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Georgetown (McCourt) MPP 2021


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I am very stoked about McCourt right now. It seems like one of the most focused policy schools, like all the people there are very aambitious and focused on studies and career stuff for afterward of grad school. And the professors also seem like they have a lot of good speaking skills and make class very interesting and stuff. I am hoping to go to McCourt in fall 2021. I am not sure yet, but I think that MPP or MPA is the best one for me to do to get a good career afterward.

does this Impression line up with other peoples experience? Also, how does it compare in terms of prestige and reputation to the other schools that are there in Washington D.C.? i could definitely be wrong, but it seems like it has more of those than the other schools, like American University and George Washington U. Is that right? 

But I guess maybe less prestige than Harvard or others in New England.

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28 minutes ago, zingmarx said:

I am very stoked about McCourt right now. It seems like one of the most focused policy schools, like all the people there are very aambitious and focused on studies and career stuff for afterward of grad school. And the professors also seem like they have a lot of good speaking skills and make class very interesting and stuff. I am hoping to go to McCourt in fall 2021. I am not sure yet, but I think that MPP or MPA is the best one for me to do to get a good career afterward.

does this Impression line up with other peoples experience? Also, how does it compare in terms of prestige and reputation to the other schools that are there in Washington D.C.? i could definitely be wrong, but it seems like it has more of those than the other schools, like American University and George Washington U. Is that right? 

But I guess maybe less prestige than Harvard or others in New England.

McCourt is really focused on data analysis and has extensive course offerings in partnership with the rest of Georgetown. Beyond that it really struggles with focus and be good at any one thing other than international development. People do generally talk a big game of what they are interested in, but follow through  ranges wildly. I know a lot of people who got jobs equal to what people get straight from undergraduate.

The thing you have to realize is that you compete for jobs with more than just other MPPs in the job market. You compete with JDs, MBAs, PhDs, other MPPs, other Master's, and even straight from undergrad. MPP alone, McCourt is probably tied with GWU in terms of prestige (maybe a little bit above it considering network and prestige of Georgetown's law school). However, I would put McCourt below Harvard, Berkeley, NYU, Syracuse, Carnegie Mellon,  and Duke (just to name a few) in terms of other MPPs. You add onto that all the other programs, you McCourt actually falls behind a lot. I knew a lot of people who felt that they didn't get internships because they didn't go to a good enough school. The US News rankings might be silly, but people look at them, and McCourt is late teens or early 20s.

The professors are all generally very good at teaching, but they struggle with being helpful for students interested in the general job market (unless you want to go into think tanks or academia). 

I always tell people if they want to get involved into data focused jobs, McCourt is a smart way to go. If you are still exploring on what you want to get in terms of job, McCourt is a bit risky. 

Edited by GradSchoolGrad
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On July 14, 2020 at 1:10 PM, GradSchoolGrad said:

McCourt is really focused on data analysis and has extensive course offerings in partnership with the rest of Georgetown. Beyond that it really struggles with focus and be good at any one thing other than international development. People do generally talk a big game of what they are interested in, but follow through  ranges wildly. I know a lot of people who got jobs equal to what people get straight from undergraduate.

The thing you have to realize is that you compete for jobs with more than just other MPPs in the job market. You compete with JDs, MBAs, PhDs, other MPPs, other Master's, and even straight from undergrad. MPP alone, McCourt is probably tied with GWU in terms of prestige (maybe a little bit above it considering network and prestige of Georgetown's law school). However, I would put McCourt below Harvard, Berkeley, NYU, Syracuse, Carnegie Mellon,  and Duke (just to name a few) in terms of other MPPs. You add onto that all the other programs, you McCourt actually falls behind a lot. I knew a lot of people who felt that they didn't get internships because they didn't go to a good enough school. The US News rankings might be silly, but people look at them, and McCourt is late teens or early 20s.

The professors are all generally very good at teaching, but they struggle with being helpful for students interested in the general job market (unless you want to go into think tanks or academia). 

I always tell people if they want to get involved into data focused jobs, McCourt is a smart way to go. If you are still exploring on what you want to get in terms of job, McCourt is a bit risky. 

Oh wow, I am surprised to hear mccourt is risky for stuff that isn't data. Is the curriculum actually more quantitative-focused than other MPPs? It seems like most of them require a serious sequence of data courses.

So what D.C> schools would be better for internships? Since you sayd mccourt is not good at internships for some people.

