Author Archive for Erin Lue-Hing

What’s in an App: Personal Statement

Writing an amazing SIPA Personal Statement is probably far more straightforward than you might think. SIPA admissions officers aren’t looking for gimmicks. They’re looking for passionate, motivated, and prepared applicants who are ready to hit the ground running in their chosen program. Read on for more details in creating your best personal essay.

Personal, personal, personal

Did we mention personal? Your personal statement should be about your interests as an individual. Write about issues only if they relate specifically to your personal experiences. For example, ‘In Africa, a child dies every minute. This stark statistic prompted me to join an NGO aimed at providing nutrition and healthcare for children in Namibia.’ Be yourself! It can be tempting to want to embellish your essays with language or quotes that show off your knowledge, don’t overthink it! The admissions committee wants to know about you and how SIPA can get you where you want to go. You chose SIPA for a reason, so just elaborate on that reason in your essay.

Know your program and make connections

Securing acceptance is more about being the best match than about being the most highly qualified. Among applicants who meet the program’s minimum requirements, they’ll choose an enthusiastic and informed applicant over one with higher test scores and a better GPA who doesn’t seem to know much about their program.

Ask for help

Most students at SIPA will tell you that they’ve had close friends or mentors offer a second set of eyes on their personal statement. While we are all independent adults forging our own paths, sometimes we need to reach out for some help or advice. Whether it is using friends and family as sounding boards to bounce ideas off of, or to proofread your essay after you write it, asking for help can take some of the stress out of writing an admissions essay. Having another set of eyes look at your essay can make sure mistakes are caught before you submit. They can also provide feedback about weak areas in your essay, or even point out something you didn’t know about yourself that would make you a strong candidate.

Take a step back

Sometimes just stepping away from your essay for a little while may help, if you have the time. Sitting down and focusing on it for hours may cause you to miss the goal altogether. So step away, reward yourself for your work thus far, and return to it at a better time.

Now that you’re armed with these personal essay pointers, put them into practice and wow some admission officers. Happy writing!

Six Ways that SIPA OCS Can Help with Your Career

SIPA Office of Career ServicesThe Office of Career Services (OCS) provides students and alumni with tools to manage their professional development. OCS offers a variety of services to help current students and alumni find their career paths, such as individual career advising; required professional development courses; networking events, on-campus recruitment sessions, professional networking opportunities, and internship grants. Throughout the semester, OCS organizes numerous activities and services aimed at informing students about their options in internships and full time jobs.

As a first year student, you will benefit from the professional panels where you can learn about possible employers and the procedure to apply to future positions. Some of the employers that have participated in these panels are: The Federal Reserve Bank of NY, the Central Intelligence Agency, Human Right Watch, Deloitte, Goldman Sachs, The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and Eurasia Group.

As career development is a tenet of SIPA’s core curriculum, the OCS supports students’ career paths in the following ways:

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT 

The Professional Development class, which is administered through OCS, heightens the awareness and involvement of students in career planning.  This mandatory half-credit course develops the skills needed to compete effectively in the international and public affairs job markets.  Instructors provide direction on writing resumes and cover letters, job search tactics, successful interviewing, networking, negotiating employment offers, and other key career topics.

INTERNSHIP REQUIREMENT

Students are required to conduct an internship as part of their degree requirement, and this is also administered through OCS.  The internship is typically done in the summer between the first and second year, although it can be completed at any time during the program.

INDIVIDUAL SERVICES

On an individual level, OCS career advisers provide students and alumni with career advice, job search strategy tips, resume and cover letter reviews, and general career information.  OCS also maintains the SIPA Career Coaching (SIPACC) program, which is comprised of alumni working in a variety of jobs who provide industry specific information and advice.  Students can arrange appointments once they have registered for classes in August through SIPAlink, our recruitment software.  (See more )

WEEKLY ONLINE NEWSLETTER

To update students on programming and services, OCS compiles a weekly newsletter that lists information on career events, fellowship opportunities, upcoming recruitment visits, job/internship postings, and other essential information for their job search.  (See more )

JOB DATABASE

OCS offers a database of current positions, including internships, for both current students and alumni in a variety of professional fields. The database, which can be access through SIPAlink, has proved to be quite useful to current students in helping them to find internships.

