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Hi everyone. I am interested in public policy and have just applied to the mid career program MPP at Princeton. Six years back in 2014 o had applied to a bunch of schools and had gotten in to uchicago , Cornell , umichigan for masters in public policy/public administration programs . Unfortunately I was not given very high funding so was unable to afford to go to these places . I am now again applying and this time to Princeton as the program is funded and I have greater experience . What are my chances in your opinion ?

thanks!

Considering applying to: 
Applied to MPP at Princeton .

Undergrad Institution: Top university in pakistan 

Undergrad Major: Economics with a minor in math . I also have a one year diploma in economics from the London school of economics.

Years out of undergrad: 13 

GPA: 3.58/4.0

GRE: not required 

Quant Background: Calculus I ,II, multivariate calculus , advanced calculus , ordinary differential equations , econometrics , applied economics , game theory , number theory , Linear Algebra, Stats and Probability , mechanics, microeconomics 1/2 , macroeconomics 1/2 , , monetary theory and policy , finance , microeconomic analysis ,and numerous other economics and math courses . 

Programming Background: stata, R, matlab

Relevant Work Experience:  almost 8 years - 1 year as assistant project manager and then 4 years as economic consultant and research associate both with the government of Pakistan , followed by two and a half years as senior policy analyst with the government of Canada and a month as a senior program manager also with the government of Canada . Between the jobs in Pakistan and Canada I have 4 year career break due to personal family reasons .

Languages: Fluent in English . 8.5 in ielts.

International experience: almost 8 years work experience in Pakistan and Canada , plus one year diploma in economics from London school of economics 

Strength of LOR: Expecting strong recommendation from former employer current supervisor and a third from a current work colleague 

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13 hours ago, zl1234567890 said:

 

Hi everyone. I am interested in public policy and have just applied to the mid career program MPP at Princeton. Six years back in 2014 o had applied to a bunch of schools and had gotten in to uchicago , Cornell , umichigan for masters in public policy/public administration programs . Unfortunately I was not given very high funding so was unable to afford to go to these places . I am now again applying and this time to Princeton as the program is funded and I have greater experience . What are my chances in your opinion ?

thanks!

Considering applying to: 
Applied to MPP at Princeton .

Undergrad Institution: Top university in pakistan 

Undergrad Major: Economics with a minor in math . I also have a one year diploma in economics from the London school of economics.

Years out of undergrad: 13 

GPA: 3.58/4.0

GRE: not required 

Quant Background: Calculus I ,II, multivariate calculus , advanced calculus , ordinary differential equations , econometrics , applied economics , game theory , number theory , Linear Algebra, Stats and Probability , mechanics, microeconomics 1/2 , macroeconomics 1/2 , , monetary theory and policy , finance , microeconomic analysis ,and numerous other economics and math courses . 

Programming Background: stata, R, matlab

Relevant Work Experience:  almost 8 years - 1 year as assistant project manager and then 4 years as economic consultant and research associate both with the government of Pakistan , followed by two and a half years as senior policy analyst with the government of Canada and a month as a senior program manager also with the government of Canada . Between the jobs in Pakistan and Canada I have 4 year career break due to personal family reasons .

Languages: Fluent in English . 8.5 in ielts.

International experience: almost 8 years work experience in Pakistan and Canada , plus one year diploma in economics from London school of economics 

Strength of LOR: Expecting strong recommendation from former employer current supervisor and a third from a current work colleague 

Total luck of the draw. It depends on how competitive the other candidates are. You are definitely very qualified. However, it depends on how many international students from your general part of the world are more qualified than you. You can't predict such things.

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Applying to: Columbia SIPA, Columbia European Studies, Georgetown SFS, Indiana European Studies, GW European Studies, NYU European Studies
UG Institution: UPenn
UG Major: Foreign Area Studies
UG GPA: 3.7

Language: Spanish (4/5), Turkish (2/5)
Years out of UG: 2+ years
Quant background: Only social science research methods... but I'm also not intending to go into any quant discipline within policy.

Work experiences:
1 year U.S. government program assistant in terrorism related field, 1 year international policy associate at a large tech firm

Other work experiences: 2 internships abroad in Eastern Europe/Middle East, one with Uncle Sam

Recent Int'l. experiences:
-My current role is very international/policy based

GRE: no

 

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21 hours ago, prospectivegrad2020 said:

Applying to: Columbia SIPA, Columbia European Studies, Georgetown SFS, Indiana European Studies, GW European Studies, NYU European Studies
UG Institution: UPenn
UG Major: Foreign Area Studies
UG GPA: 3.7

Language: Spanish (4/5), Turkish (2/5)
Years out of UG: 2+ years
Quant background: Only social science research methods... but I'm also not intending to go into any quant discipline within policy.

Work experiences:
1 year U.S. government program assistant in terrorism related field, 1 year international policy associate at a large tech firm

Other work experiences: 2 internships abroad in Eastern Europe/Middle East, one with Uncle Sam

Recent Int'l. experiences:
-My current role is very international/policy based

GRE: no

 

Yes... you are very competitive generally speaking ... but...

1. How much do you care about financing?

2. What enrollment season ya shooting for?

3. What are you trying to do with your career?

Need some details to give you a more specific answer.

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1 hour ago, GradSchoolGrad said:

Yes... you are very competitive generally speaking ... but...

1. How much do you care about financing?

2. What enrollment season ya shooting for?

3. What are you trying to do with your career?

Need some details to give you a more specific answer.

