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Masters of Public Policy: Importance of International Policy Experience

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I am in the midst of applying to MPP programs in the U.S. but have hit quite a snag:

I am an American (late 20s) who graduated from a U.S. state school in 2009 with an Economics/International Business Dual Major and a ~3.5 GPA. 
I have spent the last 3 and a half years working in an East Asian country, and have been working at a national research funding agency (similar to NSF in the U.S.) for the past year.
I focused especially on cooperation between the EU and this country, and helped to coordinate a multi-million euro cooperation project with partners in Asia and Europe.

I would like to continue my administrative career in research funding in the U.S., preferably at a similar agency (i.e. NSF or NIH).
Unfortunately, I have not noticed many alumni from MPP programs taking this route (using their MPP to work on the administrative side of federal research funding in the U.S.).
I would like to focus my Statements of Purpose on this career path, but am not sure if this is a wise move giving the lack of alumni.

Additionally, I have not seen many American MPP applicants who have worked at a national research funding agency in another country.
Is this type of international policy experience generally well regarded by admissions committees?

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  • 2 weeks later...

If not many people are taking the route you want to take and currently hold, I'd think that makes you unique and a stand-out from the rest of the usual suspects. So, yes, I think your work background makes you more interesting.


If you're really concerned about the lack of alumni in your specialization, I'd suggest thoroughly researching the MPP programs for anything closely related to your career. On the other hand, wouldn't your line of work fall under "international"??? A lot of programs have international tracks in that sense.


You could always apply to non-US programs like LSE, etc.

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