Archive for professional experience

What makes a good candidate?

Insider tips on what the SIPA admissions committee looks for in an applicant

There is no “perfect” candidate.  Many of our applicants are interested in advancing professionally within their field, while others are changing their careers entirely. Some have stellar academic records, and many have stumbled a time or two while in college. And every type of applicant has been admitted to SIPA. Thus, due to the diversity of our applicant pool, there are no firm requirements for applying (and that includes GPA, GRE/GMAT scores and work history).

For a general idea of what we look for in a candidate academically and professionally, read the following recommendations for making your application as competitive as possible.

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Do I have enough “Professional Experience” to apply?

The Fall 2013 admission deadline is quickly approaching.  Our inbox are receiving more emails and our phones are ringing frequently with questions.  In the final weeks before the application deadline, we have been posting comments on some of the more popular questions, such as GREs, letters of recommendations, and essays.  We will continue to discuss other topics of the application so stay tuned.  Today’s topic is on the importance of pre-SIPA professional experience.

Why is working before SIPA so important?

SIPA is a professional school.  By this we mean that classes, extracurricular activities and student initiatives are generally tailored towards the professional, pre and post SIPA world.  The richness of the school consists precisely on the professional diversity of its student body – from social entrepreneurs in Rwanda to management consultants in NYC or government officials in Mexico – SIPA students bring with them infinite wisdom on how things work out there.

Having been part of the professional world will not only give you great stories for all of your fellow classmates to benefit from, but you will also find how much more practical value what you learn can have.  Sometimes it is not until you are sitting in a project management classroom that you realize how much dealing with a particular client taught you, or until you take statistics for the first time that you think about how much more you could have done in your work if you had knowledge of Stata.

How much is too little?

How long do you need to have worked in order to fit well at SIPA?  Well, it depends.  Sometimes it is not about the years that you have worked, but what is it that you did and what was your impact.  It doesn’t always have to be a formal full time job.  Internship and volunteer experiences that have been significant enough to shape who you are and why you want to come to SIPA also count.

On average, the Admissions Committee likes to see students with at least one or two years of professional work experience, but often more is better, so our student body usually stands somewhere between 3 and 5 years of pre-SIPA work.  The more the better because you will have had more time to experience, think, and be certain that SIPA is what you want.

Some applicants manage to get to this stage at a younger age; every year the Admissions Committee admits a small number of applicants who recently graduated.  This impressive bunch usually makes up 10% of the incoming class, and they tend to be students that despite their young age have taken advantage of volunteering, travel and internship opportunities extensively and come across to be very confident about why SIPA is the right next step for them.

So if you are one of those young applicants doubting if you should apply or not, sit down, take a pencil and reflect upon the experiences you have had as a student, intern or volunteer.  You will be able to get a sense of whether or not you have a shot of being one of the 10% admitted .  As a final piece of advice, if graduate school is truly what you want, be confident that you will make it happen, sooner or later.

Capstone Workshop: Women and Property Rights in Uganda

Workshops at SIPA apply the practical skills and analytical knowledge learned to a real-world issue. Students are organized into small consulting teams and assigned a substantive, policy-oriented project with an external client.  Clients include public agencies (from the local to national level), international NGOs and multi-national organizations, and major firms in the private sector.  Student teams, working under the supervision of a faculty expert, answer a carefully defined problem posed by the client.  Each team produces an actionable report at the close of the workshop that is designed to translate into real change on the ground.

Essentially, capstone workshops give students not only a chance to further refine their skills and knowledge, but to make a positive contribution to the world around them.  And capstone projects provide valuable experience and contacts for post-graduate employment.

One example of  a workshop took some SIPA students to Uganda.  People and communities who understand their property rights are usually more empowered to defend them. In a SIPA Capstone Workshop, a student team traveled to Uganda to develop a system intended to track the progress of the Women’s Land, Housing and Property Rights Project. The project is attempting to empower and educate women about their rights with respect to land, housing and property ownership. You can read the team’s final report by clicking here.


Incoming Students: Employers Represented

Last week I put up a post listing the universities/colleges our incoming MIA, MPA, and MPA-DP students attended.  I thought it might be of interest to do the same thing with most recent employers.

This list does not include every single incoming student and some students worked for the same employer.  The list is also “self reported” and I did not attempt to look up all the acronyms or nail down regional locations.

Quiz question for you – what was the number one former employer of the incoming class by nearly a two to one margin?  See the end of the list for the answer.

