Archive for Japan

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!”

International Dual Degrees Explained

A while ago we posted an entry on the nuances of our dual degree programs with other Columbia schools.  In that entry I made mention of the fact that we also have partnerships with schools in other countries.  We refer to these dual degrees as international dual degrees.  The following entry is meant to provide information on these programs.  For information on the Columbia programs, please see this previous entry.


SIPA has partnered with a number of international institutions around the globe to offer a variety of dual degree programs.  Such programs allow students to study public policy from two different academic, cultural, and professional perspectives. After a two-year program of study, students are awarded both the relevant SIPA degree and a degree from our partner institution, thereby earning two masters degrees in the same amount of time it takes to obtain one.

SIPA currently offers dual degree programs with its Global Public Policy Network partners, which include Sciences Po Paris, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the University of Singapore. We also have partnerships  with the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, Fundação Getulio Vargas Escola de Administração de Empresas (FGV) in São Paulo, and the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Public Policy.

There are two types of Dual Degrees: Flexible Dual Degrees and Fixed-Track Dual Degrees. Each type has a specific application process.

In the case of the flexible dual degrees, students who are already admitted to either SIPA or a partner institution apply to a dual‐degree program during the course of their first year of study. If admitted, they study at the partner institution in their second year.  For example, you have been accepted to SIPA for a Fall 2011 start date and during your first year at SIPA, you decide to apply to the Dual Degree program with the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP).  You apply to the program in Spring 2012 and upon acceptance, pursue your second year of studies in Singapore, beginning in Fall 2012. At the end of the two years, you receive a degree from both SIPA and the LKYSPP.

In the case of the fixed-track dual degree, students apply to both SIPA and our partner institution at the same time. Their application is reviewed by a joint-committee comprising of representatives of both schools.  If admitted, students begin their course of study at SIPA and proceed to the partner school in year two (with the exception of the Sciences Po MIA – students start in Paris and finish in New York).  For example, you apply to the SIPA MIA or MPA/LSE MPA program for a September 2011 start date. You submit your application in January 2011 and are notified of the decision in April. Upon admittance, you begin your studies in New York and finish in London during the 2012-2013 academic year. At the end of the two years, you receive a degree from both SIPA and the LSE.

Flexible Dual Degrees are offered for the following programs: the LSE MPA, Sciences Po MPA, LKY Master of Public Policy (MPP) and the Hertie School of Governance MPP. All programs are open to MIA and MPA students at SIPA.  This means that you can apply to the LSE MPA program in the spring of your first year at SIPA, whether you are enrolled in the MIA or MPA program. At the end of your two years, you will earn either an MIA or an MPA from SIPA and an MPA from LSE.

Fixed-track Dual Degrees are offered for the programs outlined above, as well as: the Sciences Po MIA, Fundação Getulio Vargas MPP or Master in International Management, and Tokyo University MPP. Unlike flexible dual degree programs, this is a fixed sequence of study. In other words, if you apply to the Sciences Po/SIPA MIA program, you will earn an MIA from Sciences Po and SIPA. You cannot switch into the MPA program for your second year SIPA.

Note that the language of instructions for all programs is English, except for the Sciences Po MIA, which is conducted in French and the Fundação Getulio Vargas MPP track, which holds instruction in Portuguese.

You may be wondering what the pros and cons of each track are. While the flexible track is more, well, flexible, you need to plan your course of study carefully to make sure that you will be able to fulfill the requirements at both schools. The fixed-track lays out clearly your course of study at both institutions. Admission rates vary depending on the program, fixed versus flexible, and the strength of the competition in any given year. Finally, regarding tuition: it’s paid to the institution you are enrolled in.

For more information on dual degrees, visit the GPPN website, or contact Tan Nguyen, Assistant Dean, Office of External Relations:  tn2102@

"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

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