of scholarships given to admitted students.

HKS is gifted with donations that are typically restricted, which means they are to be used for whatever project/end the donor intends (start a research center, endow a professor, fund a new building etc.). Donors rarely ask to fund the financial aid “pot” because they lose their chance to brand their name on something (i.e. Wexner, Belfer). The school as a whole has become very stingy as a result, and relies on the highly coveted but incredibly competitive CPL fellowships as main sources of internal scholarships.

One can argue that graduate schools in general are cash cows, but despite law and business schools’ prohibitive costs, the expected salaries upon graduation are ~$150,000 + (this recession may change that a bit). Policy/IR schools on the other-hand are asking you to pay $160,000 for a job that pays a little over $50,000 (considering this recession). Given this fact about policy schools, the stingier the school, the more of a cash cow it is. Paying that full price (of policy schools) for that meager result is absolutely nuts, btw.

Edited by Mppirgradschool
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5 hours ago, Mppirgradschool said:

From my understanding, SAIS and SIPA have recently improved their financial aid packages considerably, increasIng the quantity and quality of scholarships given to admitted students.

HKS is gifted with donations that are typically restricted, which means they are to be used for whatever project/end the donor intends (start a research center, endow a professor, fund a new building etc.). Donors rarely ask to fund the financial aid “pot” because they lose their chance to brand their name on something (i.e. Wexner, Belfer). The school as a whole has become very stingy as a result, and relies on the highly coveted but incredibly competitive CPL fellowships as main sources of internal scholarships.

One can argue that graduate schools in general are cash cows, but despite law and business schools’ prohibitive costs, the expected salaries upon graduation are ~$150,000 + (this recession may change that a bit). Policy/IR schools on the other-hand are asking you to pay $160,000 for a job that pays a little over $50,000 (considering this recession). Given this fact about policy schools, the stingier the school, the more of a cash cow it is. Paying that full price (of policy schools) for that meager result is absolutely nuts, btw.

Just to give everyone some insights about higher education economics to give context the reality is this:

1. the price per head of an undergrad costs more than grad students. This is because if you think about it, undergraduates require more resources - housing, more campus life, more career services support, wider ranger of academic needs... etc. etc.

2. Grad students per head costs are: academics, some campus life - but nothing as crazy as needed by undergrads, and career stuff... 

So how do graduate programs become cash cows?

1. Tuition (any tuition): Sometimes, even if your tuition is 60% of sticker price due to scholarships, the program may be making a decent amount off of you due to generally lower input costs to begin with.

2. International students: A lot of times graduate programs cater towards a wider international student market who nearly almost always pay full sticker price. Now I have seen graduate schools improve their diversity numbers via international students (sometimes a grad school will advertise strong diversity, but those "diverse" populations are international students.

3. Resource Acquisitions: A lot of graduate programs also support major research / operational arms that attract major donations, government grants, private grants, and etc. This can be a Catch 22, because it makes it look like that the graduate school is sitting fatter, but then they have more resource commitments. From an education perspective, it can be said that there is a benefit to giving access to such programs... but it has also been argued that it distracts away from the student experience.

KEY THING TO UNDERSTAND

One thing I want to highlight is that the money tied to a University and the budget available are two different things. Its easy to blame a University with a large endowment for being stingy and not providing scholarships or paying its workers enough (Harvard has been accused of that). However, the budget each school has, although tangentially tied to the endowment, is a very drastically different matter. Universities have lots and lots and lots of commitments, both long term and short term that they have to balance. What those look like vary based off of University, but those commitments mean that a seemingly wealthy University, legitimately might not be able to afford more scholarships for some its programs. To put this in context:

I once saw a 1+ billion endowment University do an annual draw of endowment funds, but the majority of those funds went to its medical center (hence commitments). There once was a school called Cooper Union which had an endowment to make sure that all its students have all academic expenses paid for. They changed that pricing model (to a lot of controversy) because the dean thought that in order to be competitive, they needed to make strategic investments. Not saying it was right or wrong, but this goes to show Universities are trying to balance priorities (lets just imagine in general good faith), but students can be hit hard as consequence in terms of tuition. 