1. A lot, I wouldn't go without a pretty solid package, hence also applying to a few less selective/more focused programs within EU policy.

2. Fall 2021

3. Rule of law development

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Just now, prospectivegrad2020 said:

1. A lot, I wouldn't go without a pretty solid package, hence also applying to a few less selective/more focused programs within EU policy.

2. Fall 2021

3. Rule of law development

1. If you are looking for financial packages, you will want to apply next year + spend some time making yourself financial package competitive. Especially applying for round 2 - financing will be few and far between. Also, especially coming from your high end background, I strongly recommend against applying to less competitive school... GW European studies is touching the line a bit. Below that I would not touch because: 

Unless you have a great excuse like following your spouse, sick parents, following a professor, and etc. people will question why you are undershooting yourself and its an unfair stigma, but it does happen. Its actually happened to me at job interviews quite a bit (I got a really good scholarship too). Something along the lines of, I see you went to ____ and have ____ great job experiences, why are you going to _______ program and not other alternatives (sometimes they mention ranking, like US news). 

I also want to highlight that IR at large (again can't speak to EU policy in particular) is a bit elitist (not nearly as bad as Law or even MBA... but definitely still there) that is --> unless you matriculated from outside of IR (military, business, or sciences), there is much credibility (especially early on your career) based on which IR program you matriculated from. 

2. Every single person I know who has done rule of development via the IR route (granted they all went to Fletcher, so not a representative sample -->, but itshould be a stronger school for that type of stuff), has told me that they always get walked on by lawyers on the reg. If you really want to do Rule of Law at large, it might be more beneficial for you to go to Law School or dual degree law school with IR (usually it is easier to get scholarship that way). I'm thinking Georgetown Law + MSFS being a good option. I do believe there is a study abroad option. 

3. I cannot speak to the specific dynamics of EU policy. It might make sense for you to do a EU specific program like Johns Hopkins MAIA with a European focus + Europe residential 1 year

https://sais.jhu.edu/academics/degree-programs/master-degrees/master-arts-international-affairs/curriculum

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Hi everyone. I am interested in public policy and have just applied to MPP/MPA program at Wagner, UCLA Luskin, USC Price, UIC, and American U. I will also apply to U of Washington Evans and GWU. I already got a scholarship from my home country government and I am expected to be specialize on Transportation policy. Most of the school I will apply to have the coursework I needed for my career.  I do know that I went to 2 undergrad institution that are not in a top-notch. But I hope that my experience in both public and private sector will help. What are my chances in your opinion for these school based on my background below? Do you think these are right school for me to apply or should I aim for a lower ranking school.

thanks!

Considering applying to: MPA Wagner, MPA Luskin, MPP USC, MPP UIC, MPA U of Washington Evans, MPP GWU, MPP AU.

Undergrad Institution: 2 average university in Southeast Asia 

Undergrad Major and GPA: 

- Political Science (GPA 3.08, Major GPA 3.36) 

- Business Administration (GPA 3.52, Major GPA 3.7)

Years out of undergrad: 5

GRE: not required 

Quant Background: Microeconomics (1s, A), Macroeconomics (1s, A), International Political Economy (1s, A),Statistics and Research Method for Business (1s, B), Foundation Mathematic for Business (1s, A), Elementary Accounting 1 (1s, B+), Elementary Accounting 2 (1s, A), Business Finance (1s, A), Quantitative Analysis (1s, A), Managerial Accounting (1s, A), Business Research (1s, A), Project Feasibility Study and Evaluation (1s, B+), Financial Management (1s, A)

Work Experience:  2 years working for a think tank of a Democratic party of my country. Part-time research assistant for 1 year. Working in private sector in both domestic and international company for 2 years

Languages: 7.5 in ielts.

International experience: almost 1 years experience working in Australia, and getting scholarships to get a certificate in the U.S. by the U.S. Embassy and marketing consulting project for a company in Switzerland

Strength of LOR: Expecting strong recommendation from my 2 currents boss. one who is a managing director of the think tank. and one for my boss from the part-time job as research assistant. an average recommendation letter from my professor from business school too.

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2 hours ago, Thanapoomped said:

Hi everyone. I am interested in public policy and have just applied to MPP/MPA program at Wagner, UCLA Luskin, USC Price, UIC, and American U. I will also apply to U of Washington Evans and GWU. I already got a scholarship from my home country government and I am expected to be specialize on Transportation policy. Most of the school I will apply to have the coursework I needed for my career.  I do know that I went to 2 undergrad institution that are not in a top-notch. But I hope that my experience in both public and private sector will help. What are my chances in your opinion for these school based on my background below? Do you think these are right school for me to apply or should I aim for a lower ranking school.

thanks!

Considering applying to: MPA Wagner, MPA Luskin, MPP USC, MPP UIC, MPA U of Washington Evans, MPP GWU, MPP AU.

Undergrad Institution: 2 average university in Southeast Asia 

Undergrad Major and GPA: 

- Political Science (GPA 3.08, Major GPA 3.36) 

- Business Administration (GPA 3.52, Major GPA 3.7)

Years out of undergrad: 5

GRE: not required 

Quant Background: Microeconomics (1s, A), Macroeconomics (1s, A), International Political Economy (1s, A),Statistics and Research Method for Business (1s, B), Foundation Mathematic for Business (1s, A), Elementary Accounting 1 (1s, B+), Elementary Accounting 2 (1s, A), Business Finance (1s, A), Quantitative Analysis (1s, A), Managerial Accounting (1s, A), Business Research (1s, A), Project Feasibility Study and Evaluation (1s, B+), Financial Management (1s, A)

Work Experience:  2 years working for a think tank of a Democratic party of my country. Part-time research assistant for 1 year. Working in private sector in both domestic and international company for 2 years

Languages: 7.5 in ielts.