Also, what kind of policy is there now that isn't data-heavy? It seems like that is definitely the way of the future.

Are the MPP and MPA good for data too, or just the MS-DSPP??

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1 hour ago, zingmarx said:

Oh wow, I am surprised to hear mccourt is risky for stuff that isn't data. Is the curriculum actually more quantitative-focused than other MPPs? It seems like most of them require a serious sequence of data courses.

So what D.C> schools would be better for internships? Since you sayd mccourt is not good at internships for some people.

Also, what kind of policy is there now that isn't data-heavy? It seems like that is definitely the way of the future.

Are the MPP and MPA good for data too, or just the MS-DSPP??

Yes. I would say U. Chicago Harris, Michigan Ford, and Princeton - Woodrow Wilson, CMU - Heinz are the top 5 in terms of quant difficulty/intensity. McCourt is probably 6th. The difference between McCourt and those other programs are that you don't need to know calculus for McCourt. That being said, you do have more quant/quant based classes in McCourt than most other MPPs (double some). 

So I would say Georgetown McCourt and GWU are probably tied for the best internships in general among MPP programs in DC because those are the top 2 in general for DC area schools. However, depending on your interest area you might have better options. If you are interested in international relations, you would be better off doing Georgetown's MSFS program. If you are interested in pure data (more coding related), MS-DSPP is a good option, but I would but what Carnegie Mellon has as good if not slightly better (they have a campus in DC). 

As for data... it goes both ways. There are jobs that definitely require a strong data background and then there are jobs that just need a general understanding. The problem with McCourt is it de-emphasizes other skills that are important for the job market:

1. Collaboration

2. Project pitching

3. Management

4. Policy writing (one class on it and then you are done). 

So even if you do have the good quant skills, good luck getting a job with those other areas being weaker. I saw plenty of my classmates who could do exponential regression in their sleep, struggle to make a coherent argument. I even found my soft skills to be weakening within McCourt and had to take remedial action to fix it. 

 

Edited by GradSchoolGrad
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18 hours ago, GradSchoolGrad said:

Yes. I would say U. Chicago Harris, Michigan Ford, and Princeton - Woodrow Wilson, CMU - Heinz are the top 5 in terms of quant difficulty/intensity. McCourt is probably 6th. The difference between McCourt and those other programs are that you don't need to know calculus for McCourt. That being said, you do have more quant/quant based classes in McCourt than most other MPPs (double some). 

So I would say Georgetown McCourt and GWU are probably tied for the best internships in general among MPP programs in DC because those are the top 2 in general for DC area schools. However, depending on your interest area you might have better options. If you are interested in international relations, you would be better off doing Georgetown's MSFS program. If you are interested in pure data (more coding related), MS-DSPP is a good option, but I would but what Carnegie Mellon has as good if not slightly better (they have a campus in DC). 

As for data... it goes both ways. There are jobs that definitely require a strong data background and then there are jobs that just need a general understanding. The problem with McCourt is it de-emphasizes other skills that are important for the job market:

1. Collaboration

2. Project pitching

3. Management

4. Policy writing (one class on it and then you are done). 

So even if you do have the good quant skills, good luck getting a job with those other areas being weaker. I saw plenty of my classmates who could do exponential regression in their sleep, struggle to make a coherent argument. I even found my soft skills to be weakening within McCourt and had to take remedial action to fix it. 

Oh word, I did not know that calc was reuiqred at those schools. So even though you said that mccourt friedns did not have great internship chances, you think it is tied with gWU in D.C.? I guess just for MPPs though. 

The MSFS does seem coolish. How does that compare to John Hopkins University SAIS? Is one better for internships than the other? I think SAIS may be more quanty than MSFS. Is that right?

On the other job market skills:

1. Hmmm. Is collaboration really something you can teach> Seems like certain people just do have people-skills and others do not have those skills.

2. Project pitching. Is that just for private sector jobs though? I feel like government and policy jobs don' not really need this skill.

3. Management also seems something to me that is tough to teach. 

4. Policy writing seems like a for real skill, but not quite same career path as project pitching and management.

What remedial action for soft skills would you recomend?

 

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First off, let me highlight this only applies to MPP. 

MIDP, MPM, MSDPP, and the Executive programs + certificates are way better organized and managed.

1. I wouldn't say prior calc is strictly required. You need calc skills. I know people who just learned calc skills in 3 months and manage to survive (survive is the operative word). 

