Jump to content
LLCoolJ1585

The most popular MPP/MPA program 2017...

Recommended Posts

First off, congrats to everyone who got in this year. If you didn’t I didnt get in last year and I had horrible GPA, and GRE, and still managed to get into a few great schools this year. Don’t give up. Find your bal... I mean your desire and get it done!

Anyhow, I’ve been watching this board for about a year. Just curious, what everyone thinks the top 3 most popular/prestigious MPP or MPA programs are the past year. USNews ranks it by MPP and MPA seperately, but for instance for the MPA they list Indiana, and Syracuse top 3, but no one ever talks about them, and I’m sure top consulting firms and other employers aren’t always running there for recruitment. What’s your list, regardless of MPP, or MPA, just from a prestige or popularity standpoint?

 

Mine:

1. Harvard (Kennedy)

2. (Tie) UC Berkley (Goldman)

2. (Tie) Chicago (Harris)

-------

Hon mention:

Princeton (WWS)

Duke (Sanford)

Georgetown (McCourt)

Michigan (Ford)

Edited by LLCoolJ1585
For completion

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, LLCoolJ1585 said:

First off, congrats to everyone who got in this year. If you didn’t I didnt get in last year and I had horrible GPA, and GRE, and still managed to get into a few great schools this year. Don’t give up. Find your bal... I mean your desire and get it done!

Anyhow, I’ve been watching this board for about a year. Just curious, what everyone thinks the top 3 most popular/prestigious MPP or MPA programs are the past year. USNews ranks it by MPP and MPA seperately, but for instance for the MPA they list Indiana, and Syracuse top 3, but no one ever talks about them, and I’m sure top consulting firms and other employers aren’t always running there for recruitment. What’s your list, regardless of MPP, or MPA, just from a prestige or popularity standpoint?

 

Mine:

1. Harvard (Kennedy)

2. (Tie) UC Berkley (Goldman)

2. (Tie) Chicago (Harris)

-------

Hon mention:

Princeton (WWS)

Duke (Sanford)

Georgetown (McCourt)

Michigan (Ford)

You say you had a horrible GPA/GRE - care to give specific numbers? Where'd you apply both years and where'd you get in this cycle?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is SAIS better than McCourt? I get the feeling that it's more like 

HKS/WAS > Harris > SIPA/Fletcher/McCourt > SAIS > The rest. 

(information from conversations with friends working in DC) 

8 hours ago, Nonprofitguy said:

According to my friends in DC, it's viewed as:

WWS > HKS > SAIS/SIPA/Fletcher > Everything else

Purely anecdotal so don't get mad

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SAIS and Georgetown have established programs in International Relations. The MPP is more recent. I heard that McCourt MPP may have slightly better funding than SAIS MPP.

Take it with a pinch of salt: A WWS in her 40s told me that when she went to WWS, it has more analytical training than KSG.

Personally, I think some public universities offer excellent MPP degrees and train people for public service on federal and state levels. Attrative for people who wish to stay in state. Goldman, Ford, LBJ, Humphrey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to agree with what CakeTea just said, especially regarding MPPs at SAIS and Georgetown. Both those schools are known for IR- but not MPP programs.

And while HKS is listed as a top MPP, be aware that some people feel it is simply a cash cow for those that want to say they went to Harvard but it does not have a great reputation in some circles. The HKS MPA in particular has become this a mechanism for foreign bureaucrats to say they went to Harvard and I heard the qualifications of some people in the program are not nearly as high as you would expect. Apparently Harvard law and business students certainly don't take HKS students very seriously. Below is one article on the cash cow aspect of HKS:

http://www.salon.com/2010/07/01/russian_spies_kennedy_school/

I have heard nothing but great things about WWS, Ford, and especially Harris. Fletcher is certainly the most flexible program and you could make it a combination of MPP and IR, but is more oriented toward people heading into international development, which might have far fewer jobs in the near future if massive USAID budget take place (mentioned in another post). The MPP side of things is not nearly as strong as the IR side, however.

I also agree with CakeTea regarding many other programs that are excellent. George Mason University and George Washington University in the DC area have fantastic MPP programs that are well respected for anyone interested in going into federal service in the DC area. An MPP from either of those will be just as valuable as one from Harris if you are interested in federal work.

While the question is regarding prestige, be aware that the difference between many of these programs in terms of how they will help you in the future is minimal regardless of how they are ranked.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, PaulRR said:

I have to agree with what CakeTea just said, especially regarding MPPs at SAIS and Georgetown. Both those schools are known for IR- but not MPP programs.

