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ChocChoc

i really like HKS, but I'm afraid it may not be for me. What do you think?

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My dream job would be to work as a professor doing research public innovation in Europe with active engagement in the public policy field as a consultant or perhaps working in government temporarily.

I have been recently reading a lot about the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.  I love the great array of courses they offer, the network they give you access to, the events, the faculty, the can-do spirit of the school and the forum they have (I think it has to be such a great space for intellectual interactions!). Also, I really like the work of the Ash center on public innovation and find that it really fits my interests. 

Now, somehow I have the feeling that getting an MPP at HKS would not be the "right" way for me to attain my professional goal. Especially because according to their website they are a profesional school. I could not and would not want to say in my statement of purpose that I don't want to be a professor, because I do. 

I also fear that being an HKS alumnus the network I'll have access to will be mostly US-based, while I am almost a 100% certain that I want to spend my live in Europe. 

Any thoughts? 

 

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HKS offers doctorate degrees as well as their professional master programs. Have you looked into those?

If you already see yourself going into academia, you should definitely go with the best academic and career path that will get you there. 

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13 hours ago, RCtheSS said:

HKS offers doctorate degrees as well as their professional master programs. Have you looked into those?

If you already see yourself going into academia, you should definitely go with the best academic and career path that will get you there. 

Yes I have. but it's not for me. It's mostly focused on political economy. It's not my thing. Thank you RCtheSS.

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11 hours ago, ChocChoc said:

Yes I have. but it's not for me. It's mostly focused on political economy. It's not my thing. Thank you RCtheSS.

I can't speak for Europe, but in the U.S. having a PhD is basically necessary to become a professor or highest-level researcher. I think you would definitely want to look at PhD programs, not Masters. Luckily, there are a number of great public/social policy PhD programs with great alumni and great post-graduate opportunities. Not all of them focus so heavily on economics like Harvard, so with some research you should be able to find some that fit your research interests well. The U.S. News rankings should be taken with a very large grain of salt, but they should give you a list of schools to begin looking into and identifying good fits. Once again, I can't speak for Europe, but in the U.S. the competition for tenure professorships has gotten very fierce, so it would behoove you to research the European market a little bit so you know which schools are most likely able to provide you with the type of career you will want.

Edited by Ben414

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Thanks for your answer Ben. You know, the think is that in Europe in order to enter into a PhD program you MUST hold a Master's degree. It basically works this way: you do a master's for 1 or 2 years and then you enter into a PhD program that lasts about 3-4 years. I'm considering whether it would be a good option to do a Master's at HKS and then do a PhD at a European university. I guess it's a hard question to answer... :)

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Save yourself the money and do your masters and PhD in Europe. It will take less time, cost less and there are plenty of excellent universities in Europe, which offer a similar breadth of courses, network etc etc. It's nice that Harvard attracts you, but ultimately if their courses don't actually fit your professional interests, why would you pursue it? Unless of course, you have money to burn. 

Once you're more established in your career you may well find that you can do a research stint to Harvard during the course of your studies, or afterwards. Many of my friends pursuing academic careers have spent time in other universities. Cambridge University has strong links to Harvard, for example, and I know some of the colleges offer placements there. 

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21 hours ago, ChocChoc said:

Thanks for your answer Ben. You know, the think is that in Europe in order to enter into a PhD program you MUST hold a Master's degree. It basically works this way: you do a master's for 1 or 2 years and then you enter into a PhD program that lasts about 3-4 years. I'm considering whether it would be a good option to do a Master's at HKS and then do a PhD at a European university. I guess it's a hard question to answer... :)

That is an interesting question. Looking at the Hertie School of Governance, here are the Masters held by the first 10 PhD students listed on the website:

  • MA in Political Science with research specialisation from the University of Manchester
  • Master’s degree at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa
  • MPhil in Economics, University of Cambridge
  • MA in Public Policy. Hertie School of Governance
  • M. Sc. In Political Science, University of Gothenburg
  • Studies of Political Science, Law, French Language and Literature. Freie Universität Berlin (MA equivalent)
  • Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Magister in Sociology and Economics
  • Master of Public Policy (Hertie School of Governance, Berlin)
  • MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Master of Public Policy at the Hertie School of Governance

It seems like the vast majority received their Masters in Europe. This doesn't mean that a U.S. Masters would be devalued, but it seems more common to get both degrees from Europe (if Hertie is representative of other schools). Personally, I don't think it would be worth the extra money to go to Harvard.

Edited by Ben414

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23 hours ago, ChocChoc said:

I'm considering whether it would be a good option to do a Master's at HKS and then do a PhD at a European university. I guess it's a hard question to answer... :)

I was going to suggest the opposite. Why not get a much cheaper Masters in Europe (which is generally the case for Europeans) and - if you really wish to go for a US degree - then get a Masters leading to a PhD in the US? Masters --> PhD programs are usually paid for by stipends and TA/RA. Plus if you already have a BA in a related subject like political science, I would also advise that you skip the MPP and go straight for the PhD. MPP programs are designed for practitioners, so many of the courses will not train you for academia.

I agree with @happygomucky, getting a degree in Europe seems more logical if you ultimately wish to work in Europe. Most PhD programs in the US have an American perspective on things and channel institutional support largely toward domestic research topics. 

