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Hi everyone,

 

If anyone has questions about the Ford School of Public Policy, I'd be happy to help answer some or connect you with a student in your field of interest.

 

A little about me:

Program: MPP/MBA (currently year 2 of 3, so can speak to MPP1 and MBA1 life and differences in culture and recruiting)

Interests: Public Management, particularly in the K-12 charter school space

Internships: Education Pioneers (KIPP) last summer and public sector consulting this summer

Extras: student government, consulting club, intramural sports, and a graduate student instructor

 

I know this is about the time you've finished applications and will be thinking about deciding between options.  I encourage everyone to do the admit weekend type trips, but am certainly here to answer questions you may have around classes, housing, funding, social life, careers, Michigan football!, and whatever else comes to mind.

 

Good luck with your applications!

 

-method

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Hello!

I applied to the SNRE program at Michigan. I was looking over craig's list and there didn't seem to be a lot of options for inexpensive housing (and most posts seemed to be apartments). Is housing hard to come by in Ann Arbor? Is it common to rent a house (I love having the ability to garden)? Are there other places graduate students look for housing besides craigslist? What neighborhoods are common places for students to live?

I'm sure I'll have more questions if I get admitted.

Thanks!

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Hello, and thank you for doing this. 

I'm looking to focus on ed. policy. With your interests, I'd love to hear your perspective. Could you tell me what you see as the major strengths and weaknesses of the Ford school specifically as it applies to the ed. policy sphere? 

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thank you.Method

you have so many years of WE and high score!!!! You would make it any program you want!!!

I have some questions would like to hear from you.

1: why you chose MPP/MBA after your  11 years' WE?

2: do Ford have generous funding ?

3: what is you future plan?

4: Ford's graduates' placement?

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Hello!

I applied to the SNRE program at Michigan. I was looking over craig's list and there didn't seem to be a lot of options for inexpensive housing (and most posts seemed to be apartments). Is housing hard to come by in Ann Arbor? Is it common to rent a house (I love having the ability to garden)? Are there other places graduate students look for housing besides craigslist? What neighborhoods are common places for students to live?

I'm sure I'll have more questions if I get admitted.

Thanks!

 

Craigslist is a good option.  A lot of properties will start going up closer to March and April as landlords figure out who is staying or leaving.  Michigan's off-campus housing website is also really good (https://offcampushousing.umich.edu/).  I found my current place through that website.

 

There are a lot of house rentals, but they are either split up into multiple separate units or shared between 4-8 people.  The university also has co-op houses that are often in great locations (I don't know anyone that's actually stayed in one though).  Here's a website to look through the options: http://www.icc.coop/prospective/houses/

 

Housing is easy to come by - haven't heard of a homeless student yet!  But it goes quick on Craigslist and is hard to secure remotely.  Best time to grab something is if/when you come to admit weekend, particularly if you're going to have a roommate.  Find a future classmate and you're ready to go.  Most students live very close to campus (within 1.5 miles of Central Campus).  Don't think about living in university housing unless you have kids, it's pretty far away. 

 

Some general guidelines:

1 bedroom housing can be had for $700-900

2 bedroom housing for $500-$700 each

2+ bedroom housing for $500-$600 each

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Hello, and thank you for doing this. 

I'm looking to focus on ed. policy. With your interests, I'd love to hear your perspective. Could you tell me what you see as the major strengths and weaknesses of the Ford school specifically as it applies to the ed. policy sphere? 

 

Ford is solid across the board, but the student body would say that the school's top two strengths are economics and education.  Most students love Sue Dynarski and Brian Jacob, who both teach electives in education and core classes such as Program Evaluation that use lots of education data in problem sets.  A couple of students are dual-degrees with the school of education for even more depth.  Ford uses a very quantitative lens to look a education - STATA anyone?

 

In qualitative classes, I've done projects on affirmative action for the core policymaking class and read cases on Green Dot Schools and HCZ for public management.  So you'll find education anywhere you really look, but quant+ed is really what is happening at Ford.