International experience: almost 1 years experience working in Australia, and getting scholarships to get a certificate in the U.S. by the U.S. Embassy and marketing consulting project for a company in Switzerland

Strength of LOR: Expecting strong recommendation from my 2 currents boss. one who is a managing director of the think tank. and one for my boss from the part-time job as research assistant. an average recommendation letter from my professor from business school too.

I would be a bit surprised if you got into Wagner or USC Price give how competitive this year is. However, not shocked because you do bring a lot of diversity (Transportation is a rather unique policy area of interest - which sounds strange, but it is true)

I'm decently confident that you should be able to get into most of the other schools (assuming that everything else is straight). I think the best program for you out for the ones I thin you have a strong chance in would be GWU MPP.

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Considering applying to: 
Applied to the MPP at HKS

Undergrad Institution: Top university in Canada - graduated in 2018 

Undergrad Major: Political Science with a Minor in International Development Studies

Undergrad GPA: 3.15/4.0

Graduate Institution: American University abroad and I also completed a certificate in Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford (received an A) - graduated in 2019

Graduate Program: Diplomacy and International Law 

Graduate GPA: 3.85/4.0 

Didn’t submit GRE scores - I provided an explanation in the optional statement

Quant Background: Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Quantitative Methods, International Economic Relations, Intro to Quantitative Political Science 
Programming Background: Undergrad course requiring the learning of R

Relevant Work Experience:  

Two internships in Government - one in the Prime Minister’s office and one in a Cabinet minister’s office

Currently the press secretary of a high profile cabinet minister, previously legislative advisor in that office 

I worked on the 2019 Federal Election in issues management

Extracurricular: I was a sports coach for young girls and got involved in many clubs during undergrad (led an academic delegation to a multi-university events, Vice-President of a major club on campus, reporter for both the French and English newspaper and participated in youth parliaments).

Languages: French and English, intermediate Spanish

International experience: Semester abroad in Sweden during my undergrad, journalism internship in Paris, language program in Spain, graduate program in France and the UK, study trip to the Middle East, Graduate practicum in the Hague 

Strength of LOR: Very strong letters from my graduate program director, one from the Chief of Staff of a Minister and a letter from a Cabinet Minister.

Essays: My essays are very much focused on HKS and commitment to public service. My essays show that while I already have a Masters, the MPP would be useful because my goal is to focus on social justice and issues in Canada and not elsewhere (my other Masters is very internationally focuses).

I put the emphasis on Indigenous issues, women’s rights and minority rights. I also highlighted my experience as a linguistic minority in Canada. Through HKS' Political and Economic Development concentration, I want to gain valuable knowledge about the policies that are most likely to cultivate progress toward inclusive development and to examine the approaches taken by different states to alleviate structural inequalities.

 

My main concern is my low undergrad GPA - but I am wondering if my grad school GPA would compensate. 

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1 hour ago, mpp_app2021 said:

Considering applying to: 
Applied to the MPP at HKS

Undergrad Institution: Top university in Canada - graduated in 2018 

Undergrad Major: Political Science with a Minor in International Development Studies

Undergrad GPA: 3.15/4.0

Graduate Institution: American University abroad and I also completed a certificate in Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford (received an A) - graduated in 2019

Graduate Program: Diplomacy and International Law 

Graduate GPA: 3.85/4.0 

Didn’t submit GRE scores - I provided an explanation in the optional statement

Quant Background: Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Quantitative Methods, International Economic Relations, Intro to Quantitative Political Science 
Programming Background: Undergrad course requiring the learning of R

Relevant Work Experience:  

Two internships in Government - one in the Prime Minister’s office and one in a Cabinet minister’s office

Currently the press secretary of a high profile cabinet minister, previously legislative advisor in that office 

I worked on the 2019 Federal Election in issues management

Extracurricular: I was a sports coach for young girls and got involved in many clubs during undergrad (led an academic delegation to a multi-university events, Vice-President of a major club on campus, reporter for both the French and English newspaper and participated in youth parliaments).

Languages: French and English, intermediate Spanish

International experience: Semester abroad in Sweden during my undergrad, journalism internship in Paris, language program in Spain, graduate program in France and the UK, study trip to the Middle East, Graduate practicum in the Hague 

Strength of LOR: Very strong letters from my graduate program director, one from the Chief of Staff of a Minister and a letter from a Cabinet Minister.

Essays: My essays are very much focused on HKS and commitment to public service. My essays show that while I already have a Masters, the MPP would be useful because my goal is to focus on social justice and issues in Canada and not elsewhere (my other Masters is very internationally focuses).

I put the emphasis on Indigenous issues, women’s rights and minority rights. I also highlighted my experience as a linguistic minority in Canada. Through HKS' Political and Economic Development concentration, I want to gain valuable knowledge about the policies that are most likely to cultivate progress toward inclusive development and to examine the approaches taken by different states to alleviate structural inequalities.

 

My main concern is my low undergrad GPA - but I am wondering if my grad school GPA would compensate. 

