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I need some advice regarding two schools in Europe: London School of Economics vs Willy Brandt School of Public Policy


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Hello Everyone,

I am an international student. I got an  unconditional offer from two graduate schools in Europe. One in Germany: Willy Brandt School of Public Policy at the University of Erfurt. The other in UK: London School of Economics and Political Science. I am looking forward to getting a Master in Public Policy. The school in Germany offers me full scholarship with health insurance and a monthly stipend. The school in UK does not offer me any financial assistance so far. I applied for financial aid but there is no guarantee that I will get anything. My options for UK are the following: take a loan (the easiest and perhaps guaranteed way); Other option: I am going to apply for a scholarship from an international organization in February; which again is not a guarantee. Both school programs start in September 2018 and the language of instruction will be English. However, the school in Germany requires me to move to Germany in April to take 6 month intensive German classes. The London School of Economics (LSE) is one of the top school and the world and the 2nd in the world after Harvard for social sciences and management which happen to also include Public policy and Administration. It appears that with a degree from LSE, it is more likely that I will be able to get a job offer much faster than if my degree is from Willy Brandt. But, how do you turn down a full scholarship, health insurance and a generous monthly stipend from a German school?!  I am not sure what to decide. Does anyone know about Willy Brandt School in Germany? Would it be worth taking some loan and use my savings to go to LSE? Thank you for your thoughts. 

Edited by vau
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I would think a relevant piece of information to help in this decision would be where (=what country) you hope to get a job post-graduation and what kind of job. Do you know (or can you find out) what kind of degrees the people who currently hold these jobs have? 

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I have several years of experience working for international organizations including the United Nations in New York. I have been back working in the private sector working for a foreign company in the US for the couple of years. The only reason I am leaning towards LSE is for the reputation. I already have a business degree but not from a renowned school. So I thought maybe going to LSE would add value to my resume. The LSE tuition for the one year program is about $21,000 which is not expensive at compared to a school in the US. The thing is I thought I would never get accepted at LSE because how competitive it is. It's one of those things you feel like you do not know what to do especially when you are offered a full scholarship. I got the offer from LSE after I had responded and accepted the full scholarship from Willy Brandt School. I just feel bad to withdraw now.    

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I've never heard of Willy Brandt School

LSE is a strong brand, but it is often not strong enough to get people jobs in the UK if they need visa sponsorship, if they're graduating from the frou frou degrees, which your is. The thing about policy schools is that they're very much an American concept. In Europe, you get a degree in whatever subject you want to work in (politics, economics, education, whatever) - interdisciplinary programs are seen as a little bizarre. In America they are understood, but, whilst LSE is known, certainly at international organizations, the brand and network of American programs (HKS, WWS, SAIS, etc) is a lot stronger. If 21k (plus the same in living expenses - although I remember that the program is 2 years, so that's more like 42k) is acceptable to you, I'd pick LSE because it is a very well-connected, well-respected school, no matter the program. That said, I would choose neither.

Good lord I need to consult someone about my comma use.

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  • 2 months later...
On 2/1/2018 at 7:55 PM, vau said:

Hello Everyone,

I am an international student. I got an  unconditional offer from two graduate schools in Europe. One in Germany: Willy Brandt School of Public Policy at the University of Erfurt. The other in UK: London School of Economics and Political Science. I am looking forward to getting a Master in Public Policy. The school in Germany offers me full scholarship with health insurance and a monthly stipend. The school in UK does not offer me any financial assistance so far. I applied for financial aid but there is no guarantee that I will get anything. My options for UK are the following: take a loan (the easiest and perhaps guaranteed way); Other option: I am going to apply for a scholarship from an international organization in February; which again is not a guarantee. Both school programs start in September 2018 and the language of instruction will be English. However, the school in Germany requires me to move to Germany in April to take 6 month intensive German classes. The London School of Economics (LSE) is one of the top school and the world and the 2nd in the world after Harvard for social sciences and management which happen to also include Public policy and Administration. It appears that with a degree from LSE, it is more likely that I will be able to get a job offer much faster than if my degree is from Willy Brandt. But, how do you turn down a full scholarship, health insurance and a generous monthly stipend from a German school?!  I am not sure what to decide. Does anyone know about Willy Brandt School in Germany? Would it be worth taking some loan and use my savings to go to LSE? Thank you for your thoughts. 

Hey towards which you decided?

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  • 2 years later...

Hi All,

Sorry, it's been a long time. Jut got a message from an applicant for the same program at the Willy Brandt School. It's crazy to think that it's been two years.

I actually turned down the offer and DAAD scholarship at Willy Brandt in 2018. I almost went to LSE but then got a really great accounting job and really great compensation package that I could not turn down. So I decided to also turn down my admission offer at LSE and chose to stay in the US. It was perhaps the best decision that I had made. A year later, I decided to enroll in a finance graduate program at the Harvard Extension school from Harvard University. I am taking all my courses online. And yes, you can complete almost an entire graduate degree online at Harvard University. For my case, I will only take two courses on campus in Cambridge, MA. I am not done yet because I have been doing it part time and paying tuition out of pocket instead of taking out student loan. Nonetheless, I am almost there. Keep it up!

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