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Hi guys,

 

I am a big prestige whore (honestly), and I really want to get into schools like Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Oxford, Cambridge, etc. I am current at a top 3 business school in Canada (Ivey/Queen's/McGill) and working this summer at a Big 4 accounting firm in a very specialized tax group (involves helping companies maximize their tax efficiency). Anyways, if I get a return offer at the end of summer, I will probably accept it and work for 2 more years after graduating to receive the CA, CPA designation. Will I be at a big disadvantage if I don't have policy work experience? 

 

My GPA right now is an A-. However, I was on exchange this past semester abroad, and got all C's. These credits will transfer back as pass/fail. Will this affect my application?

 

Lastly, what kind of opportunities are there for MPP/MPA students with accounting background? Will the Canadian gov't hire me with a US/UK degree? 

 

Thanks all.

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MPP/MPA programs accept students from all sorts of backgrounds.  As long as you can tie your past experience into relevant policy-related goals in your statement of purpose you will be fine.

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You won't be at a disadvantage.  Having policy experience I'm sure would help your chances of getting in, but it doesn't hurt you that you don't have it.  I myself worked in consulting and at a private energy company doing no policy work and got into a pretty decent program.  They are more interested in why you want to go to school and how your skills as an accountant will translate to that career path.  It also helps if you ace your GRE's and have a good gpa.  

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Disregarding the above negativity...I think you could get into a good school if you are able to clearly explain why you are interested in a policy degree. Might I ask? If I read your post correctly you're getting an MBA currently? Have you found it's not giving you the skills/background you'd want to pursue your interests in policy?

 

Also, I'd advise you to find a program that fits your interest more than the prestige level. While there are certainly some schools that have the Ivy League name behind them and others that are very renowned in policy and have higher prestige than others, not choosing a school based more on fit and interests will make your time in that program not as worthwhile.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I am from one of the Canadian B. Schools as well (Rotman/Sauder/Desautel), and I applied to MPA/MPP schools this year. In terms of work experience, it is recommended, but from my personal experience, not necessarily required. I applied straight out of undergrad (in fact when I was applying I was in my 2nd term of 4th year) and got into 3 schools (rejected by 2). So no I don't think you need to necessarily have the 2-3 years. I did however intern every single summer, I was very involved, so was an executive at clubs, and worked for the school as well in two different positions, so its not like I went in with absolutely no experience. But I feel like you could try and apply now (well in the upcoming cycle) and see what happens. The key thing is for you to have a clear idea why you want to do an MPA/MPP. I personally did (hell I knew I wanted to do an MPP while I was still in HS), but in your SOP you have to make it clear on as to why you want to pursue an MPA, and why in that school (but more importantly, imo, why an MPA). You need to have strong references (preferably professors you have worked with/for as well as maybe your boss at your current firm)

 

In terms of your grades, A- is good. However your C's will be seen because you have to send your transcript from all schools, so I think you will have to send a transcript from the school that you did your exchange in. However this should not be a huge problem. If you apply w/ work experience, you grades wont matter as much (a 3.5+ GPA would be preferred of course) because of the work experience that you have. However, the grades will matter if you are applying with little/no work  experience. 

 

Also looking at just prestige for MPA schools is not the best idea. This is not an MBA program where prestige matters. You have to look at how the program fits with your interests (whatever those interests may be). As for the Canadian government question, of course they will. You have a BCOM (I assume from Canada) and if you go to a top institution in the US/UK for policy work, then you will get hired. Especially since in terms of MPA/MPP type of degrees, there are only 2-3 decent schools in Canada for it (I believe UofT, Queens, and UOttawa), and even then those 3 cant compare to their US counterparts too much. 

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