Latest

LKYSPPeak Photo Competition Entries

The LKYSPPeak Team would like to thank all those who have submitted their photo entries for the competition entitled: “What does it mean to be a Public Policy Student?”. The contest has ended last March 30, 2012 and its now time to decide who gets the award and the chance to be one of the banner photos of the website.

In order to preview the photo submissions, click on the link below…

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1mNEuE0_8Y95kQ6dWkCMqBpgVBjVcqwbQiIOf3_rxwgQ/edit

And then vote for the photo that you think best answers the theme or question through the poll below:

Winners will be determined through the number of votes and will be announced on April 11, 2012. Prizes will also be awarded on that day.
On your mark…ready…set…vote…

Advertisements

Deadline of the Photo Submissions is EXTENDED!

With regard to the Photo Competition on the theme of “What Does It Mean to Be a Public Policy Student?” has been extended to March 30, 2012, 5pm.

Those interested in submitting photos can still do so and email them to lkysppeak@gmail.com.

– LKYSPPeak Team

Strategic Collective Action Problems

Developed countries, when losing relative power in an international institution, create strategic collective action problems (SCAPs) in the institution in order to decrease the effectiveness of the institution and thereby mitigate their loss of relative power. Developed countries create SCAPs by extending membership in the institution to developing countries. These developing countries have drastically different policy win-sets than developed countries. Because the win-sets of member countries overlap less after the admittance of developing countries, consensus building within the institution becomes more difficult. Because consensus building becomes more difficult, the ability of the institution to act is decreased. This in turn decreases the importance of the institution as a whole, and thus the developed country’s loss of power within the institution matters less. Furthermore, the increased difficulty of consensus building within the institution means that any rising power within the institution now faces greater difficulties in utilizing the institution to project its power. The traditional superpower, whose political clout is disappearing, can thus hinder its relative loss of power vis-à-vis a new emerging power by opening the gate to new member states and hindering the emerging power’s ability to use the institution for its own advantage.

Purposeful creation of collective action problems is not a new strategy. The strategic addition of parties to a negotiation as a way to achieve one-sided gains has for instance long been identified within negotiation literature.[1] The strategy also appears to be employed in international relations. Current examples are the G20 and the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership). The strategy has not, however, been identified in traditional political economy literature. There is a need for further research to fill the gap in the existing discourse on the role of institutions and the terms of globalization.

The use of SCAPs in the 21stcentury has implications for globalization and the role of the state. If developed countries continue to create SCAPs, membership in international institutions will swell while their ability to act will weaken. Ceteris paribus, the effect of the utilization of SCAPs suggests that developed countries will increasingly rely on unilateral state action relative to the extent they rely on it today because international institutions will become less productive. In contrast, developing countries that have traditionally not held significant power within many international institutions will enjoy increasing power within institutions and will thus be able to utilize them more so than they can today.


[1] Sebenius, James K. “Negotiation Arithmetic: Adding and Subtracting Issues and Parties.” International Organization 37.02 (1983): 281

– MacGregor Lennarz, Double Degree Student from LSE and Kenryo Mizutani, LSE

“What Does It Mean To Be A Public Policy Student?” Photo Competition

What does it mean to be a public policy student? Do you think the meaning of being a public policy student can be captured in just one photograph? Here’s your chance to express your thoughts, ideas and views on what a  public policy student is. How can you do so? Simple…the mechanics are the following:

1. Email the LKYSPPeak team (lkysppeak@gmail.com) your entries with a short description of the photo

2. Photos to be submitted should not contain any obscene material

3. All entries will be posted in the LKYSPPeak and the winners will be determined through voting (*no multiple voting will be allowed)

Prizes to be won are the following: SGD100 gift voucher (first prize), SGD75 gift voucher (second prize) and SGD50 gift voucher (third prize).

Start submitting your entries on February 29, 2012 (Wednesday) and the contest will close on March 5, 2012 (Monday).

Winners will be announced on March 9, 2012.

Start clicking away….

Relaunch of LKYSPPeak

We, the LKYSPPeak Team, are both excited and overjoyed with the “resurrection” of the blog.  There is sheer joy as a result of support from the students and the school in re-inventing LKYSPPeak.  We would like to take this opportunity to thank Prof. Suzaina and Prof. Ora for believing in the blog as a vital platform for the students’ views and opinions. Their support definitely goes a long way in strengthening  the role of LKYSPPeak.

