HKS & HBS Information Session for Women in Mexico City

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HKS and HBS will co-host an information session for women in Mexico City on Friday, October 3. This event is designed for prospective women applicants to learn more about the graduate programs at Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School. The event will include admissions presentations and the opportunity to ask questions to a panel of HBS and HKS women alumni. A reception will follow the presentations.

While this event is specifically designed for women with an interest in these programs, we will have other events which will be open to the public in both Mexico City and Monterrey in October as well. Other events are still in the planning stages and when finalized, details will be posted to this blog.

If you are woman with an interest in HKS, HBS or in both we welcome you to click here to register for this event in Mexico City. An RSVP in required and space for this event is limited. Participation will be on first come, first served basis. 

2014 Summer Student Series — Post 19: Mia Mitchell (second post), MPP ‘15 

Click here to view Mia’s first post in the series.

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I spent this summer in Nepal working to increase women’s Internet access and digital skills through Code for Nepal, an organization I co-founded earlier this year. Code for Nepal’s mission is to increase open data and digital literacy in Nepal, especially for women and minorities. The initiative was born out of research I conducted during my first year at HKS and was officially founded at DC’s Open Data Day at the World Bank in February 2014.


From May to July, I worked on designing and administering a survey to gather more information about Nepalese women’s use of the Internet and computers. The survey was conducted in universities and high schools in two cities, Kathmandu (Nepal’s capital) and Janakpur (a small city in south-central Nepal). Based on the results, we designed a two-week Digital Empowerment Training for women. The training was conducted in partnership with Mozilla’s Webmaker initiative, Subisu Cablenet Pvt. Ltd. (a local Internet service provider), and Wigan and Leigh College (a local college that hosted the training), as well as with the generous support of the Carr Center at HKS and numerous donors from around the world.

Twenty-one women participated in the training, which featured guest lectures from leading entrepreneurs, journalists, coders, and social media strategists in Nepal. The training was held in Kathmandu and geared toward women who had regular or semi-regular access to the Internet, but were looking to increase their digital skills (e.g. almost all had Facebook profiles before the training started, but few had ever coded or blogged).

The training successfully wrapped up in early August. The participants are now working on their final projects, which require them to apply the digital skills they learned to address a social issue in Nepal. For instance, one team is working to build an app to educate new drivers about traffic rules in Kathmandu to help reduce vehicle-related fatalities. Another team will conduct their own digital empowerment training for women in a rural district of Nepal. You can read what some of the participants had to say about their experiences with Code for Nepal on the blogs they launched during the training: here, here, and here.

I’m looking forward to heading back to Cambridge soon to start classes and plan the next steps for Code for Nepal. Our goal is to take the initiative outside of Kathmandu Valley to reach people in smaller cities and rural areas with little or no exposure to the Internet. We’ll also continue working on the open data side of our mission, producing practical data products to better inform public policy (e.g. you can check out here our mapping of poverty rates and student-teacher ratios in Nepal). To learn more about Code for Nepal’s next steps, you can also check out our website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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2014 Summer Series Links

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Tags: MPP internship

40% of 2014-2015 White House Fellows are HKS Graduates

The recipients of the prestigious White House Fellowship for 2014-2015 have been an announced and HKS is well represented. 6 of the 15 selected are HKS graduates and 2 others spent time at HKS as fellows. All together, 53% of the new fellows either graduated from HKS or participated in fellows programs at HKS. The following text is from the official press release.

The White House Fellows program was created in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson to give promising American leaders “first hand, high-level experience with the workings of the Federal government, and to increase their sense of participation in national affairs.” This unique opportunity to work within our nation’s government is designed to encourage active citizenship and a lifelong commitment to service. The Fellows take part in an education program designed to broaden their knowledge of leadership, policy formulation, and current affairs. Community service is another essential element of the program, and Fellows participate in service projects throughout their year in Washington, D.C.

Selection as a White House Fellow is highly competitive and based on a record of professional achievement, evidence of leadership potential, and a proven commitment to public service. Each Fellow must possess the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute meaningfully at senior levels in the Federal government. Throughout its history, the program has fostered leaders in many fields, including leaders in government, business, law, media, medicine, education, diplomacy, and the military.