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On 3/3/2016 at 6:24 PM, ChocChoc said:

My dream job would be to work as a professor doing research public innovation in Europe with active engagement in the public policy field as a consultant or perhaps working in government temporarily.

I have been recently reading a lot about the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.  I love the great array of courses they offer, the network they give you access to, the events, the faculty, the can-do spirit of the school and the forum they have (I think it has to be such a great space for intellectual interactions!). Also, I really like the work of the Ash center on public innovation and find that it really fits my interests. 

Now, somehow I have the feeling that getting an MPP at HKS would not be the "right" way for me to attain my professional goal. Especially because according to their website they are a profesional school. I could not and would not want to say in my statement of purpose that I don't want to be a professor, because I do. 

I also fear that being an HKS alumnus the network I'll have access to will be mostly US-based, while I am almost a 100% certain that I want to spend my live in Europe. 

Any thoughts? 

 

If you want to be a professor, you need a PhD and to speak the language of where you reside.  While graduate schools in Europe tend to speak and write in English, you need to be able to teach undergraduates in most situations. If you want a position at a university in Netherlands, you need to speak Dutch.

If you want to research public innovation, I would look up scholars on the topic and contact them or the admissions people at their program to see what your options are and learn about the program. The scholars' network is more important than a school's network. You will need a highly regarded scholar on your topic as an adviser and to train under in a PhD program. 

Edited by WhatAmIDoingNow

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On 3/4/2016 at 5:31 PM, Ben414 said:

That is an interesting question. Looking at the Hertie School of Governance, here are the Masters held by the first 10 PhD students listed on the website:

  • MA in Political Science with research specialisation from the University of Manchester
  • Master’s degree at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa
  • MPhil in Economics, University of Cambridge
  • MA in Public Policy. Hertie School of Governance
  • M. Sc. In Political Science, University of Gothenburg
  • Studies of Political Science, Law, French Language and Literature. Freie Universität Berlin (MA equivalent)
  • Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Magister in Sociology and Economics
  • Master of Public Policy (Hertie School of Governance, Berlin)
  • MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Master of Public Policy at the Hertie School of Governance

It seems like the vast majority received their Masters in Europe. This doesn't mean that a U.S. Masters would be devalued, but it seems more common to get both degrees from Europe (if Hertie is representative of other schools). Personally, I don't think it would be worth the extra money to go to Harvard.

In my PhD program, there is almost a 50:50 split between international and US domestic students. All of us current students have at least one masters. The international students all have undergraduate and masters from highly prestigious public universities in Asia, USC,and University of Chicago. US domestic students hold masters from highly regarded public affairs and policy schools at public and private universities. One new admit is coming from undergraduate but she is exceptional and has publications. 

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As I thought about it more, if you are truly interested in pursuing a PhD and being a professor in Europe, check into Public Management Research Conference (PMRC) 2016. Public Management Research Association (PMRA) holds their annual conference, alternating between US and international, every year. Two years ago it was in Seoul, last year in Minneapolis, this year in Aarhus, Denmark. Check who the speakers and presenters are. If the subject interests you, contact the presenters who have PhDs and are professors. If the academic is at a US institution and is presenting in Europe, you can deduce that they have a network in Europe or just really good funding to go to European conferences. The conference is in June, they usually have a twitter handle during the conference that you can track and start following academics on twitter too. 

http://ps.au.dk/en/research/conferences-and-lectures/pmrc-2016/

 

Edit: Also, the best Public Affairs and Policy schools in the US are not all housed in private universities and Ivy League is likely not what you want if you want "public innovation". University of Indiana, Ohio State University, University of Kansas, Arizona State University, University of North Carolina, University of Minnesota, University of Arizona, etc. are all excellent and competitive. I know I missed many other excellent institutions. 

Edited by WhatAmIDoingNow
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On 12 March 2016 at 8:52 PM, WhatAmIDoingNow said:

As I thought about it more, if you are truly interested in pursuing a PhD and being a professor in Europe, check into Public Management Research Conference (PMRC) 2016. Public Management Research Association (PMRA) holds their annual conference, alternating between US and international, every year. Two years ago it was in Seoul, last year in Minneapolis, this year in Aarhus, Denmark. Check who the speakers and presenters are. If the subject interests you, contact the presenters who have PhDs and are professors. If the academic is at a US institution and is presenting in Europe, you can deduce that they have a network in Europe or just really good funding to go to European conferences. The conference is in June, they usually have a twitter handle during the conference that you can track and start following academics on twitter too. 

http://ps.au.dk/en/research/conferences-and-lectures/pmrc-2016/

 

Edit: Also, the best Public Affairs and Policy schools in the US are not all housed in private universities and Ivy League is likely not what you want if you want "public innovation". University of Indiana, Ohio State University, University of Kansas, Arizona State University, University of North Carolina, University of Minnesota, University of Arizona, etc. are all excellent and competitive. I know I missed many other excellent institutions. 

 
 
 

Thanks WhatAmIDoingNow, really appreciate your insightful comments. I am actually considering maybe attending the conference, sounds quite intersting for me professionally. 

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