Archive for J-termer

Welcome to SIPA, incoming Spring 2019 J-Termers!

SIPA wrapped up Orientation for the newest J-Termers yesterday — that means the incoming Spring 2019 class, called “J-Term” since they start the term in January. (Get it?)

Despite the chilly weather, there are several benefits to starting in the Spring term. First off, these Seeples (get it?!) have two full summers to do internships, compared to the one summer if you start in the fall. There are no MIA/MPA classes during the summer, and taking advantage of this is an excellent way to apply what you learn in the classroom.

Another advantage is that you have an extra semester to get to intimately know your other J-Term Seeples before the Fall class arrives in September. There are many advantages to having large and small cohorts and class sizes – and SIPA offers both experiences.

Being part of SIPA’s global alumni network across 150+ countries lends itself to invaluable experiences, and it all starts here on the Columbia University campus. On January 16 and 17, these 33 students were able to meet SIPA faculty, get information on classes for their respective concentrations, and tour our little corner of New York City.

To those still finishing up their applications for the February 5 deadline, know that these new students above were in your position just a few months ago: reading this blog, listening in on webinars, and emailing us with questions. We encourage you to take your shot at SIPA and submit your application. Don’t wait until the last minute – you have a zero percent chance of getting in if you never submit your application.

Welcome to the J-Termers 2021, and we wish you all the best at SIPA!

Some information for Spring 2016 applicants

I can hardly believe that another year has passed and that we’re well into September already. The time flew by quickly; we reviewed applications, released decisions, had an open house, just wrapped up orientation week, and now it’s all starting again. And if you’re like me, you’re probably freaking out that there are a limited number of weeks before the application deadline(s).

While we’re probably stressed out for a different series of reasons, we both have the same deadlines to meet, and one of them is almost here. Today, there are only three weeks left before the first deadline of application season. October 15, 2015 is the looming date that many of you are hard at work trying to make in order to be eligible for the Spring 2016 term.

At SIPA, there’s a name for the group of students who will join us in the spring. We affectionately (and unofficially) call them “J-termers,” with “J” standing for January, the term they initially join SIPA. As a J-termer, your course offerings may differ out the gate, as more core curriculum courses are offered during the fall semester compared to the spring. Meaning, you’ll probably just take courses out of order compared to the majority of SIPA students. It doesn’t affect your degree plan overall, but don’t be surprised if a few of the courses you’ve been scouting out aren’t available right away.

Some of the benefits to joining SIPA in the spring is that you’ll really get to connect with all of your classmates a lot faster since the group is smaller. (The cohort is about 60 students.) You also get to spend two summers as a SIPA student, which some students take advantage of by pursuing two different internships (one each summer), as Andreas Maerki, MPA 2014points out. (Plus, you’ll get to participate in three seasons of campus-wide snowball fights while enrolled at SIPA!)

If becoming a J-termer sounds good to you, there’s no better time than today to start your application (even Fall 2016 applicants should start now!). The deadlines for all of our programs are known to surprise some of our busiest applicants, so don’t let any opportunity to work on your application slip by. I recommend setting aside just 30 minutes to one hour in your schedule every week to work on a component of your application. (Hint: The easiest sections to check-off your list are the Personal, Family, Education and Professional Experience sections. The Resume and Essays section will require a few hours of your time.)

If you’re not sure where to start, there are plenty of recent posts on the Admissions Blog you should review before you submit your application. Some popular archived topics include application essays, recommendation letters, and test scores. After that, sign-up to attend an information session (either in-person or virtually). Even better, join us for Twitter Talk Thursday today at 9:00 a.m. or 12:00 p.m. EST and ask us anything using #askSIPA.

We want you to submit the strongest possible application, so if you still have questions, send us an email at or call us at 212-854-6216 with your admissions-related concerns.

Remember, Spring 2016 applications to the Master of International Affairs and Master of Public Administration programs are due on October 15, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. EST. 

Good luck on your application!

[Photo courtesy of Aditi Mishra‎ via Facebook | A snowball fight breaks out at the steps of Columbia University’s Low Library and Alma Mater.]

Seeple Snapshot: Wow! I get all of this and more?

Anthony Scott

Anthony Scott, MPA USP

I love Baltimore; let me know if you want to visit so I can give you an insider’s guide! I was born and raised around the westside of Baltimore, and believe the city has great potential and opportunity to demonstrate how to gentrify with minimal displacement of current residents. 

I survived my first few weeks at SIPA! People go back to school for a variety of reasons, and my starting in January is a bit “off cycle”, but regardless of the reasons, it’s always a transition. I’ve gone from working 8 hours a day (8 hours and 45 minutes to be exact) and being DONE with work, to always feeling like I should be studying. I’ve gone from waking up at 5 am to commute 1.5 hours to work, to waking up at 8 am, walking to school in 10 minutes, and realizing that my first class isn’t until 2:10PM. I’ve gone from having some leisure income, to having loans…again.

Regardless of the transition, the one thing I can say is that SIPA provides you with SO much support. During orientation, you have peer advisors who give you all the secrets from how best to register for classes, to where to find good pizza and cheap (but good) beer. Your deans and academic advisors are SUPER responsive, even about the most trivial matters. They really want to see you succeed, and ease your (over-achieving) anxieties and concerns. *smile* Oh, and your financial aid and career services people are also very helpful. Whatever your doubts about funding SIPA are, once you actually get here, there are TONS of scholarships, and opportunities internally and externally (everyone wants to hire SIPA students) to fund your education. I fully expect to have my tuition covered next year. The BEST resources, however, once you come to SIPA–and I mean THE BEST–will be your fellow classmates. I know it may sound trite, but SIPA isn’t kidding when they tell you to get to know your classmates because they will be future leaders. People at SIPA have already been leaders! Your classmates are coming from such diverse backgrounds, sectors, life experiences, countries…I mean, you name it. My first class was in Economic Development in Latin America, and the professor was bombarded by questions from engaged students who were actually from Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, etc…there was also a Frenchman, who wanted to clarify a point about the French Revolution vis-a-vis post-colonial civil wars…needless to say, it was a fascinating discussion.