Edited by method
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thank you.Method

you have so many years of WE and high score!!!! You would make it any program you want!!!

I have some questions would like to hear from you.

1: why you chose MPP/MBA after your  11 years' WE?

2: do Ford have generous funding ?

3: what is you future plan?

4: Ford's graduates' placement?

 

1.  Graduate school is one of the best places to facilitate a major career shift.  Going from IT into education management or public sector consulting is a lot easier by going to a school like Michigan.

2.  Ford probably has some of the best funding in the country.  If not from outright scholarships, then from GSI (teaching assistant) positions which pay full tuition plus a $1100-$1800/month living stipend and health insurance in the semester you work.

3.  Future plan?  Long-term: charter school management, but will probably spend a few years in consulting after graduation.

4.  Here is where we tend to go: http://www.fordschool.umich.edu/career-services/graduation-internship-statistics/  I don't have any figures on placement %, but expect that it's in line with everyone else.  

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hey Method, thanks for volunteering to help. I have been admitted to SNRE and am very interested in the Erb institute which houses the combined MS/MBA program. 

 

I was wondering how difficult it is to actually enroll for the dual degree  at Ross once you are at Umich, does it help that you are already a current student because the combination looks incredibly amazing.

 

Thanks.

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I'm going to rant a little so.... tl;dr Michigan = Great school but Ann Arbor is not for everyone.

 

(I welcome any other Alums/Current Students to refute my claims)

 

I created an account just to make this post. As someone with more than one degree from Michigan, I have to caution against drinking the kool-aid. Michigan is a great school, but that comes with a heavy cost. The classes are unnecessarily difficult at times, and you better be able to get your butt kicked a lot and keep trucking. Other than that you'll get a great education.

 

1) Now for my real gripe. Ann Arbor. This city has a deficit of common sense that is absolutely deplorable. Full of trendy posers, hipsters, and trust fund kids. Add a whole heap of privilege and you've got Ann Arbor.

 

2) If you're a person of color or care about social justice then you might think twice about what this university stands for. Google #BBUM.

 

3) The entire city is gentrified. Speaking of rents, that $800-900/month might not get you what you think. A halfway decent apartment costs over $1000. $800 or less is getting you an absentee landlord and more problems than its worth. Anything less than $500 and you're sleeping two to a room in a two bedroom apartment. Don't take my word for it... go on Craigslist and look up the listings.

 

4) If you drive, forget it. Michigan has the worst drivers and roads I've ever seen, and Ann Arbor has zero parking unless you're down for paying $10+ a day. Adds up. For those who have the idea of living in Ypsi (where all the working-class live) and commuting there's the bus. Have fun with 40 min bus rides.

 

5) The weather is ridiculous. I've been some cold places, but this takes the cake. So, not only do you get to walk from your slummy apartment to class, you get to walk in unbearable cold. 

 

I could go on, but I won't. I'm not saying the education is bad; it's not. Ross kids (all of them...they're a bunch of kids) grind my gears, and there are some reasonably minded, nice people here. Your call. I just want you to have the good with the bad.

Edited by UMich_Student
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  • 2 weeks later...

Method 

 

Thanks so much for taking this initiative. I have got in Michigan with a full -tution waiver. So, I'm quite excited. But, being an international student - I have many questions about the program.

 

1) International Focus: I was looking at the number of countries that are represented in the MPP program, it comes to 10. I wanted to ask you how much international focus do the course-work and projects have? 

 

2) Career Opportunities: One of the great part about the funding is that it would help me go back to my country without worrying about a substantial debt load. However, I wanted to ask you about opportunities for Michigan grads in international organisations such as World Bank, UNDP, Rand Corporation etc.. I wish to connect with the career services separately on this, but your perspectives on this would be great!

 

3) Urban Focus: One of the things that had attracted me towards Michigan was few of the courses on urban public finance and the resources of Taubman College. I am asking this question as a complete outsider - How flexible are the choice of electives in MPP

 

 

 

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Hi innana!