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On 4/9/2020 at 6:38 PM, Jenjenlx said:

I just heard back from HKS today, and I am admitted! But no scholarship though. I was already mentally prepared to go to Harris (they raised my scholarship to $30k per year).

I am super excited, but don't know what to choose. I am from China, so the Harvard brand is worth way too much than everything. Any thoughts?

Good luck to everyone! Look forward to hearing some good news.

If you have the resources and the ability to pay full retail-sure. But if you have to borrow the money, we are about to all go into a global recession (also limiting and shrinking career options) and it would not be the most fiscally astute decision.

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2 hours ago, Boolakanaka said:

If you have the resources and the ability to pay full retail-sure. But if you have to borrow the money, we are about to all go into a global recession (also limiting and shrinking career options) and it would not be the most fiscally astute decision.

I would say Harris is near HKS level of quality and not worth the $60K total difference.

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On 5/1/2020 at 6:00 PM, GradSchoolGrad said:

I would say Harris is near HKS level of quality and not worth the $60K total difference.

Most would disagree with you regarding quality. WWS and HKS are the two most selective policy schools. Harris is a undoubtedly a quality institution as well, but HKS and WWS are in a league of their own. Whether that gap justifies a $60k cost difference is up to the individual.

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1 hour ago, keurimja said:

Most would disagree with you regarding quality. WWS and HKS are the two most selective policy schools. Harris is a undoubtedly a quality institution as well, but HKS and WWS are in a league of their own. Whether that gap justifies a $60k cost difference is up to the individual.

Its like the difference between Mercedes (HKS) and BMW (Harris)... both can handle the autobahn in German style and luxury... You might sparkle more with the Mercedes, but at the end of the day, you park next to each other and in the same lot. I'm sure some car person could point out how this is an imperfect analogy, but I think most people can get the point. 

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4 hours ago, keurimja said:

Most would disagree with you regarding quality. WWS and HKS are the two most selective policy schools. Harris is a undoubtedly a quality institution as well, but HKS and WWS are in a league of their own. Whether that gap justifies a $60k cost difference is up to the individual.

Yale and arguably Berkeley are more selective than HKS (MPP) -- they are also very transparent about their GPA and GRE averages. When I saw the admit rate at HKS MPP from a few years ago, it was about 30%. Probably higher than that this year, due to the second waitlist.

I will also note that, in my experience, HKS MPPs are a bit obsessed with "branding" and more open to conflating "selectivity" with "quality". They always mention/compare themselves to WWS yet I doubt that, unless fully funded at HKS, they were actually admitted there as they would have gone. The best HKS grads, along with MPA/IDs, that I have come across are MC/MPAs, a program that takes about half of those that apply, but were of a much higher quality before enrolling, by virtue of its prior WE requisite.

Harris' MPP offers the best training out of any MPP, only the MPA/ID at HKS can compare.If you look at its employment snapshot, it's really quite similar to HKS' MPP. The main difference being that Harris places more people in Chicago area whereas HKS places in Boston.

As an endnote, MPP/MPA/IR programs have higher rates of admission by virtue of having fewer applicants than MBAs (for example), most of which are already qualified and vying for a large-ish number of spots at elite tier schools. I wouldn't read into perceived selectivity as an accurate gauge of quality in a student body, as people follow their funding options because outcomes are quite similar. Getting the funding is the most selective part.

Edited by Mppirgradschool
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On 4/25/2020 at 6:43 AM, Mppirgradschool said:

From my understanding, SAIS and SIPA have recently improved their financial aid packages considerably, increasIng the quantity and quality of scholarships given to admitted students.

HKS is gifted with donations that are typically restricted, which means they are to be used for whatever project/end the donor intends (start a research center, endow a professor, fund a new building etc.). Donors rarely ask to fund the financial aid “pot” because they lose their chance to brand their name on something (i.e. Wexner, Belfer). The school as a whole has become very stingy as a result, and relies on the highly coveted but incredibly competitive CPL fellowships as main sources of internal scholarships.