Those selected with an HKS affiliation are: 

Megan E. Carroll, MPP ‘09

Jacob E. Donnelly, MPAID/MBA ‘11, CPL George Fellow

Jonathan M. Dorsey, MPA/MBA (Stanford) ‘14; CPL Zuckerman Fellow

Kate F. Higgins-Bloom, MPA ‘11

Marisa L. Porges, Belfer Center Fellow; (Harvard College ‘00)

Mario Luis Ramirez, MPP/MD ‘07

Lindsay L. Rodman, MPP/JD ‘07

Edward Sheen, CPL Zuckerman Fellow; MPH ‘09

For more information on the White House Fellows Program visit their website. Here also is a YouTube video on the program:

Tags: alumni

2014 Summer Student Series — Post 18: Cassie Collier, MPP ‘15

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Cassie Collier is a Master in Public Policy student focusing on the social entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility spaces. At her first year at the Kennedy School, she was an operations manager for the Social Enterprise Conference (SECON), a joint HKS/HBS student-led initiative, as well as a mentor in the Harvard College Social Innovation Collaborative. Prior to graduate school, Cassie served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua, where she consulted micro-business owners and implemented national entrepreneurship curricula in local high schools. She was also a City Year corps member at an inner-city school in South Boston, MA. Born and raised in Central Pennsylvania, Cassie graduated with a B.S. in Business Economics from Susquehanna University.


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Happy August! As summer draws to a close, I wanted to reflect upon and share a bit about my 10-week internship with Ashoka, a citizen-sector organization that creates and inspires changemakers from around the world.

My journey to Ashoka began my first semester at HKS while attending a social enterprise-related event at the Harvard Innovation Lab (i-lab). Ashoka’s Josh Collins was recruiting graduate school advisors for a new initiative called Catapult, a four-month business incubator for high school entrepreneurs. Compelled by the mission, I came on board as an advisor to a team of 10th-12th graders launching an online platform called the Political Youth Network. Over the course of the program, I was extremely impressed by not only the natural drive and entrepreneurial spirit that the team possessed, but also their ability to fearlessly pitch in front of a panel of judges in our culminating Demo Day.

Ashoka offered me a summer internship position soon after, and I started at our New York office in early June. The exciting part of Catapult for me is seeing its larger vision that embodies Ashoka’s theory of change: in order to build a changemaking society, everyone must master the four skills of empathy, teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership. Thus, not only does Catapult teach students entrepreneurial-oriented skills, but we strive to infuse the holistic Ashoka framework into each element of programming.

While there have been many highlights thus far, the best part of the position has been the opportunity to work on  a small three-person team within Ashoka that allows me to take a key role in the development of Catapult. I’ve been able to get involved in all pieces of the program – everything from the design and launch of our new website to the creation of Ashoka’s Catapult expansion plan to Harvard, Stanford, and University of Pennsylvania.

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One of the aspects I’m most passionate about is the emphasis my team and I are placing in the social enterprise-centric curricula of the program. Knowing these high-achieving students will be the ones leading companies in 10-15 years, we want Ashoka’s Catapult to be the first-touch point that trains them in sustainable business practices. Thus, my specific role this summer has been to source and engage people from top triple-bottom-line businesses that can be instrumental partners of Ashoka’s Catapult, whether in the role of guest speaker, workshop facilitator, or team advisor.

Aside from the professional skills my internship has provided me, I’ve been extremely fortunate to have developed wonderful friendships. My two team members, Josh and Kaveh, have made each day at the office a wonderful juxtaposition: fun yet productive. They are not only talented in building a great program, but they have created a work environment that I would only be so lucky to have replicated in future jobs.

Last but not least, I’m fortunate that my internship allowed me to spend quality time with my sister, Jackie, who lives and works in New York. Whether it was going to the midnight premiere of Boyhood, eating at the newest Thai restaurant, or watching her stand-up comedy debut, she created memories for me that will make my summer of 2014 unforgettable.

