Seeple Snapshot: Oscar Pocasangre, MPA

October 22nd, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Oscar Pocasangre

Master of Public Administration (MPA)
Concentration: Economic and Political Development (EPD)
Specialization: Advanced Policy and Economic Analysis (APEA)
Oscar speaking at a panel on emerging markets at the OECD as a representative for SIPA’s Center on Economic and Global Governance (CGEG)

Oscar speaking at a panel on emerging markets at the OECD as a representative for SIPA’s Center on Economic and Global Governance (CGEG)


What did you do before SIPA?

Prior to SIPA, I worked for two years at the MIT Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) as a policy and training analyst in their Chile office. I focused on creating courses on randomized trials for policymakers and also worked with governments and NGOs throughout the region in promoting the use of good evidence when crafting public policies. I was also able to write up various policy publications, including a book chapter on conditional cash transfers.

What has been the best part of your SIPA experience?

There have been many highlights! Academically, I think the highlight has been taking a class with Andrés Velasco, a former finance minister of Chile and former presidential candidate during the Chilean primaries in 2013. He was very accessible as a professor and he was able to combine rigorous theories from political economy and game theory with his personal experience in politics to explore issues that policymakers face in practice. Another highlight was being able to represent SIPA at two conferences in Paris sponsored by the Center on Global Economic Governance. There were many distinguished speakers at the conferences, including Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, the Minister of Finance of France, representatives from the UN and the OECD, among many others. It was a great opportunity to hear what these experts think about the world’s current problems and how to solve them.

What kind of work do you hope to do when you graduate?

I want to be a university professor and do research on the political economy of development, governance, and ways of using experimental methods to answer questions of political science. So, that’s a cool way of saying that I hope to stay in school after I graduate.

Can you describe the nature of the SIPA curriculum?

The SIPA curriculum is flexible enough that you can choose to focus on the areas that interest you the most and approach these areas from both theoretical and practical perspectives. SIPA does tend to emphasize practical experience. One of the big values and strengths of the SIPA curriculum is that it requires students to take a series of economics and statistics courses, which I think, are vital for anyone involved in policymaking.

Do you feel like you have gotten to know some of the faculty members?

Yes! This has been one of the other highlights of my time at SIPA. I find that professors here are very accessible and willing to help and offer advice. Many students don’t take much advantage of the office hours of the faculty, but these are great opportunities to get to know professors. I’ve been able to work closely with one faculty member on a research project. As an aspiring academic, this has been an incredible experience and opportunity.


Fellowship: Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program

October 21st, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

The 2015 Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship competition is open.  They are looking for college seniors or graduates who want to begin their two-year graduate programs in fall 2015; not those who are already in a program.  You must also be a U.S. citizen.

The Rangel Program will expand this year to offer 30 fellowships, up from 20 last year. The Rangel Fellowship will provide up to $21,500 per year for tuition and mandatory fees to each fellow’s institution, $16,000 annual stipends for other educational and living expenses.  The program will also arrange internships  on Capitol Hill and at U.S. embassies, and provides mentorship and professional development support.

The Fellowship welcomes applications from individuals who want to make a difference in the world through service as Foreign Service Officers in the U.S. Department of State.

Information and application materials can be found at

Application Deadline: January 14, 2015
Finalists selected by the end of February
Fellows selected by mid-March


Applications deadlines are approaching… but you haven’t decided

October 20th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Are you someone who wants to continue serving the global community but haven’t decided whether or not you should take time to complete a Master’s degree in international affairs?

I think the best thing for you to do is to talk with our students or alumni.  Learn from their experiences and imagine yourself here through their lens.  If you cannot come to New York to meet with our students, then we can send alums to you.  We have alumni in 155 countries after all.

If you just want to speak with an admissions representative, you can meet us in Chicago, Washington DC, Seattle, Portland, Kuwait City, Abu Dhabi, Istanbul, Ankara, Berlin and Paris.  Click here for more details about where to find us,  We’ll also be in California this week with a few colleagues from Princeton, Tufts, Johns Hopkins and Georgetown… plus a handful of our alumni in San Diego (October 22) and San Francisco (October 23).  If you’re in the area, meet us for a drink and some light conversation about our programs and our communities.  See you on the road… or here on campus.


