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jmp9x
02-07-2008, 12:35 AM
What do people think of the MPA/ID program Dani Rodrik runs at Harvard? If someone did this, would it preclude or hinder their ability to get a PhD in Econ after? As someone interested in international development, I'm wondering if this would be a better fit.

Oikos-nomos
02-07-2008, 01:42 PM
Hi, i'm also considering applying for that program too before the Phd.

I've been doing homework for a while and i can tell you something about it.

The program is geared for practitioners, not scholars, so in order to get admitted you will need to have considerable related work experience, say 2-3 years for instance. It could be in development (government, NGO, World Bank, IMF, etc), as an economic consultant or in a central bank.

Even though not as demanding as a top Phd, they will require that you have strong quantitative skills, high GRE (you don't need a 800, but don't score below 760), math classes/quantitative methods, etc. Again, these requirements are not as demanding as are in the Phd of a top school.
You need to write some essays showing your interests towards the field. Basically you need to prove serious interest in the field, and that you have/can do important work in development, and of course, that you have the skills to cope with the program well.

In the webpage (that i reccomend you to visit) says that they have a 1st year Phd sequence on micro, macro and stats/metrics.
The professors are excellent and you have big names there (Rodrik for instance), so if you do well, you may get a LOR from one of these big names that certainly could help you in your application.
It is indeed a good way to boost your chances of getting into a good Phd, though the program is not intended for that, and i think if you mention your true intentions when applying they will turn you down (i think that in the webpage it says something like "bear in mind that this is not the best way to go for a PhD" or so. However, i know that there are people who after the MPA/ID went to Harvard's Econ Phd, so in the end it works...

There is also a good post of the MPA/ID in this forum, look it up and read it.

Hope this helps you!:tup:

Antichron
02-07-2008, 02:17 PM
I'm not terribly qualified to talk about this program, but I just wanted to say that I hear good stuff about it. (I hear it's quite rigorous.) I suspect it would not prohibit one from going on to a PhD afterwards, and it would likely help.

studentecon
02-07-2008, 03:21 PM
What do people think of the MPA/ID program Dani Rodrik runs at Harvard? If someone did this, would it preclude or hinder their ability to get a PhD in Econ after? As someone interested in international development, I'm wondering if this would be a better fit.

As someone already said the program is geared for professionals. The coursework is good. Especially the micro sequence (2020) is just a notch below the PhD micro sequence at the Econ department (2010), and is the official PhD/MA sequence for everyone at Harvard (Public Health, Public Policy etc) except for the Econ students. You will never get permission from the Econ profs to enroll at the first year PhD courses at the Econ department. Danny Rodrik teaches a policy oriented advanced international trade and development course which from what I hear is excellent even for second year Econ students. The downside is that you really have to impress people to get a good letter, and given the amount of competition that you face from the PhD Students it is not obviously easy to stand out from your peers. But it is not impossible and some great students have made it from there to other top schools. From the people that I know, a decent GPA (>3.7) will get you into a top 20 PhD, but in general don't expect to be admitted at the Econ department even with perfect scores.

guan
02-07-2008, 05:43 PM
Especially the micro sequence (2020) is just a notch below the PhD micro sequence at the Econ department (2010), and is the official PhD/MA sequence for everyone at Harvard (Public Health, Public Policy etc) except for the Econ students.Nitpick: MPA/IDs don't take the 2020 micro sequence, which is known as API-111/112 at the Kennedy School and is shared with the Business School and GSAS, but their own sequence, API-109/110. One of the 2020 professors (Chris Avery) told me that the syllabi are very similar, but the MPA/IDs get a few more applications in development. They try to steer all non-MPA/IDs to 2020a/b.

