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Fletcher, SAIS, Georgetown?


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Having a lot of difficulty making a decision between these three programs. 

Fletcher (MIB) and Georgetown (MSFS) both gave me about the same in money. I've met an incredible number of alumni from all three schools where I've been working and living abroad for the past three years, and everyone has great things to say about their own school and the alumni network. They seem to be equally held in regard from people at embassy, MNC gov. affairs departments, and consulting groups here. 

Money is definitely a big thing, but even if SAIS matched what was given, that would only put them back on even standing. I won't be coming back to the States until after the deadlines, so no chance to check out the campuses at open houses, although I'm very familiar with Tufts already.

I applied to three schools thinking that I'd probably get into one, and each of them has a great program that had I no choice, I would be overjoyed and immediately accept. Now I have to make a decision, and I'm sort of flailing about trying to figure out what the important differences are.

Money -  two schools are equivalent. Location, but a) I really like both cities and in the field that I am pursuing, Fletcher's reputation trumps its location outside of DC. Reputation - all basically equally regarded. Class size doesn't particularly bother me one way or the other. Their alumni have equally impressive career paths. 

Any thoughts?

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I am sorta in a similar position, but SAIS is one of my main contenders. I would do their IDEV program, but if I went to Fletcher I would just do the MALD. 

Since I want to do more finance and quantitatively focused work, I think I will go for SAIS or Georgetown rather than the MALD (however their funding is hard to turn down). But, their MIB program is different so it would be harder to compare.

However, I have heard mixed reviews of the MIB program. My friends at Fletcher say that it is a good degree, but if you wanted to do something in business or finance, just get an MBA rather than an MIB. That is just their opinion though.

Reputation: SAIS and Georgetown have better reps, but the Fletcher Mafia is very well connected and really goes to bat for each other, so that is a huge plus. Fletcher is known to work harder and be more supportive of its students. 

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I'm in a simmilar dilemma, though I am choosing between Georgetown's MA in Conflict Resolution vs Fletcher's MALD. Both are incredibly flexible programs and they seem to be quite equally balanced (Georgetown offers incredible internship opportunities and Fletcher offers more courses in other fields valued by employers), so I definitely see where you are coming from.


My advice, as someone going through something simmilar, would be follow your heart and listen to your wallet. Of course, that is far much easier said than done.


I understand there will be some online chats for admitted students at Fletcher. Have you tried one of those? Perhaps you could try to get put in touch with current students (they probably faced a dilemma like the one you have now) and ask them to explain you why they chose the program over others.


Good luck!

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Just echoing what everyone else is saying -- this is a tough decision.


Bcoconn says Fletcher's rep trumps its location outside DC, but then says the reputations of all three programs are equal. Since SAIS and Georgetown ARE in DC, which he implies is a strength, one of these statements can't be true. 


But being outside the beltway for a couple years as grad students doesn't seem to have hurt members of the Fletcher mafia serving Uncle Sam.


Also, IA+Math's contrast of the MIB and MALD is a little misleading. Fletcher's MIB curriculum is possible to mimic as a MALD; MALDs simply aren't FORCED to spend a lot of time doing quant stuff your first year fulfilling an international business field.


So I'm not sure it makes sense to say "MIBs say you should get an MBA instead, but the MALD looks great," because even MALDs and MIBs designed not to have any overlap still have more in common, thematically, than either do with an MBA. Sure, the first year of the MIB is a lot like an MBA core curriculum. But if you want an MBA, or want a job that requires one, you should get one. Presumably folks applying to schools of international affairs do so understanding they aren't getting an MBA, but DO get to study a whole lot of stuff an MBA wouldn't allow them to spend time on, let alone develop serious analytical depth.

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Goodcat, my meaning is that, location wise, for me, Fletcher's programs' strengths are more of a pro than the fact that it is located outside of DC is a con. Sure, being in DC would be a leg up for employment opportunities in DC specifically, but doesn't seem to be disadvantageous at an international level.

There are certain schools that pretty much all international employers know about, and those three are high up on that list.  I have spoken with a lot of Embassy people, career consultants and HR specialists who focus on MNCs in Asia, grad school abroad program CEOs and higher education consultants located here, and they all regard these three programs as amazing. I've actually met far more SAIS and Fletcher graduates working in the region I'm in, but that may be just because half of my office is an alum of one or the other. My point is that they all have great reputations, so choosing one over another won't necessarily impact my future employment prospects; regardless of how they are ranked, they are all three well regarded by decision makers in the sectors and regions that I am interested in pursuing.


So the big difference that I have found is money-obviously I am leaning towards the school that gives me the most. Hence why I say that SAIS would only be on even footing if they matched, because, I'm torn between three great, expensive programs. So, faced with two schools giving equal amounts? It's tough - given two programs that I consider equally interesting and suitable for my future career ambitions, with similar amounts of funding, in two cities that I like, that both have excellent reputations and impressive alumni networks and future employment possibilities? I'm not sure how else to compare them to make the final decision. At least there's no wrong choice to make.

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I understand, Bcoconn. Today's SFS chat was helpful in that the MSFS folks were very open about comparisons to other schools. But the folks who originally posed the question had asked why SFS over SIPA or SAIS, and were thus satisfied by "location, size." SIPA's in New York, SAIS is too big. Got it. But what about Fletcher? Initially current students and alumni alike fell back on "location."


But I pointed out that most graduates of any of these schools could get jobs in DC (indeed, many MUST do time in DC at some point in their careers) if they wanted to upon graduation, and therefore the DC advantage proved short-lived or even unnecessary. MSFS chatters basically said, "Okay, true."


They then also conceded that Fletcher had an extremely tight-knit student, faculty, and alumni community, with one chatter going so far as to say that Fletcher and MSFS did some outings together, and that the student bodies tended to agree that they were two-of-a-kind amongst APSIA schools.


In the end, they said to go to both admitted student open houses, and see which student body seemed a better fit. They all emphasized that they felt the right fit, and that they appreciated the opportunity to intern DURING the semester instead of just summers.

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Thanks Goodcat for that info from the open chat. Haven't been able to participate in any yet because they're all at terrible times for me, but I do have personal calls scheduled with current students and faculty that I can ask some of these questions.

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