Seeple Profiles – Can you see yourself here?

October 16th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA


Kristen Stamboulian

Kristen Stamboulian

What did you do prior to SIPA?

Prior to SIPA, I was a public school teacher in the Bronx for six years. I taught 6th-8th grade English and served on my school’s leadership team.

Why did you choose Management and is it meeting your expectations?

I chose management because I wanted to gain the skill sets that I knew I would need in order to one day work as a leader in public education reform. The specialization, by far, exceeded my expectations! Professor Holloway is an incredible chair of the department and has thoughtfully designed the program to fit students’ areas of interest. She’s very accessible to students and has become a mentor to me along the way.

What do you plan on doing after SIPA?

After SIPA, I am hoping to return to my hometown of Detroit and work on education policy to improve student outcomes across the city. I know my specialization in management has provided me with the skill sets needed to meet this challenge head on.


Eric Shrago

Eric Shrago

What did you do prior to SIPA?

Prior to SIPA, I worked in financial services in the US and in Asia helping companies grow and expand into new markets.

Why did you choose APEA (Advanced Policy & Economic Analysis) and is it meeting your expectations?

I chose APEA because I wanted to further build my quantitative and analytical skills. The APEA program presents a multitude of opportunities to do this as the courses not only draw from SIPA but also from many of the other departments and schools at Columbia. This has allowed me to tailor my coursework to my interests.

What do you plan on doing after SIPA?

After SIPA, I want to work in policy that encourages renewable energy development.


Spring 2015 application deadline

October 15th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA


source:  New Yorker May 2, 2010

source: New Yorker May 2, 2010




October 14th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Just a reminder that our first application deadline of the upcoming 2015-2016 academic year is this Wednesday, October 15th!

Since the application deadline varies by program, we thought it would be useful to remind you of all of our programs’ application deadlines. Please keep in mind that all required materials must be received by the SIPA Office of Admissions and Financial Aid by the application deadline.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us!

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead,

The Office of Admissions Team
Columbia SIPA


Don’t let time pass you by

October 13th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

You want to pursue your MIA/MPA degree at Columbia SIPA but you’re not confident that you have the right credentials to compete with the other applicants. One of the reasons we don’t like to state our admissions rate is because it discourages prospective candidates from applying, who may have been good candidates. They get stuck on the number and they second guess their value. My word of advice (and I am sure my colleagues would echo it), JUST APPLY. You have a 50/50 chance of being admitted if you try and a 0% chance of admission if you don’t try.

Of course, you should put together the best application you can and not haphazardly pull something together for submission. You also should be clear about why you are applying to the school and what you wish to get out of the degree. If you can’t answer those two basic questions, you should take some time to think about it before you invest your time and money in pursuing a degree you may not need or really want.

The most daunting part of the entire application is gathering and submitting all the requested materials within the posted deadlines. Don’t procrastinate – You don’t want to accidentally miss the deadline for getting all your materials in for consideration and/or miss an opportunity to be considered for a scholarship because you didn’t submit your application in time. If you have time, consider submitting your application several weeks prior to the deadline so that if the office of admissions finds pieces of your application missing, you have time to gather and submit them. You may also view your status on your application status page.

OCTOBER 15 – Preferred


ROLLING ADMISSIONS We accept and consider applications during a broader period of time and will render decisions once an application has been reviewed. Class closes November 30.


NOVEMBER 1 EARLY ACTION You receive a decision from us by January 1 (Merit Scholarships to top candidates will be awarded).   Non-binding.




You will be considered for a SIPA scholarship.


FEBRUARY 5 FINAL DEADLINE All applicants who wish to be considered for fall 2015 admission, must submit by this date.


Note that our spring term uses a “rolling admissions” process. This means that the admissions office accepts and considers applications during a broader period of time and will render decisions once an application has been reviewed – Applicants do not all receive their decisions at the same time on a particular date far in the future. It’s a good idea to get your application in as early as possible since will review and allocate scholarships and fellowships to admitted students on a first come, first serve basis during the spring rolling admissions process. The earlier you apply, the better the chance you will receive the financial help you need to go to school.