2. SAIS is definitely more quant driven. MSFS has quant and you can go more quant if you want, but its strength lies within interdisciplinary nature + Georgetown brand for all things international relations. 

3. You can't exactly teach collaboration, but you can get people to practice for it and care about it. In McCourt, they don't hold people accountable for bad behavior (faculty, staff, and students) both in and out of the classroom. For example, I know so many instances where I or my friends gave a terrible peer (non-contributor... or even net negative) bad the bad student teammate got the same grade as the rest of us, because peer reviews don't matter. Also, people are afraid to give honest feedback because McCourt has a culture that being nice is more important than being honest. 

When I contribute to my organization's hiring considerations, every time they ask me about hiring McCourt people, I tell them that someone has to really convince they are team players, because out of self interest I am going to go with the starting assumption that by virtue of going to McCourt, that they might not be. 

4. Project pitching is for all sectors period. In government, non-profit, or private sector, to do well -->  you need to pitch why your idea or your argument matters. So much about McCourt is telling a story about data (which is important, don't get me wrong). What is lost is the art of justifying your argument (with the facts + ethical considerations). Again, part of the reason why this area is problematic because McCourt has this culture obsessed with being nice, and people tend to have different shades of agreement or ostracizing (or just writing them off as a comedy act). What is missing is constructive disagreement as part of the learning process. Thereby, people struggle with making meaningful arguments. I actually met a lot of people who were adverse to making arguments period, because it scared them too much.

5. Management is hard to teach, but you can get people to exercise it during the school environment. However, McCourt doesn't practice meaningful things like rotating team leadership or any team specific roles. Its actually frowned upon to try to be a leader in any meaningful way because that is seen as overly aggressive. This goes back to in McCourt they want everyone to be nice, and if one person is unhappy, all progress must stop or that one unhappy person needs to be ostracized. 

6. Policy writing skills are universal. The skills you utilize for Policy writing is the same that you use for emails. When I was a policy advisor, in non-profit, and in private sector, I use the same policy writing skills (which I learned at my internship and not McCourt) to get things done.

7. My remedial actions came in 2 types (and honestly, most career successful people in McCourt do one or both of these). A. Have internships focused on acquiring those skills that McCourt doesn't do well. B. Take classes outside of McCourt as much as possible. In my case, I went the extra mile and got another degree from another school to compensate for how McCourt shot me down. 

Edited by GradSchoolGrad
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17 hours ago, GradSchoolGrad said:

When I contribute to my organization's hiring considerations, every time they ask me about hiring McCourt people, I tell them that someone has to really convince they are team players, because out of self interest I am going to go with the starting assumption that by virtue of going to McCourt, that they might not be. 

 

17 hours ago, GradSchoolGrad said:

In my case, I went the extra mile and got another degree from another school to compensate for how McCourt shot me down. 

Thanks for the big reply. But Oh, wow. Now I just don't know if it would be good for me to go there. If an graduate is saying not to hire people or at least pegging them down in the preference order a good bit, that doesn't sound like a great place to study policy. And you also say Mccourt show you down. I feel like that is the opposite of what a (expensive) graduate education should do. Hmm. So where should I go? I want to work in DC, probably not on the hill but on domestic policy. Not thnking private sector right now. Should I change that and try to go into private sector?

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1 hour ago, zingmarx said:

 

Thanks for the big reply. But Oh, wow. Now I just don't know if it would be good for me to go there. If an graduate is saying not to hire people or at least pegging them down in the preference order a good bit, that doesn't sound like a great place to study policy. And you also say Mccourt show you down. I feel like that is the opposite of what a (expensive) graduate education should do. Hmm. So where should I go? I want to work in DC, probably not on the hill but on domestic policy. Not thnking private sector right now. Should I change that and try to go into private sector?

1. First off, I think there is a lot to be said about domestic policy and how you can benefit society (assuming that is your goal). I think you need to figure out if you want to do Federal or State/Local based domestic policy. I think that is the question you need to answer first (I mean at a certain point, they are intertwined, but you need to figure out where you lean). 

2. If you want to do Federal oriented domestic policy, it makes sense that you stay in DC. One option I recommend you think about the is the Carnegie Melon Heinz school's Public Policy Master's program via their satellite campus in DC:

https://www.heinz.cmu.edu/programs/

The downside about this program is that you won't really get an interdisciplinary education because you will not be connected to Carnegie Melon as a whole However, the plus side is that you will be in DC and that you will have a very entrepreneur spirit. I have been impressed by every single person I have met from this program .They are all very forward thinking (I'm not talking politically) and pretty good communicators. 

