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I'm trying to decide between NYU Wagner's MPA with a focus in Management, and Carnegie Mellon Heinz's MSPPM-DC track. 

Ultimately, my goal is to work in a management role in city government. During grad school, I intend to gain work and internship experience in local government - which should be doable through either program. After school, I'd like to work in a city in the Northeast, Midwest, or Pacific Northwest (I'll take snow over heat any day), and don't want to be in DC long-term. I've spent the last 2 years (since immediately after undergrad) working at a research institution in DC focusing on criminal justice policy, and would like to transition into government work on a broader set of issues.

Some factors playing into my decision: CMU offered 80% tuition - so including money I have earmarked for grad school, tuition and fees are covered and I end up with about 10k I will be using for living expenses. NYU didn't offer me money, but I'm in consideration for a second round of funding offers, and am in touch with a research center that could end up offering me an on-campus work position. In NYC, I'd be living with my parents, and they would cover my living expenses. With CMU, I'd be in DC working 4 days a week and ideally earning money in that role - and living with my boyfriend (we currently live together and will do long-distance while I am away for grad school). 

So financially it's pretty clear to me that CMU is a better option. That said, NYU lines up more with my academic interests, and I think will give me more of the urban management focus I'm so interested in.

I'm still in the process of visiting schools, so I haven't 100% ruled out other options (American with 10k/year, GWU with 10k/year, UNC with 1 year covered + assistantship and 14k stipend for 1st year only, Pitt GSPIA with 75%/year), but my sense is that CMU and NYU are my best options and top choices. I'm hoping to have more clarity after admitted students days at GWU, CMU and NYU (I already visited American), but that puts me at less than 2 weeks before April 15th, and I'm starting to worry about how to decide.

Thoughts? Suggestions for wrangling funding from NYU?


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I'm torn between CMU MSPPM-DC and another program too! 

So it sounds like academically, NYU is a much better fit and the big draw of CMU is the money. Even if CMU does not offer as many classes in urban management, it does have a strong core of organizational and management science courses that would probably make you a more competitive candidate for jobs in city government in the long run. And for your apprenticeship your second year, you can easily secure one in DC city government which would provide great work experience. 

Unless NYU comes through with at least some funding, I would say go with CMU. It makes financial sense and you can adapt the curriculum and the apprenticeship to suit your needs. If money is not an issue for you, NYU sounds like it is more aligned with your curricular (urban management) goals and long-term living (living not in DC) goals so if you can, go for it. Good luck!

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