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MA: Oxford vs. U Chicago vs. U Tokyo vs. MIT


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Basically, I have no idea what to do. I'm an American who did his undergrad in English Lang+Lit at Oxford.

These are the programs I've been accepted to—

Chinese Studies (Oxford, MA)

South Asian Studies (Oxford, MA)

MAPSS (MA in Sociology/Politics) (1yr MA, U Chicago)

Economics (MA, U Tokyo) (only $5000 per year)

Urban Planning (1 yr MA, MIT)

I'm not to interested in doing a PhD. Rather, I'd like to eventually work for a large NGO, like the UN, a Development Bank, possibly the US foreign service. Maybe I'd go into consulting, or as a last resort apply for a training contract at a law firm in the UK. I have no interest in IB.

Can anybody weigh in on this decision? Will I get some crazy boost from coming out of Tokyo fluent in Japanese and with an Econ degree? Or will Chicago or MIT carry infinitly more weight in the world of work? Should I be jumping on the development bandwagon by doing a degree linked to China or India. Would that actually make me more employable than having a degree from Asia?

What would you do?

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Congrats to your acceptances.

I think it all comes down to what you're more interested in. You seem to have great options and all of those would be fine, but you need to make it work. I believe the best way to make it work is to pick what you're actually interested in and what feels like a good fit to you. Look at courses, try talking to current students. I'll still adress the schools one after another.

First, Oxford. It is an awesome school with a great reputation everywhere. Its masters tend to be quite research-focused, with a core research module. That can be good, if you want to do policy advising. In addition, Oxford's teaching is very intensive, with lots of papers to write and less class time, from what I've gathered. If you don't know any mandarin or hindi yet, you're def. not going to pick it up in a year (or 9 months) of teaching there. If you're really interested in this region, these regional studies courses would be great. Oxford has the possible modules up. See, if something jumps out at you. Be however aware that in 9 months, you will get no deep understanding of the region. I've been studying China for more than three years now, am currently in China and find out new stuff every day. Oxford's name might get you an interview at a lot of places, but yu have to sell it from then.

Second, the MAPSS is from what I understand really preparation for grad school in the social sciences. Some 80% go on to do PhDs. This might therefore not be your ideal program. However, it allows a lot of flexibility in your classes, from what I gather. Don't know too much about this program, but some people did write a lot on this forum.

I don't know anything about the Economics MA at U Tokyo, just wanted to add that Japanese is a damn hard language and unless you're really proactive about it, I doubt you'd be fluent after a year (or two) in an English program.

Overally, what it comes down to is that you need to figure out what you want to do, IMO. What interests/moves you?

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