And while HKS is listed as a top MPP, be aware that some people feel it is simply a cash cow for those that want to say they went to Harvard but it does not have a great reputation in some circles. The HKS MPA in particular has become this a mechanism for foreign bureaucrats to say they went to Harvard and I heard the qualifications of some people in the program are not nearly as high as you would expect. Apparently Harvard law and business students certainly don't take HKS students very seriously. Below is one article on the cash cow aspect of HKS:

http://www.salon.com/2010/07/01/russian_spies_kennedy_school/

Didn't come here to say this, but now I will: this article is so myopic as to essentially be blind. I certainly expect better of Salon and of anyone who claims to be a PhD student.

First of all, to the OP, the article is taking about the 1 year midcareer masters at HKS - not the 2 year MPA/MPP most people here are applying for. But that's just a factual correction. My beef is more with the spirit of the thing.

The article's thesis is that HKS is an opportunity for established professionals to pick up a brand-name degree, and " no different from a political schmoozefest", and that this somehow makes it illegitimate as a degree program. And I'm like, dude, do you even know what professional masters are? The writer seems to have a problem with the notion that MPA students don't sit in a lecture hall for 6 hours every day, but instead go to conferences, organize events, and talk to each other. That's the whole point of the program. That's why applicants are asked to have professional experience before applying - so that each student has something to contribute to these discussions that, if not innovative, is at least realistic. Learning in the policy world doesn't happen by sitting in the library and reading books published 20 years ago - of course papers and publications are an important form of communicating knowledge, but the knowledge itself isn't very useful in a spherical-horse-in-a-vacuum state. Conducting policy isn't like blue-sky research. Every context is different, every instrument mix is different, every organization works differently, via different channels, tapping different people and funding sources. Your course of action can change at a moment's notice due to political changes, organizational changes, and so on. When implementing a given policy, it is just as important to know the local context, including the people to go to to help push things through, pay for things, and find things out, as it is to know how a policy works from a theoretical standpoint. Being a person who knows people is a job family in the policy world. And I'm sorry, but being the other type of expert, who knows the theoretical side, usually requires that you get a PhD.

On a broader note, it's good to know why you're pursuing this degree when you go into it. I'd posit that attending HKS isn't only an opportunity for foreign bureaucrats to say they went to Harvard, but for most domestic ones as well - everybody knows that the admissions process at HKS is a lot less selective than Harvard College, a Harvard PhD program, HBS, HLS, and so on, everybody knows that an MPA, even in the ID program, isn't, so to say, equivalent to a degree in economics, and everybody knows that, if you didn't care about the brand name, you wouldn't be paying 150k. It's also not a secret that lots of people attend MPA programs to help them in switching fields or to cover up a lackluster undergrad record. Everybody knows that MPA students want a job at the end of it. So, how much of anyone's motivation is pure learning is questionable. You certainly learn something in an MPA program. That stuff can probably be learned for cheaper. If you're looking to learn a specific skill, like a language or serious data analysis, you're probably better off in a program dedicated to that. If you're looking to become a technical expert, get a PhD. If none of those apply to you, then you're probably a typical political functionary that wants to keep growing their career, and for that your network is important, and your network's opinion of your degree granting institution is important, and therefore you're in the right place.

Mostly I'm just appalled that a grown-ass man is surprised that people would pay hundreds of thousands of bucks to schmooze with Paul Volcker. Does he not realize the premium one is able to charge just for having a name like that in their address book?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/10/2017 at 10:22 AM, ExponentialDecay said:

Didn't come here to say this, but now I will: this article is so myopic as to essentially be blind. I certainly expect better of Salon and of anyone who claims to be a PhD student.

First of all, to the OP, the article is taking about the 1 year midcareer masters at HKS - not the 2 year MPA/MPP most people here are applying for. But that's just a factual correction. My beef is more with the spirit of the thing.

The article's thesis is that HKS is an opportunity for established professionals to pick up a brand-name degree, and " no different from a political schmoozefest", and that this somehow makes it illegitimate as a degree program. And I'm like, dude, do you even know what professional masters are? The writer seems to have a problem with the notion that MPA students don't sit in a lecture hall for 6 hours every day, but instead go to conferences, organize events, and talk to each other. That's the whole point of the program. That's why applicants are asked to have professional experience before applying - so that each student has something to contribute to these discussions that, if not innovative, is at least realistic. Learning in the policy world doesn't happen by sitting in the library and reading books published 20 years ago - of course papers and publications are an important form of communicating knowledge, but the knowledge itself isn't very useful in a spherical-horse-in-a-vacuum state. Conducting policy isn't like blue-sky research. Every context is different, every instrument mix is different, every organization works differently, via different channels, tapping different people and funding sources. Your course of action can change at a moment's notice due to political changes, organizational changes, and so on. When implementing a given policy, it is just as important to know the local context, including the people to go to to help push things through, pay for things, and find things out, as it is to know how a policy works from a theoretical standpoint. Being a person who knows people is a job family in the policy world. And I'm sorry, but being the other type of expert, who knows the theoretical side, usually requires that you get a PhD.