One can argue that graduate schools in general are cash cows, but despite law and business schools’ prohibitive costs, the expected salaries upon graduation are ~$150,000 + (this recession may change that a bit). Policy/IR schools on the other-hand are asking you to pay $160,000 for a job that pays a little over $50,000 (considering this recession). Given this fact about policy schools, the stingier the school, the more of a cash cow it is. Paying that full price (of policy schools) for that meager result is absolutely nuts, btw.

Can I ask where you got that 150k figure?  I formerly was at Boston Consulting and have a good grasp of peer entities and know of potentially 2-3 groups, eg McKinsey and Boston, that have salaries north of 140k, most are under 150.

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46 minutes ago, Boolakanaka said:

Can I ask where you got that 150k figure?  I formerly was at Boston Consulting and have a good grasp of peer entities and know of potentially 2-3 groups, eg McKinsey and Boston, that have salaries north of 140k, most are under 150.

Cool! I interviewed with MBB out of undergrad, but ultimately pursued a career in public service, both in domestic and international arenas.

I was using figures shared by Management Consulted for 2019, as seen below:

https://managementconsulted.com/consulting-salaries-for-2019-management-consulted/

MBB pays around $165k base vs other firms clocking in at around $150k -- not counting signing bonuses. These numbers will obviously change given COVID-19 organizational cost-cutting and diminished deal flow...

Edited by Mppirgradschool
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1 hour ago, Mppirgradschool said:

Cool! I interviewed with MBB out of undergrad, but ultimately pursued a career in public service, both in domestic and international arenas.

I was using figures shared by Management Consulted for 2019, as seen below:

https://managementconsulted.com/consulting-salaries-for-2019-management-consulted/

MBB pays around $165k base vs other firms clocking in at around $150k -- not counting signing bonuses. These numbers will obviously change given COVID-19 organizational cost-cutting and diminished deal flow...

I would qualify that top B schools command more salary than those with MPP/MPAs, as their curriculum is much more quant oriented, starting salaries reflect that as well...

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1 hour ago, Boolakanaka said:

Can I ask where you got that 150k figure?  I formerly was at Boston Consulting and have a good grasp of peer entities and know of potentially 2-3 groups, eg McKinsey and Boston, that have salaries north of 140k, most are under 150.

Ya, salaries post MBA surged in 2017/2018/2019 for MBBs due to competition with Tech (they give stock options). 165K (not counting bonuses was the MBB in 2019. 

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24 minutes ago, Boolakanaka said:

I would qualify that top B schools command more salary than those with MPP/MPAs, as their curriculum is much more quant oriented, starting salaries reflect that as well...

So having both an MBA and MPP, I will tell you that my MPP program was definitely more quant oriented (granted I did go to a more applied side quant MPP program... but Harris, WWS, and Ford is more quant than my school). These are the 3 things that make MBAs more valuable that policy students. 

1. Soft skills / Managerial skills - sounds tacky, but MBA students know how to manage people/programs much better on average. MBAs have classes on these and a lot of social events/extra curricular activities help develop these skills.

2. Understanding business concepts --> more money in that arena. This is probably the biggest value add MBA schools do from an education perspective. 

3. Professional demeanor and culture fluency --> just being able to able to swim in the business environment and not get lost

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10 hours ago, Mppirgradschool said:

Yale and arguably Berkeley are more selective than HKS (MPP) -- they are also very transparent about their GPA and GRE averages. When I saw the admit rate at HKS MPP from a few years ago, it was about 30%. Probably higher than that this year, due to the second waitlist.

I will also note that, in my experience, HKS MPPs are a bit obsessed with "branding" and more open to conflating "selectivity" with "quality". They always mention/compare themselves to WWS yet I doubt that, unless fully funded at HKS, they were actually admitted there as they would have gone. The best HKS grads, along with MPA/IDs, that I have come across are MC/MPAs, a program that takes about half of those that apply, but were of a much higher quality before enrolling, by virtue of its prior WE requisite.

Harris' MPP offers the best training out of any MPP, only the MPA/ID at HKS can compare.If you look at its employment snapshot, it's really quite similar to HKS' MPP. The main difference being that Harris places more people in Chicago area whereas HKS places in Boston.

