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help me decide!! MPP or PhD?


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I need all your expert insights!!

I am not sure if I should go to an MPP/MPA in GSPP/SIPA/Georgetown or a PhD In Agricultural and Resource Economics?

I am not pursuing a career in the academia and I want to do policy work in organizations such as the World Bank, IFPRI, and the UN that deal with developing countries, and I therefore want to enroll in an MPP program which will allow me to learn how to analyze policies.

My concern is that with an MPP, I will not be able to find non-trivial jobs in organizations such as the world Bank because I was told that there are so many PhDs in Economics out there and so employers such as the World Bank prefer PhDs always over an MPP.

In addition, I also heard that many PhDs in Agricultural and Resource Economics or in Econ work on operations rather than research in the World Bank, and so there may not be a place or many opportunities for MPP graduates except doing lower level jobs such as calling people and arranging meetings, etc. Is this true?

Please kindly let me know what you think and I really appreciate your help!

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My advice is to look at the people at these organizations where you want to work and see which degrees they have. My guess is that they have PhDs. If you are interested in a research job, then I think a PhD is necessary. But you should find out whether this is true for the specific places you mentioned: the World Bank, IFPRI, and the UN.

Another place you can get some insight is from the career services offices at GSPP/SIPA/Georgetown and the school where you would pursue your PhD. Ask them whether graduating students have been successful at obtaining positions at the World Bank, etc. Some schools' advice you may need to take with a grain of salt (they are recruiting you, after all!) but I think most will be honest in their replies.

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If you're interested in working in policy research with a multilateral development organization, then I would highly recommend the ARE program at Maryland over an MPP. I agree with NYR's advice about asking people, but based on my own experience I would be shocked if they responded any other way. I'm sure you can always take some courses through Maryland's public policy school if you're worried about getting more qualitative analytical skills in addition to the hardcore empirical training you'd be getting with the core curriculum.

More generally, you should keep in mind how competitive World Bank and UN jobs are (especially for Americans - there are quotas), so neither degree can guarantee anything...

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