ACLU of San Diego & Imper
Actual Solutions
AdAsia Communications
Advancement of Girls’ Education
African Development Bank
Al-Tayer Group
American Inst. for Research
Araujo Ibarra & Asociados
Assoc to Benefit Children
Associated Group (AG)
Associated Press
Australian AID
Azarmehr & Associates, PC
Banc of America Securitie
Bank Information Center
Bank of StandardChartered
Barack Obama’s Campaign
Barclays Capital
Barun Policy Institute
Beach-Oswald Imm. Law
BearingPoint, Inc
Beijing Bailijia S&T Deve
Bharti Foundation
Bloomberg L.P.
BM&A Advogados
Booz Allen Hamilton
Boston Pacific Company
Braskem S.A
Bridgewater State Hospital
British Army
Brown Lloyd James
Brown University
Bureau of Economic Analys
Bureau of Labor Statistic
Cabinet Office
Cabinet Secretat of Japan
California State Assembly
Carnegie Endowment Int’l
CE Composites Baseball In
Center for Work-Life Pol.
Central Bank of Chile
Central Bank of Turkey
Central Middle School
Centre for Talented Youth
Childrens/Family Health
China Radio International
CIDA City Campus
Citibank, Japan LTD.
Citigroup Global Markets
Clara H Carlson Elem
Climate Lab
Clinton Foundation
Clinton Global Initiative
Commerzbank AG
Community in Action
Competition Commission SA
Congressman George Miller
Constellation NewEnergy
Constructora Pijao S.A.
Consulate General Mexico
Cornerstone Research
Council of Europ
County of Santa Clara
CP Media Communications
Credit Suisse
Credivalores S.A.
Ctr Gender & Refugee
Cuatrecasas Abogados,SLP
D.C. Public Schools
Darjin Corporate, Ltd
Davis Brody Bond Aedas
Delegation of the Europea
Democratic Leadership Council
Departament of State
Dept. of Foreign Affairs
Der Spiegel
Deutsche Bank AG
DHL Exel Supply Chain AP
District of Columbia Gov.
Drinker Biddle & Reath
Earth Institute, MVP
Ecovolve Bioenergy
Electronic Arts
Embassy of Rwanda
Energy Market Reg. Auth.
Enrst & Young, LLP
Environment Ministry Japa
Euromonitor International
European Investment Bank
European Union at the UN
F. I. Proctor Foundation
Fairfield Greenwich Group
Fed Res Bank of Dallas
Fed. Reserve Bank of NY
Financial Literacy Founda
Fincere Limited
Flip Media FZ-LLC
Food & Wine Magazine
Foreign Affairs Ministry
Freelance Writer & Editor
French Government
Freshfields Bruckhaus
Frommer Lawrence & Haug
Fulbright Teaching Asst.
GE Corporate Audit Staff
General Atlantic
Genocide Prevention Proj.
German Parliament
Global Environmental Inst
Global Water Challenge
Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs JBWere
Government of the Punjab
Grameen America
Grassroots Campaigns Inc.
Green Mountain Coffee
Greenberg Traurig LLP
GreenPrint Technologies,
GTZ Kenya
Gwangmyeung Buk
Gyeonggi Office of Ed.
Hackers Language Research
Hagerty Consulting
Heartland Alliance
Helping Hands
Henry L. Stimson Center
Hercules Studios
Hertie School of Government
Hiranandani Upscale
Hong Kong Insitute of Education
Hoosiers for Jill
Hotel “Sonce-GA” / “LIPA”
House of Representatives
HSBC Securities Egypt
Human Rights Watch
IBM Business Consulting
IGCC, UC System
Independent Contractor
India Abroad
Infinity s.r.l.
InfoUSA, Inc.
Insight Collaborative
Institutional Investor
Insurance Deposit FOGAFIN
International Fund Service
International Institute
International Rescue Committee
Int’l Justice Mission,IJM
Intl Medical Corps
Intl Rescue Committee
Intl. Org. for Migration
Intl. Rescue Committee
Intrepid Sportswear, Inc
IRG, Ltd.
ITESM- Mexico City
J.P.Morgan Chase
James Irvine Foundation
Japan Emergency NGOs
Jenner & Block LLP
Johns Hopkins CCGHE
Juice Energy, Inc
JWAC- Defense Department
Kats for CongressCampaign
Khemka Foundation
Kids with Cameras
KWDI/ Korean Women’s Deve
KyungHee U.Medical Center
L.E.K. Consulting, LLC
Larovere Consulting
Law Office of Allen Bloom
Lawyers for Human Rights
Leeb Capital Management
Lehman Brothers
LEK Consulting
LG Electronics Inc.
Liechtenstein Mission -UN
Local Self-Gov’nt Unit
M Squared Strategies
Management Solutions
Management Systems Int’l
Mantech International
Marginal Change
Mars & Co Consulting
Maryland Center China
Mayor’s Office
McKinsey & Company
McMaster University
McMaster-Carr Supply Comp
Media International
Mercedes-Benz Japan
Merrill Lynch