The key to a successful application is time – giving yourself enough time to collect materials, find and instruct the best people to write letters for you, write and edit your essays. Good luck!


what I did this summer

October 11th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Internship in Country Risk Management at J.P. Morgan

Prior to attending SIPA my experience was in banking; however the reason I chose SIPA for my graduate studies was to transition into a role that offers more of a macro and international picture, allowing me to work in a field where macroeconomics, capital markets, and risk meet and of course a role where I am challenged every day and get to learn and apply my skills. I had the chance to work in Country Risk Management (CRM) at J.P. Morgan during the summer. It all started with three representatives visiting SIPA to host an information session in the fall of 2013. What followed was an application process, consisting of four phone and four in person interviews.  I consider myself fortunate that I received the opportunity to be a part of the team and the culture at the bank, because this is a dream job for a SIPA student. It was a 10 week internship, starting in June with a couple of weeks of training. The first week I was part of the Sales & Trading (S&T) Markets Training group, where about 100 interns were trained on basics, such as what is equity, what is a bond through how markets are supposed to behave to how financial derivatives fit into the bank. The second week, I took part in a more risk specific training to be prepared for my eight weeks at the desk. Before the training weeks were completed, students were formed into groups of four to prepare a case study to competitively pitch to senior management.

After some valuable training I was excited to finally join my CRM team and to apply my skills learnt and advanced at SIPA. The team in CRM was relatively small on a global basis and therefore I had a chance to work closely with colleagues also based in London and Hong Kong. The eight weeks were packed and I had several deliverables on top of assisting with ad-hoc tasks. However, it was a super learning experience and with the great support of the team I was able to master my objectives successfully. My summer objectives were based around the main work the team does, such as internal ratings of countries and measuring the exposure risk the bank experienced.

The summer program was well structured. Each intern had a junior and senior mentor, who assisted the intern throughout the summer. Throughout the program there were also different social and professional events. Social events consisted of visiting a New York Yankee game and having dinner at different places. The professional events included senior speaker series with management from the bank. These were all very interesting; however I would say the highlight was when Jamie Dimon spoke to us and shared his experiences in banking and at J.P. Morgan.

My summer experience at the bank has been wonderful and it was great to meet so many professionals with whom I look forward to staying in touch and working together in the future. It may be the fall semester only; however the sooner you start looking for your dream internship, the higher the chances that you will be working there during the following summer. Good luck!


by Andreas Maerki, MPA International Finance and Economic Policy Dec ‘14


Every dollar counts — here are 2 scholarships to consider

October 9th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Grace LeGendre Fellowship For Graduate Study

The BPW/NYS Grace LeGendre Endowment Fund, Inc. is now accepting applications for Graduate Study Fellowships of $1,000. Each year, fellowship applications must be postmarked on or before February 28. Applications received after the February 28th deadline will not be reviewed


  • Women who are residents of New York State and citizens of the United States.
  • Completed Bachelors degree
  • Currently registered in graduate studies, and within two years of completing studies in a graduate degree program at an accredited college or university located in the state of New York.
  • Show evidence of scholastic ability and need for financial assistance.

Qualified candidates may go to the Grace LeGendre Endowment Fund web site:


Also, there is a HIF Scholarship

The Hungary Initiatives Foundation is accepting applications for the “HIF Scholarship in the US” again. Interested and qualified individuals can apply for grants up to $10,000 per semester. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Priority given to applications received by November 30th (Spring Semester).

More details:


Student Group Spotlight: UN Studies Working Group

October 7th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Life at SIPA is more than just a rigorous and exciting curriculum. The SIPA community is greatly enriched by the numerous student organizations on campus. We thought it would be useful to spotlight some of these organizations to give you a more holistic view of the SIPA experience.

The UN Studies Program Working Group (UNSWG) is a student organization that works in close relation with the UN Studies Program at SIPA. It aims to connect students and the entire SIPA community to the United Nations, to its issues and agenda, and to the UN System as a whole. UNSWG members are dedicated to the UN’s main goals, including principles of worldwide cooperation for peace and prosperity.