So when it comes to GPA, it really comes down to determining your ability to graduate, because there have been people with amazing resumes who failed to graduate due to academics. Traditionally, when almost everyone sent their GREs, the GREs provided a secondary data point to help admission office determine that. Had you taken the GRE and scored 90 percentile, you would probably be golden. 

However, since you didn't take the GREs + your lower GPA, it all depends on if there is something with a better grades/GRE who is as or more interesting than you and checks a similar diversity bucket. So basically, you are at a flip of a coin. I'm also assuming that you are applying for round 2, which makes your chances lower as well, since round 2 tends to be more competitive. 

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6 minutes ago, GradSchoolGrad said:

So when it comes to GPA, it really comes down to determining your ability to graduate, because there have been people with amazing resumes who failed to graduate due to academics. Traditionally, when almost everyone sent their GREs, the GREs provided a secondary data point to help admission office determine that. Had you taken the GRE and scored 90 percentile, you would probably be golden. 

However, since you didn't take the GREs + your lower GPA, it all depends on if there is something with a better grades/GRE who is as or more interesting than you and checks a similar diversity bucket. So basically, you are at a flip of a coin. I'm also assuming that you are applying for round 2, which makes your chances lower as well, since round 2 tends to be more competitive. 

Thanks for your response! 

What do you mean by round 2? I applied by the December deadline. 

I get your point on the GRE. I am hoping that other aspects of my application compensate in some way. 

My graduate director mentioned in her LOR that I was in the top 2% of a cohort of 200 students and really vouched for my ability to perform well in that program, so hopefully that helps.

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6 minutes ago, mpp_app2021 said:

Thanks for your response! 

What do you mean by round 2? I applied by the December deadline. 

I get your point on the GRE. I am hoping that other aspects of my application compensate in some way. 

My graduate director mentioned in her LOR that I was in the top 2% of a cohort of 200 students and really vouched for my ability to perform well in that program, so hopefully that helps.

Sorry, I was thinking HBS, which has rounds. HKS only has one round - so ignore that. 

What HKS will probably really hone in on are you quant grades. If those are good, you'll probably be good. 

I know people who had the President of their College write they were the #1 student, but they couldn't get into HKS since there wasn't sufficient quant background. 

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Hey y'all, this might be a little different from what you're used to seeing here. I'm looking to get an MPA to be better qualified to work in state or federal government in the northwestern part of the country. Since most of the programs I'm considering have later due dates for applications, I'm very open to suggestions for other schools in the region to apply to. If anyone has experience with the schools I named, I'd also love to hear it. I recognize they aren't as highly regarded as others, but I've been advised by one of my professors that the kinds of jobs I'm looking to ultimately get typically value local graduates of public schools over other candidates. Thanks for helping!

Desired Start Semester: Fall 2021

Applying to: UW Evans, Oregon, Montana (all MPA), and Oregon State (MPP). 

Undergrad Institution: Top-100 private university. It's not Marquette, but that's a pretty good comparison. Will graduate in April. 

Undergrad Major: Sociology

GPA: 3.94 (unlikely to change very much with one semester remaining). 

GRE: 169V/166Q/5.0AW

Quant Background:  Stats classes (obviously), I know STATA fairly well, have used it for a few projects. 

LORs: One from the professor I do grading for, two from other profs in the Sociology department who have MPAs from Ivy League programs. 

Career Aspirations: Land management positions like state Depts. of P&R seem like an ideal fit with my interests. I don't have any ambition whatsoever to work in D.C., nor to sell my soul to a top consulting firm.

Relevant Work Experience: 1 summer in a leadership position at a non-profit camp teaching youth how to whitewater kayak. A few more summers there and at a different, similar, program in a lower-level guide position. This is what sparked my passion for Western land use issues. Additionally, three semesters grading, responding to student concerns, and helping write exams for a professor in my department. No meaningful international experience. Was accepted to a Washington D.C. internship program through my University last January but COVID ultimately forced the University to scrap it for the semester. 

Essays: Still haven't written these. 

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Hi everyone! I'm 33, working as a director for a non-profit in DC, and applying for mid-career programs (bc I'd like to continue working while going to school and would like to network with folks that are in executive roles). I've already received admission into Columbia SIPA's EMPA program. but am waiting to hear back from MC/MPA at Harvard Kennedy School. 

Here is a little background -- 

Applied to: 
Applied to the MPP at HKS

Applied and Admitted to EMPA program at SIPA (applied for Spring 2021 start, but I'm differing to Fall 2021) 

In 2014, I applied and was admitted to JHU SAIS, Georgetown SFS, Columbia SIPA, NYU Wagner. I was rejected from Harvard Kennedy School and Yale Jackson Institute. 

Undergrad Institution: University of Texas at Austin

Undergrad Major: Government with a minor in Business from the McCombs School

Undergrad GPA: 3.51/4.0

GRE: Didn’t submit GRE scores - wasn't required for either program

Quant Background: Both schools required a quant resume. Since the last time I took quant classes was 11+ years ago, I mostly focused on how I've been using quant methods at work (which I do quite frequently with analyzing data and managing our orgs budget)

Relevant Work Experience:  

Lots of work experience:

  • 1.5 years in Thailand working on the program side for an NGO that provides vocational opportunities to orphans.
  • 1.5 years in Bangladesh working on the program side for a microfinance org.
  • 1 year in DC working for a microfinance org (traveled to Philippines for work. Worked with Muhammad Yunus (founder of microfinance) in this role. 
  • 4 years at a state government organization in Houston that worked to revitalize low-income areas. Served at Program Manager for a year and then was promoted to Executive Director. Managed a budget of 3.5M and worked actively with state and local politicians.
  • 3.5 years at a national nonprofit that supports families in getting out of poverty through financial and career coaching. Started off as the Program Director and was promoted to Senior Program Director, Strategic Partnerships in Oct 2020. 