At the same time, we are all excited with the new “face” of the blog. This month’s theme is “What does it mean to be a public policy student?”  It jives with the objectives of the LKYSPPeak as the platform to express views of students. What do you think this question encapsulates? What is your perspective on it? What are your opinions about what it means to be a public policy student? Please do share your views and opinions with us in fact with the whole school, on LKYSPPEak!

So, join us in celebrating the launch of the NEW LKYSPPeak and let us raise our glasses to an interactive student led, run and inspired blog!! Here’s to sharing comments, views and opinions with this generation’s world leaders on the LKYSPPeak blog!

The LKYSPPeak Team

MPP 2010: Exchange Experiences

CHIONG HIEN, GRADUATE INSTITUTE, GENEVA

Yes, I am referring to none other than Switzerland, nested right in the heart of Europe and surrounded by the numerous mountain ranges from the Western Alps to the Central Eastern Alps and the Ortler Alps. We have always heard the saying “The World is your Oyster” and it was with this attitude that I decided to apply for exchange more than a year ago.

The Graduate Institute (IHEID) in Geneva was an obvious choice, given its superb geographical location. I could not believe it when I set foot in campus for registration on day one to find it located right outside the United Nations compound, while my equally superb residence (courtesy of the IHEID administration) was located 100 metres from Lake Geneva and next door to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Meteorological Organization. No prizes then for guessing that the obvious perks for studying at the Graduate Institute includes easy access to numerous conferences organized by the various international organizations such as the 5th High-Level Symposium on Global Health Diplomacy which I attended, jointly organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), WTO and IHEID. Other equally interesting lectures outside the formal classroom include the Geneva Dialogues Series on Climate Change by Professor Robert N. Stavins from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, organised by the IHEID Centre for International Environmental Studies and United Nations Environment Programme. In fact my Professor who taught me Trade Policy is also concurrently working for the WTO. The diverse and cosmopolitan background of faculty and students at the Graduate Institute provided an excellent platform for an enriching, enlightening and stimulating learning experience, with many of the courses offered being broad-based and inter-disciplinary in nature.

Studies and lectures aside what I enjoyed most about Switzerland was its closeness to nature, the mountains and in particular the Swiss Alps. My first nature excursion saw me joining my fellow students from the IHEID hiking club to the St Cergue Cow Festival, as we joined in the celebrations where hundreds of cows are greeted with a parade and a fete every year, as they come down from their Alpine fields to their winter homes. It was a wonderful opportunity to experience the traditional Swiss cultures, with alphorns and folk music, along with the annual parade of numerous herds of cows, with many adorned in flowers.

Our fortnightly hikes also brought us to numerous breath-taking sights on and around the Swiss Alps, such as the 100-meter splendid Dar waterfall, as well as numerous lakes amidst the alpine trees, vast forests in vivid green pasture colors, and an uncountable number of snowcapped mountain tops. Indeed, I was extremely grateful to be given the opportunity to undertake a semester of exchange with the Graduate Institute, as I bring home with me many fond memories of stepping on cow dung, hearing the familiar sounds of cow bells and the wonderful sights of bleating sheep accompanying us on our hikes and of course the satisfaction of savoring a big steaming pot of cheese fondue together with my new found hiking friends.

MAY LEONG, CIDE, MEXICO

In Octavio Paz’ seminal work, ‘The Labyrinth of Solitude’, Paz discusses the modern men’s quest for identity, and how the Mexican’s search leads to powerlessness, a reflection of a convoluted history of being both being conquered and as conquerer. Paz alludes to solitude originating from a psychological complex of defeat, and remains in limbo somewhere between heaven and earth.

Although Mexico doesn’t immediately lend itself as an ideal destination for an exchange semester within the public policy discipline (given that what frequently comes to mind when one mentions Mexico is salsa, sand, tacos and tequilas) I was determined to make sense of Paz’ notion of limbo between ‘heaven and earth’ and to navigate the labyrinth and complexity that is Mexico. What I was to discover was that the popular stereotype that many people hold of Mexico barely touched the surface of an extraordinary country, people and culture.