 

1) We have lots of students who focus on international issues.  I'm not one of them, but if you want to private message me your email, I'd be happy to connect with you some of them.  

 

We have quite a few electives, and even in one of our core micro classes which is taught by Dean Yang, you'll hear about some of his fieldwork in Africa.  Every year we take a few international trips (you're only eligible to go on one over your studies here).  This year the IEDP team went to Myanmar, next year's is going to Brazil.  We also go to China every year, and alternate years go to Canada.

 

2) As far as internships, at Michigan you will be eligible for William Davidson Institute internships which pay $10,000+ to work in countries across the world.  Just off the top of my head, I think Thailand, Myanmar, Rwanda, and Uganda were some of the spots that Ford School students interned last year.  

 

For full time placement, it's my understanding that the World Bank is incredibly difficult to get into.  Several of our students met with World Bank representatives during our annual DC trip and were advised to work in some related organizations before trying to seriously apply there.  As far as other organizations, I'm not sure, but again, glad to connect you with people who are actively recruiting in those areas.

 

3) One of the top reasons to come to Michigan as a university (not the Ford School specifically) is the overwhelming quality of graduate schools and the ease/flexibility of taking classes at other programs.  You can absolutely take classes as Taubman and I believe the Ford School actually requires you to take 12 credits outside of the MPP program which is called a cognate requirement (I'm not so clear on this because I'm a dual-degree so my cognate is my 2nd degree).

 

Hope this helps!

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1.  Graduate school is one of the best places to facilitate a major career shift.  Going from IT into education management or public sector consulting is a lot easier by going to a school like Michigan.

2.  Ford probably has some of the best funding in the country.  If not from outright scholarships, then from GSI (teaching assistant) positions which pay full tuition plus a $1100-$1800/month living stipend and health insurance in the semester you work.

3.  Future plan?  Long-term: charter school management, but will probably spend a few years in consulting after graduation.

4.  Here is where we tend to go: http://www.fordschool.umich.edu/career-services/graduation-internship-statistics/  I don't have any figures on placement %, but expect that it's in line with everyone else.  

 

Thanks for this great info! How hard is it to get a GSI position? And about how many MPP students would you say also work either at the school or elsewhere while completing the program?

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Dear method,

Thanks so much fo providing the amazing support! Your detailed answers have put to rest so many questions that were bothering me. It would be great to speak to few current students who are international students such as myself. the level of collaboration between taubman school and ford is really good to know. I am sending you a pm with my email id.

Kudos again for starting this wonderful thread!

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Thanks for this great info! How hard is it to get a GSI position? And about how many MPP students would you say also work either at the school or elsewhere while completing the program?

 

GSI positions are competitive, but there are quite a few.  This Fall the Ford School has 21 GSI positions.  It's probably safe to assume no incoming 1st years will get one, so of the 2nd year class (~120 students) and 3rd year dual degrees still around (~30 students), the worst-case scenario odds this Fall are somewhere around 21/150 or 14%.  In the winter, the school offers 10-15 positions and now there are first-year students that may apply to some, so the odds get tougher.

 

There are a couple of tricks that will help your odds.  The first is to quickly take classes that are offered every semester.  Statistics, Public Management, and Values & Ethics are good candidates.  This gives you a shot at applying to them every cycle.  The second is to build relationships with professors.  This may seem obvious, but some students don't attend professor office hours or really interact with them and this is a lost advantage.  You can also apply to GSI positions around the university.  Many students in my first year cohort had GSI positions in other programs.

Edited by method
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  • 1 year later...

Hi, can I ask why did you choose to attend Michigan Ford over CMU Heinz?

 

I am also accepted to both schools with work experience in the IT industry, so I would like to ask for your input regarding this.

 

Thank you.

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Hi Akacas, I'm happy to answer.  I attended Michigan over CMU because of more funding, family reasons, the overall strength of Michigan's graduate schools, and the track record of Michigan graduates in my future career of choice (K-12 charter school management).

