Why SIPA is the place for you

November 20th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

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We know selecting a graduate school is no easy task. There are several options each applicant must weigh to ensure they’re making the right decision for their future. SIPA appreciates the fact that everyone’s priorities and desires are multifaceted and evolving‑–and that’s something we understand quite well.

As the world’s first and most global public policy school, SIPA produces and shares new knowledge on the critical public policy challenges facing the global community. We train young leaders to engage multiple levels of governance and to reach effective solutions.

And those young leaders are creating real-world solutions as we speak. SIPA students and graduates are accomplishing so much in the global community, from developing dynamic Kickstarter projects for global news to teaching vocational training programs for HIV/AIDS affected communities overseas.

By showcasing outstanding “Seeple” accomplishments, we know you’ll get a glimpse into what your own future will hold at SIPA. Here’s a look at how our current students and graduates are becoming the global leaders of tomorrow, today:

Lauren Greubel, MPA ’15, traveled to Baku, Azerbaijan, to present at the First Global Forum on Youth Policies. She spoke about the importance of addressing needs of youth through education and engaging youth in the design of education systems.

Christina Hawatmeh, MIA ’14, was featured in the Village Voice this week for her startup, Protestify, which tracks protests around the world and connects activists, protesters and citizen journalists with professional journalists.

Todd Miner, MPA-ESP ’11, was honored with a NASPAA Spotlight Award for “outstanding contributions toward solving public-sector problems.” The award reflects Miner’s work as a director at Friends of Rockaway, in which he helped lead recovery efforts in one of the New York City neighborhoods hit hardest by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

Happy reading!


More on the Application Essays

November 19th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

With our Early Action deadline behind us and our January 5 (deadline with fellowship consideration) and February 5 (final deadline) deadlines approaching, we’d like to provide some more information on our application essays.

For general essay tips, we recommend checking out our blog entry on writing a strong essay.

For the MIA/MPA program applications, the following essays are required:

  1. Personal Statement
  2. Describe future self to future employer, or current self to future employer
  3. Optional Essay

A quick tip on the Personal Statement

In addition to sharing your personal story, this is an opportunity to indicate a clear trajectory for your professional and personal development. This is the chance to share how SIPA can fit into your path for moving forward. We encourage you to be as detailed as possible when writing this essay.

What to include on the Future Career Essay

The purpose of this essay is to provide a space for prospective applicants to identify their professional strengths and establish a ‘personal pitch.’

Imagine writing a short cover letter to your ideal employer.

  • What skills would you want to highlight?
  • What previous experience makes you an exceptional candidate?
  • What professional qualities do you bring to the table?

More on the Optional Essay

Please keep in mind that this is an optional essay. If you feel that you do not need this additional space, then do not feel obligated to fill in this space. However, if there is something you feel you could not express in other areas of the application, please use the optional essay to share this with the Admissions Committee. This is your opportunity to highlight what makes you unique as an applicant, or to offer greater detail into a part of your application that you feel you should address. We’re looking for the whole picture on our applicants, so the more information you provide, the better.

Our SIPA community prides itself in having a diverse student population, made of a myriad of personal and professional stories. We look forward to reading your essays and learning more about YOU!

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Alumna shares thoughts at Diversity Symposium

November 18th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA


Lybra S. Clemons, MPA '01, and Jessica Taylor, MPA '12 discuss diversity in the workplace during SIPA's Diversity Symposium.

Lybra S. Clemons, MPA ’01, and Jessica Taylor, MPA ’12 discuss diversity in the workplace during SIPA’s Diversity Symposium.

Last Friday, SIPA’s Office of Admissions hosted its 3rd Annual Diversity Symposium, Policies and Principles: Diversity in the Domestic and International Communities. This free symposium allowed prospective students to meet current students and faculty, and to discuss the importance of diverse communities at schools of public policy and international affairs, including at highly sought-after graduate programs like ours.

The symposium began with a fireside chat by Lybra S. Clemons, MPA ’01, the vice president of Diversity and Inclusion at Morgan Stanley, and Jessica Taylor, MPA ’12, the vice president at Goldman Sach’s 10,000 Small Businesses. The speakers shared their thoughts on diversity levels at corporations and SIPA’s commitment to diversity. “At the end of the day, there’s a business case for diversity,” Clemons said. “If you don’t have diversity at the top of the house, it doesn’t matter. You’re not going to have it at the bottom.”

Ultimately, this Symposium shared with prospective students SIPA’s mission to develop world-class leaders who are committed to solving problems in our ever changing world; how SIPA’s increasing the enrollment of domestic, underrepresented students into our advanced degree programs; and how it’s Diversity Task Force is fostering a diversified student body at SIPA that will explore, expand and enhance opportunities to serve local and global communities.

Clemons went on to share why she applied to SIPA back in 1998. “I applied to seven different schools,” Clemons says. “As I started to dig deep, some of the schools that were on my list [weren't what I exactly wanted].” After graduating from SIPA with an MPA, Clemons became the director of corporate relations at the American Cancer Society, the director of global diversity and inclusion at American Express, among other achievements.

“I was very, very glad to be here. I did not look back, and I was very pleased with the program,” Clemons added. “Everything that I’ve done since graduating from SIPA in 2001 has had some kind of connection  back to Columbia, SIPA…everything.”

Watch what Clemons had to say about the program here: LybraClemonsVideo-Symposium

Did you take your own photos and/or videos of the symposium? Feel free to share them on SIPA’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles!