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IR program Decisions: SIPA, MSFS, FLETCHER, SAIS, LSE


ybmark3
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Of the American programs, I only see SAIS and MSFS as true contenders for an acceptance. SAIS' strong economics vs. MSFS prestige. But of these schools which one ensures the most job output within the GOP and in the private sector? Fletcher seems to have the best flexibility and community atmosphere from my visit. They also award the most money out of these schools from what I see. LSE has a great reputation but I hear that there is no mentoring and you end up reading for the degree. Highly independent. 

 

Is there anyone out there that is weighing similar options? I feel lucky to have gotten into all these programs but also feel overwhelmed now! See you at opening day!

 

Best,

Louis

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I'm deciding between SAIS and MSFS, and to a lesser degree SIPA and Fletcher... My big question about SAIS vs. MSFS is similar to yours - is SAIS much stronger in private sector? Does MSFS silo you more into diplomacy/public sector only, or does it still provide great opportunities in the private sector as well?

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I have friends who graduated from both. The MSFS grad works for a private company in DC and the SAIS grad works for the gov't, so it depends on what you mean by private sector. If you mean any of the 'beltway bandit' type gov't contractors, MSFS will be just as strong as SAIS. If you mean more development/finance/economic sector companies, then SAIS might have more of an edge. Both schools are highly regarded in DC and international policy/development communities. Congrats on getting into some great schools!

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I think SAIS and MSFS both have great career development and training if you utilize these options while you are there. If you look at the employment output the majority of students from both programs tend to go private, but there is a large government contingency as well. 

 

For me, I am interested in the UN and international orgs, besides government so I am wondering if SIPA would be better than say Georgetown. I looked at the core for all these programs and they so similar. I think it really depends on how big you want your classes. I also think that Georgetown probably has a smaller alumni network because they accept less students than for example SIPA. However, the power of differentiation on job applications is important. I think Georgetown probably stands ahead in certain sectors. The same goes for SAIS. 

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I agree, and SIPA does have the edge on access to the UN/UN affiliated orgs in NYC. The only caveat is that, as a colleague once told me, NY gets flooded with SIPA grads, so if you choose SIPA you'll need to be highly proactive and network to set yourself apart for the types of jobs you want. Georgetown definitely has UN connections, so it's not to be discounted, but SIPA will provide you with the year-round access and connections as well. It sounds like you've thought about all of this, though, so I'm sure you'll succeed in whichever program you choose. Go with your gut and where you feel is the best fit :) 

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