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Chicago or American?

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Firstly, congratulations.

I work in IFC (World Bank Group). In South Asia. I can assure you in another three years you will not be able to find jobs in DC through the WBG because it's on a massive decebtralization drive. Nor will you find that IFIs consider DC experience super-exciting. Think development sectors (urbanization, climate change, water & sanitation par example), think regions of the world and then think which of the two schools can offer you that experience through academic training and its network.

The one thing U Chicago will tell any employer is that you have superb quant skills and are highly analytical. I am not sure what the AU brand is and I didn't apply to it. But I bet you it too is a great school. I am still awaiting decisions from all the schools I have applied to but I plan to make my decision based on 1. how much moolah I am offered 2. what is the school's strength in terms of my areas of interest and 3. what quality of life do I want i.e. which city, what sort of campus, what sort of academic milieu do I want to be steeped in. But these are questions that matter to me. Figure out what matters to you and then decide. Screw ratings. :)

Edited by enkayem

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Firstly, congratulations.

I work in IFC (World Bank Group). In South Asia. I can assure you in another three years you will not be able to find jobs in DC through the WBG because it's on a massive decebtralization drive. Nor will you find that IFIs consider DC experience super-exciting. Think development sectors (urbanization, climate change, water & sanitation par example), think regions of the world and then think which of the two schools can offer you that experience through academic training and its network.

The one thing U Chicago will tell any employer is that you have superb quant skills and are highly analytical. I am not sure what the AU brand is and I didn't apply to it. But I bet you it too is a great school. I am still awaiting decisions from all the schools I have applied to but I plan to make my decision based on 1. how much moolah I am offered 2. what is the school's strength in terms of my areas of interest and 3. what quality of life do I want i.e. which city, what sort of campus, what sort of academic milieu do I want to be steeped in. But these are questions that matter to me. Figure out what matters to you and then decide. Screw ratings. :)

That's wonderful advice! Thank you! Time to sit down and do a lot of serious thinking. Out of curiosity, how have you found the development world in South Asia? Do you find your work fulfilling? And was it difficult getting a job in the WB without an MA degree?

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I don't know if it's much of a factor, but cost of living in Chicago is at least slightly if not solidly less than DC (I'm from the Chicago area and don't know DC all too well besides reading and staying there for an internship). Apartments in Hyde Park, from what I've read, are around $900-1300 for one bedrooms, $1100-1500 for two bedrooms. If you don't care about living near campus, I know people that live in Wicker Park in two bedrooms for about $800-1000....but that's a big hike to school.

Edited by smirrah

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I don't know if it's much of a factor, but cost of living in Chicago is at least slightly if not solidly less than DC (I'm from the Chicago area and don't know DC all too well besides reading and staying there for an internship). Apartments in Hyde Park, from what I've read, are around $900-1300 for one bedrooms, $1100-1500 for two bedrooms. If you don't care about living near campus, I know people that live in Wicker Park in two bedrooms for about $800-1000....but that's a big hike to school.

Thanks! Yes, that is definitely a factor. Especially since for DC it's going to be for 2 years instead of 1, and if I really want to take advantage of AU's network then I'll have to stay there in the summer as well to do an internship.

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I'm still confused.. one thing I'm wondering about is how much attention students get from the professors at CIR. Many of them are big names and have PhD students as well. From what I have learned about AU so far, the professors will be extremely accessible and helpful. The fact that the director of the program called me yesterday to congratulate me and help answer questions is indicative of the kind of atmosphere at AU. I worry that Chicago might be completely different, and I am used to have close relationships with faculty and the administration at my undergraduate institution.

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