The initial idea of spending an entire exchange semester taking classes in Spanish at the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), dubbed as one of the leading research and teaching institutes in Mexico and Latin America, was an extremely daunting one. However, I embraced the opportunity as one that would provide me with unparalleled insight into the social make-up and psychology of a society, which is significantly distinct from Singapore. I took the opportunity to undertake classes on Mexican politics, institutions, and policies, where I inadvertently was able to draw comparisons between the historical origins and contemporary issues which continue to plague countries across Latin America and Southeast Asia. I found both my professors and classmates to be extremely passionate and determined to make a change within their respective arenas and capacities. Most importantly, I enjoyed sharing an ‘Asian’ perspective in the classroom, and it struck me how despite sometimes having socio-cultural differences, we all share common aspirations and a universal sense of humanity.

Beyond the classroom, El Gran Tenochtitlan, Mexico City or Distrito Federal (D.F.), provided endless inspiration as a living laboratory. A heaving metropolis with frustrating inequalities but where kindness is readily bestowed, defies logic or explanation.  My only previous visual encounter with the city had been through the Mexican cult movie Amores Perros, where the city had been largely portrayed as an asphalt jungle, so I was surprised and slightly overwhelmed to find the architectural cacophony (European, pre-hispanic colonial and skyscrapers), bustling street life and markets, Latin music from every corner, the aroma of freshly made tacos, traffic jams and the multitudes on the metro (approximately 6 million users per day and counting). It is impossible to fully capture the magnitude of my experience in words, but the impression of the labyrinth is one that continues to remind me of what ‘being alive’ means.

 JAN DE GRAF, TSINGHUA UNIVERSITY, CHINA

Shamefully I have to admit that I had never heard of Tsinghua University before I came to Singapore. I only became aware of its allure once I was exploring the campus myself last semester. The Tsinghua campus is one of the biggest and perhaps most beautiful in China – it is so huge that it has its own satellites and nuclear reactor. Still, despite its size there were no vacant rooms on campus when I arrived in Beijing and thus I had to find a place off-campus. With close to zero Chinese langauge skills that proved to be a challenge, as even the most basics necessities were not easy for me to obtain. I was thus happy when I found a room near the campus just before classes started.

The Public Policy school at Tsinghua University has a two-year program in International Development that is very similar to our MPP-program. The student body is at least as diverse as ours – my classmates came from all over the world. Africa and Latin-America were especially well represented. The School also hosts a one-year mid-career program for professionals from Africa. Since I came in the first semester of the new academic year it was very easy to integrate and catch up with the new batch. My best friends were from Brazil, Angola, China and Canada. I also joined a Chinese soccer team and I signed up as a volunteer to teach basketball to migrant children in a nearby village.

According to some of the seniors in the School I was lucky with my courses. Some of them sounded disillusioned after a year of core-modules in a School that is younger than ours. Three out of the four classes that I took were very good, though. One module was taught by World Bank employees, where we had a different speaker every week. Often they had just met with Chinese government officials. I also took a module that was taught at SIPA, Columbia University, but students from 14 universities around the world were able to follow and join the live discussion online. Another course I took, taught by an American professor, was so inspiring that I started to consider doing a PhD.

Apart from the air pollution I got used to almost all the novelties within a few weeks. Traffic was scary from time to time and as a vegetarian in China I did struggle a bit in the beginning. The times I had (accidently) eaten meat in my life, before I came to China, can be counted on one hand. In Beijing I gave up the practice and I ate everything that came on my plate – often not knowing what I was eating. Overall, I felt very fortunate to be able to explore a new culture and my time in China was for that reason a perfect supplement to my experience in Singapore. Since the classes were also inspiring I am very grateful that I was given the opportunity to go on exchange.

NURINA MERDIKAWATI, ST GALLEN, SWITZERLAND

Four-month exchange programme in St. Gallen is wonderful “break” from my monotonous life in Singapore.  I had never been in Switzerland, so every day was always full of surprises. There were good and bad occurrences, with the former hugely dominating the latter. St. Gallen is a city one-hour away from Zurich, perfectly offers both urban and rural atmosphere. Hiking ups and downs the hills was one of my favorite activities, besides wandering around Old Town and UNESCO World Heritage’s Convent of St. Gall. Living in a small city has its own attractiveness- lower living cost (as compared to Zurich and Geneva), less crowded and nicer people. Nevertheless, there were times when it became a little bit dull.  The feeling of boredom had always been a clear sign that I had to start traveling, seeing other magnificent Swiss sceneries or exploiting currency arbitrage at the borders.

