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those with master's degrees

okayplayer1

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hi all

i'm interested in pursuing a masters in public administration (MPA) or urban planning (MUP)...was wondering if anyone here has one and if its worth it. eventually i'd like to get into some type of consulting career.

also, i'll be taking my lsats in december...quick question: is law school worth it? i probably have no shot at a top 20.

broader question: if you have a masters...what did you get it in? what are you doing now? did you need it?
 

eg1

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I have an MA in English

I would be hard pressed to say that I use it in any significant way, but you need a post-grad degree to be taken seriously in many lines of work
 

rdawson808

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I work with many people with MPAs or MPPs. But it's government. I doubt too many of the consultants who do work for the people we regulate have them. But I couldn't tell you for sure. Plus it could just be this field.

We get almost all attorneys through our doors and the consultants' affidavits are usually PhD economists.

How about a joint JD/MPA?

b
 

Piobaire

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I didn't want to be the first to say it, but as said above, MPA = government employee 9 times out of 10.

As eg1 said, some areas you need a graduate degree, and it really doesn't matter what in.

To your last question, I have two, and I use things I learned in each of them all the time. If you want consulting, get an MBA. Maybe you can find an MPA/MBA program?
 

the.chikor

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I have and MBA. I ended up going to law school. Is it worth it? Well, if you know people who can get you a good job in either field-then yes-definately. IF not, well, I guess it just depends how well off or how satisfied you are in your current state of affairs. If you have a good job already and are happy, why go to law school-unless you just like to torture yourself and inflate your ego after you pass the bar (just joking). Take your time-research the fields that interest you and talk to people in them-you don't want to walk into a hornets nest.
 

okayplayer1

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many schools i've researched say their students have gone on to private consulting firms (ie booz allen...even though booz is heavy on govt work) in your experience is this not true?

jd/mpa sounds like a good idea...i wonder if the mpa would be necessary though. hmm...

so to the above what fields are you in now?
 

BP348

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My local university has a pretty big MPA program. I believe most people who enroll are in Law Enforcement. If I remember right my local police department has a requirement that you have to have a Masters or better to get a Capt. or higher position.
 

yerfdog

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I know a JD/MUP who works at a law firm doing real estate/environmental/public law, which is what she wanted to do with it.
 

Flambeur

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As with anything else, the most important thing is getting into a top school. Otherwise it's not worth it. You aren't getting a nice consulting gig with a masters from a shit school.
 

MrG

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I just got an MPA from a top five school, and a VAST majority of the people from my program are in government/nonprofit. My hope is to consult, but it's tough to get into the field without experience. I'm on the market now, and I'm looking at both government and consulting positions. My hope is to find a consulting position, but the more likely scenario is that I take a government job for a bit to get some experience. After a few years I'll probably either look for a job at a consulting firm or start my own.

The above said, there are schools that tend to place in consulting more than others. In fact, the Wilson school at Princeton was sued by the family that manages a major endowment because it was placing too many people in consulting and too few into public service careers.

When you're looking at schools, I would also look at the rankings of their specializations. My MPA program is number four, but my specialization is number two. This is relatively common. There are even a couple of programs that are middling, but that have great specializations. Georgia State University in Atlanta is that way. Their degree program is somewhere around the mid 20s in ranking, but their finance specialization is top five.

Also, make sure you go into the right program for your goals. If you want admin an MPA is great, but if you want planning/policy look at good MUP/MPP schools. There really is a difference. You can get a policy specialization in an MPA, for example, but it's not as thorough as what you'll get in an MPP. I have a friend who got his MPA at my school, but wanted to study policy. He has done quite well for himself, but he noted a few times during his studies that he wished he'd gone to a school that offered an MPP.

One thing to consider when you ask whether it's "worth it" is financial aid. My department was very generous with funding - I was on an assistantship for the duration of my degree. It didn't pay very well, but my tuition was paid. It made a BIG difference in the amount of debt I incurred. I also really enjoyed my assistantship, particularly when I was a TA.
 

Connemara

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A lot of lobbyists and public affairs consultants have MPPs/MPAs.
 

Chase Hamilton

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I highly second the notion of getting a Master's Degree from a top school. I have an MBA from a good, not great, school. (Drexel University in Philadelphia.)

It has helped me in my career somewhat, but I never became a consultant, which is what I hoped to do when I got the degree.



--Chase
 

globetrotter

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Originally Posted by Flambeur
As with anything else, the most important thing is getting into a top school. Otherwise it's not worth it. You aren't getting a nice consulting gig with a masters from a shit school.

I have a friend with a MPA degree from a medium standing school. he is now a technical writter for a small corporation, he couldn't find a job in government that paid well enough.
 

Flambeur

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well it's settled then..

Just remembered, I know a girl with a MUP from a shitty school (not sure how it rates, but its a crappy school)

She like sells cars right now or something...
 

Connemara

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I wouldn't get an MPP unless I knew that it would open doors to a specific job. I know a guy who got one for this purpose. Firm told him they could bump his salary if he got one or whatever. It worked, because he's making like $250k a year.
 

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