Jump to content
beejbrigade

MPA at NYU Wagner

Recommended Posts

Last March, I was accepted into NYU's Wagner Graduate School for Public Service. I intend to do a Masters of Public Administration with a specialization in international public policy. I have two months before the program begins, yet I'm starting to have serious questions and concerns with their international public/non-profit (PNP) program. I know Wagner itself is recognized primarily for its non-profit management curriculum, its faculty, and its affiliation with an array of institutes (Wagner is the largest school of public policy in the United States).

On the other hand, as I keep reading about the program itself, I'm starting to doubt whether their international approach is as developed and structured for a career in international public policy as the regular PNP program in Policy and Management or Public Finance (compared to, say, schools like Goldman at Berkeley, SIPA at Columbia or John Hopkins). So far, I've met a couple of Wagner Alumni outside of campus by coincidence. Everything they're doing, however, is domestically-based, which is great if one wants to focus on pressing social policy issues in the U.S. But so far I haven't met anyone doing international-based work or having opportunities to work overseas.

At the bottom-line I'm not sure if it's worth indebting myself for such a large amount if I'm having all these uncertainties. Unlike most people entering the program, I have only been out of college for a year and a half (I'm 23, yet most admitted students, range between 25-32). I can't say I have the experience necessary to take a decision like this yet. The international program doesn't seem to have any institute or network affiliated with it, and the "careers" section in their Global section of the website aren't as extensive as the regular for PNP Alumni.

Any advice or whether I should go into such a program? I'm confused whether taking huge loans is even worth it when i'm not fully convinced is the right step for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you expressed your concerns to the school? They might be able to answer specific questions, especially if you know where you want to be in the future.

Getting a list of recent alumni and where they are working would be a good indicator of what to expect when you are done. Do they have a strong Career Services department? Talking to them might help with knowing if you can be placed where you want to go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you expressed your concerns to the school? They might be able to answer specific questions, especially if you know where you want to be in the future.

Getting a list of recent alumni and where they are working would be a good indicator of what to expect when you are done. Do they have a strong Career Services department? Talking to them might help with knowing if you can be placed where you want to go.

Yeah, I did. I have a meeting with a professor who is the director of the program. The advisor didn't seem that helpful when I asked her about meeting, so my ultimate decision hinges on him first.

There's a section in the website where international careers are listed. But that's negligible compared to the domestic career list. There seem to be a lot more alumni doing domestic-based work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I did. I have a meeting with a professor who is the director of the program. The advisor didn't seem that helpful when I asked her about meeting, so my ultimate decision hinges on him first.

There's a section in the website where international careers are listed. But that's negligible compared to the domestic career list. There seem to be a lot more alumni doing domestic-based work.

I would be really honest with the director when you meet. Ask for specific examples of recent grads working in the area of international policy that you're interesting. You might also ask if s/he or the alumni relations director can connect you with alum working in this area. They should be able to do this - if not, be wary.

OK, now I'm going to enter into the realm of rumor and reputation: I was also accepted to Wagner and decided not to go because I got into a program I was more interested in. My impression, both from the application process and from what I saw when I was in my MPP program and then, later in DC, is that you are right in your assessment. Wagner is not known for international work, and I don't think that's really what it's trying to do anyway.

It's good that you're being so careful about this, since a MPA/MPP is a big time commitment and obviously a lot of debt to get into. You want to be sure it's the right thing for your career.

Did you apply to places like SIPA, Fletcher, SAIS, HKS this year? If so, and you didn't get in, I would try to defer at Wagner and reapply to those other schools this year. Now that you've been through the process once, you'll probably do better at it this year.

Finally, do you have any international experience? If not, you may want to put grad school off for a few years and do something like Peace Corps. If my class was any indicator, Peace Corps is a really great boost for MPP/MPA admissions chances.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would be really honest with the director when you meet. Ask for specific examples of recent grads working in the area of international policy that you're interesting. You might also ask if s/he or the alumni relations director can connect you with alum working in this area. They should be able to do this - if not, be wary.

OK, now I'm going to enter into the realm of rumor and reputation: I was also accepted to Wagner and decided not to go because I got into a program I was more interested in. My impression, both from the application process and from what I saw when I was in my MPP program and then, later in DC, is that you are right in your assessment. Wagner is not known for international work, and I don't think that's really what it's trying to do anyway.

It's good that you're being so careful about this, since a MPA/MPP is a big time commitment and obviously a lot of debt to get into. You want to be sure it's the right thing for your career.

Did you apply to places like SIPA, Fletcher, SAIS, HKS this year? If so, and you didn't get in, I would try to defer at Wagner and reapply to those other schools this year. Now that you've been through the process once, you'll probably do better at it this year.

Finally, do you have any international experience? If not, you may want to put grad school off for a few years and do something like Peace Corps. If my class was any indicator, Peace Corps is a really great boost for MPP/MPA admissions chances.

Politicalgeek,

Thanks for the comments. They were really helpful! I applied to other schools as I applied to Wagner last year. I got in Harris, was wait listed at the LSE, and denied admission at SIPA. You're definitely right about the Peace Corps. Other than spending my childhood in another country, I don't have much international experience.

Interestingly enough, last Friday I went to one of the information sessions at SIPA. The admissions director, whom I had corresponded previously during the application process, told me they require usually 2 to 3 years of experience. Although it's NOT an absolute requirement, they're looking for someone who can "provide them with a narrative of their experience, especially abroad." This almost cemented all my doubts about the Peace Corps, making me realize that it's my best option at the moment, and the best door-opener for the most challenging international policy grad programs.

My meeting with the director of the international program at NYU is this Wednesday, so I'm expecting him to try to convince me to stay, though at this point I haven't heard any valid and compelling counter-arguments why I should go ahead with the program with all these doubts.

Where did you end up going?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last March, I was accepted into NYU's Wagner Graduate School for Public Service. I intend to do a Masters of Public Administration with a specialization in international public policy. I have two months before the program begins, yet I'm starting to have serious questions and concerns with their international public/non-profit (PNP) program. I know Wagner itself is recognized primarily for its non-profit management curriculum, its faculty, and its affiliation with an array of institutes (Wagner is the largest school of public policy in the United States).

On the other hand, as I keep reading about the program itself, I'm starting to doubt whether their international approach is as developed and structured for a career in international public policy as the regular PNP program in Policy and Management or Public Finance (compared to, say, schools like Goldman at Berkeley, SIPA at Columbia or John Hopkins). So far, I've met a couple of Wagner Alumni outside of campus by coincidence. Everything they're doing, however, is domestically-based, which is great if one wants to focus on pressing social policy issues in the U.S. But so far I haven't met anyone doing international-based work or having opportunities to work overseas.

At the bottom-line I'm not sure if it's worth indebting myself for such a large amount if I'm having all these uncertainties. Unlike most people entering the program, I have only been out of college for a year and a half (I'm 23, yet most admitted students, range between 25-32). I can't say I have the experience necessary to take a decision like this yet. The international program doesn't seem to have any institute or network affiliated with it, and the "careers" section in their Global section of the website aren't as extensive as the regular for PNP Alumni.

Any advice or whether I should go into such a program? I'm confused whether taking huge loans is even worth it when i'm not fully convinced is the right step for me.

I understand your concern, but that is why I feel these programs should be for graduate students who have experience in the field and are a little bit older so they know for certain that this is the program for them. Your acceptance means someone that may have really wanted to go, cannot now. What were your undergrad stats?

Share this post


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.