◦The UNSWG serves as a platform for delivery and exchange of knowledge, ideas, thoughts and reflection, debates and discussion on issues related to the United Nations and the UN system.

◦The UNSWG works to foster a close relation between SIPA and the UN: to prepare conferences, seminars, discussion panels and groups; invite speakers and prepare presentations; organize student debates around relevant and current issues related to the UN.

◦The UNSWG aims to maximize opportunities for SIPA students to be involved with the UN and the greater UN family through meetings with officials; visits to the UN Secretariat and UN agency headquarters; inviting speakers to SIPA; organizing internships, career panels, and support for individual initiatives related to the UN.

Within the first month of the semester, the UNSWG has coordinated the following events:

  • “How to get a job at the UN” panel with a representative from the UN’s Human Resources department
  • UN Studies Retreat, “70 Years Later: The United Nations at a Crossroad in a Changing World”, which featured speakers from the UN Secretary-General, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the International Peace Institute, the UN Secretary-General in Africa, and the United Nations Foundation
  • Participation in an upcoming talk given by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on challenges for the UN in the 21st Century

Check out the UNSWG’s blog for a list of past events and its general page for more information.

Who is this Selim guy?

October 6th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA



Selim Can Sazak MIA ISP 2015

Currently, I am working towards my Master’s degree in International Affairs in the School of International and Public Affairs, specializing on International Security Policy and the Middle East. I am a Fulbright scholar, the co-chairperson of the School’s Defense and Security Student Organization and a member of the 2014-2015 class of Columbia University’s International Fellows Program, a two-semester seminar on the U.S’s role in world affairs that admits only 30 students from all graduate programs on the basis of academic merit. I also received SIPA’s Dasturdaza Jal Pavry Award awarded to the best graduate paper on the topic of international peace and understanding with a paper proposing a political argument and legal basis for the use of frozen assets by the UNSC to fund humanitarian assistance in complex refugee emergencies based on Article VII provisions. Alongside my studies, I am a regular blogger for Christian Science Monitor’s new blog on cyber security and I am contributing to media outlets like The National Interest, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and Hurriyet Daily News.

I received my bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. After graduating, I spent two years working for a NATO research center on terrorism and counter-terrorism and an international NGO, Pugwash Conferences of Science and World Affairs, the laureate of the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize. While working for NATO, my duties included briefing senior military commanders in the Turkish General Staff and organizing training programs for mid-level NATO officers under the supervision of the Center’s academic advisor and required wide-ranging knowledge on the nature, structure and history of religious, separatist and revolutionary terrorist organizations active in the Middle East as well as domestic terrorist groups and emerging threats like cyber-terrorism.

In my later work for Pugwash Conferences, I also gained experience in the field; participating in conflict resolution and multitrack diplomacy efforts in Iran, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Syria, Palestine and Nagorno-Karabakh. I was the government liaison in the team that put together Pugwash’s Biennial Conference held in Istanbul, which hosted the President of Turkey, H.E. Abdullah Gul and Foreign Ministers of Iran and Turkey, H.E. Javad Zarif and H.E. Ahmet Davutoglu and a junior staffer in the informal meetings Pugwash had organized with high-level Iranian officials on Iran’s nuclear program. I was also an adviser in the team that devised Turkey’s policy on conventional arms control during 2013 OSCE Security Review Conference.

After SIPA, I hope to be a scholar and a practitioner; talking, thinking, teaching and working to promote a more egalitarian and more peaceful international order. I am applying to several Ph.D. programs, including Columbia and I hope that I will be around Morningside Heights for a few more years to come. I am also involved in ongoing diplomatic projects, including an effort for an international cyber-security treaty. I believe in change, in the responsibility to making right what you see wrong. I see many wrongs in our world, and I feel responsible for making them right, wherever I can.


October 3rd, 2014 by Columbia SIPA


It is highly recommended to visit the programs that you’re interested in applying to. When I was applying, I took  two weeks off of work and visited eight MPA programs. While I researched these programs, I instinctively ranked them in my mind from the one that I wanted to attend the most to the least. Surprisingly, after visiting the programs, my ranking of programs changed drastically! Programs on the top of my list were crossed off entirely, while schools I were on the fence,  jumped up high on the list. Factors for the rearrangement of my list include; approachability of professors, friendliness of students, sitting in on classes, as well as the ambiance of the city where the school was located.

