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Melodymich

Help!! CIPA MPA vs Maxwell MPA vs Maryland MPP

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Hello everyone! I am looking for any kind of suggestions that would help me better make the decision... I am choosing between CIPA MPA (20,000$/y) , Maryland MPP and Maxwell MPA (10,000$ in total).

I am from China and wanna make my specification in either economic or international policy. After the program, I would like to find jobs in the US in consulting area (private/public), and later transfer to public area for non-profit with accumulated network and management capacity.

Knowing that MPA is really hard for international students to get ideal jobs in the States, I am trying to choose the program that would better help me realize my goal. Here are some pros and cons that currently I can think about...

Ranking: Maxwell is way better

School Reputation in China: can't deny the Ivy effect...Cornell wins

Location: not good for all the three, but Maryland seems better coz it's quiet close to DC, or CIPA is within 3 hours' drive to NYC

Curriculum: CIPA is very flexible and Maxwell is very strict... heard that Maryland MPP can share credits with American U, GWU...

Alumni: not very clear, which would be better in NYC or DC?

Overall: I am slightly leaning to Cornell with its flexible curriculum, more abundant funding and private-orientation, moreover, heard that though it's relatively young, its alumni has already been in DC and NYC. But I am really curious about the ranking of Maxwell and the advantage in politics study in U Maryland.

Are there anyone who has the same situation with me? Or anyone who is in the program and has a definite answer for it? Any comments are appreciated. Thanks a lot!!!

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I'll be starting CIPA in the fall for the following reasons:

1) Flexible curriculum. I know exactly what I want to study and have access to every graduate department at Cornell. I'm interested in environmental finance and market-based environmental policies, so having access to Johnson finance classes in addition to atmospheric science and ecology classes is fantastic. If you can argue that a class aligns with your interests the administration is willing to listen.

2) Very generous funding. You won't find funding this good at other programs. Instead of facing debt and penny counting in grad school, I'll be able to relax a bit.

3) Strong faculty/alumni support. There are some unique perks to CIPA being newer; CIPA has every reason to make sure you're successful because they want to grow the program. After speaking with CIPA folks I was impressed by their level of personal involvement and interest in my career.

4) Close program internally. Ithaca's isolated, but this also forces you to become very close with your fellow CIPA's. The fellows I spoke with were very friendly, welcoming, and mentioned how strong their internal network was.

5) Cornell's network/brand. It's not just restricted to CIPA---Cornell's alumni are very supportive and the network is huge (I was an undergraduate there). I wouldn't worry too much about the ranking; it's a top university with stellar professors and alumni and you will work your butt off. Furthermore, Cornell's future direction will be more internationally focused ($2 billion international NYC tech campus is evidence of this) and Cornell already has strong presence abroad (Ithaca also has some pretty good Asian food because the campus is so diverse--it's like a little multicultural microcosm).

How to think about rankings:

MPA rankings by US News are a function of peer assessments of other MPA educators (deans, facutly etc). The quality of peer assessment is usually the result of academic visibility in public affairs publications. And here is where CIPA is unique among MPA programs; it's an institute rather than a school. The strength of this is that CIPA is interdisciplinary, flexible, and you have access to every graduate class at Cornell. The weakness of this is that CIPA faculty are usually published under different departments of Cornell! Thus, although the work that CIPA folk do are the same, visibility of CIPA is lower because this work is published under different titles. That's not to say MPA rankings are entirely worthless--peer review is very important. HKS and WWS are ranked high because they are, indeed, amazing programs. However, when considering CIPA, the nature of the program is likely a barrier to higher rankings, when in reality, in terms of quality, CIPA is likely much higher than what the rankings show. Also, after attending open house, about 25% of this year (so 2014?) applicant pool was accepted. That's pretty solid.

Consider this fact; Cornell's grad programs consistently rank in the top 10. CIPA is in many ways a focused slice of the "Grad program" pie at Cornell. Just a simply heuristic like this makes me think that MPA rankings, in general, are far less accurate than MBA or Law school rankings (but once again, the top of the top MPA programs are up there for good reason even if ranking methodology is imperfect--think of peer review as a endogenous variable; if there is an overwhelmingly strong correlation of other "hidden" variables like in HKS and WWS, the effect of these variables will eventually be strong enough to influence "peer review" in that direction).

In terms of quality and opportunity, I wouldn't worry about CIPA's rankings if you think about it. But regardless of your decision, I firmly believe your success is ultimately up to you. "Ivy league" universities can only put a few more opportunities in front of you; ambition, hard work, and tenacity are the values that really matter.