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2014 Summer Series Links

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Tags: MPP internship

2014 Summer Student Series — Post 17: Francisco Delgado, MPA/ID ‘15 

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Born in San Jose, Costa Rica, Francisco Delgado MPA/ID 2015 was able to attend the Harvard Kennedy School thanks to the Joint Japan-World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program, which supports scholars from developing countries committed to careers in the public sector. He also was granted a Dubin Fellowship from the Center of Public Leadership. Before joining the HKS community, Francisco served as advisor to the Minister of National Planning and Economic Policy in his native country. He graduated with the Highest Honors in Economics from the University of Costa Rica.

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Soon my summer internship in Geneva, Switzerland, will be done. I’ve been working at the World Trade Organization (WTO) trying to build capabilities of government officials in international trade issues. Specifically, I am preparing a report about public policies related to trade in Pakistan. A complete assessment of the country’s economic performance and the measures that affect trade are presented to all members of the organization, in a meeting that requires almost two days for discussion. This exercise is very relevant particularly for developing countries, which use this report as a key input to implement reforms. Analyzing policies for a country other than your own is a very challenging work, but despite of that I have enjoyed the opportunity to discover Pakistan’s strengths, weaknesses and even a particular way of doing politics.

In addition to my direct tasks at the Trade Policies Review Division, I feel highly interested about what is happening in the organization. With members of Missions of 160 countries always around the building, the international trade agenda is actually defined just few steps away from my office. It doesn´t take you too much to realize this fact when you are encouraged to attend the different meetings, either informal committees on agriculture, services, intellectual property, dispute settlement, or the General Council.

For instance, an agreement on trade facilitation, known as the Bali Agreement, broke down last week because no consensus was reached among countries to implement a protocol that would improve customs procedures and also provide technical assistance and capacity building in this area for developing and least-developed countries. It could have been the most important achievement of the WTO after the Uruguay Round, but negotiations among delegations could not find a deal, basically because India showed a strong opposition. Economics, politics and diplomacy all combined in a room where every country has a particular interest.

Before joining the MPA-ID program, my professional experience was basically in the public sector at the national level. Therefore, I tried to find an internship in a multilateral organization to be able to explore a new working field for me. Every task and activity has been an incredibly enriching opportunity to become immersed in technical and political processes and to think about development with great integrity. As you can tell, I have no regrets. I really appreciate the generosity of Glenn Dubin and the Center for Public Leadership for supporting me in such a valuable experience.

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2014 Summer Series Links

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2015 Application Long-Term Planning Series - Post 10

Submitting a resume is a required part of the admission application process and it is never too soon to review your current resume and then update it on a continual basis. As a reminder, applicants are asked to submit additional information about their quantitative background/skills in another resume or essay format as well. Specific details on this topic are in this previous post. Some applicants ask if we would rather see a curriculum vitae (CV) and the answer is that we like to see a sort of cross between a resume and a CV.

When comparing a resume to a CV, it can be said that a resume is generally shorter and more limited in scope than a CV. The Admissions Committee does like to have access to information on the personal, academic, and professional background of each applicant, but a traditional CV likely would be overkill in terms of the amount of information provided. Thus applicants are encouraged to find a balance, including information that will help the Committee learn about your growth and track your areas of interest, while keeping the document a reasonable length.

An employer reviewing a resume to see if an applicant is a good fit for a job might not be interested in honors received, academic research performed, participation in student organizations, volunteer involvement, and extracurricular activities and interests, but the Admissions Committee is interested in these things.  A resume submitted for admission purposes thus might be longer than a resume submitted for employment purposes.  Readability is also important, so avoiding the use of small fonts and margins is advisable.  A longer resume that is easy to read is preferable to a shorter resume that is difficult to read.

A good guide for resume length is between two and four pages. There is no magic number of pages, include content you believe will provide the Committee with a solid understanding of your background and development. If you are happy and confident that a two page resume captures who you are, stick with it.  Do not feel compelled to hit a certain number of pages.

Reviewing your resume on a consistent basis, perhaps once a month, is a great way to keep the content current and engaging.  Although the duties of a particular job might be consistent, it is common for people to be called into special projects or to use skills in new or creative ways.  Revisiting your resume on a consistent basis rather than waiting until right before the deadline will allow you to include the most engaging content possible. 

