One of the reasons I chose SIPA was because of its multidisciplinary approach to International Affairs. I loved the fact that each student could choose their own path based on their own interests, without having to be set on just one thematic track. Each one of us could mix and match concentrations and specializations, getting skills ranging from conflict resolution to cost-benefit analysis. I also liked the fact that there was a mandatory core curriculum – which, although a bit scary for those of us without a strong quantitative background – would allow us to gain an overarching understanding of the rationale behind policies.
That being said, there was one class I said I was never going to take: Quantitative Analysis II. Not me. No way. You couldn’t pay me to do it. More statistics beyond Quant I? No, thank you. I’ll pass.
Then I got an internship with a multilateral organization (you may have read about it in my introduction post) and realized the extent to which quantitative skills are actually useful – and needed – in every single realm of the international affairs world. Sure, economics needs quantitative analysis but so does peacebuilding, development, human rights… they all benefit from analyzing numerical data to inform their initiatives. Just like that, I did not only realize the potential implications of having these skills beyond the basics, but also found them extremely interesting. After claiming up and down that I would not be taking any more quantitative classes, there I was, sitting in a classroom ready to start Quant II.
While the required Quant I class gave me the basics, Quant II immensely helped me understand the applications of statistics and get familiar with its language. I became comfortable using STATA, but most importantly, learned to understand regressions, read quantitative studies, produce graphs, among others. I expanded my abilities in ways I never imagined I would be, and in doing so, became not only more prepared to face challenges, but also more competitive in the job market.
I cannot stress enough how grateful I am to have made the decision to take the Quant II class. It was challenging, but extremely rewarding, as its lessons spill over further courses and realities. Taking further math-related classes, applying to institutions such as the World Bank, dealing with databases or program design, it was all much easier. So if you are like me – with an average quantitative background, reluctant to take further classes involving numbers – I invite you to consider taking this class. Bluntly said, it was one of the best decisions I could have made.