PS; With CIPA, you can spend a semester in Nepal, DC, Rome, and I think somewhere else...

Edited by bambo222

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I'm facing the same options with you, except that I already turned down Syracuse and am still considering CMU.

UMD is still being considered because it offers 33,000 per year, and the location is comparatively good. I was thinking about applying for a MBA/MPP joint degree after the 1st year, but after chatting with the current students(Chinese), I found it not as appealing.

If internship/job offers matters the most to you, my suggestion would be searching every single Chinese fellow in these programs to see their internship and working experience. I already did it with CIPA fellows (seems to be more high-end, not sure though, you know, resume is really polishable...), but since I can't get access to student profiles of UMD, I can't find out their placement.

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I'm facing the same options with you, except that I already turned down Syracuse and am still considering CMU.

UMD is still being considered because it offers 33,000 per year, and the location is comparatively good. I was thinking about applying for a MBA/MPP joint degree after the 1st year, but after chatting with the current students(Chinese), I found it not as appealing.

If internship/job offers matters the most to you, my suggestion would be searching every single Chinese fellow in these programs to see their internship and working experience. I already did it with CIPA fellows (seems to be more high-end, not sure though, you know, resume is really polishable...), but since I can't get access to student profiles of UMD, I can't find out their placement.

Hey Chen, seems you have already done very careful research! UMD has offered MPA to Chinese students who have been turned down by MPP as an alternative, so I don't think its MPP is gonna be very competitive facing the job market, as people usually get confused and the total No. for MPP+MPA Chinese students would be very large.

As for Syracuse, I am really curious about its ranking, but "bambo222" is making very pervasive answer and guess I'll stick with CIPA.

CMU is also good and quantile-oriented, didn't apply so don't know detail about it. But hope that you also choose CIPA at last, so that we could be classmates who have met on the grad cafe', haha

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Personally, I'd take CIPA's offer and never look back. And I don't see a compelling reason why you shouldn't, either. I almost applied to CIPA, I think it's a program that gets better by the year, especially if you are willing to make its flexibility work for you. Take hard classes, connect with professors, network with your classmates... You'll be in good shape for a fine career. Good luck!

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I'll be starting CIPA in the fall for the following reasons:

1) Flexible curriculum. I know exactly what I want to study and have access to every graduate department at Cornell. I'm interested in environmental finance and market-based environmental policies, so having access to Johnson finance classes in addition to atmospheric science and ecology classes is fantastic. If you can argue that a class aligns with your interests the administration is willing to listen.

2) Very generous funding. You won't find funding this good at other programs. Instead of facing debt and penny counting in grad school, I'll be able to relax a bit.

3) Strong faculty/alumni support. There are some unique perks to CIPA being newer; CIPA has every reason to make sure you're successful because they want to grow the program. After speaking with CIPA folks I was impressed by their level of personal involvement and interest in my career.

4) Close program internally. Ithaca's isolated, but this also forces you to become very close with your fellow CIPA's. The fellows I spoke with were very friendly, welcoming, and mentioned how strong their internal network was.

5) Cornell's network/brand. It's not just restricted to CIPA---Cornell's alumni are very supportive and the network is huge (I was an undergraduate there). I wouldn't worry too much about the ranking; it's a top university with stellar professors and alumni and you will work your butt off. Furthermore, Cornell's future direction will be more internationally focused ($2 billion international NYC tech campus is evidence of this) and Cornell already has strong presence abroad (Ithaca also has some pretty good Asian food because the campus is so diverse--it's like a little multicultural microcosm).

How to think about rankings:

MPA rankings by US News are a function of peer assessments of other MPA educators (deans, facutly etc). The quality of peer assessment is usually the result of academic visibility in public affairs publications. And here is where CIPA is unique among MPA programs; it's an institute rather than a school. The strength of this is that CIPA is interdisciplinary, flexible, and you have access to every graduate class at Cornell. The weakness of this is that CIPA faculty are usually published under different departments of Cornell! Thus, although the work that CIPA folk do are the same, visibility of CIPA is lower because this work is published under different titles. That's not to say MPA rankings are entirely worthless--peer review is very important. HKS and WWS are ranked high because they are, indeed, amazing programs. However, when considering CIPA, the nature of the program is likely a barrier to higher rankings, when in reality, in terms of quality, CIPA is likely much higher than what the rankings show. Also, after attending open house, about 25% of this year (so 2014?) applicant pool was accepted. That's pretty solid.