Languages: Fluent in English and Urdu. Proficient in Hindi, Guajarati, and French.

Strength of LOR: LOR's from my current supervisor, my previous supervisor, and a City Councilman that I worked closely with. Hoping all of them were strong. 

Future Goals: I love my current job and would love to continue to work in the financial literacy space. Ideally, I'd want to focus on financial literacy in South Asia (where my family is from). I'd either want to work for a large org (UN, World Bank, etc). get a C-suite role at a small org, or start my own non-profit. 

 

QUESTIONS! Please help!

1.) I've always wanted to get a masters and right now feels like the right time (bc my work is extremely flexible) but will a masters help me get to where I want to go?

2.) Is there anywhere else I should consider applying given my experience and goals?

3.) I like that SIPA is located in NY and has ties with the UN. Anyone know how strong these ties are?

4.) What are other factors I should be considering when comparing SIPA and HKS?

5.) Any other advice would also be greatly appreciated :)

Edited by Hina
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9 hours ago, Hina said:

Hi everyone! I'm 33, working as a director for a non-profit in DC, and applying for mid-career programs (bc I'd like to continue working while going to school and would like to network with folks that are in executive roles). I've already received admission into Columbia SIPA's EMPA program. but am waiting to hear back from MC/MPA at Harvard Kennedy School. 

Here is a little background -- 

Applied to: 
Applied to the MPP at HKS

Applied and Admitted to EMPA program at SIPA (applied for Spring 2021 start, but I'm differing to Fall 2021) 

In 2014, I applied and was admitted to JHU SAIS, Georgetown SFS, Columbia SIPA, NYU Wagner. I was rejected from Harvard Kennedy School and Yale Jackson Institute. 

Undergrad Institution: University of Texas at Austin

Undergrad Major: Government with a minor in Business from the McCombs School

Undergrad GPA: 3.51/4.0

GRE: Didn’t submit GRE scores - wasn't required for either program

Quant Background: Both schools required a quant resume. Since the last time I took quant classes was 11+ years ago, I mostly focused on how I've been using quant methods at work (which I do quite frequently with analyzing data and managing our orgs budget)

Relevant Work Experience:  

Lots of work experience:

  • 1.5 years in Thailand working on the program side for an NGO that provides vocational opportunities to orphans.
  • 1.5 years in Bangladesh working on the program side for a microfinance org.
  • 1 year in DC working for a microfinance org (traveled to Philippines for work. Worked with Muhammad Yunus (founder of microfinance) in this role. 
  • 4 years at a state government organization in Houston that worked to revitalize low-income areas. Served at Program Manager for a year and then was promoted to Executive Director. Managed a budget of 3.5M and worked actively with state and local politicians.
  • 3.5 years at a national nonprofit that supports families in getting out of poverty through financial and career coaching. Started off as the Program Director and was promoted to Senior Program Director, Strategic Partnerships in Oct 2020. 

Languages: Fluent in English and Urdu. Proficient in Hindi, Guajarati, and French.

Strength of LOR: LOR's from my current supervisor, my previous supervisor, and a City Councilman that I worked closely with. Hoping all of them were strong. 

Future Goals: I love my current job and would love to continue to work in the financial literacy space. Ideally, I'd want to focus on financial literacy in South Asia (where my family is from). I'd either want to work for a large org (UN, World Bank, etc). get a C-suite role at a small org, or start my own non-profit. 

 

QUESTIONS! Please help!

1.) I've always wanted to get a masters and right now feels like the right time (bc my work is extremely flexible) but will a masters help me get to where I want to go?

2.) Is there anywhere else I should consider applying given my experience and goals?

3.) I like that SIPA is located in NY and has ties with the UN. Anyone know how strong these ties are?

4.) What are other factors I should be considering when comparing SIPA and HKS?

5.) Any other advice would also be greatly appreciated :)

1. If you want to work for a large org (UN, World Bank, and etc.) you have two options - laterally transfer - after establishing yourself as widely recognized academic + major world/country leader. I'm assuming you aren't there. The other is to go from the bottom up and play the rat race game from junior staff/contractor and ride up. If you want to ride with the mid-20s up that route, feel free. However, I will warn you that all mid-career folks I know who played the run with the 20 somethings game for large org have hated it. Those orgs also don't pay well and career progression is painfully slow + professional development is a struggle. 

This might sound silly, but I have known Director level people of organizations start from scratch as junior contractors to chase their World Bank dreams and find themselves utterly disappointed. 

2. As someone else who went to grad school in my 30s, I will tell you the age discrimination + fear of you having "too much experience" is a real thing and that will really work against you when you go to a program (HKS MPP) where the average age is 26 and most of the other older folks are military / ex-military. 