In regards to SIPA, it was the one school that did not shift position. It was on the top of my list and remained there after my visit. The professors took the time out of their schedules to meet with me, the students took me out for some drinks at the end of the day and offered me candid answers to my questions, the classes were extremely stimulating, and New York City is amazing!

That being said, visit SIPA! See if it is a good fit, as well as NYC. While here explore the City. It can be quite daunting if you don’t know where to start. One of my passions before coming to SIPA was splurging on food. My desire for quality food has not diminished, although my wallet has since I am now a full time student. So, I have created a list of AMAZING restaurants to try when you’re here, while on a graduate student budget. This is clutch. These restaurants are scattered throughout Manhattan which will allow you to explore your new home if you decide to enroll. Good luck on your application and bon appetit!



PEPM has changed to a 12-month MPA degree program!

October 1st, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

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The Program in Economic Policy Management (PEPM) has become a 12-month program for mid-career professionals leading to the Master of Public Administration degree. Students will start the full-time program in June and finish the following May. PEPM focuses on training professionals and policymakers in the skills required for effective design and implementation of economic policy in market economies, with a strong emphasis on the economic problems of developing and transition economies. The full-time program is especially suited for mid-career professionals who may only be able to take off a short time from their current employment.

In addition to our economic policy focus, students may opt to focus on global energy management and policy, which offers a very strong set of courses focused on traditional energy markets as well as alternative energy.

PEPM was formed in cooperation with the World Bank and still maintains its connection to the Bank, through our Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship program, providing full scholarships each year for up to 12 students from emerging economies;

Please join us for our one of our online information sessions taking place over the next few months.  To join, simply click on the following link and select PEPM virtual information sessions;

When you have a moment, login to our new Facebook Page, where we are announcing news on students, professors, alumni and will be posting information on our events.

Application Deadlines for Summer 2015:

Early Decision Due: November 1, 2014

With Fellowship Consideration Due: January 5, 2015

Final Application Due: February 5, 2015

Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans Class of 2015

September 30th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Applications due November 1, 2014
Finalists announced early January, 2015
Finalist Interviews: January 28-February 6, 2015
2015 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows announced early March 2015


Seeple snapshot: Katherine McGehee

September 29th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Katherine McGehee_SIPA photo

Katherine McGehee
Master of International Affairs
Concentration: Economic and Political Development
Specialization: Management

Katherine McGehee is a native New Yorker, Katherine attended the United Nations International School through high school, which most definitely sparked her interest in international affairs. She graduated from the University of Virginia in 2012 with a dual degree in Foreign Affairs and French and a minor in history. During college, she studied abroad at Sciences Po Paris where she pursued courses on development in Africa. Before joining SIPA, she worked for the New York City Mayor’s Office for International Affairs on urban-level research and at Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières on advocacy work. Since studying at SIPA, she has interned for a UN-related agency, served as an editorial assistant at the school’s Journal of International Affairs, and interned in public sector consulting.

What attracted you most to SIPA?

What attracted me most to SIPA are two things: New York City and the Capstone component. SIPA is unique in the fact that it has a strong network internationally, domestically, and especially in New York. I wanted a school where I would have a strong network of alumni, professors, and contacts in New York City as my immediate career goal is to remain in New York following graduation. I do want the opportunity to have a strong resume anywhere else in the world too and SIPA carries a strong reputation globally. The Capstone is another unique element of SIPA’s curriculum as it gives SIPA students the opportunity to translate theory into practice through fieldwork experience. I am really excited about the opportunity to work as a consultant for a top organization over the course of my second year.

Have you taken classes at other Columbia Schools?

At SIPA, I am continuing to develop my interest in international affairs with a particular focus on private sector development of public services. Most notably, I am concentrating on the broad issues of food security, public health, and infrastructure. The beauty of SIPA is that it is possible to explore a range of issues in the classroom, through internships, and through consulting projects organized by the school. This is also made possible through the opportunity to take courses at other Columbia schools. Last semester, I took a class called, “International Development and the Private Sector,” which gave me a different perspective on ways to create successful development projects.