As an endnote, MPP/MPA/IR programs have higher rates of admission by virtue of having fewer applicants than MBAs (for example), most of which are already qualified and vying for a large-ish number of spots at elite tier schools. I wouldn't read into perceived selectivity as an accurate gauge of quality in a student body, as people follow their funding options because outcomes are quite similar. Getting the funding is the most selective part.

Not sure where you're getting the 30% admit rate from. HKS last released its admit rate for the MPP program in 2010, when it dropped just below 20%. I would suspect that admission has grown even more selective since then.

I would also caution against using GPA/GRE as the sole gauge of selectivity. Aside from the fact that many of the top policy programs (e.g. WWS, HKS, SIPA, Harris) do not publish comprehensive admissions statistics (GPA and test scores) - making it impossible to compare using this criteria - admission to these leading schools is clearly much more of a holistic process. I.e. a 4.0 and a 340 GRE doesn't equate to admission to WWS without a convincing resume, narrative, and stellar recommendations. Similarly, I don't think that we would discount some of the most elite MBA programs (with average undergraduate GPAs of around 3.6) as being less competitive than Berkeley Goldman or Yale Jackson - since they employ a similarly holistic admissions process.

The employment snapshot report you mentioned was one of the reasons I elected not to attend Harris. While the program was attractive due to its econ-heavy curriculum and the offer of a substantive fellowship package, the median salary outcomes published in 2019 were $75k for those working in the private sector, $63k for nonprofit work, and $55k in the public sector. These figures are lower than those published by SIPA (though these may be offset due to employment in Manhattan) and substantially less than the median figures last published by HKS: $120k - private, $70k - nonprofit, $61k-$81k for public. Of course, for those of us interested in the public service, compensation was never the primary consideration, but is undeniably important.

I'm not trying to bash on Harris; I really like the program and would have attended had it not been for my other offers. I also have several friends who have graduated from there and are incredibly talented individuals. However, even they would agree that WWS, HKS, Yale-Jackson, and Berkeley-Goldman are more selective programs (not including scholarship awards).

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24 minutes ago, keurimja said:

Not sure where you're getting the 30% admit rate from. HKS last released its admit rate for the MPP program in 2010, when it dropped just below 20%. I would suspect that admission has grown even more selective since then.

I got it from an internal document shared by peer schools that highlighted the application number and offers given at each institution.

25 minutes ago, keurimja said:

I would also caution against using GPA/GRE as the sole gauge of selectivity. Aside from the fact that many of the top policy programs (e.g. WWS, HKS, SIPA, Harris) do not publish comprehensive admissions statistics (GPA and test scores)

WWS shares its GPA and GRE data in its yearly Graduate Admissions Viewbook.

27 minutes ago, keurimja said:

 

I would also caution against using GPA/GRE as the sole gauge of selectivity. Aside from the fact that many of the top policy programs (e.g. WWS, HKS, SIPA, Harris) do not publish comprehensive admissions statistics (GPA and test scores) - making it impossible to compare using this criteria - admission to these leading schools is clearly much more of a holistic process. I.e. a 4.0 and a 340 GRE doesn't equate to admission to WWS without a convincing resume, narrative, and stellar recommendations. Similarly, I don't think that we would discount some of the most elite MBA programs (with average undergraduate GPAs of around 3.6) as being less competitive than Berkeley Goldman or Yale Jackson - since they employ a similarly holistic admissions process.

 

Agree with what you say about the MBA process being very holistic (outside of the 2+2 programs), but I should note that it is becoming less true for elite policy schools that are increasing their intake of students with 2> years of experience. WWS is the exception to this, though.

31 minutes ago, keurimja said:

 

The employment snapshot report you mentioned was one of the reasons I elected not to attend Harris. While the program was attractive due to its econ-heavy curriculum and the offer of a substantive fellowship package, the median salary outcomes published in 2019 were $75k for those working in the private sector, $63k for nonprofit work, and $55k in the public sector. These figures are lower than those published by SIPA (though these may be offset due to employment in Manhattan) and substantially less than the median figures last published by HKS: $120k - private, $70k - nonprofit, $61k-$81k for public. Of course, for those of us interested in the public service, compensation was never the primary consideration, but is undeniably important.

