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Choosing between MBA/MPA, technical MSc, and DPhil -- looking for words of wisdom + previous experiences


uncertainturtle

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Hi all -- I studied economics, politics, and philosophy at a top undergrad and have now spent a few years at an MBB. Long term, I could see myself working in international development (think World Bank, USAID, Gates), social enterprise (think accelerators, impact investing firms, or directly in a social enterprise or impact-focused start-up).

I think graduate school would be a big skill + network + credibility boost, but am having trouble deciding between a few potential paths:

1. MBA and/or MPP -- likely attempting to take a technical-heavy course load, potential to try to append an MSc in compsci

2. MPhil --> DPhil in economics, polisci, or social data science

3. MSc in CompSci (Columbia, Penn, and UChicago seem to have programs for those without technical backgrounds for ex) --> potential DPhil in economics, polisci, or social data science

I think technical skills and the signaling of a DPhil are both highly useful in the areas I'd like to go into if one can manage the trade-offs in time away from the workforce + cost. Potential to take the DPhil part-time while working in a lower-intensity job as well. I have the option of being "sponsored" (paid for) by my MBB if I return afterward.

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On 5/8/2023 at 4:49 PM, uncertainturtle said:

Hi all -- I studied economics, politics, and philosophy at a top undergrad and have now spent a few years at an MBB. Long term, I could see myself working in international development (think World Bank, USAID, Gates), social enterprise (think accelerators, impact investing firms, or directly in a social enterprise or impact-focused start-up).

I think graduate school would be a big skill + network + credibility boost, but am having trouble deciding between a few potential paths:

1. MBA and/or MPP -- likely attempting to take a technical-heavy course load, potential to try to append an MSc in compsci

2. MPhil --> DPhil in economics, polisci, or social data science

3. MSc in CompSci (Columbia, Penn, and UChicago seem to have programs for those without technical backgrounds for ex) --> potential DPhil in economics, polisci, or social data science

I think technical skills and the signaling of a DPhil are both highly useful in the areas I'd like to go into if one can manage the trade-offs in time away from the workforce + cost. Potential to take the DPhil part-time while working in a lower-intensity job as well. I have the option of being "sponsored" (paid for) by my MBB if I return afterward.

I think you need to figure out how much risk you want to take for flexibility vs. topical focus. Also, please keep in mind that MBA and MPP are very different things. Each should be its own bucket. 

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