Course syllabi: API-109 (http://ksgaccman.harvard.edu/courses/course.aspx?number=API-109), API-110 (http://ksgaccman.harvard.edu/courses/course.aspx?number=API-110), API-111 (http://ksgaccman.harvard.edu/courses/course.aspx?number=API-111) (Economics 2020a), API-112 (http://ksgaccman.harvard.edu/courses/course.aspx?number=API-112) (Economics 2020b).

studentecon
02-07-2008, 06:12 PM
Nitpick: MPA/IDs don't take the 2020 micro sequence, which is known as API-111/112 at the Kennedy School and is shared with the Business School and GSAS, but their own sequence, API-109/110. One of the 2020 professors (Chris Avery) told me that the syllabi are very similar, but the MPA/IDs get a few more applications in development. They try to steer all non-MPA/IDs to 2020a/b.

Course syllabi: API-109 (http://ksgaccman.harvard.edu/courses/course.aspx?number=API-109), API-110 (http://ksgaccman.harvard.edu/courses/course.aspx?number=API-110), API-111 (http://ksgaccman.harvard.edu/courses/course.aspx?number=API-111) (Economics 2020a), API-112 (http://ksgaccman.harvard.edu/courses/course.aspx?number=API-112) (Economics 2020b).

Yes, you are right. I remembered that some of my friends took the 2020 sequence instead of the two API courses.

jaw17
02-08-2008, 02:05 AM
jmp9x: From another thread, I gather that you are currently in your junior year of undergrad. Frankly, I think that you're years away from having enough experience to truly know whether the MPA/ID is right for you - and certainly at least that far from having the necessary qualifications to get in. It's an absolutely fantastic program by all accounts, but for very, very specific purposes. By and large, it prepares you to work at 1) the World Bank and other multilateral aid institutions (although a PhD is still preferable); 2) government ministries in developing countries; and 3) international consulting firms (frequently in combination with an MBA). Essentially, you get the same knowledge and "toolkit" as an econ PhD program - with a development slant, of course - but not the research training. While it doesn't technically preclude a subsequent PhD in economics (see Chris Blattman, for example), it is not designed to be a stepping stone to one, as the previous posters have already indicated.

If I were in your shoes (and trust me, I really wish I had been!), my big takeaway from TestMagic at this point would be to figure out which math/stats/econ classes you need to be a strong candidate so you always have that option easily available. You should also make sure to build strong relationships with your profs over the next semester and a half to get good LORs - and even ask them to write them in advance, if you plan to wait a few years before applying. But assuming you can do those two things by next winter, I would go ahead and graduate early to get a head start on work experience. Aside from saving money, that also has the distinct advantage of placing you on the job market before the flood of spring graduates. After 2 years of "real world" work experience, I promise that you'll have a much better idea about what kind of program (MPA/ID, econ PhD, or even something else entirely) is best suited to your long-term goals. Try scoping out the World Bank if possible, or any number of policy research organizations in DC or abroad for the best idea of what's out there.

FWIW, I graduated a year early from a top 10 undergrad and have spent the past 3 years at an international development think tank, with the hope of starting a PhD in health economics next fall. I'm more than happy to share my experiences with you if you want - just drop me your email address. I'm also happy to suggest some summer internships...

zsla
02-08-2008, 02:14 AM
Again H!!! Ok, I will try to be more objective this time. As far as I know, this is not a stepping stone for econ phd. I know people who got into KSG's PhD program and the public policy phd programs in other schools by way of MPA/ID. Moreover, I have a couple of close friends who have graduated from this program with very good grades and strong recommendations. They were not so good really. I also spoke to a Professor in Econ dept at H, and he said: KSG's program was good, but for other purposes (i.e. phd in PP, int. organizations, private firms, public services etc.)

jaw17
03-01-2008, 09:41 PM
Former MPA/ID student (cum Berkeley econ PhD and Yale asst. prof.) has posted his analysis of the strengths, weaknesses and tradeoffs of the program over at his blog (http://chrisblattman.blogspot.com/2008/03/which-is-for-you-mpa-mpaid-or-phd.html).