Can you comment on the quantitative rigor in the curriculum?

One of my biggest concerns coming into SIPA was the quantitative requirement in the curriculum. I had never studied economics, statistics, or financial management before and I was really anxious about stacking up next to other SIPA classmates. While SIPA’s core quantitative courses are certainly rigorous, the school ensures that its students receive the support they need to learn and succeed in these classes. Tutors, review sessions, recitations, and team activities are available to work through problem sets. Multiple course levels are available to ensure that students can choose to what extent they would like to be challenged.

What advice would you give a first-year student?

Before answering this question, I consulted with my SIPA peers (most notably Adero Miwo, MIA 2015) to get their perspectives. The dominant advice: be open, be focused, and be disciplined. SIPA can be overwhelming because of the seemingly infinite number of course options, student activities, and volunteer opportunities. By having an objective of what you want when you start at SIPA, you can get the most from the curriculum and from the school community. Remaining open to new possibilities and staying disciplined, especially when it comes to time management, can ensure that you succeed at SIPA.


Mathematics? Language? A resume?

September 26th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Even Albert Einstein said: “Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.”

Our perceptions of our skills tend to skew left, and when we think about our math ability, we reflect on our confidence, and not our actual skills.

The SIPA Admissions office understands that applicants will have varied quantitative backgrounds and skills. We have designed an application that best allows you to demonstrate your quantitative competencies through the quantitative/language resume. Here, you can highlight experiences that have strengthened your math, economics, and statistics skills.

The core curriculum at SIPA requires the completion of rigorous quantitative courses and we want to make sure applicants provide as much information as possible about their quantitative aptitude, experience, and capabilities. This can include coursework in mathematics, statistics, economics, engineering, natural or computer science, etc. as well as the use of quantitative methods in a professional environment (paid, volunteer, or intern work is acceptable).

Perhaps you have worked as an accountant, bookkeeper, or balanced budgets in your professional experiences. Perhaps you served as treasurer of a student organization or used quantitative skills in a volunteer opportunity. These are experiences that you can include in the additional resume.

Is there an ideal quantitative background SIPA is looking for in an applicant?

Recently, we’ve received many questions about what makes an ideal quantitative background for a hopeful candidate.  While SIPA does not have a rigid answer, the Admissions Committee looks for evidence of a candidate’s ability to undertake quantitative coursework at the graduate level. Most successful applicants have completed at least two courses in economics (macro and microeconomics). Applicants lacking a quantitative background are encouraged to consider enrolling in mathematics courses above all else.

While the Admissions Committee does not require that each applicant have experience in all three areas (economics, statistics, and mathematics) to be admitted, extensive coursework in these areas definitely strengthens one’s chances of gaining favorable admission consideration.

For more on quantitative questions, check out our Frequently Asked Questions pages.


Interview with SIPA MIA Candidate, Dario Martinez

September 24th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Dario Martinez

Brief Background: I am originally from Honduras and I have a Bachelor in Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration, both from Loyola University New Orleans. Prior to enrolling at SIPA, I was a Senior Territory Manager for Loyola University and I was in charge of the recruitment and marketing efforts for the university in Latin America, the Caribbean, Mississippi and Florida. During my time at SIPA, I have been involved in the SIPA Consulting club and assisted them in organizing the Case Competition last fall. Also, as a member of the Columbia’s Impact Investing Initiative (CI3), I was part of a four person team that developed a strategy for Habvita Mexico’s entrance into the microfinance housing market in Mexico. Finally, this summer I was an intern in the Renewable Energy Research Department for ThinkGreen Global Advisors and I assisted my manager with client pitching, managing interns, due diligence and research on clean energy topics.

What attracted you to SIPA? What attracted me the most to SIPA, was its rigorous curriculum. I had a strong foundation in Finance and Business prior to coming to SIPA but I wanted to further my quantitative and analytical skills further. My professors are not only knowledgeable and highly regarded in their field but where accessible and invested in training tomorrow’s leaders. Moreover, undertaking classes such as Accounting for Public Affairs, Economic Analysis II or Capital Markets definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone and prepared me to pursue a career in the private or public financial sector. All of this while attending a school that has a strong focus in policy, which I am very passionate about, and an unparalleled international focus.

