October and November Travel Notes

Representatives of HKS continue to travel both domestically and abroad and below are some upcoming opportunities to learn more about HKS. If details are pending please check our recruitment calendar and this blog for updates.

We will also be participating in and leading some virtual information sessions in the next two months. Most of these sessions are still in the planning stages and details will be posted to this blog when the sessions are finalized.

Also, we still have several on campus Open House events. Our October 27 Open House is at capacity, for other dates please click here

Finally, we also have information sessions and tours each week, details are available here

In Person Visits

La Paz, Bolivia - Thursday, October 2, click here for details.

Mexico City, CIDE - Tuesday, October 7, click here for details

Mexico City, UNAM - Wednesday, October 8, click here for details

Monterrey, Mexico - Thursday and Friday, October 9 and 10, details pending. 

Anchorage, Alaska - Week of October 13, details pending. 

Phoenix, Arizona - Tuesday, October 14, click here for details

Tunis, Tunisia - Tuesday, October 14, click here for details.

Houston, Texas - Wednesday, October 15, click here for details

New Orleans, Louisiana - Thursday, October 16, click here for details.

New Orleans, Louisiana - Friday, October 17, click here for details.

Casablanca, Morocco - Monday, October 20, click here for details.

Abu Dhabi, UAE - Monday, October 20, click here for details.

Miami, Florida - Monday, October 20, click here for details

Dubai, UAE - Tuesday, October 21, click here for details

Rabat, Morocco - Tuesday, October 21, click here for details

Chicago, Illinois - Thursday, October 23, click here for details.  

Columbus, Ohio - Monday, October 27, click here for details

Washington, DC - Tuesday, October 28, click here for details

Seattle, Washington - Monday, November 3, click here for details

Portland, Oregon - Tuesday, November 4, click here for details.

Los Angeles, California - Monday, November 10, click here for details.

Virtual Information Sessions

HKS MC/MPA Mason Digital Session - Monday, October 20, details pending.

APSIA Virtual Information Session - Tuesday, October 21, click here for details

2014 New Student Information Post 1: MPP

I thought that prospective candidates might like to know a little bit about the new students who have joined us this year. This is the first in a series of posts on some of the biographical and background information of those starting this year. We start with the MPP program.

Previous Employment Sector


Average Age: 26.1

Male: 54%

Female: 46%

Countries of Citizenship (29)


Undergraduate Institutions (111)

Aquinas College
Australian National University
Azusa Pacific University
Barnard College
Bentley University
Binghamton University
Bond University
Boston College
Bowdoin College
Brandeis University
Brigham Young University
Brown University
Bryn Mawr College
Carleton College
Case Western Reserve University
Claremont Mckenna College
Colgate University
College Of William And Mary
Cornell University-Endowed Colleges
Dartmouth College
Duke University
Ecole Polytechnique
Emory University
Erasmus University Rotterdam
European Business School Schloãÿ Reichartshausen
Florida International University
Florida State University
Freie Universitã¤T Berlin
George Washington University
Georgetown University
Harvard University
Haverford College
Instituto Tecnologico Y De Estudios Superiores De Monterrey
Johns Hopkins University
Lahore University Of Management Sciences
Massachusetts Institute Of Technology
Mcgill University
Mcmaster University
Middlebury College
Monash University
Mount Saint Marys College
Nalsar University Of Law
Nanyang Technological University
New York University
Northeastern University
Northern Jiaotong University
Northwestern University
Occidental College
Ohio State University-Main Campus
Oklahoma City University
Peking University
Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
Pepperdine University
Pontifã­Cia Universidade Catã³Lica De Sã£O Paulo
Princeton University
Renmin University Of China
Republic Of Korea Air Force Academy
Rice University
Rutgers University-New Brunswick
Spelman College
Stanford University
Stockholm School Of Economics
Syracuse University
Texas Tech University
The University Of Texas At Austin
Tokyo University
Trinity College Ct
Trinity College, Dublin
Tsinghua University
Tufts University
United States Air Force Academy
United States Military Academy
United States Naval Academy
Universidad De Los Andes
Universidade Federal De Pernambuco
Universitat Fridericana Karlsruhe (Technische Hochschule)
University Of Arkansas At Fayetteville
University Of California-Berkeley
University Of Cambridge
University Of Chicago
University Of Commerce Luigi Bocconi
University Of Florida
University Of Illinois At Urbana
University Of Melbourne
University Of Michigan-Ann Arbor
University Of Minnesota Twin Cities
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill
University Of Notre Dame
University Of Oklahoma Norman Campus
University Of Oxford
University Of Pennsylvania
University Of San Francisco
University Of Sheffield
University Of Sydney
University Of Technology Sydney
University Of Utah
University Of Virginia
University Of Virginia-Main Campus
University Of Washington
University Of Wisconsin-Madison
University Of Wollongong
Vassar College
Wake Forest University
Washington University
Wellesley College
Wesleyan University
Williams College
Yale University
Yeshiva University
Yonsei University
Zhongnan University Of Economics And Law

