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Is SAIS career services really that bad?


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I recently talked to a SAIS alum who is currently a 2nd year student at a top b-school.  He said that he learned a ton at SAIS and enjoyed the school overall but was dismayed at how bad the career services was.  In his words, SAIS is "good at teaching you important skillsets but can't help get you a job, which is ultimately what matters."


I'm applying to both mba and policy programs, in hopes of doing a joint degree.  If SAIS is the only program I get into, I'm wondering if it will be worth even going, given the state of their career services.  I already have finance experience and is looking to stay in finance but in a different type of role.

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I'd be interested to hear views on this. From my brief chats with admissions and students, I gather they hold a lot of events and most students are seasoned 'networkers' that they make the best of the opportunities available to them. If OP is considering that the careers service will find him a position, I think you'll be in for a shock. Although careers services fluctuate from the good to the bad across grad schools, most students end up leveraging their own connections to gain positions.

SAIS is my number 1 choice so I'll definitely appreciate someone to correct my perception if I'm wrong.

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It's not great at HKS either but the network is unbeatable. Part of the reason why careers service aren't great at all the public policy schools is the nature of public policy jobs/employers. It's so diverse. With MBAs it's usually just consulting or banking or a handful of MNCs. And they all come to you because they are sold on the value of a MBA. The value of a MPP/MPA is not on par with the perceived value of a MBA so employers don't come to you. That and the competition pool is much larger - say you're going for a position at the UN, you're up against lawyers, people from undergrad, Phds etc


Bottom line, don't be lazy. If you're smart and motivated enough to apply for grad school (and get in), you're smart and motivated enough to network to get a job. I am sure SAIS has just a great a network. 


If all else fails, MBAs usually have an outstanding careers service so just use that.

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