Consider this fact; Cornell's grad programs consistently rank in the top 10. CIPA is in many ways a focused slice of the "Grad program" pie at Cornell. Just a simply heuristic like this makes me think that MPA rankings, in general, are far less accurate than MBA or Law school rankings (but once again, the top of the top MPA programs are up there for good reason even if ranking methodology is imperfect--think of peer review as a endogenous variable; if there is an overwhelmingly strong correlation of other "hidden" variables like in HKS and WWS, the effect of these variables will eventually be strong enough to influence "peer review" in that direction).

In terms of quality and opportunity, I wouldn't worry about CIPA's rankings if you think about it. But regardless of your decision, I firmly believe your success is ultimately up to you. "Ivy league" universities can only put a few more opportunities in front of you; ambition, hard work, and tenacity are the values that really matter.

PS; With CIPA, you can spend a semester in Nepal, DC, Rome, and I think somewhere else...

Thanks so much for your detailed answer, bambo222! As a Cornell graduate, your decision are very valuable for me. Actually I've heard from one of my friends who's now in Stanford IPS that she met students from CIPA in her first year summer internship in WB, DC office. Guess I'll take CIPA. Best wishes to all of us!

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I'll be starting CIPA in the fall for the following reasons:

1) Flexible curriculum. I know exactly what I want to study and have access to every graduate department at Cornell. I'm interested in environmental finance and market-based environmental policies, so having access to Johnson finance classes in addition to atmospheric science and ecology classes is fantastic. If you can argue that a class aligns with your interests the administration is willing to listen.

2) Very generous funding. You won't find funding this good at other programs. Instead of facing debt and penny counting in grad school, I'll be able to relax a bit.

3) Strong faculty/alumni support. There are some unique perks to CIPA being newer; CIPA has every reason to make sure you're successful because they want to grow the program. After speaking with CIPA folks I was impressed by their level of personal involvement and interest in my career.

4) Close program internally. Ithaca's isolated, but this also forces you to become very close with your fellow CIPA's. The fellows I spoke with were very friendly, welcoming, and mentioned how strong their internal network was.

5) Cornell's network/brand. It's not just restricted to CIPA---Cornell's alumni are very supportive and the network is huge (I was an undergraduate there). I wouldn't worry too much about the ranking; it's a top university with stellar professors and alumni and you will work your butt off. Furthermore, Cornell's future direction will be more internationally focused ($2 billion international NYC tech campus is evidence of this) and Cornell already has strong presence abroad (Ithaca also has some pretty good Asian food because the campus is so diverse--it's like a little multicultural microcosm).

How to think about rankings:

MPA rankings by US News are a function of peer assessments of other MPA educators (deans, facutly etc). The quality of peer assessment is usually the result of academic visibility in public affairs publications. And here is where CIPA is unique among MPA programs; it's an institute rather than a school. The strength of this is that CIPA is interdisciplinary, flexible, and you have access to every graduate class at Cornell. The weakness of this is that CIPA faculty are usually published under different departments of Cornell! Thus, although the work that CIPA folk do are the same, visibility of CIPA is lower because this work is published under different titles. That's not to say MPA rankings are entirely worthless--peer review is very important. HKS and WWS are ranked high because they are, indeed, amazing programs. However, when considering CIPA, the nature of the program is likely a barrier to higher rankings, when in reality, in terms of quality, CIPA is likely much higher than what the rankings show. Also, after attending open house, about 25% of this year (so 2014?) applicant pool was accepted. That's pretty solid.

Consider this fact; Cornell's grad programs consistently rank in the top 10. CIPA is in many ways a focused slice of the "Grad program" pie at Cornell. Just a simply heuristic like this makes me think that MPA rankings, in general, are far less accurate than MBA or Law school rankings (but once again, the top of the top MPA programs are up there for good reason even if ranking methodology is imperfect--think of peer review as a endogenous variable; if there is an overwhelmingly strong correlation of other "hidden" variables like in HKS and WWS, the effect of these variables will eventually be strong enough to influence "peer review" in that direction).

In terms of quality and opportunity, I wouldn't worry about CIPA's rankings if you think about it. But regardless of your decision, I firmly believe your success is ultimately up to you. "Ivy league" universities can only put a few more opportunities in front of you; ambition, hard work, and tenacity are the values that really matter.

PS; With CIPA, you can spend a semester in Nepal, DC, Rome, and I think somewhere else...

this was great! i have been going back and forth between CIPA and SIPA but have always leaned towards cornell. i couldn't even visit the campus so this was great.

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