Note from Admissions: We’re introducing our new group of program assistants with the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, starting earlier with Catherine Born MPA ’22.

Nick Chun is a second-year MIA student with a concentration in Human Rights/Humanitarian Policy (HRHP) and specialization in Technology, Media, and Communications (TMAC). He earned his BA at the University of California, Berkeley (Go Bears!), where he majored in Political Science and minored in French. Prior to arriving at SIPA after completing his undergraduate studies, Nick had completed internships with organizations such as the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea and the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea in addition to conducting research on human rights abuses during the Italian campaign of WWII.

What has been the best part of your SIPA experience?

The best part, for me, has been meeting individuals from a variety of professional and personal backgrounds and getting to know them on a closer level. Before arriving, I will admit that I was intimidated by the dynamics of graduate school, but I quickly learned that students at SIPA are here to learn and are very supportive of one another in that journey. While I have appreciated the chance to learn from others’ professional experiences, it has been equally satisfying to see fellow classmates at socials and community events.

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

Time management can be a challenge. There are often so many interesting events to attend at SIPA, but these can sometimes conflict with course schedules or even with one another. Fortunately, recordings are common! Certain courses may require more time than others as well. My recommendation is to do your best in planning your week in advance so that you can prepare well for classes and enjoy professional (or even social) events on the side with minimal stress.

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

Upon graduation, I would like to work in the field of refugee resettlement and integration. As a child of immigrants, I have some understanding of the challenges that come with relocating to an unfamiliar country with new languages, foods, customs, etc. I would like to assist in that transition process and ensure that refugees feel comfortable in their new homes. I would also like to support the process of building stronger respect and understanding between refugees and members of the host country to facilitate a greater sense of community.

What advice do you have for current applicants?

It definitely helps to have a form of “narrative” that illustrates your path and demonstrates why SIPA is the next step. In other words, try to show how your past experiences have shaped you and your interests. I would also recommend being specific and doing your research before applying so that you can indicate the opportunities, courses, faculty, etc. that are of interest to you and how they would enhance your time at SIPA. As a general note, give yourself extra time to complete your Statement of Purpose, and really try to illustrate the type of person you are to the Admissions Committee.

Did you have a lot of quantitative experience when you applied to SIPA? Why or why not? How did you perform in those classes?

Not too much. I had taken several calculus courses, an introductory economics course, and a statistics course at UC Berkeley (when I was convinced I wanted to pursue Business), but had forgotten most of the material by the time I graduated (whoops!). That being said, the U6300 and U6301 sequence and U6500 were manageable and taught by professors who were highly passionate about those topics. For those who may be unfamiliar, the U6300 and U6301 sequence includes two courses on microeconomics and macroeconomics, respectively, and U6500 focuses on quantitative and statistical analysis. These courses are a core component of the MIA and MPA programs’ curriculum.  I attended many office hours and recitations to better understand the material, but having a cooperative and supportive group of peers to work with was incredibly helpful, too.