Here are a few pieces of advice to consider regarding the resume you will submit as part of the application process.

1. Have a few people who know you well review your resume.  This is good advice just in terms of proof reading, however if you choose some people you have worked with they might think of content you missed. 

2. Make sure to include both month and year information when referencing jobs, internships, and other experiences. We are interested in the specific length of your experiences and just providing the year is too broad.  If the experience was only a few weeks, do please include the number of weeks.

3. Consider sending your resume to those who will be writing your letters of recommendation.

4. As stated in the notes above, use a standard sized font and try to make your resume as easy to read as possible.  White space is good. A resume with content that is packed together and difficult to read is not easy to review.

One last piece of advice, not only for your resume but for all of the documents you submit, include your name and the degree program you are applying to in the upper right-hand corner of each page. 

 

2014 Summer Student Series — Post 16: Erin Patten (2nd post), MPP/MBA ‘15

Please click here to view Erin’s first post in the series.

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After my first few weeks in Detroit and at Shinola I was convinced that I was in the right place at the right time. Since I arrived, I’ve participated in the Shinola sponsored Grand Prix on Belle Isle, the opening of a new apparel store Willy’s, and the simultaneous opening of a new Shinola dog park and one-year anniversary celebration of the Shinola Detroit store opening. Phew, that was a lot in one sentence! Though I signed up to intern with the Supply Management team, I have found myself dabbling in all areas of the business thanks to a 2-week rotational program.

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As part of the marketing team, I was able to work directly with the many local organizations involved in the dog park launch and anniversary block party, which helped me to understand the familial dynamic the city demonstrates when it comes to improving community. The one block in Midtown that Shinola took over for a cold, rainy day was packed with area residents all feasting on local eats, drinking local brews, and shopping in the local stores.

One of the most exciting moments of the day was meeting “Detroit booster” Emily T. Gail (pictured above). Emily started a “Say Nice Things About Detroit” campaign in the 1970s well before the city bankruptcy and its subsequent backlash. Many have touted her slogan since, but none embodies the spirit as she does. Although Emily no longer lives in the city, the Detroit community still cherishes her legacy as she truly inspired a movement. I felt her amazing energy through our conversation and throughout the evening she made me feel so special introducing me to all of her former as well as new friends.

This city is so full of gems and I’m so very happy Shinola brings the jewels together.

2014 Summer Series Links

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2015 Application Long-Term Planning Series - Post 9

This entry continues our series focused on helping applicants to prepare for the launch of our online application in September. Some prospects have contacted us requesting more detailed information regarding how letters are submitted and what is asked of those completing letters of recommendation. The following text is from the portion of our application instructions on letters of recommendation.

* Begin * 

Three recommendations are required and should be submitted by individuals familiar with the applicant and his/her work. Recommendations provide the Admissions Committees with additional information relating to an applicant’s ability to perform in an academic and/or work setting. Only three recommendations will be accepted; applicants should not attempt to have any more than three letters submitted on their behalf.

For applicants who are still in college or have fewer than two years of work experience, two recommendations from university faculty members (one from your departmental major) are encouraged. The third may be from an immediate supervisor in a work setting or an internship.

For applicants with two or more years of work experience, two of the three recommendations should be from present or previous work colleagues, one of whom has been a supervisor. One academic reference is desirable. The Mid-Career MPA Admissions Committee understands that some applicants may be unable to submit recommendations from college professors. In such a case, select a current colleague or supervisor who can provide an assessment of your academic strengths.

Recommendations must be submitted online and must be written in English. The names and email addresses of those selected to recommend applicants should be entered on the online application. An email containing instructions, a user name, and a password will be sent to each registered recommender. After adding online recommenders, applicants may check the submission status by clicking on the “Recommendations” navigation link.

Re-applicants who choose to use recommendations submitted with a previous application should NOT SELECT ”Send to Recommender.” Doing so will prompt the recommender to submit a new online recommendation. Instead, select “Recommendation on file from previous application.” Requests need to be sent only to recommenders who will be providing new letters.

* End * 

In addition to uploading their letter of recommendation, recommendation writers are asked to rate applicants in the following areas by filling out an online grid.  