3. If you want to get analytical skills, it makes sense for you to go to MPP. If you are just there to network, you are better off doing any mid-career program at a top program. What concerns me is that your interests outside of working at a "big org" falls under the big bucket of International development and hit is really easy to get lost there because it is so broad. Between SIPA and HKS, it is a wash. Policy world is one of those things whereby where you went to school won't matter for you (especially if you go to any top school) since you already have deep resume. It is just check the block for you. 

4. If you truly want to manage you own non-profit - get an MBA (or in your case - Executive MBA). Organization integrity means the difference between non-profit failing or succeeding, and you learn how to build organizations and operations at an MBA. 

 

 

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@gradschoolgrad - thanks for this input! It's extremely helpful.

I just realized I had stated that I was applying for the MPP program for HKS, but I actually applied to MC/MPA (I applied for MPP in 2014). Are you familiar with the MC/MPA program? Would I be a competitive candidate for that program? I'm drawn to the caliber of people in that program and the connections I would build. 

It's really disappointing to hear that large orgs like UN, World Bank, etc will be tough to get into unless I start from the bottom (which I really would like to avoid). So I guess that route is out. If I do end up starting a non-profit, it would be have to a be a side gig at first, so that I can continue to have income coming in from a full-time job. Right now, it seems like the best route would be to aim for C-suite position at an international development org. Ideally, I'd want to work on financial literacy in Pakistan but that seems to narrow of a focus. Would it be hard to find such a specific role? 

Thanks again for all your help!!

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1 hour ago, Hina said:

@gradschoolgrad - thanks for this input! It's extremely helpful.

I just realized I had stated that I was applying for the MPP program for HKS, but I actually applied to MC/MPA (I applied for MPP in 2014). Are you familiar with the MC/MPA program? Would I be a competitive candidate for that program? I'm drawn to the caliber of people in that program and the connections I would build. 

It's really disappointing to hear that large orgs like UN, World Bank, etc will be tough to get into unless I start from the bottom (which I really would like to avoid). So I guess that route is out. If I do end up starting a non-profit, it would be have to a be a side gig at first, so that I can continue to have income coming in from a full-time job. Right now, it seems like the best route would be to aim for C-suite position at an international development org. Ideally, I'd want to work on financial literacy in Pakistan but that seems to narrow of a focus. Would it be hard to find such a specific role? 

Thanks again for all your help!!

Yes, I'm familiar with the MC/MPA and know many people who did it. 

1. If you want to get into anything related to International development, then you go to HKS for the MPA-ID track. MC/MPA is essentially a hodgepodge of mid-career switchers and pivoters + check-the blockers for career promotion. However, the disproportionate number of MC/MPA folks are domestic policy/domestic politics and organizations focused. This is not to say that you don't have IDEV people there, because you certainly do. I just view doing the MC/MPA was rather high risk because the extent of IDEV people may not to be your liking. That a being said, you do have access to the entire HKS and Harvard enterprise, which of course does have value for networking. 

I do know of people who gone one from MPA to work their start ups and find their non-profits, but they have all been domestic focused (which is arguably easier to start and sustain).

2. You went from financial literacy in South Asia to financial literacy in Pakistan. Shrinking your scope will make job hunting difficult. Also, as you may know the geopolitical reality is that Pakistan doesn't have the best relations with the US and has strategically chosen China as a benefactor over the US, which will make any focused efforts on your end more difficult.

As for going into an international development org s a C-Suite position (I'm assuming you are talking a boutique to mid-size firm), I fail to understand what your angle unless you sincerely are very woven in the tight-knit formal International development community. If you are trying to go for the program evaluation analytical route, you at least need research time - so an MPP would serve you well. If you are trying to go for a management role in the international arena, MPA may be of some value, but these days MBA is arguably more in vogue as fund raising, org management, and budget management are the life blood of non-profits. Simply saying you done strategic partnerships at a large at a domestic non-profit doesn't really translate to the IDEV world since it is a different community. I did hiring for a large domestic focused non-profit once and we never crossed into IDEV world and vice versa. 

Edited by GradSchoolGrad
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Hey everyone! I found gradcafe a little too late, unfortunately. 

I am applying for PhDs in Public Policy (first choice) and Economics (Second choice), in schools with strong urban research going on. I have been feeling pretty okay about my chances and would love to hear your perspective on my chances. I have given myself three years to try and get into a PhD, and it is my first attempt this year. I wasn't as put together as I wanted to be, so I am also open to school suggestions (especially for safer options, I look at my list and see too much ambition, given my mixed background when it comes to quant)

Considering applying (applied) to: 
Applied to PhD at USC Econ, USC Price, MIT-DUSP, HKS-PEG, UCI-Econ, LSE-Economic Geography, UChicago Harris.

Undergrad Institution: University of Delhi, top college, first class degree.  (2013-2016)

Undergrad Major: Economics with a minor in Political Science 

 

Years out of undergrad: 4

GPA: 80.5/100

Postgraduate Institution : Top interdisciplinary/ social sciences institution in India (2017-2019)

Postgraduation Major: Urban policy (very qualitative + so I picked up a lot of data management, statistical skills working as an RA)

GPA: 7.8/10 Also the gold medalist (top scorer in the class)

GRE: 161 Q 167 V 4.5 AW

Quant Background: Calculus, Linear Algebra, Statistical Methods, Some Econometrics (All from a quant heavy undergraduate course). Have a lot of on-the-job experience handling large datasets, performing intermediate level statistical + spatial analysis - familiar with handling satellite imagery etc. 

