Last week I posted an entry from the SIPASA MPA President and this week we hear from the MIA President, William Bairamian. One student each from the MPA and MIA programs serve in a co-president role and William represented the MIA students.
Dear Prospective Student,
I am excited that you are interested in attending one of the premier international relations schools in the world. For the past year, I have served as president of the MPA class and co-president of the SIPA Student Association.
During your research on graduate schools, you probably have read a lot about the great academicians in residence at SIPA and the array of resources available to students at Columbia University. On our Web site and on the admissions blog you probably have heard a lot about New York City and the innumerable opportunities available here. But since all that information is easy to find, I want to tell you about some of the things you do not usually hear about.
Before I came to SIPA, I wondered why they cared so much about each applicant’s background and experience but once I got here, it became clear. My fellow students have been an unforgettable part of my social experience at SIPA and I have learned as much from them as I have in class. When a person asks me about the best part of going to school here, I immediately start talking about my friends. This is because they have lived and worked everywhere, in every conflict zone and every world capital. The admissions office makes a point of bringing students to SIPA that are different but who complement each other and this is what makes the SIPA experience distinct from what might be offered in other programs.
Additionally, I have found that the administration is always open to suggestions about how to improve the school. Although in many school settings it may seem like the decisions are made in the Office of the Dean and passed down to the students, at SIPA, the students are regularly asked for feedback about their classes, their career search, and their social life. This constant interaction and communication only serves to improve life at SIPA for the student body.
It’s difficult to know what to expect before you start going to a school. For this reason, I encourage you to use the tools the admissions office provides you with to have your questions answered. One of these tools for admitted students is a message board that is made available after admission decisions go out. Interacting with students on the message board will allow you to talk with people who were in your shoes a year or two before and they can tell you why they made the choice to attend SIPA.
I wish you all the best in the application process!
William A. Bairamian