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SAIS IDEV vs. Kennedy MPA/ID


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Hi all-

Just wanted to gauge peoples opinions on choosing between the IDEV program at SAIS and the MPA/ID program at the Kennedy School. Both are obviously top notch programs (and a great choice to be forced to make!), but would love some input on the pros and cons of each.


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MPA/ID- One of the best programs for Int Dev. Top notch without doubt. High economics orinented (1st Yr Phd eco). IDEV-Again very good and big on eco- but not as heavy as MPA/ID. My two cents-If you dont mind heavy ECO- just go to MPA/ID. Its very very good.

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I'm also deciding between the two (and was funded by a sizable fellowship at SAIS too.. hoping HKS helps out a bit). I feel like if you ever considered following the econ PhD route but were unsure whether 6 years of beating the crap out of a dead horse (ie. your dissertation) was right for you, then the MPA/ID program is perfect. You're incredibly well trained when it comes to the technical aspects and, obviously since it is the Kennedy School, the qualitative aspects are excellent, bar none. I've heard of MPA/ID grads competing with PhDs when it comes to some of the positions at Bretton Woods institutions. From what I understand they just have a lot of tools to work with rather than being incredibly good with one tool (ie. whatever your PhD dissertation topic would involve).

So if you were ever an econ dork but hated the fact that you needed to dedicate 6 years of your life to a PhD to get any work done, then MPA/ID is for you.

I may be a little biased as I haven't yet visited SAIS, but I did get a chance to visit the MPA/ID program and was floored by both the classes and the students. I feel that the program has a clear vision ('train technically well-equipped dev't leaders') versus IDEV which, at least to me, didn't seem to have an overarching approach. I don't think that NOT having a structured approach is a bad thing -- I just prefer knowing that I am going to come out with strong fundamental technical skills.

Will you be at MPA/ID admit day? Maybe we'll meet!

Edited by urbanrenewalprogram
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