Metro Denver Partners
Millennium Challenge Corp
Min. of Fin. & Econ Plg
Min. of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Defense
Ministry of Economy
Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Interior, Mex
Ministry of Production
Mint Newspaper
Mitsubishi Corporation
Mnstry of Foreign Affairs
Monetary Authority
Morning Star Development
Motcor S. A.
MSA Kazakhstan
Music Haven
N. Univ. of Singapore
N.O.Citizen Dipl. Council
Nachman & Associates P.C.
Nat. Asso. Financ. Inst.
National Congress of Peru
National Geospatial Intel
National Personnel Autho
National Security Agency
National Security Council
National Water Comission
Nat’l Endowment for Dem
NERA Economic Consulting
New Immigrant Community
New York City Dept. of Ed
New York Digital Corp.
New York Legal Assistance
NextFoods, LLC
Nishikawa Board of Educ.
Nomura Research Institute
Norwegian Embassy Amman
Novartis  Pharmaceuticals
Nutrition & Education Int
NY Army National Guard
NY County DA’s Office
NYU Child Study Center
Obama For America
Office of Yuji Fujimoto
Office for Public Management
Optimise Africa
Oracle India Pvt. Ltd.
Org. of American States
Oxfam America
Oxfam Japan
Pacific Alternative Asset
Pacific Injection Molding
Pak Microfinance Network
Partners In Health
PayUp Holding BV
Peace Corps
PFM Strategic Consulting
Planned Parenthood
Planning and Dev. Board
Point Made Films
PricewaterhouseCoopers LL
Prime Ministry
Procter & Gamble Asia Pte
Proskauer Rose LLP
Public Agenda
Public School 003
Punjab Police
PwC Advisory
Ramasai Housing and Const
Ray Magazine
Red Cross Society of Chia
Refugee Resettlement and
Room to Read
Ropes & Gray, LLP
Rotary International
Royal Hashemite Court
Rudy Giuliani Campaign
Rush University Hospital
Russia Partners
Saint Mark’s Cathedral
Samba Financial Group
Santi Organization
Saudi Aramco
School of the Future
Scotia Capital (USA) Inc.
SEIU Healthcare 775NW
SF Works
Shirakawa City Hall
Singapore Police Force
SME Business Support Fund
Société Générale
Solana Consultores
SouthrnCntr for Int. Stud
Spina Bifida Association
STA Travel
Standard & Poor’s
Standard Bank Asia
State General Auditory
Stephen Jeffries & Assoc.
Sturgeon Fund
Superior Court of CT
Survivors International
Suzhou Ivy Education Cons
Swadhaar FinServe Pvt. Lt
Swedish Mission to UN
Swedish Trade Council
Swedwood LLC, IKEA Group
Taiwan News
Tea Lounge
Teach for America
Teach For India
Tech Mahindra Brit Teleco
Tert. Educ. Commission
The Advisory Board
The Boston Consulting Gro
The Chinese Government
The Copywritingsecret LLC
The Fulbright Commission
Government of Japan
The Hudson Institute
The Jeffrey Group
The Korea Times
The National Assembly
The Office of Health Prom
The Prime Ministry Office
The Trevor Project
The Washington Group
The Word Bank
Thomson Reuters
ThoughtStorm Strategic
Tianjing Electricity Comp
TIME Magazine
Transatlantic Institute
Transparencia Mexicana
Trialogue Learning Group
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Dept. of Justice
U.S. Dept. of Treasury
U.S. Senate,Senator Boxer
UBS Investment Bank
UBS Securities Japan Ltd
United Nations Industrial
UN Global Compact LN-GCC
UN Mission in Afghanistan
UN office in Georgia
UN World Food Program
Undersec of Foreign Trade
Undersec. Foreign Trade
Union Bancaire Privee
United Nations
United States Embassy
United States Congress
University of Indonesia
Upwardly Global
US Army
US Attorney’s Office
US Department of State
US Holocaust Memorial Museum
US Marine Corps
US Navy
USAID Southern Africa
Van Bael & Bellis LLP
Vice Ministry of  F Trade
Virilion, Inc.
WBUR Boston’s NPR Station
Wells Fargo Financial
Wensli Group
Westex Group, Inc
Westside Community Church
Westwood One/FOX News
WI Conservation Voters
Wildlife Trust
WMH Corporation
Women Moving Millions
Women’s Initiative
World Bank Headquarters
World Economic Forum
Xinhua News Agency
Yangtze Delta CDM Center
Yeh Wah Arts and Language
Youth Initiative for HR

And the answer to the question – the number one most recent employer of students joining us this fall was the U.S. Peace Corps.

"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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