Tags: MPP

Fall 2014 HKS Tours

The admissions office is pleased to introduce our new tour guide, Derek Pham, a first year student in the Master in Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. Prior to his arrival on campus, he attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where he majored in international politics. He spent his time in DC engaged in policy research devoted to Southeast Asia.

Upon graduating, he served as a Teach for America corps member in Houston, Texas teaching 7th grade reading. After completing his TFA service, he moved to South Boston to teach at the UP Academy Charter School of Boston. His experience in public education motivated him to apply to HKS where he wants to explore opportunities in government innovation, and how to effectively and efficiently manage public service delivery across sectors. In his spare time, he enjoys the outdoors, fitness, and foodie trips.


You do not need to RSVP to attend a tour, and you may attend a tour without attending an information session.

October Schedule:

Monday and Wednesday: 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Friday: 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

November Schedule:

Monday and Wednesday: 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Friday: 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Please click here for information session registration information.

2014 MPA/ID Open House

The Open House for Prospective Students interested in the MPA/ID Program will be held on Monday, October 6. The Open House provides an opportunity to hear from the faculty chair, Professor Lant Pritchett; to learn about courses, internship and careers; to have lunch with current students; and to attend an MPA/ID core course.

For schedule and registration information click here.

Of course we know that it’s not possible for many of you to visit on October 6. You are welcome to visit any time that fits your plans. Monday through Thursday from September through November, and February through April are best, as classes are in session.  Below are a few testimonials about the Open House.

“The greatest benefit from the Open House was hearing Professor Pritchett clearly explain the vision of the program and how it is structured to achieve it. I walked away understanding precisely the kind of practitioner the program was designed to develop. In addition, I got to sample what life as a student would be like when I sat in on Professor Khwaja’s class as they discussed education policy in Pakistan. Sitting in the classroom, hearing a lively evidence-based discussion of school allocation convinced me that this is where I needed to be.” – Sid Ravinutala, MPA/ID 2016

“I attended the MPA/ID Open House last fall and came away very excited to apply for the program. I found the program overview and careers section of the day most useful as they gave me a clearer picture of whether I fit into the program and what I could gain from it. I also found talking to the current MPA/ID students (during lunch and later at the student panel) very helpful. It was a great way to get honest insight into the program. In fact, I kept in touch with one of the students I met at the Open House and she was very helpful during the application process.” – Shweta Suresh, MPA/ID 2016 

“Last year, I came to the Open House of the MPA/ID program with the hope of seeing for myself the school and program environment. It was a great opportunity to get a comprehensive view of the program, ask questions about academic and financial issues, and meet some of the faculty, staff and students in the program. Personally, I had the chance to visit Professor Pritchett’s class, which gave me a sense of what classes are like in the program and immediately challenged my views about development.

The most relevant part of the Open House was that for a complete day I could feel what it is like to be part of the Kennedy School community. I got a sense of all the resources the school has, from several cutting-edge research centers to speeches or discussions with leaders from all over the world. Throughout my application process to graduate schools, my visit to the MPA/ID Open House was my most valuable experience since it helped me realize that if I wanted to pursue a master’s degree in public policy, the MPA/ID would be my first choice.” – Juan Obach, MPA/ID 2016

2014-2015 HKS Student Ambassadors - Post 2

The HKS Student Ambassadors program is chaired by two students each year and Phoebe Kotlikoff (just starting the second year of her MPP program) authored a recent post. In this entry we feature the second co-chair, Deng Majok Chol. If you are a prospective student with questions simply visit this form and fill in your information in order to contact an HKS student ambassador. 


