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International Students pursuing MPP


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I noticed that there are a few international students who are pursuing MPP/MPA degrees in the USA. What jobs are you looking for? Do you think you have a chance with a large number of domestic students pursuing their MPP?

While I will pursue an MPA in the US, my goal is not to work there. I am hoping to return to my home country and continue working here, so it's not like I am competing for jobs with Americans, especially considering that many, if not most jobs in the government, require US residence or even citizenship.

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This is indeed a top issue to consider as international students. I have the same reservations and perhaps the field might narrow down the choices of a graduate in comparison with a master degree in economics which is far more flexible. On the other hand, the market is so well developed in the US and I think there is space for all. Imagine that there is a specific type of consulting industry that deals only with public sector related topics, not to mention NGO's, think tanks, international agencies and so on. It would be valuable to listen to views of internationals already working there.

While I will pursue an MPA in the US, my goal is not to work there. I am hoping to return to my home country and continue working here, so it's not like I am competing for jobs with Americans, especially considering that many, if not most jobs in the government, require US residence or even citizenship.

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There is a reason why international students are admitted into MPP/MPA programs in the US. We have something unique to bring to the programs we are hoping to attend that all domestic students don't necessarily have...whether it is our international experience from travels and work related opportunities, language skills or background having had an opportunity to live and work in developed/developing countries for so long. I don't believe any domestic student is a treat to my ability to secure a job in the US. International students already have it tough but we always persevere and figure out what we need to do before we graduate. At least, we have an opportunity to secure an internship between the first and second year to test the waters and hopefully our summer employer will retain us for full time opportunities. I think what matters is when international students are looking for jobs, our options are quite limited if we are planning on staying in the US however don't forget that your MPP/MPA degree is not useful for government, NGO, international organization, development and social policy work alone.

Banks, consultancy firms, pharmaceutical companies, economic research institutes, educational instiutions, automotive companies...etc all require people to deal with government regulations, programs and policies that might have an effect on their operational, managerial, finance and legal frameworks. So, they are also looking for people with our skills! I have four friends who graduated with MPP/MPA degrees and one works for a top consulting firm (McKinsey), another works for a bank (JP Morgan), another one works for a pharmaceutical company (Pfizer) and the last one for a car manufacturer (Nissan).

Similarly, employers are not looking at your MPP/MPA degree alone. I hope as an international student you have had some work experience before you came to graduate school and that is another thing employers will look at when they want to consider you. Your concentration will also set you apart in terms of the kind of classes you took (whether it is quant heavy or not) and the focus on your degree (whether it is strictly domestic/international, cross regional or not). So be smart when you pick classes and don't go for classes that will only boost your GPA. Sometimes having a challenging curriculum filled with Bs might even impress a prospective employer! Worse case scenario, you can always go back to your home countries and take part in developing your respective nations. It is one thing I have found very rewarding (more than the money I ever made) when I left my banking life on Wall Street to go back to my country and contribute significantly into the lives of the improvised/disadvantaged group in my country.

Hope that helps to ease the mind....oh and the school you attend for your MPP/MPA might also help especially if it is a top tier institution which has enough resources in terms of funds, a well established career services department, strong alumni network and career presentation on campus if you know what I mean (I will not mention the names of schools so that you don't start freaking if you did not get into one school or another):P Good luck!

This is indeed a top issue to consider as international students. I have the same reservations and perhaps the field might narrow down the choices of a graduate in comparison with a master degree in economics which is far more flexible. On the other hand, the market is so well developed in the US and I think there is space for all. Imagine that there is a specific type of consulting industry that deals only with public sector related topics, not to mention NGO's, think tanks, international agencies and so on. It would be valuable to listen to views of internationals already working there.

Edited by abogs78
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