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Struggling to Decide...(MPP or MPP/MBA)

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Hello All,


This might be better in the government affairs board, but its less populated and I wanted opinions about the MBA as well. So, I basically am having a VERY hard time picking a program. I have gotten into 4 out of the 5 I have applied too, and am still waiting to hear back from the 5th school. As a disclaimer, I didn’t apply to many “top schools” because I didn’t think I had the stats. I really wish I had now, but I don’t think it makes sense to reapply or anything like that. I’d still like help deciding if anyone has general thoughts, even if you don’t know the programs super well.


Option A [uSC MPP]: I could go to USC. The program is ranked 7th in the country (or 11th, depending on who you ask). It’s the highest ranked program I applied to. The issue with it is that its REALLY expensive, even with funding (which isn’t even guaranteed at this point). The cost of living in LA is also kind of astronomical. I would like to work with environmental policy, and USC is the only school that offers the concentration.


Option B [uC Irvine]: UC Irvine is a decently respected university for undergraduate, but the MPP is a very new program. Its not ranked yet, but there is discussion about it being pretty good. The PhD is ranked and its in the top 20. They are offering funding, but haven’t told me how much yet. Even without funding its half the cost of USC.


Option C [Mills for an MBA and MPP combined]: I’ve also been accepted into the joint MBA / MPP program at Mills College. This program is very small and isn’t ranked yet either, but its well respected in the region. I would like to stay in the Bay Area for jobs anyway, so it might not be such a big deal. I like this program because they are giving me a lot of funding, and its two degrees for the price of one. I currently live in the Bay Area and I could keep my current job and not relocate. Also, my parents live in the area so I could live with them for free if it came to that.


Does anyone think the MBA from Mills will add enough earning potential to outweigh the prestige of USC? I would ideally like to work as an environmental consultant on land use / resource sustainability issues. I think I would like to start in the public sector to gain experience then move to the private eventually if I’m lucky enough to land that kind of gig.

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Something I just noticed looking at USC Price's revamped website that I thought I might bring to your attention since we both share interest in environmental management programs is that they appear to have done away with the Certificate in Sustainable Cities:


http://priceschool.usc.edu/public-administration/ - it's no longer listed there. The certificate program on the website doesn't exactly seem all that up to date either: http://sustainablecities.usc.edu/about/certificate.html


That was something I was interested in so I'd be a little bummed if they did canned it. My impression of their program is that enviro is not one of their particular strengths although they have a couple decent profs. I'm still waiting to hear from them -they've promised me a decision by the end of next week. :wacko:

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I always say, follow the money.  Do you have any reason to believe that Mills is going to prevent you from getting your first or second job?  After that, your experience will matter much more anyway.  Since you said you want to stay in the Bay Area, what is that area's general perception of Mills?


I would be deciding between Irvine and Mills, personally.  Wait on your decision of funding from Irvine.  Honestly, personally, if I got decent funding from UC-Irvine I might choose that unless the cost of Mills was significantly lower.

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  • 1 year later...

My husband is also considering Mills.  Where did you end up attending? If Mills, how is the program?  Also, can you tell me more about Mill's reputation in the Bay Area?  

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