4 tips for incoming students, from PA Dario Martinez, MIA ’15

Today, we’re sharing with you a post by Program Assistant Dario Martinez, MIA ’15, who wrote about four insights from his time at SIPA. 

Congratulations to SIPA’s incoming class! Looking back at my two years in the program, I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to meet so many smart and driven individuals, and to have access to outstanding professors. Prior to starting my program, I remember being excited but also determined to succeed at undertaking a very challenging curriculum. Thus, I decided to use my summer to prepare for my journey at SIPA!

1. Read a good book by a Seeple or two
During my summer, I traveled and spent time with my family and friends. After working for almost nine years, I knew I needed some time to get ready for two, life-changing years. Some of the books that I read included, The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else by Hernando de Soto, The Price of Inequality by Joseph Stieglitz, and the End of Poverty by Jeffrey Sachs. I chose these books because I was interested in learning more about economic development and also to get acquainted with the work of some of SIPA’s outstanding professors. These books gave me a deeper understanding on the importance of the rule of law, the origins of black markets, and the role of foreign investment in the economic development of countries.

2. Math not your strong suit? Then take the Summer Math Tutorial
Early in the summer, I remember receiving an email that encouraged students to complete the math tutorial prior to orientation. The math tutorial is a guide provided by SIPA to help students brush up on their math skills. Through conversations with alumni and friends, I learned about the rigorous economic classes that I would undertake. Therefore, I decided to enroll in both SIPA’s math class and a private, math-refresher course in Honduras. (I had been out of school for some time and I wanted to ensure that my math skills were up to par.) Although SIPA’s tutorial is not mandatory, it definitely prepared me to undertake quantitative classes such as Economic Analysis I and II, Quantitative Analysis and International Trade. (Note: You’ll receive details on the summer math tutorial in June from the Office of Student Affairs.)

3. Use other housing resources
I was thrilled to move to New York City, and I was really looking forward to living in such a vibrant city. But I knew that like any change, it would require some work. Securing my housing accommodations was definitely on my top-priority list. Unfortunately, I waited until at the end of May to apply and there were already a high number of applicants on the waiting list. (Although all of my classmates found accommodations, I definitely encourage students to start looking for an apartment as early as possible.) Thus, I began looking for housing on my own. I searched several housing portals, including Craigslist.com, Zillow.com and ForRent.com. In the end, I was lucky because of one my sister’s (who’s a SIPA alumna), ex-classmates was looking for roommate and the apartment was 10 minutes from campus.

4. Join the Facebook Group
Like many people, I was curious to learn more about my future classmates. Thus, I joined SIPA’s Facebook Group and communicated with many of them through this tool. My classmates came from all parts of the world and the group was very supportive. It was very easy for me to make friends and I felt like I knew some of them prior to starting the academic year. I also remember there were meet-and-greets in different cities across the world. Although I didn’t participate in any event, I heard that people really enjoyed meeting their fellow classmates!

—Dario Martinez, MIA ’15