On a broader note, it's good to know why you're pursuing this degree when you go into it. I'd posit that attending HKS isn't only an opportunity for foreign bureaucrats to say they went to Harvard, but for most domestic ones as well - everybody knows that the admissions process at HKS is a lot less selective than Harvard College, a Harvard PhD program, HBS, HLS, and so on, everybody knows that an MPA, even in the ID program, isn't, so to say, equivalent to a degree in economics, and everybody knows that, if you didn't care about the brand name, you wouldn't be paying 150k. It's also not a secret that lots of people attend MPA programs to help them in switching fields or to cover up a lackluster undergrad record. Everybody knows that MPA students want a job at the end of it. So, how much of anyone's motivation is pure learning is questionable. You certainly learn something in an MPA program. That stuff can probably be learned for cheaper. If you're looking to learn a specific skill, like a language or serious data analysis, you're probably better off in a program dedicated to that. If you're looking to become a technical expert, get a PhD. If none of those apply to you, then you're probably a typical political functionary that wants to keep growing their career, and for that your network is important, and your network's opinion of your degree granting institution is important, and therefore you're in the right place.

Mostly I'm just appalled that a grown-ass man is surprised that people would pay hundreds of thousands of bucks to schmooze with Paul Volcker. Does he not realize the premium one is able to charge just for having a name like that in their address book?

Passionate and real stuff here. Also bump. Anyone else want to give their opinions on most prestigious/popular schools?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Coming from a domestic / social policy perspective, I feel like its HKS / WWS is at another level then Goldman / Ford / McCourt / Harris / Sanford. But to be honest, best is so contextual. I am coming from the perspective of someone who wants to work in domestic social policy in Washington DC. International, development, and economic policy work elsewhere might prioritize other programs like SIPA, Fletcher, SAIS. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/10/2017 at 2:27 PM, nahuja32 said:

Is SAIS better than McCourt? I get the feeling that it's more like 

HKS/WAS > Harris > SIPA/Fletcher/McCourt > SAIS > The rest. 

(information from conversations with friends working in DC) 

 

What about MPP at Oxford ? I've heard some really great things about the opportunities at school. Would really appreciate some information on that front. Thank you 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am genuinely struggling to choose between HKS and WWS at the moment. I am an applicant from India and want to come back and work here. Whether or not these schools hold weight in DC is not a concern for me. Certain elements that I am considering: 
- Class size: 60 (WWS) vs 225 (HKS); Quality; Scope of relationship with profs etc. 

- Classmates: Considering that HKS offers many HBS-HKS like joint programs, it is said the the emphasis on 'commitment to public service' is far greater at WWS. I don't mean to sound douche-y, but I do not want to be in an environment where the top concerns are salary or how fancy a job will I get at the end/ how many important people will I meet (especially considering I won't be working in the US) 

- Academic Focus: Is HKS considered a professional school while WWS has more academic focus? WWS has limited number of courses and HKS has far too many. 

- Brand: I want to be a policy practioner but definitely see myself as a leader (be it my own social enterprise/ direct entry into government/ politics). People are saying that internationally, the 'Harvard' brand is more valuable than the Princeton one. But, within policy circles and those that actually have knowledge of the schools, WWS is more respected than HKS. 

- Location: Princeton is a small town while Boston is definitely more lively (especially with Fletcher, MIT etc) 

Princeton offers full scholarship + stipend. If I get full tuition scholarship at HKS - which one would you recommend? I have 1.5 years of work experience and have been admitted to the MPP program at HKS and MPA at WWS. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally if I got a full scholarship to both I would probably do HKS because of the brand and I prefer Boston. However, do take into account that even if you get a full scholarship the stipend is a big deal and that alone adds up to around 50k for living costs over the two years. That's a lot of money to give up and will make a difference unless you get a fellowship or some work/study type of situation. Congratulations on your acceptances! Those are phenomenal! I'm sure you will be happy and do great no matter what you choose. Also, it would be great if you could post your stats to see what it takes to get into these schools! Good luck :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.