 

I wouldn't pick between the schools based on your prior work experience.  Instead, I would base your decision more on your future career plans.  Mine were K-12 education management and policy, so Ford has that advantage over Heinz.  If my interests were in a different field like urban planning or environmental studies, it might have been different.

 

In the end, it's hard to say one policy school is better than another, objectively speaking.  It's all about how a policy school fits your needs.  And people's needs can be wildly different: funding, geography, career goals, family situations, social life, and many other factors vary from person to person.

 

Hope that helps!  Good luck and feel free to ask any questions about Michigan or Ford.  It's been an amazing three years here in Ann Arbor, and I'm happy to pass on any knowledge I have before I forget the finer details!

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Hi naso,

 

First, congrats on having great options!

 

IPE - yes, you can do this twice.  Be aware that this is a simulated exercise on a real policy issue.  You will meet real experts (our immigration one brought 40 professionals in from every organization imaginable), and they may take some of the exercise's ideas home with them, but this is not a real consulting engagement.

 

Internship - yes, required, some people have even squeezed two into one summer because we get out at the end of April and don't start until the beginning of September, but most people do just one.

 

Applied Policy Exercise - usually occurs in the Winter semester from what I recall, but I believe you can do more than one.  These are real engagements.

 

IEDP - your description is right on!

 

Additional thoughts:

If you want to do something, the sky is the limit really.

 

On the PhD/research side, you're right: a MPP doesn't naturally lead to a PhD.  You'll need to do a really honest assessment of your undergraduate coursework and how it links to the PhD field of your choice.  For example, a PhD in Economics could be appealing to me, but I don't have the undergraduate math background and couldn't possibly catch up during graduate school.  On the other hand, I could possibly do a PhD in Sociology, but I'd need to create a strong, purpose-driven roadmap to get there that includes: building faculty relationships, taking the right courses, working on a thesis, developing research experience, and presenting or publishing some amount of work.  In the last few years, we've had admits to Chicago Economics and Berkeley/Harvard/etc Sociology.  It can be done, but you really need to plan and execute at a high level.

 

If your package is RMA, you can work 10 hours a week.  I currently do that and have had no issues.  Most professors are pretty flexible with their researchers, so I'm sure you could limit yourself to 10 hours and be fine.  This is largely because the bulk of the research positions are paid hourly, and not graduate research assistantships.  Those tend to be held for PhD students, whereas graduate teaching assistantships are primarily held by MPPs.

Edited by method
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Since I'm a three-year dual-degree, I've completed two internships.  I did a finance internship through Education Pioneers for KIPP New Jersey in Newark and I did K-12 strategy consulting with Accenture in Chicago (although I could have selected SF, NY, or DC as office locations).

 

After graduation, Ford goes everywhere.  Our critical mass city is DC.  Beyond that, we are really quite spread out with small pockets in NYC and Chicago, and then anywhere people have personal connections or interesting job opportunities.  And, of course, many take positions abroad.

 

California happens, but it's not any different than going to Vermont, Oregon, or Texas for us - people go there when they have personal connections. The university itself has a large California network, particularly in SF, but Ford doesn't.

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California is probably a combination of personal and professional connections depending on what people did before grad school.  The Michigan network is amazing, you can almost always get an email or call answered from a fellow Wolverine on that basis.  Whether it's useful or not may depend on a lot on the types of places you want to work after graduation and I'd use org websites and LinkedIn to research this.  For example, a really diverse org may have MPPs, MBAs, JDs, etc. working there which would really increase your chances of finding a Michigan alum.  I'd suspect this because other Michigan graduate schools have more people that can afford to go West due to higher expected salaries from those degrees.

 

Regarding professors, Jacob and Dynarski are both expert researchers and tend to teach methods classes.  Jacob takes a kinder approach and Dynarski a tougher approach, but both professors are enormously respected and loved by students.  I think Dynarski holds a special type of legendary status among education-focused students for her general badassery.  The best tip I can give you on this topic is to take statistics your very first semester or waive it if possible.  This lets you get to program evaluation faster which then opens up a few higher electives that might not be reachable otherwise.

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