3. If you don't know or think you lean state, a good policy school option about be Duke's Terry Sanford School. 

4. Of course Woodrow Wilson and Harvard Kennedy school are a good all around options, but they hard to get into. U. Chicago is academically great as well, but the network is not as well connected to DC. 

5. If you want to focus on specific things such as the environment, Indiana University's SPEA school is a good option as well. 

6. I don't think you should give up on the public sector right away. Also, depending on who wins the White House, there might be a lot more public sector hiring (but who knows). However, I think everyone should always be flexible to try private sector opportunities. The most successful people I have ever met in both private and public sector are those who have been to weave between both sides. 

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  • 4 months later...
  • 5 weeks later...

Just thought I'd ask if anyone has any insider info on when results will be coming out for the first round, since I couldn't find anything in past threads. Anyone know if they just all drop on the 15th, or do they trickle in before that? 

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1 hour ago, van_96 said:

Just thought I'd ask if anyone has any insider info on when results will be coming out for the first round, since I couldn't find anything in past threads. Anyone know if they just all drop on the 15th, or do they trickle in before that? 

Historically, they send you an email on or about the day promised. Admissions is actually probably one of the most organized parts of McCourt (other than Comms). At least for first round. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just got an email saying an update has been posted to my page. Admission to DSPP with no mention of funding, anyone have any idea if they send out separate funding letters?

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Both my decision and funding letters were just posted to my portal, but that was for MPP, so maybe DSPP funding will come out later? Also, my funding only listed information for the first two semesters, and Georgetown's site says that offers are decided on a year-to-year basis and aren't necessarily renewable. Does anyone have more information about that? They gave me a good offer for the first year, but I wouldn't want to accept it and then find out they're not offering me anything for the second year.

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1 hour ago, van_96 said:

Both my decision and funding letters were just posted to my portal, but that was for MPP, so maybe DSPP funding will come out later? Also, my funding only listed information for the first two semesters, and Georgetown's site says that offers are decided on a year-to-year basis and aren't necessarily renewable. Does anyone have more information about that? They gave me a good offer for the first year, but I wouldn't want to accept it and then find out they're not offering me anything for the second year.

So I'll explain it in terms of commitment + most likely.

1. Generally Speaking: They are committing to giving you 1 year of scholarship. HOWEVER... they reserve the right to not renew your scholarship the year afterwards. Generally, causation for non-renewal has to do with low-GPA (sub 3.0 - which is actually easier than you would think to do... I know a few people who were in that neighborhood). Then there is also academic dishonesty. Those are the two big reasons for scholarship non-renewal. 

2. HOWEVER... They can hypothetically pull your scholarship whenever they want unless you sign legally contractual obligation between the two of you (which no school ever does). So hypothetically, say they decide to hypothetically shift money from McCourt to Hospital as part of a strategic endeavor, they can non-renew you. They most likely won't, and McCourt is doing well financially, but it is within the realm of possibility.

Also, unless they are covering more than 70% or more of your tuition, I wouldn't go to McCourt given what I know now about the quality of the program. 

Edited by GradSchoolGrad
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1 hour ago, kb_sf said:

Just got an email saying an update has been posted to my page. Admission to DSPP with no mention of funding, anyone have any idea if they send out separate funding letters?

Give it a day or so... They sometimes send out a 2nd email

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35 minutes ago, GradSchoolGrad said:

So I'll explain it in terms of commitment + most likely.

1. Generally Speaking: They are committing to giving you 1 year of scholarship. HOWEVER... they reserve the right to not renew your scholarship the year afterwards. Generally, causation for non-renewal has to do with low-GPA (sub 3.0 - which is actually easier than you would think to do... I know a few people who were in that neighborhood). Then there is also academic dishonesty. Those are the two big reasons for scholarship non-renewal. 

2. HOWEVER... They can hypothetically pull your scholarship whenever they want unless you sign legally contractual obligation between the two of you (which no school ever does). So hypothetically, say they decide to hypothetically shift money from McCourt to Hospital as part of a strategic endeavor, they can non-renew you. They most likely won't, and McCourt is doing well financially, but it is within the realm of possibility.

Also, unless they are covering more than 70% or more of your tuition, I wouldn't go to McCourt given what I know now about the quality of the program. 