In terms of academic life, University of St. Gallen (also called HSG) has wide array of Master programmes. However, it does not have one dedicated programme to public policy. I was a floating student between International Affairs and Governance programme and Banking and Finance. It gave me more flexibility to pick electives that suited my interests. My learning curve on financial regulation issues had been markedly steep as they were intensely discussed in the lecture. The practicality, mixture of assignments and lecture style vary depending on the courses. There are several rigorous courses taught by practitioners  which generally demand more active class participation. Others can be a typical one-way lecture with 100% weight for final exam. Examples given are usually withdrawn from European experiences which add novelty to my Asian perspectives. Most classes effectively last for 1.5 hour to less than 3 hours with generous 15 minutes break. With more free time, I could have more school-life balance; enrolled in a sport training (fully funded by school), joined a conference and regularly attended social gathering. The school has two-week break in which it offers numerous condensed electives. Some students prefer taking these crash-courses to lighten their burden at the end of semester. I rather used the chance to explore Europe (culturally and socially), travel-hopping from one city to the others for 19 days. Consequently, my final week was busy with exams as there was no reading week and all four exams were scheduled on the same week.

St. Gallen is a German-speaking part of Switzerland but people, overall, speak good English. It somehow demotivated me from seriously learning German. The Swiss and other full-time students are friendly, but undeniably, exchange students were my core network of friends. There are hundreds of exchange students in HSG and with “Buddy System” organizing whole range of activities catered for us, it was relatively easy to instantly make friends  and this sped up the adjustment process. Hanging out in St. Gallen (or in any part of Switzerland) can be very costly as there is not much discounts or privileged for students.  The wary about exorbitant price was ephemeral. After a while, I got used to that and learned the tricks to avoid unnecessary spending.  The whole experiences are awesome and I’m grateful that LKYSPP gave me the opportunity to indulge myself in one of the most memorable journeys in my life. J

MPP 2010:Dual Degree Experiences

This is a feature based on experiences of MPP 2010 students who are pursuing Dual Degrees at LSE, SIPA and Science Po.

LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS

Somang Yang- MPP 2010 student from South Korea

1. What were the reasons you opted for the Dual Degree?

I opted for the Dual Degree as it gave me an opportunity to study at two of the GPPN schools. Each institution has its strengths and unique features, and I thought to capitalize on this.

2. Why did you choose LSE?

I chose LSE because the MPA programme has a quantitative focus. Namely, it offers fantastic teaching (including practical training) and class choices in Econometrics, which I have always been interested in, but hesitant to try, as it can be very daunting for a first-timer without a very structured introduction.  Also, LSE’s location in London gives me access to any number of interesting public events and job opportunities.

3. How did you manage funding issues?

I was able to find a grant from a private foundation to cover most of the difference in tuition fees. I was also able to get off-campus accommodation at a reasonable price. But, London is a very expensive place to live in, and on a student budget (1100 SGD/month), it requires profound lifestyle changes (packing lunch, learning to cook, rigorous CBA of the best travel methods).

4. Did the Dual Degree meet your expectations (did you find what you were expecting at the partner school)?

Regarding the academics, I am very happy with my courses. I have taken Econometrics, Managerial Accounting and Economic Appraisal and Valuations. I am pleasantly surprised by how well they are taught, and how many practical training opportunities are available.

The Capstone project has also been a good learning experience. I am working with the World Bank as a client, conducting regression analysis on project targeting in Africa.

5. Did you find it difficult to adjust in the new school, arriving mid-way through the programme?

Yes. Although everyone is very friendly, most have formed their friendships in the first year. But being a bit of an outsider has its advantages, and I have made some unlikely friendships with people from other programmes, other Dual Degree students, and also people from outside LSE.

Also, as the focus of the first year curriculum is different here, I am starting on a different footing from most of the continuing students (I had to master STATA, the statistical programme, very quickly).

6. What do you miss most about LKY?

The availability of various resources at LKY is something I miss. Here, there is always a huge demand for computers, study space, library-owned textbooks and administrative support. I miss being able to easily access these resources, which I never took advantage of at LKY.