If you are curious on what other things OCS does, visit our past blog post or go to the SIPA OCS website: http://new.sipa.columbia.edu/careers/career-services.

CAREER COACHING

Finally, SIPA Career Coaching (SIPACC) is offered free of charge by experts in the field. SIPACCs are full-time professionals who volunteer throughout the year to offer industry-specific knowledge to current students. Sessions run 30 minutes and Seeples can sign up for them in SIPAlink, SIPA’s job and internship database. Within the sessions, SIPA Career Coaches will:

  • Dispense industry-specific job advice in their field(s).
  • Share their knowledge about various career opportunities related to the advisee’s SIPA concentration or specialization.
  • Establish steps that should be undertaken by the advisee in order to advance in a particular industry.
  • Offer other career advice at their discretion.

SIPA students and alumni can sign up for three coaching sessions per semester.

SIPA’s Office of Career Services is another reason why SIPA may be the place for you. We hope to see you this coming year!

SIPA Wins 1st Prize in Columbia’s Solvathon

Congratulations to our Seeples! Alok S. Viswan (MPA, EPD ’19), Anjana Shyamnath (MPA-DP ’18) and Sachin Sharma (MPA, IFEP ’18) won first prize in the 36 hour long, Solvathon 2017, organized by Columbia Impact of Columbia Business School, an interdisciplinary competition which saw over 50 teams participate from different schools of the University. Citi Ventures, Bloc Power, and Viewpoint Health sponsored the competition. The event involved teamwork to provide technology-based solutions that would have high social impact in response to the real world problems. This team utilized a combination of sensor technology and cloud based platforms for data sharing and storage to conduct real time quality monitoring and tracking of critical liquid commodities in transit in areas of natural disasters.

Seeples Spotlight: Erin Lue-Hing

Today, please welcome Erin Lue-Hing. She is a 2nd-year MPA student concentrating in Urban and Social Policy and specializing in the US Region. Her background comprises law, health policy, social policy, advocacy for under-served communities and government administration.  Prior to SIPA, Erin worked as a Data Analyst and Project Manager for the New Jersey Homeless Management Information System under the Department of Community Affairs. She graduated from Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts in Health Policy and a minor in Legal Studies as a Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholar. She was elected and served as the Future Leader for the Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board, Northeast USA from 2014-2017, and was the 2017 recipient of the Jamaica Governor-General Award for Achievement. 

 

What attracted you to SIPA and Columbia University?

After working in state government for several years, I became fascinated with the role of leaders and decision-makers at the state and local level, and wanted to learn more about what went into the decision-making process for policy-making. I wanted to understand how leaders were able to help communities, what best practices were, and how to economically develop urban and other communities. Having also served as a leader in the Jamaican-American community, I felt that incorporating an international perspective into my leadership was crucial within an ever-globalizing world. SIPA was a natural fit for me and has given me invaluable exposure on how to be a leader in a domestic and global context.

 

What experiences do you think prepared you to attend SIPA?

Being in the policy world prior to SIPA and seeing how things actually happen behind-the-scenes was extremely useful for understanding all of my SIPA courses thus far. Having to multi-task as a leader also helped me to manage SIPA’s rigorous courseload.

 

What has been the best part of your SIPA experience?

The best part of my SIPA experience has been the friends that I have made and the connections to leaders in the local and international community. Meeting former UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon was incredible! Going to a school that is situated in one of the greatest cities in the world has opened up so many opportunities and allowed me the chance to enrich a very lively community.

 

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

 Getting used to student life once again after working for several years. SIPA also comprises a lot of group work in addition to lectures, so I had to plan my time very carefully to ensure success.

 

What kind of work do you hope to do when you graduate?

 I hope to work in both local and eventually federal government leadership to effect change in our neediest communities through sound policy- and decision-making. Having competent leadership can make a huge difference for so many citizens.

 

"The most global public policy school, where an international community of students and faculty address world challenges."

—Merit E. Janow, Dean, SIPA, Professor of Practice, International and Economic Law and International Affairs

Boiler Image