Programming Background: Stata, python

Relevant Work Experience:  3 years, as research assistant for policy relevant research. I have 2 papers in the publication pipeline with three tenured professors from two R-1 universities (I have applied to both).

Languages: Fluent in English. 117 TOEFL iBT

Strength of LOR: Expecting very strong recommendations from two of my ex-professors, I have been working as an RA for one of them since 2018 (started working in the middle of my masters'). Third LOR is from one of the professors I mentioned before - they have worked with me closely, but I would expect a boilerplate/thoroughly professional LOR, nothing personal per se. 

Strength of SOP: Fair, I have taken some stylistic liberties with them, but have been told that they mark me as a unique student, and I have tried to cover for my lack of quantitative training for the last two years. 

 

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4 hours ago, sheoftherain said:

Hey everyone! I found gradcafe a little too late, unfortunately. 

I am applying for PhDs in Public Policy (first choice) and Economics (Second choice), in schools with strong urban research going on. I have been feeling pretty okay about my chances and would love to hear your perspective on my chances. I have given myself three years to try and get into a PhD, and it is my first attempt this year. I wasn't as put together as I wanted to be, so I am also open to school suggestions (especially for safer options, I look at my list and see too much ambition, given my mixed background when it comes to quant)

Considering applying (applied) to: 
Applied to PhD at USC Econ, USC Price, MIT-DUSP, HKS-PEG, UCI-Econ, LSE-Economic Geography, UChicago Harris.

Undergrad Institution: University of Delhi, top college, first class degree.  (2013-2016)

Undergrad Major: Economics with a minor in Political Science 

 

Years out of undergrad: 4

GPA: 80.5/100

Postgraduate Institution : Top interdisciplinary/ social sciences institution in India (2017-2019)

Postgraduation Major: Urban policy (very qualitative + so I picked up a lot of data management, statistical skills working as an RA)

GPA: 7.8/10 Also the gold medalist (top scorer in the class)

GRE: 161 Q 167 V 4.5 AW

Quant Background: Calculus, Linear Algebra, Statistical Methods, Some Econometrics (All from a quant heavy undergraduate course). Have a lot of on-the-job experience handling large datasets, performing intermediate level statistical + spatial analysis - familiar with handling satellite imagery etc. 

Programming Background: Stata, python

Relevant Work Experience:  3 years, as research assistant for policy relevant research. I have 2 papers in the publication pipeline with three tenured professors from two R-1 universities (I have applied to both).

Languages: Fluent in English. 117 TOEFL iBT

Strength of LOR: Expecting very strong recommendations from two of my ex-professors, I have been working as an RA for one of them since 2018 (started working in the middle of my masters'). Third LOR is from one of the professors I mentioned before - they have worked with me closely, but I would expect a boilerplate/thoroughly professional LOR, nothing personal per se. 

Strength of SOP: Fair, I have taken some stylistic liberties with them, but have been told that they mark me as a unique student, and I have tried to cover for my lack of quantitative training for the last two years. 

 

This thread deals more with the terminal / professional Masters and not so much with PhDs. Most of us who are active here probably wouldn't be able to really help you. I recommend you post in another more relevant thread to get the best support. 

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Hey guys! I am a Mechanical Engineering (major) and Math (minor) student who goes to UCF for undergrad. I am, however, out of state and from Georgia. My #1 choice of getting my masters is at Georgia Tech but I have UCF as a backup since I am in their BS-MS program. I also applied to UF to have the choice of three graduate schools. Thus, I have taken two graduate courses (applied mathematical methods for engineers and turbines for sustainable power). I also intern at one of the world's top gas turbine producers and have been here for 1 yr and 3 months.  I'm also a Resident Assistant and have been in ASME & Mech Eng Honor Society. On top of this, I did some volunteering that I connected to my aspirations in engineering in my SOP. 

Tldr: Applying to UF, UCF, GT.

Thank you!

Applied to: 
Applied to UF, UCF, and GT. I am in the UCF BS-MS program, so my acceptance is certified.

Undergrad Institution: UCF Mechanical Engineering

Undergrad Major: Mechanical Engineering major with mathematics minor. I have taken all classes relating to thermofluids thus far (found my specialization). 

Years out of undergrad: 0 (In senior year of undergrad)

GPA: 3.73/4.0 , All As during Senior Year, including summer, and mostly As in Junior year (2 B+s). Upper level GPA much higher than lower.

GRE: not required  

Applicable Background: MATLAB, Mathcad, SolidWorks

Relevant Work Experience:  For 1 yr and 3 months, I have been interning at a top tier turbine producing company while going to school full-time. This experience directly connects to my desired focus in my masters since I want to go into thermofluids and the study thereof. I have also been a Resident Assistant for 2 years and 2 months, working for the university. While I know this RA job is unrelated to my major, I hope my ability to mediate conflicts and instruct a large group of people effectively will affect the admissions. 

Languages: English ; Patois is spoken in my household.

Ethnicity: African-American

Strength of SOP: Realistically, I'd give my SOP a 7/10 or 8/10, so not the best nor the worst.

Strength of extra material essays: These are a strong 9/10 for GT.

Strength of LOR: Definite strong recommendation from current turbine company employer, previous Resident Assistant boss who oversaw all RAs and supervisors, and a third from my Mechanical Engineering Senior Design advisor (solar desalination plant) and current professor for a graduate course I am taking (intermediate heat transfer).

