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Heinz DC vs. Michigan (domestic interest)


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Having a hard time making a decision between Heinz and Michigan. I've been doing research on my own but would love some feedback from others familiar with the domestic policy strengths of the program. If you're deciding between the two... who are you leaning towards and why?

 

I've spent the last year out of undergrad in Washington doing a prestigious government fellowship and have now received two great offers from Michigan (tuition + stipend) and Heinz (tuition). With interest at the intersection of domestic health and women's policy issues, the Michigan program seems like a great fit... strong in social policy, ability to take courses across departments, women's policy certificate program, etc. 

 

I am worried, however, about the strain that the distance will have on the DC network I've built and the prospects for employment in federal government. Timing-wise, this administration will be lame-duck by the time I'd be back in Washington (2015)... most folks will be gearing up for a new election and many of the connections I've made will be in transition themselves. Would hate to come back and have to completely rebuild. 

 

The Heinz program, though more "generalist" than I'd like, does allow for a DC apprenticeship. I have met Heinz students with entry-level paid positions at the State Department and still balancing their Heinz coursework. Though practical experience is an asset, I am unsure if this would be distracting from my studies... my ultimate goal is to receive a sound and reputable policy education that will give me access to mid-level government or think-tank positions over the entry-levels that I currently have access.

 

Both programs are solid, but my gut says that if I am going to do the Master's than I REALLY need to do it. Go for the rigorous program that is a better fit and that I can point to for real analytical growth... even if it means less security in my job networks when I return. 

 

Thoughts are appreciated. 

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