7. What would you do differently at LKY, had you remained for the second year?

I think I would have socialized with the MPAs more. Looking back, I have learned a lot through their insights (from 5+ years of work experience), both in the classroom and through conversations.

I also would have been more active in seeking to take classes offered by other departments at Kent Ridge, as NUS is a massive school, something I never sought to engage with much in my first year.

8. What about career opportunities in London?

London was an extremely liberal place until this year, when the government’s rules will make it more difficult for non-EU students to get a job and stay on in London. It’s not impossible, and in many ways easier than the US, but still not as easy as it used to be. There are a lot of opportunities, so my guess is that it boils down to your personal efforts and employability.

The often under-appreciated fact is that, besides finance, London is home to many NGO/NPOs, which offer quite decent compensation.

9. What is your final verdict on the LKY-LSE Dual Degree?

I would recommend the LSE to anyone who is interested in more quantitative/ managerial/ accounting focused classes, as there are plenty of options here, and are taught extremely well.

I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who is interested in Asia-specific courses (such as Politics of Southeast Asia etc). Although the massive curriculum of LSE lists many such classes, many of them are no longer offered, nor can you take many non-MPA courses in the second year, particularly if you decide to do a dissertation.

 SCIENCE PO, PARIS

Fairuz Harue, MPP 2010 student from Bangladesh

The dual degree between Sciences Po and LKYSPP gives a comprehensive view of how policymaking is done in Asia and Europe and helps to prepare one to move into the global public policy arena. The dual degree combination is also helpful because while LKYSPP stresses on quantitative and theoretical foundations, Sciences Po adds the practical aspect of research to the course with a strong focus also on qualitative research. I think this different combination makes the experience more holistic. In terms of academics, the Sciences Po capstone really complements the course in simulating the real world. The capstone in Sciences Po is a group project based on the needs of the client and is fully funded, so it closely resembles the workplace.

Living in Paris, especially after living year in Singapore, requires a lot of adjustments. Since I have always lived near the equator, the winter is truly disagreeable. Obviously, a bit of adjustment is also required for settling in to the pace of the school, where curriculum, grading and the overall -environment of student-teacher and student-student interaction are very different. However, the Sciences Po cohort is smaller than LKYSPP and there is general goodwill which helps to quicken the adjustment process.

That being said, what I like about Paris the most is that there are never an end of things to do with the plethora of cafes, museums, theatres and gardens. While in the winter, activities are limited, I got a glimpse of the summer when I first came and can’t wait for the Spring to come so that I can get out again!

To narrow down what I miss about Singapore will be difficult. I miss the LKYSPP  ‘community’ where I had, and still have, wonderful friends who made my Singapore stay truly worthwhile. If I were in LKYSPP in the second year, I would definitely take care to attend all the various talks arranged by the school, which I realize is not a common feature in all public policy schools.

Fei Fei Lu, MPP 2010 student from China

1. What were the reasons you opted for the Dual Degree?

I see the dual degree as a way of broadening views and approaches to public policy.

2. Why did you choose Science Po?

My criterion was simple: it is one of the most prestigious schools in Europe and living in Paris is a unique experience.

3. How did you manage funding issues?

I receive both funding from LKYSPP and Sciences Po, which covers most of the tuition fee, and living expenses. The rest part is covered by commercial loans.

4. Did the Dual Degree meet your expectations (did you find what you were expecting at the partner school)?

The dual degree with Sciences Po is better than I expected. Most of the professors with MPA program in Sciences Po are not full-time professors. They either work with international organizations, like World Bank, OECD; research institutes or other policy related jobs, meaning they have a lot of field experiences and practical information. A lot of classes are guest lectures and the class size is small enough, can be as small as 5 students with 2 professors, to have interesting discussions and debates with the speaker.

Prepare yourself well for the  Capstone in Sciences Po. It is a one year group work with real client. No group work can be pleasant in one-year time. However, after field trip to Manila and Istanbul, I truly see the gap between field policy making and “internet policy making”. Without actually visiting the place and talk to local experts, internet research and journal paper usually fails to give you the right answer.