 

No research - stopping at Masters. I really appreciate it :)

Edited by antoniojosh123
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18 minutes ago, antoniojosh123 said:

Hey guys! I am a Mechanical Engineering (major) and Math (minor) student who goes to UCF for undergrad. I am, however, out of state and from Georgia. My #1 choice of getting my masters is at Georgia Tech but I have UCF as a backup since I am in their BS-MS program. I also applied to UF to have the choice of three graduate schools. Thus, I have taken two graduate courses (applied mathematical methods for engineers and turbines for sustainable power). I also intern at one of the world's top gas turbine producers and have been here for 1 yr and 3 months.  I'm also a Resident Assistant and have been in ASME & Mech Eng Honor Society. On top of this, I did some volunteering that I connected to my aspirations in engineering in my SOP. 

Tldr: Applying to UF, UCF, GT.

Thank you!

Applied to: 
Applied to UF, UCF, and GT. I am in the UCF BS-MS program, so my acceptance is certified.

Undergrad Institution: UCF Mechanical Engineering

Undergrad Major: Mechanical Engineering major with mathematics minor. I have taken all classes relating to thermofluids thus far (found my specialization). 

Years out of undergrad: 0 (In senior year of undergrad)

GPA: 3.73/4.0 , All As during Senior Year, including summer, and mostly As in Junior year (2 B+s). Upper level GPA much higher than lower.

GRE: not required  

Applicable Background: MATLAB, Mathcad, SolidWorks

Relevant Work Experience:  For 1 yr and 3 months, I have been interning at a top tier turbine producing company while going to school full-time. This experience directly connects to my desired focus in my masters since I want to go into thermofluids and the study thereof. I have also been a Resident Assistant for 2 years and 2 months, working for the university. While I know this RA job is unrelated to my major, I hope my ability to mediate conflicts and instruct a large group of people effectively will affect the admissions. 

Languages: English ; Patois is spoken in my household.

Ethnicity: African-American

Strength of SOP: Realistically, I'd give my SOP a 7/10 or 8/10, so not the best nor the worst.

Strength of extra material essays: These are a strong 9/10 for GT.

Strength of LOR: Definite strong recommendation from current turbine company employer, previous Resident Assistant boss who oversaw all RAs and supervisors, and a third from my Mechanical Engineering Senior Design advisor (solar desalination plant) and current professor for a graduate course I am taking (intermediate heat transfer).

 

No research - stopping at Masters. I really appreciate it :)

This thread is for government affair masters, focusing on policy and International relations. Please delete your post and post on the appropriate thread. 

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On 1/5/2021 at 9:43 PM, GradSchoolGrad said:

I would be a bit surprised if you got into Wagner or USC Price give how competitive this year is. However, not shocked because you do bring a lot of diversity (Transportation is a rather unique policy area of interest - which sounds strange, but it is true)

I'm decently confident that you should be able to get into most of the other schools (assuming that everything else is straight). I think the best program for you out for the ones I thin you have a strong chance in would be GWU MPP.

Thank you so much for your answer! It really helps me plan my application strategy! 

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Feedback is welcomed!! Thanks!

Applied to: UCLA MPP, UCSD MPP, USC MPP/Data Science, CalPoly Pomona Urban Policy

UG Institution: UCLA (Class of 2020)

U Major: Environmental Studies (Concentration in Geospatial Information Systems)

UG GPA: 3.1 (not counting 3.7 community college GPA)

Quant background: Microecon, Macroecon, Intro to Stats, Calc 1, Calc 2, GIS Programming and Development (Python), Satellite Remote Sensing, Intermediate Remote Sensing, Intermediate/Advanced GIS, Applied Climatalogy

Work experiences:

Data Analyst (United Farm Workers) Sept 20'-present: First data analyst for the organization. Created a Data Governance structure from the ground up, instilling new security protocols, data strategy mission, and implemented new policies/procedures. Also spearheaded research throughout the Covid-19 crisis regarding financial/food assistance for farm workers and currently working on location analytics for Covid-19 vaccine distribution. 

Geospatial Information Systems Intern (City of La Habra) 6 months: First GIS employee of the city. Created a new centralized database for all city departments to use via GIS. Created apps, python scripts, and tutorials for city personnel to use. Saved the city a lot of money by doing work originally meant for contractors. 

Power Engineering Designer (Engineering Firm) 1 year: Constructed utility pole designs using programs such as O-cal, GIS, AutoCAD, etc. 

GRE: No

LoR: Strong: 3 UCLA Professors. 1- Academic Chair of the geospatial department. 2 and 3 - Professors I did independent research with during my undergrad (using GIS and satellite remote sensing)

SoP Strength: Strong. Born into poverty in Tijuana, Mexico. Moved to the most segregated city in the US for a while (Milwaukee, WI), dropped out of high school (rank 122 of 122). Got it together, received my GED, went to community college, 3.7 GPA and two associate degrees (math and science/Business Administration) then transferred to UCLA. Worked full-time most of my undergrad career (Medication Technician Lead in a Dementia Unit). Stated most of this in my SOP and how it connects me to the people that I want to help the most. 

Concern: Low GPA (3.1 not counting the 3.7 from community college), did not take the GRE. 

Edited by bugajskj
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Out of curiosity: how important are quant courses for admissions and aid to MA IR/IS programs? I'm a recent graduate working for a few years before applying to programs, so I was wondering if it was worth biting the financial bullet and enrolling in some online econ courses since I have no quantitative-related experience to speak of.

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