Would love to have all the HKS MPP salary data to best disaggregate the numbers further, especially the yearly number of people they send to each firm. About 1/3 of HKS students are dual degrees so it would be interesting to know how much that informs the median private sector salary and how many non-dual degree MPPs end up at MBB. I suspect that number will be low in the coming years. Important to mention that HKS MPP is very domestic, so median salaries will be higher on average than Harris and especially SIPA -- as salaries are much lower abroad and they have double the rate of international students compared to HKS' MPP.

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52 minutes ago, keurimja said:

Not sure where you're getting the 30% admit rate from. HKS last released its admit rate for the MPP program in 2010, when it dropped just below 20%. I would suspect that admission has grown even more selective since then.

I would also caution against using GPA/GRE as the sole gauge of selectivity. Aside from the fact that many of the top policy programs (e.g. WWS, HKS, SIPA, Harris) do not publish comprehensive admissions statistics (GPA and test scores) - making it impossible to compare using this criteria - admission to these leading schools is clearly much more of a holistic process. I.e. a 4.0 and a 340 GRE doesn't equate to admission to WWS without a convincing resume, narrative, and stellar recommendations. Similarly, I don't think that we would discount some of the most elite MBA programs (with average undergraduate GPAs of around 3.6) as being less competitive than Berkeley Goldman or Yale Jackson - since they employ a similarly holistic admissions process.

The employment snapshot report you mentioned was one of the reasons I elected not to attend Harris. While the program was attractive due to its econ-heavy curriculum and the offer of a substantive fellowship package, the median salary outcomes published in 2019 were $75k for those working in the private sector, $63k for nonprofit work, and $55k in the public sector. These figures are lower than those published by SIPA (though these may be offset due to employment in Manhattan) and substantially less than the median figures last published by HKS: $120k - private, $70k - nonprofit, $61k-$81k for public. Of course, for those of us interested in the public service, compensation was never the primary consideration, but is undeniably important.

I'm not trying to bash on Harris; I really like the program and would have attended had it not been for my other offers. I also have several friends who have graduated from there and are incredibly talented individuals. However, even they would agree that WWS, HKS, Yale-Jackson, and Berkeley-Goldman are more selective programs (not including scholarship awards).

So speaking strictly to the career outcomes, some things I want to highlight about the Harris vs. HKS analysis:

1. It is my understanding that Harris MPP has the similar reach potential in terms of jobs. The only exception would be fringe opportunities such as tech start up or social impact investing (maybe Harris has some people in it, but I haven't heard of it from Harris). So what that means is that a. person going to Harris has a path to MBB just like someone going to HKS MPP does. Of course, what makes HKS MPP sparkle more is a greater alumni reach and brand prestige, and I am not going to deny that can help for career outcomes.

However, some things that help with HKS career outcomes are (that I understand to be so, and I might be 2 years out of date):

1. You have a larger proportion of the cohort that goes into MBB from HKS MPP. So that is 165K a year (not counting bonuses) + consulting in general. People from Harris do go to MBB, but it is a smaller population both in absolute and proportionally. 

2. Harris doesn't help its income since they have higher percentages of international students than HKS MPP

3. Harris also disproportionately attracts people that seek to go into research / academia because of their quality quant --> lower salaries (but not a bad sign of academic quality)

4. The midwest regional effects whereby you do have people come to Harris and go to policy jobs in the Midwest (granted they have a strong DC / international contingent) whereby salaries are lower period. 

Basically, I think you have to understand the story behind the stats. 

From a pure career outcomes perspective, yes HKS MPP has a marginally greater range of options, but by in large, nearly none of those opportunities are closed off to Harris people. Harris also uniquely has MBB recruiting for an MPP program as a core school (HKS and Harris are the only ones I hear about that have it). Maybe WWS does, but I have yet to meet/hear anyone that went that route. 

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