  • Intellectual ability
  • Analytic frame of mind
  • Problem-solving orientation
  • Quality of oral expression in English
  • Quality of written expression in English
  • Motivation and energy
  • Leadership
  • Organizational ability
  • Emotional maturity
  • Ability to meet a deadline
  • Ability to work with others
  • Commitment to public service

Further advice regarding letters of recommendation can be found in Post 2 and Post 3 of this series. 

2014 Summer Student Series — Post 15: Joanna Penn, MPP ‘15

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Hi, my name is Joanna Penn and in May I finished my first year of the MPP course at HKS. Before coming to the Kennedy School I worked in UK politics and policy for four years, finishing up as a Policy Advisor to the Home Secretary. Looking for a new adventure, but also wanting to build on the skills I’d developed professionally, I then went to work for the Africa Governance Initiative in Sierra Leone and then Malawi. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair founded AGI after he left office and the organization is focused on supporting leaders in African governments close the gap between their vision for their countries and the capacity within the government to deliver it. It was my time with AGI that led to my summer internship, and the chance to catch up with old friends back in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Arriving in Freetown is like no other place in the world. You step off the plane to a blast of damp hot air that you soon discover never cools down, even in the middle of the night. But the real magic is at the end of a bumpy mini-bus journey to catch the ‘pelican’. Sierra Leone’s airport is in Lungi, separated from the capital, Freetown, by a several hour drive on a potholed road or 30 minutes by boat across the estuary. Most people opt for the later and thus get their first impression of Freetown speeding across the waves, often with the sun setting ahead of them, wondering if their luggage made it on the boat too.

After returning to Sierra Leone after two years away, there were real signs of progress. The mountain road that connects the western side of Freetown to the rest of the peninsula and the rest of the country beyond had been transformed. Freetown’s first four-star hotel opened recently, and hosted America’s Second Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, during my stay. But despite this progress, Sierra Leone remains one of the poorest countries in the world— ranked 177 out of 187 countries globally on the U.N.’s Human Development Index. It struggles to provide basic necessities to its small but growing population: access to electricity, water and sanitation, basic healthcare, and education.

It was education that was the focus of my internship. Most children in Sierra Leone reach grade 4 unable to recognize all 26 letters of the alphabet, let alone read independently. At grade 9, 75% of students taking their Basic Education Certificate fail maths. Sierra Leone has significant prospects for economic growth in the coming years. Estimated real GDP growth was 16% in 2013 and is expected to stay in double digits in future years. But if children are not receiving a high quality education, Sierra Leone’s next generation will not be well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities such growth will bring.

The Rising Academy Network aims to change that. It is a new social enterprise seeking to become a leading provider of affordable, high-quality education in low-income countries in Africa, starting in Sierra Leone. This September, Rising Academies aims to open its first school and my role for the summer was to support the CEO to make that happen. Working for an organization at such an early stage meant that I got to turn my hand to an incredibly diverse set of tasks; from registering the school with the government, to recruiting teachers, refurbishing the school buildings, to marketing the school and engaging the local community. There was never a dull moment and the speed at which we were getting things done meant that my time flew by.

I definitely drew on some of my first year classes as I made my way through my internship: classroom negotiation simulations helped me barter with the chairman of the motor-cycle taxi drivers on how much we would pay them to ride around Freetown with fluorescent jackets on that advertise the school; and I thought about the lessons from our management class about the importance of creating a strong vision and purpose for the organization to unite around as we recruited new staff and started to become a small team. On the other hand, economics, statistics and econometrics felt like another world compared to holding a community meeting with the local chiefs and parents! My internship also left me with plenty of ideas about what I would like to study next year, including some really practical skills around budgeting and business planning.

But the thing that I’ve found in my first year at the Kennedy School is that it is about more than just the specific knowledge or skills you acquire, but the frame of mind and way of thinking that you bring to a problem. It teaches you to be structured and analytical, so regardless of the issue or area, whether it is familiar or not, you can take it on. Most importantly, being thrown together with a group of very clever people from around the world teaches you not to be intimidated, it teaches you to work with others and have the confidence to take on the next big challenge.