In my Brazil Seminar class, all I had to do was express interest in urban planning in Brazil, and another classmate spoke up, gave me her card, and told me she used to work for the city of Rio de Janeiro. Another student gave me books and articles to research, and yet other students said they were from the Columbia Architecture, Planning School and were going to Rio this summer to work with leaders in the favelas on inclusive development. I mean…REALLY? SERIOUSLY? Your classmates and faculty members are your assets, and they are the most down-to-earth, unassuming people you’d ever want to meet. They really make the SIPA community a collaborative, welcoming, and socially and intellectually stimulating community, and make it well-worth the transition!

Honestly, whatever your doubts about moving to New York, the cost of SIPA, the demanding coursework, etc., I promise you it’s worth it. SIPA is a very strong network, both in the U.S. and overseas, especially if you want to be a leader in international and public affairs. Take it from someone who is taking out loans: It’s worth it.

I can’t wait to welcome you to the SIPA family in the fall!


J-Term Student Orientation 2014

SIPA’s Dean Merit Janow had the pleasure to welcome the newest J-Term class on January 15th and 16th. J-Term stands for January Term.  SIPA accepts a small class of global minded students in January (in addition to the main fall admittance). One great benefit among many is that students who enter in the J-Term have two full summers to do internships. The class of 34 students had two days of a heavily packed orientation schedule that informed the new “Seeples” (combination of SIPA and people – SIPA students sometimes like to refer themselves as Seeples) about how to register for courses, what classes to take for their respective concentration, where to find assistance for IT issues, where to get the best coffee and where the best study areas are. The orientation also was a great opportunity for the new students to get to know their Deans, career services representatives, Admission and Financial Aid staff, and to tour the beautiful Columbia University campus in the heart of New York City.

Three Peer-Advisors, current students and also J-Termers from the previous year had the wonderful tasks to make the new Seeples transition as smoothly and convenient as possible, and share their best practices. This of course would have not been possible without the great support by the Office of Student Affairs, by its Deans and all the other great assistance from staff we received. The best part of the orientation according to many new students and my fellow Peer Advisors was the commingling and making new life-long friends while at SIPA and beyond the time on campus. The two days of orientation were wrapped up with a fine wine and cheese reception while enjoying the magnificent skyline of the Big Apple.

Welcome class of J-Termers 2016 and all the best! You will have an awesome time!


posted by Andreas Maerki, MPA International Finance and Economic Policy, J-Termer 2015 & Peer Advisor


Summer Internship at the U.S. Treasury

I just returned from DC to NYC and from a great summer at the Department of the U.S. Treasury. Working as an International Economist Graduate Intern in the Office of South and Southeast Asia was a great opportunity to work with intelligent and smart professionals. My previous professional experience has been in the private sector and therefore gaining the understanding of how the government works was a valuable experience. The Treasury is the official source for the White House to receive advice on domestic and international economics, finance and budget related issues.

US Treasury

This summer, approximately 165 interns from colleges and universities across the country contributed their time and expertise in a variety of roles throughout the Treasury Department, working in the offices of International Affairs, Economic Policy, Domestic Finance, and more.

It is great to know that my analysis of macroeconomic trends, briefings about financial markets, country and systemic risks in South and Southeast Asia supported senior officials with policy making for the United States at home and abroad. I was assisting the desk economists of India, Indonesia and Myanmar. It was a very busy summer, especially after the Fed’s announcement of potential “tapering”. The markets experienced a great sell off and funds outflow from the emerging and frontier markets in the South and Southeast Asia. Specifically, India and Indonesia suffered a great weakening of their currencies, a widening of the BOP deficit, and a slow-down in the growth rate.  These market movements required our office to determine the overall risk of these affected countries to the world economy in general and to the United States in specific. The active markets helped me to get involved in many great projects with quick turn-around times and therefore get lots of valuable hands on experience.

US Treasury Secretary, Jacob Lew

One of the highlights was that we got to meet and take a group picture with Treasury Secretary, Jacob Lew. During an internal event we also had the chance to see the Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. I highly recommend the U.S. Treasury as a place to do a summer internship and get practical experience to contribute to significant and meaningful work. Best of all is that this internship confirmed my interest to pursue a career in country/sovereign risk analysis. Still left to determine is if it will be the private or the public sector.

DC was also a great city to explorer after work and over the weekends. Happy hours and cultural events are very popular and a great way to connect with other interns and Washingtonians. DC is different than NYC and therefore great to spend some time there. I enjoyed the city a lot and made many great new friends as well as deepened my network with existing SIPA colleagues and Alumni, who also got to spend the summer in our capital.

The U.S. Treasury (main building), main entrance

The U.S. Treasury (main building), main entrance

The National Mall and the U.S. Treasury (Main building) to the right

The National Mall and the U.S. Treasury (Main building) to the right

Andreas Maerki is a MPA degree candidate who joined us this spring as a J-termer and will graduate in 2014.  He is concentrating in International Finance and Economic Policy (IFEP) at SIPA.


"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