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rawpunkgirl

SAIS application for Fall 2013

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Hi,

i'm applying to SAIS for next year and wanted to get some advice. Would any current students there be willing to private message me to talk? Thanks!

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I'm a current student but I don't have time for individual question(maybe you already knew how intensive the study at sais is). But if anyone post any questions here, I'll be happy to answer anything I know.

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I'm a current student but I don't have time for individual question(maybe you already knew how intensive the study at sais is). But if anyone post any questions here, I'll be happy to answer anything I know.

gzdzcca, I think I'll take you up on your offer. I'm having a little trouble determining whether I want to do my first year in Bologna, or do both years in DC. My foreign language background is Italian, so doing a year in Bologna would be a huge help towards attaining proficiency to graduate. On the other hand, however, my work experience in the IR field is limited to a few internships, so doing both years in DC is really attractive, as it would allow me to concentrate on networking and doing a few more quality internships before graduation. Do you know if one campus is considered "easier" to get into than the other? I've gotta be honest, the Bologna interview kind of freaks me out a bit. Also, if you could comment on your background a bit—your quantitative background, work experience, GRE scores. How did you approach your S.O.P. and analytical essay? Basically, I'd like to know as much information as you feel comfortable sharing. SAIS is really my first choice school, and I would like as much "insider" information as possible in order to make myself the most competitive applicant possible. Thanks!

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1. i heard(forget know from where) that bologna is easier to get in. but no one knows if it is true, since you cannot really compare the current student and say one was better than the other.

2.first year is super busy so almost no one intern in dc. but you can definitely build up your network in dc. but the same thing can also be done in bologna.

3.i did liberal arts for undergrad and i have micro/macro in progress during my application. but i know someone did not have any econ coursework and did the summer online econ after being accepted. i would recommend you at least to do online micro/macro during application, which shows your commitment a little bit. my gre score was V700/Q800/AW3.0. so you don't have to worry about AW if you got a super low score.

4.the point of my sop was just basically saying there are something at SAIS that I specifically want to learn. i would care more about the "fit" side rather than qualification. i did not have any work experience and the average age for MA students is 27, not super old. so you will be fine by having a few interns done.

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How important is job experience to them? I don't even know if it's worth it to apply, given how much they talk about it on their website.

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I know it might seem like a waste of time, but getting job experience before your graduate degree will make the graduate student experience better. Spend some time on the ground in the region you want to focus on. It will be worth it.

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Very little. They are prestigious enough where they can get a high yield percentage without offering aid, i.e. lots of people are willing to pay 100k+ for a SAIS education. Ditto for Georgetown.

Edited by MYRNIST

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When I applied last year, they mentioned the top 30% get aid ranging from $7k to full tuition but I would imagine most fall on the low side.

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Assuming you're not independently wealthy, how exactly does one justify taking on six-figure debt to go into a fairly non-lucrative field?

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Assuming you're not independently wealthy, how exactly does one justify taking on six-figure debt to go into a fairly non-lucrative field?

40% of SAIS students head into the private sector so depending on your interests, it can be lucrative.

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40% of SAIS students head into the private sector so depending on your interests, it can be lucrative.

40% of SAIS students head into the private sector so depending on your interests, it can be lucrative.

Do finance and consulting firms come to SAIS to recruit, or are these students getting these jobs through their own networking and off-campus search?

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very few finance or consulting firms make recruitment event at SAIS. but SAIS has a large alumni network in these areas, so there is still advantage for SAIS students.

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What would matter more to SAIS adcoms; a graduate diploma in Economics (which I am studying for) or a top GRE score? Incidentally, what are the average GRE scores for SAIS?

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The first question is unanswerable. I found a good website for the second though: http://bit.ly/ZwLr5P

Ha, thanks for your wit. I actually was hoping to hear from someone who may have had a similar situation, as is always the case when someone makes a post requesting information about a particular aspect. I asked about the average GRE scores because any other info I have found tends to fluctuate. Again, the reason was to hear from a SAIS alum/applicant/current student, which I presume you don't fit...?

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I'm studying at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center this year and will enroll in the MA program at SAIS next year. My only SAIS experience so far has been taking microeconomics in DC during pre-term in August. I did met a lot of 1st year students over the summer and there were a number of students who were straight out of undergrad. The majority had 2-5 years of work experience.