Organizing my summer was not completely straightforward. My first internship in Cincinnati fell through. Although Ohio seems a long way from Sierra Leone, I still managed to achieve what I had set out to do with my summer: to get closer to the people and communities that I had worked in politics in order to support, to work for a new organization, at the start of its journey to better understand the stresses and rewards of striking out on your own, and to work on a project where my presence made a difference. The great thing about working for a startup organization is there is definitely more work than people at the beginning!

Luckily for me, despite my first internship falling through, the Center for Public Leadership was still able to support my internship through a Dubin Summer Fellowship Grant, without which I may not have been able to travel to Sierra Leone. I think the best part of my time with Rising Academies was when we promoted our first employee to be Academy Manager. The pride he took in his work, and how much his promotion meant to him, made me realize how important the work of the Rising Academy Network is, not just to raise the standards of education in Sierra Leone, but providing jobs and opportunities to the next generation of young leaders in the country.

2014 Summer Series Links

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Tags: MPP internship

2015 Application Long-Term Planning Series - Post 8

All degree seeking HKS students, no matter the Master’s degree program, must complete courses related to economics and quantitative analysis. Strong undergraduate or graduate performance in classes that involve the use of quantitative methods is thus preferred. This can include, but is not limited to, math, economics, and statistics courses. Some applicants that do not take such classes as part of a degree program will enroll in such classes after graduating to improve their candidacy. 

Transcripts and test scores are certainly two areas we focus on to determine quantitative aptitude, however we do have a specific place on the admission application which allows applicants to go more into depth and describe other ways quantitative skills may have been developed and deployed.

For most of our programs submitting a quantitative resume or statement is required. Below is the language found on our application for each program in the Resume/CV section. Please note that t
he quantitative Resume/CV section is not a replacement or substitute for a standard Resume/CV. A separate future post will focus on the standard resume.

As a reminder our online application for 2015 admission consideration is set to be available in early September. The purpose of this series is to give people a jump start on application preparation. Links to the full series to date can be found at the end of this post. 

 

MPP - Required

The MPP program equips students with the skills needed to analyze and solve complex problems. When reviewing applications, the Admissions Committee looks for – among other things – evidence of analytical and quantitative capability and potential. Aptitude in these areas can be demonstrated through coursework and/or professional, volunteer, and internship experiences.

Please submit a résumé that summarizes relevant study and experience with analytic or quantitative material. Relevant coursework typically includes mathematics, statistics, economics, logic, science, information technology, and engineering. When listing coursework, please include main concepts studied and major assignments completed. (The website of your college or university is often a good way for you to obtain this information. Descriptions copied from the course catalog are helpful.)

If you choose to describe major projects completed in a professional, volunteer, or internship setting, please include details on the analytical or quantitative nature of the work performed. We recognize that there will probably be some overlap between the content of your academic/professional résumé and that of your analytical/quantitative résumé.

There is no set format for the analytical/quantitative resume. Feel free to use the samples provided as guides, but ultimately you should structure this information as you see fit. For MPP samples, click here.


MPA2 - Optional

Write a short paragraph (not more than half a page) describing some numerical data that illuminates a policy issue. Explain how analyzing or interpreting the data provides insight into that issue.


MC/MPA and MC/MPA Mason - Required

Write a short paragraph (not more than half a page) describing some numerical data that illuminates a policy issue. Explain how analyzing or interpreting the data provides insight into that issue.


MPA/ID - Required

At least one college level course in microeconomics, macroeconomics and multivariable calculus must be completed before enrollment. Statistics and linear algebra are desirable, but not required. Explain how you have met these requirements, or how you propose to meet them before enrolling in September. Please include descriptions of mathematics courses you have taken that covered calculus and multivariable calculus, as well as descriptions of any courses whose titles do not clearly indicate the content (e.g. Mathematics II or Advanced Mathematics). Official descriptions copied from your college’s course catalog or on-line course catalog are preferred. 

Non-Degree - Optional

Write a short paragraph (not more than half a page) describing some numerical data that illuminates a policy issue. Explain how analyzing or interpreting the data provides insight into that issue.