I understand that they have the right to not renew it for whatever reason they want, but I was more hoping to find out if it really ever happens to students who don't fall into categories like the one you mentioned (ex. academic dishonesty/performance). As in, if I maintain a decent GPA and don't violate any rules, how confident should I be that they'll renew the offer? Thanks to you or anyone else who can answer! 

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Just now, van_96 said:

I understand that they have the right to not renew it for whatever reason they want, but I was more hoping to find out if it really ever happens to students who don't fall into categories like the one you mentioned (ex. academic dishonesty/performance). As in, if I maintain a decent GPA and don't violate any rules, how confident should I be that they'll renew the offer? Thanks to you or anyone else who can answer! 

My point is that a 3.0 GPA can be harder to maintain than people think. They don't publicly reveal the stats, but it was a common point of conversation around McCourt - mostly as people were struggling with Quant. 

Otherwise, I would be generally confident as McCourt is under less funding pressures than other policy schools because they have annuities from a large endowment. They are however spending massively on a new building, but basically -  as long as nothing is screwed up on the financial side, you should be fine. 

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3 hours ago, van_96 said:

Both my decision and funding letters were just posted to my portal, but that was for MPP, so maybe DSPP funding will come out later? Also, my funding only listed information for the first two semesters, and Georgetown's site says that offers are decided on a year-to-year basis and aren't necessarily renewable. Does anyone have more information about that? They gave me a good offer for the first year, but I wouldn't want to accept it and then find out they're not offering me anything for the second year.

Same on my end - it's my understanding the funding is renewable as long as you maintain good academic standing (3.0+).

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Got accepted to the MIDP program. Curious if anyone here has gotten into the McCourt Scholars program? The letter doesn't mention anything about that. Any idea if those decisions will come separately?

Edited by death_by_coffee
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7 hours ago, death_by_coffee said:

Got accepted to the MIDP program. Curious if anyone here has gotten into the McCourt Scholars program? The letter doesn't mention anything about that. Any idea if those decisions will come separately?

Historically, your admissions comes with an announcement of McCourt Scholars Program. They like those with unique backgrounds and/or HYP/Duke/NW or Oxbridge backgrounds with easily defined policy interests. 

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1 hour ago, GradSchoolGrad said:

Historically, your admissions comes with an announcement of McCourt Scholars Program. They like those with unique backgrounds and/or HYP/Duke/NW or Oxbridge backgrounds with easily defined policy interests. 

Thanks, this is helpful! I was kind of hoping to receive the McCourt Scholarship (the odds were high given they select only 5 candidates). Although, I did receive some merit scholarship, however, I am thinking if I should negotiate for more. Not sure what is the maximum funding they give out, so I am still on the fence. Lack of good funding offer would make things quite difficult for me. 

Any word of advice on negotiating merit funding?

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9 minutes ago, death_by_coffee said:

Thanks, this is helpful! I was kind of hoping to receive the McCourt Scholarship (the odds were low given they select only 5 candidates). Although, I did receive some merit scholarship, however, I am thinking if I should negotiate for more. Not sure what is the maximum funding they give out, so I am still on the fence. Lack of good funding offer would make things quite difficult for me. 

Any word of advice on negotiating merit funding?

I don't know if traditional advice would be relevant this year given how crazy competitive the applicant pool is.

Traditionally there is roughly 3 tiers

Tier 1 - is full with stipend (McCourt Scholars)

*not much in between

Tier 2 - is about $20Kish a year 

Tier 3 - 10Ksish and below

That might be the best guide I can give.

However, admissions knows that many will negotiate and they will prioritize who they want to get. 

You can leverage scholarship from another school to get more money. However, at the end of the day it is about who they want to prioritize.

Traditionally, I know people who simply got money by asking - but those were when admissions pools were weak. Those were the days when people with sub 3.0 GPAs and a year or so of teaching English abroad could get funding.

This cycle... between COVID and much more political passion across the country --> applications have likely gone super competitive and other policy schools have shown indicators of this. 

All the people that don't get accepted into HKS, Princeton, and Harris that are still pretty awesome will be barking up McCourt.

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19 hours ago, rbc2021 said:

Same on my end - it's my understanding the funding is renewable as long as you maintain good academic standing (3.0+).

Just want to add that I asked the admissions office and they confirmed that you're right. They said they plan on emailing people who were awarded funding soon to clarify. Thanks! 

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