Dear Prospective Students,

My name is Deng Majok Chol and I am a Master of Public Administration Candidate, 2015 from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. I am also a Dubin Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership and a Co-Chair of the Harvard African Development Conference, Africa Caucus. This year, I will be working for YOU as part of the HKS Student Ambassadors Program which will help pair future students like you with current students who are excited to answer your questions and show you around campus.

Before HKS, I went to George Washington University and earned an MBA in Global Business Management and I attended Arizona State University, and earned a B. S. in Political Science, and minor in Economics. At ASU, I was the President of the African Student Union.

The past summer, I focused on ways to stop South Sudan violence and to bring about inclusive peaceful and political solution. My internship was three-fold: 1) Engaging the U.S. State Department, White House, and Capitol Hill to exercise Leadership on South Sudan violence from the front seat; 2) Working on a proposal to include representatives of millions South Sudanese outside the country on the Peace Negotiation table in Addis Ababa- including trips to Nairobi, and Addis Ababa; 3) raising a goal of $50,000 to assistant with disastrous humanitarian conditions in South Sudan by purchasing food items in Kenya and charter a plane to fly them and distribute them to displaced persons in displaced camps.

I am excited to be working with both current and prospective HKS students this year. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Deng Majok Chol, MPA ‘15

Tags: student life

Knox Fellowship Information

Are you a citizen of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom?  The Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship program provides funding for students from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom to conduct graduate study at Harvard University.

This is a generous fellowship which covers, in most instances, the full cost of attendance for your degree program at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS).

Please consult the Knox website for additional information about eligibility requirements and the process of applying. Please also note that the deadline to apply for this fellowship varies from country to country and is often earlier than the deadline to apply for admission at HKS. We encourage you to consult the Knox Fellowship website as soon as possible to be certain that you do not miss any important deadlines.

For comprehensive information on fellowships and scholarships available through HKS and Harvard, please click here

2014 Essay Notes - Post 2

This post is the second in a series on my review of application essays (and other documents in the application) from last year. The goal is not to provide a specific template for how to write an effective essay, my hope is that my thoughts will help applicants reflect on ways to highlight their own personal motivations and experiences in unique ways.

As stated in the first post, I am not going to adhere to standard grammar rules as I type, I am going to try to capture my thoughts at the time I am reading.  The essay topic is below, but this exact statement is not used this year and not all programs use the same essays (essays for this year can be accessed here). Still, I feel my comments will help provide guidance as applicants consider the essay topics for this year. 

The Resume

The resume sets the wrong tone right away - most of it is focused on research and writing and there is no mention of anything regarding leadership, service, or volunteer work. HKS is not a research program, we are a professional skills development program. We of course want individuals capable of handling our rigorous curriculum, however “stand out” applicants are “doers.” We get excited about people who not only seek to better themselves, but who show evidence of making a difference in the lives of others in some way.

Essay Question (MPP)

The HKS motto, evoking our Presidential namesake, is “Ask what you can do.” Please share with the Admissions Committee your plans to create positive change through your leadership and service, and how an MPP/MPA2 from HKS will prepare you to do so (500 word limit). 

My Notes

Ugh, the applicant starts by stating “When I was a student at a top school …” It is not necessary for an applicant to address the caliber of a school in an essay. Develops a bit of momentum over the next few sentences by noting that his desire to make a difference for underprivledged groups was the motivation in taking on the first job out of school. The job was in communications and had to do with telling stories, but he felt that addressing the root causes was important - and his story telling did not give him the ability to solve the problems he was seeing. He goes on to describe some of the research performed in the past which is fine - but this same information was in the resume.

The last paragraph should have been the first paragraph. In the very last sentence he finally states the goal - he lays out the kind of job he wants and hints at some different organizations where he might be able to make a difference. The essay would have been much more effective if this had been stated in the beginning, and the rest of the essay went on to support the case. One sentence was tossed in at end about what he hoped to gain at HKS - felt like he was tossing it in because he had to meet a requirement, was not a natural part of the essay. 

Essay 2

I won’t spend time critiquing this essay because the topic is different this year, but it is quite obvious this applicant substituted an essay written for another program. The essay in no way followed the topic of the essay and it shows a lack of attention to detail. Trying to write a general essay to submit to multiple programs is a bad idea. Essays should be specific to the school/program. 


While it is fine for there to be some duplication in different parts of an application, ideally each part of the application should provide a fresh perspective. The essay here was not fresh or filled with any passion, it just restated a lot of what was in the resume.