What experience prepared you to attend SIPA? I think that the two experiences that have helped me the most are: work experience and multicultural awareness. As a Territory Manager, I had to learn to work in a fast pace environment, to develop strong multitasking and time management skills, and to interact in a professional setting with people from different backgrounds and cultures. My prior experience also allowed me to develop a better understanding of the concepts and tools discussed in my classes and their applications in the real world.

While at SIPA, I have also been surprised with the diversity of our student body and the wealth of knowledge the students bring to the classrooms. I have classmates come from all over the world, SIPA has 51 countries represented on campus, and from very interesting and unique backgrounds. My classmates are former marines, Peace-Corp participants, full-bright recipients and international development consultants. This opportunity has definitely allowed me to learn about my classmate’s countries, their customs and their personal and professional experiences.

What kind of work do you want to do when you graduate?

Upon graduation, I intend to work in the finance sector. My goal is to join a rating agency or a financial institution and use the knowledge and skills that I acquired at SIPA to provide world-class financial, strategic solutions and research to their sovereign and institutional clients.

September 23, 2014: Happy first day of autumn!

September 23rd, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

A wonderful way to learn more about the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and its programs is by attending an information session. We offer in-person visits for those of you that will be in the New York area, as well as virtual sessions online. We invite you to get to know us this fall!

For in-person information sessions, reservations are required so if you would like to attend, please let us know which date you would like to visit and we will reserve a space for you. Please call our office at 212-854-6216 or email us at to make your reservation.

For in-person information session dates this fall, please click here.

Our fall virtual information sessions will be held on the following dates:

  • Thursday, October 2nd: 11:00am-12:00pm
  • Wednesday, October 15th: 9:30am-10:30am
  • Tuesday, October 28th: 11:00am-12:00pm
  • Thursday, November 20th: 12:00pm-1:00pm
  • Tuesday, December 2nd: 12:00pm-1:00pm
  • Wednesday, December 17th: 10:00 am-11:00am

You are also welcome to come and stop by the office Monday through Friday between 9am and 5pm, excluding holidays, to meet with an Admissions counselor and discuss SIPA’s curriculum, application process, and any questions that you may have for us.

Directions and travel information to our office may be found on the SIPA page.

We look forward to meeting you!

The beauty of Columbia in the fallPhoto courtesy of the Morningside Post (

Photo courtesy of the Morningside Post


Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance offers opportunities for young Africans

September 23rd, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

The Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance is a network of highly educated young African entrepreneurs, from leading universities in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America.  In partnership with private and public sector groups, the Alliance has developed an entrepreneurial ecosystem to support the social and business ventures of young African professionals.

If you are developing a social or business venture and could benefit from the mentors, pro bono services, angel investors, venture capital, or insights of the Harmbe network of entrepreneurs, consider joining the Alliance to magnify your impact.  The Harambe Bretton Woods Symposium is the annual gathering for the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance.  Held each April, the HBWS serves as the entry point into the Alliance for entrepreneurial young Africans.   30 young African professionals are invited to attend the HBWS each year.  To apply, click here.

To learn more about the Alliance and the benefits it offers, the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance is hosting a colloquium at Princeton University on September 26 at 3pm in room Frist 207.

To learn more about our Alliance please review the links below:

McKinsey & Company (Video)
Why Join Harambe? (Video)



The President is here… just another day at SIPA

September 19th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

His Excellency Serzh Sargsyan, President of the Republic of Armenia, will give a talk at SIPA on Armenia and foreign policy – opportunities and challenges on September 24. There will also be a very interesting discussion with Director David Phillips on Destroying ISIS on Monday. 

In addition to the discussion on the crisis in Ukraine with Alexander Dynkin, Director of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations in Moscow and adviser to the prime minister of Russia, Professor Robert Jervis, Valerli Kuchynskyi, the former Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN, and Professor Kimberly Marten. 

Wow!  I haven’t even made my way down the event calendar