The website currently says "middle 50% GRE verbal score range has been 158-165 (79th - 96th percentile) and the middle 50% GRE quantitative score range has been 154 - 161 (67th - 86th percentile). For the GMAT verbal score, the middle 50% has been in the 34-42 range, and the GMAT quantitative score has been in 38-49 range.

If you're curious to see what the average scores for SAIS were for the old GRE exam, it was 729 Q, 650 V and for the GMAT it was 41V, 46Q (I saved this info on my computer when researching schools a couple years ago).

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What would matter more to SAIS adcoms; a graduate diploma in Economics (which I am studying for) or a top GRE score? Incidentally, what are the average GRE scores for SAIS?

SAIS 2013, Bologna 2011 here (I've had an unusual grad school path that's worked out great for me, PM for details).

They'd like both, if possible. They aren't mutually exclusive after all. Where is the diploma, by the way? If it's at a university outside your home country/country where you went to undergrad, it can definitely be of benefit. Doing well on the GRE is matter of practice, in my experience at least, so I'd practice until you reach your ceiling.

One thing to keep in mind is that econ coursework is weighted pretty heavily, excessively so in my opinion, so the diploma will probably really help your chances of getting in.

In terms of how admissions readers look at GRE scores, you reach the point of diminishing returns pretty quickly. You need a certain level relative to how the reader expects the rest of the pool to look, but doing much higher won't help you all that much.

Your econ background tends to be more important than your GRE scores.

So, if I were you, I'd finish it and work on maxing out my GRE score while doing the diploma. Also, if you have the option, I'd take intermediate macro and micro, monetary theory, and trade theory while finishing up-you can take waiver exams to get out of taking the courses, though you would have to substitute in 2 electives for trade and monetary due to the requirement that you take 4 econ courses.

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Do finance and consulting firms come to SAIS to recruit, or are these students getting these jobs through their own networking and off-campus search?

They do, but it's really difficult. Quite frankly, if you know you want to work for those firms, don't rely on getting recruited out of SAIS. Go to B School either instead or in addition as part of a formal dual degree agreement (Penn-Wharton, Stanford-GSB, INSEAD, Dartmouth-Tuck, UVa-Darden) or an informal one. According to the now former Dean of Student Affairs, they'd accept a dual degree arrangement with any "Top Ten" MBA program.

The thing is, the elite management consulting firms (McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, and Bain) and "bulge bracket" financial firms (JP Morgan, Goldman, etc.) really focus on elite B Schools because those schools are selling products (students) they want to buy while SAIS isn't really. All of what those schools teach is applicable to what those firms do. Only a bit of the required curriculum is somewhat applicable and none of it is directly so. The students at those B Schools have the pre-grad school background those firms like because that's what the schools select for. SAIS simply does not, because it attracts a different group.

I have to say, I simply don't understand the thought processes of people who come to SAIS with the intention of working for these firms. With the exception of the people who are doing joint degrees, all of the people who have tried it have found it very tough going, including a few who had a previous finance background. Recruiting at those firms is incredibly stove-piped and focused on those elite B schools. If you've got the right background (student at an elite MBA program or undergrad), getting in is relatively easy. If you don't, it's going to be very difficult. The reason is that that's the way they've always done things and there is absolutely no incentive to broaden the pool and assume the risk and cost of actively recruiting different sorts of people.

People do get jobs, but they get them through networking and using alumni networks that were really strengthened during the boom years when those firms were willing to take risks because they needed more people. Some alumni do come on-campus to recruit. Also, more people get jobs in functions like risk management, which dovetail better with SAIS's education, than, say investment banking. Some boutique finance and consulting firms that focus on energy, which happens to be a specialty of SAIS's, recruit at SAIS.

Bottom-line-if you want those jobs, do not go to SAIS. It would be the equivalent of using a screwdriver as a hammer. Might get the job done, but certainly not the most efficient way to do it.

Edited by dft309

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How important is job experience to them? I don't even know if it's worth it to apply, given how much they talk about it on their website.

Really important and having some makes your life a lot easier. What experience does is make it more likely that you will get career-enhancing jobs/internships and that you will be able to have a successful career. If you have status as a Boren Scholar, though, that obviate that hurdle in your case because you have the hiring preference thing and you've signalled that you're worth investing in by getting selected.

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I know quite a few people who got in having 2-4 years of working experience, including 2 years as Peace Corps.

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