Series Entries

Post 1

Announcing the 2015-2016 Emirates Leadership Initiative Fellowship



The following message was submitted to us by Barbara Best, Director of Student and Fellows Programs at the HKS Center for Public Leadership. Matt Clemons, Director of Admissions, will travel to Abu Dhabi on October 20 and Dubai on October 21 to lead public information sessions for prospective applicants. Arrangements for the information sessions are still being finalized. When we have firm details we will post an announcement to this blog and list the events on our recruitment calendar.

                                 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

The Center for Public Leadership (CPL) at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) has recently launched the inaugural cohort of the Emirates Leadership Initiative Fellowship, a fellowship for emerging public- and private-sector leaders from the United Arab Emirates and the Middle East.
CPL is working with admissions to recruit our second cohort of fellows. We are looking to recruit rising stars from across the region to apply to HKS by December 2, 2014. These fellows will come to Harvard and immerse themselves in discussions about global leadership and change; they will learn from Harvard faculty and from each other, and will emerge with new skills and ideas to apply to the region and to the world.
The Emirates Fellowship provides a full tuition scholarship, health insurance, a living stipend, and a comprehensive co-curricular program for up to ten admitted HKS degree candidates each academic year. Up to five fellowships per year will be awarded to candidates from the United Arab Emirates and the remaining fellowships will be awarded to candidates from throughout the Arab region.
To apply for the 2015-2016 academic year, prospective degree candidates will have to complete two steps:
First, apply to HKS by December 2, 2014.
Second, apply for the fellowship by February 26, 2015.
To learn more about the Emirates Fellowship, click here
If you—or anyone interested in applying—have any questions about the fellowship, please contact me at Barbara_Best@hks.harvard.edu or (617) 496-5906.

Harvard Asian American Policy Review Journal

HKS students have the opportunity to contribute to eight student-run, nonpartisan policy journals. Available both in print and online, the journals offer thoughtful debate, research and commentary from academics and practitioners on important policy issues. Below is an invitation sent out by the Harvard Asian American Policy Review Journal regarding open positions. 

Previous blog entries have featured information on the Africa Policy Journal, the Journal of African American Public Policy, the Journal of Hispanic Policy, the Kennedy School Review, and the LGBTQ Policy Journal.

A blog post with links to all the journal web pages can be accessed here.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

The Harvard Asian American Policy Review Journal is looking for an Editor in Chief and Editor Staff for the upcoming 2014-2015 academic year. Founded in 1989, the Asian American Policy Review Journal is the first nonpartisan academic journal in the country dedicated to analyzing public policy issues facing the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. The Journal is published once a year in the spring semester.

Our mission is to:

  • Serve as a resource to policy analysts and advocates in public, private, and non-profit organizations
  • Provide a forum for scholarship and publication on issues related to the Asian American community’s political, social and economic development
  • Provide experience to future policy analysts and advocates
  • Develop interest in Asian American issues

Each year, the journal examines a wide range of issues in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Leading academics, advocates, and policy makers present their vision for the continued prosperity of the AAPI community. This year’s edition features fantastic authors who have written on topics as wide-ranging as how art can inform public policy analysis, disaggregating Asian Pacific American data, the intersection of race, gender, and nationality within political campaigns, health care policies that disproportionately affect segments of the Asian Pacific American population, and more. You can order a copy of the 2014 journal here: http://hksaapr.com/subscribe/

If you have any questions about the Asian American Policy Review Journal or would like to submit an application for the Editor in Chief or Staff positions, please feel free to contact Rebecca Yang at rebecca_yang@hks14.harvard.edu or Adam Luck at adam_luck@hks15.harvard.edu. You can also check out our new website here.


Tags: student life

2015 Public Policy and Leadership Conference (PPLC) Application Now Available

We are happy to announce that the 2015 Public Policy and Leadership Conference (PPLC) application is now available. As a reminder, PPLC is designed for first and second year undergraduate students who are U.S. Citizens or permanent residents. Applicants to the program must have at least a 3.5 GPA and an interest in public service.

A previous PPLC post written last year by our Associate Director of Admissions, Marny Mitchell, provides a great summary of the program and can be accessed here. We have already posted one interview from a 2014 participant and interviews featuring 2012 participants can accessed here. Overall we have 19 posts tagged with “PPLC” and all of them can be viewed here

To access the 2015 PPLC application please click here.

Tags: pplc