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U Chicago CIR vs. Fletcher MALD (Any current/past CIR students?)

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Hey all,

Looking for some input on my situation. I'm currently a student at Fletcher and have found out that the program I am currently in was absolutely not what I was looking for, so I decided to fill out an application for U Chi's CIR after a professor had recommended it to me. He described it as an theory-rich, intellectual environment, which sounds perfect for me. I do intend on pursuing a PhD someday, although my primary concern with CIR is employment after graduation; will leaving Fletcher for CIR severely disadvantage me in this area? Ideally I'd like to be working in a think tank for a couple years before I go back for a PhD. The small classes sizes, preceptor program, and the age of most students appear to me as huge pluses, especially the intellectual rigor of the program. 

I have a bunch of specific questions so if there is anyone on here who is a current CIR student or graduated from the program, I'd love to pick your brain. 

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I did not attend or apply for CIR but I know someone who did and she told me that it definitely is more theoretical than other programs. As far as I know, there are not even any requirements for practical-based skills or anything (again, this is second hand information). As far as job prospects, she had an internship that turned into a job in Chicago but I'm not sure about how those translate to NYC or DC. Again, sorry if it's not very helpful, but I just wanted to let you know that I had secondhand experience with CIR and that from what I can tell, the students and curriculum sound right up your alley.  

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Thank you so much for the response! Hopefully I'll be able to attend the admitted students campus day. Glad to hear the school has what I'm looking for. Fortunately I'll be able to attend admitted student's day. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Oh wow!  This is very interesting.  

Some perspective, first.  I'm currently about a year out of college, graduated from an Elite SLAC, an am now working as an intern in the House.  I was bored this afternoon so decided to browse around the internet.  

As a caveat, I've only been here since January, but I've got lots of friends who work as interns and research assistants in think-tanks around DC.  

As far as I can tell, I think if you are looking to work in think-tanks, a degree from CIR would really help you, possibly more than a degree from Fletcher.  
Most employers that I've come across don't seem to distinguish much between institutions.  They will care about you having a masters degree, and will be impressed that it is from a prestigious institution like UChicago.  Research experience and relevant classes will help, and UChicago will certainly help you with those two things.  

Especially if you're looking to possibly pursue a Ph.D., a degree from CIR could really help you as well.  I'd stick with Fletcher if you're passionate about someday working in diplomacy.  But if think-tanks and academia is what you're searching for, I think a degree from CIR could really help you.

For what it's worth, I'm looking into CIR for Fall 2017 and beyond.  The theory-rich program looks very appealing to me, as well as the small class sizes.  Many people on this forum also seem to have good things to say about CIR.  Even if you ultimately discover policy is what you want to do, I don't think attending CIR will prevent you from doing that.         

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Also, I'd love to PM sometime to get your perspective on Fletcher!  As I said, I'm just one year out of college...so I'm still trying to figure this all out after leaving the cocoon of my rural SLAC.  


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