Interview With Second-Year Student from Japan

We rolled out more decisions yesterday but the Committee does still have work to do.  Decision notifications will definitely extend in to next week.  We are still deliberating on all three classes of admission offers:  admit, waitlist, and those we will be unable to offer admission to.  For those of you still waiting I know it is hard, but we are working as fast as we can.

I thought I would take a break from pure admission entries and go with a recent interview today.  Enjoy.


Junji Koike

MPA candidate 2011:  Second year student with a concentration on IFEP

Junji Koike is originally from Japan. His undergraduate degree is from Keio University. After he earned his degree in Policy Management, he worked as a policy researcher in the Japanese think tank Nomura Research Institute. While working there, he got involved with projects related to public management, public finance and local government. He is planning to go back to Japan after SIPA.

What attracted you to SIPA?

Considering my background at Nomura Research Institute, SIPA was the ideal school. First, SIPA covers a broad range of issues related with public policies around the world. SIPA has helped me to explore interlinked public policy subjects by offering multiple kinds of lectures, seminars, and events.

Secondly, many professors at SIPA are experienced professionals. I’ve taken lectures and seminars with public officials including the former Mayor of New York City and international bankers as well as well-known academics. These professionals have offered me very vivid practical knowledge as well as a unique academic perspective.

Thirdly, the location of SIPA is excellent. Thanks to its location, I have the privilege of having lectures from world leaders, such as Bill Clinton and Kofi Annan, senior officers of the United Nations and New York City government, and various mass media pundits.

What prepared you to come to SIPA?

I often feel that my experience as a policy researcher have helped me to study and work with the other SIPA students, particularly, my public policy knowledge, my project management and data analysis skills, and my perspective as a Japanese researcher.

What has been the most challenging part of your SIPA experience?

Many classes at SIPA require group work. This semester I am working with four different groups. It is common that these assignments have the same or close deadlines. Additionally, working with people from different backgrounds is sometimes challenging in terms of arriving to an agreement. I actually appreciate this challenge because I’m learning a lot about international collaborations from these group projects.

What kind of job would you like to get when you graduate?

I have been working for around 10 years at Nomura Research Institute, which is sponsoring my master’s at SIPA. So I have to go back and work for them once I graduate. But, I am so excited to go back because I’ll be able to apply what I’ve learned in SIPA to my job.

What advice would you give to a prospective student?

I would say, “Open up your heart!” Faculty and students in SIPA have fascinating backgrounds and they are ready to make a difference to the world. I often feel unlimited possibilities from SIPA people. “Please don’t underestimate your neighbors in SIPA!”