5. Did you find it difficult to adjust in the new school, arriving mid-way through the programme?

Yes, not speaking the language is a major barrier of living in France. French bureaucracy is another problem, particularly difficult for people who previous stayed in Singapore. Other differences like irregular class schedule, no campus, and food problem also takes time to adjust. It is more like a culture shock, but you will get used to it after a while. Another piece of information, Sciences Po MPA doesn’t have as many electives as LKYSPP, but luckily they are very interesting.

The first year core courses at LKYSPP gave me a solid ground of policy study, even though they didn’t look appealing at that time. I do not feel any knowledge gap between the two programs.

6. What do you miss most about LKY?

The people. It is definite the cohort and faculty that I miss most. Also the campus and Chinese Library at NUS. 🙂

7. What about career opportunities in Paris/Europe?

The economy is not so optimistic in Europe, plus the language barrier. I am not keen on finding jobs in France, but will look for policy related jobs worldwide. Asia is rising, you feel that more in Europe than in Singapore.

8. Final verdict on the LKY-Science Po Dual Degree?

It is an unique experience. Jumping out from a environment that you are familiar with is obviously difficult but it compensates by the gains of study at Sciences Po and living in Paris. It is an experience has both good and bad sides. I see it as “different” and I strongly recommend it to everyone.

SCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL & PUBLIC AFFAIRS (SIPA), NEW YORK

Arley Smude, MPP 2010 student from USA

1. What were the reasons you opted for the Dual Degree?

As an American interested in U.S.-Asia relations, specifically energy and policy, studying in both environments was a great opportunity. Especially because of SIPA’s strong energy program.

2. How did you manage funding issues?

All loans. As an American I was able to fund SIPA through student loans.

3. Did the Dual Degree meet your expectations (did you find what you were expecting at the partner school)?

From an academic perspective, absolutely. I’ve had fantastic energy classes and professors.

4. Did you find it difficult to adjust in the new school, arriving mid-way through the programme?

There were certainly some downsides to arriving mid-way through the program, but those costs are heavily outweighed by the spending my first year at LKYSPP.

5. What do you miss most about LKY?

The close-knit LKY community. I knew it was something special while I was there, but nonetheless didn’t realize just how fantastic it was. It doesn’t exist on the same level here. I’ve spoke with a few classmates about it and they agree. I attribute it mostly to the large size and workload most people take on.

6. What would you do differently at LKY, had you remained for the second year?

Married either Ruchika or Nino 🙂

7. What about career opportunities in New York/USA?

Opening more opportunities to work in the U.S. was a factor in wanting to attend SIPA. After graduation I hope to either get an Asia-focused job in NY or return to Asia for a few years. I think the dual-degree experience has put me in a better position to do this.

8. Final verdict on the LKY-SIPA Dual Degree?

An unparalleled experience that couldn’t have matched my long-term goals any better. Strongly recommended.

Denise Tan, MPP 2010 student from Singapore

1. What were the reasons you opted for the Dual Degree?

To be honest, I did not know that LKYSPP had a dual degree program when we first joined the school. I opted for the dual degree mainly because funding the tuition fees (regardless of destination) would not be a problem (given my circumstances with the Singapore Government), but also because it was an opportunity to spend the same amount of time in school and graduate with, not one, but two! qualifications. (Talk about Singapore’s culture of chasing papers).

2. Why did you choose SIPA?

When given the opportunity to study overseas, and in New York City, at an Ivy League school, it was hard to not want to try to get it. I chose SIPA over others simply because it was in the States. This reason may sound superficial, but seeing as how I’d never been to this side of the world, coming to SIPA presented as the perfect opportunity. I viewed the fact that graduating with an MPA at SIPA/Columbia was a bonus. Moreover, based on experiences of other dual degree students from SIPA, it seemed like a place where I could meet even more people, and not only SIPA students but also people from other Master programmes as well.

3. How did you manage funding issues?

I am currently being sponsored by the Singapore Government under a bonded scholarship. So my decision to come to NY ultimately did not take into consideration the cost of education or living expenses.

4. Did the Dual Degree meet your expectations?

The first semester proved to be both very different and yet strangely similar to LKYSPP.

There are definitely A LOT more people at SIPA, and the number of students cross-registered with the business, law, journalism, social work, urban planning and even engineering schools were not insignificant! Class room discussions were lively (smaller classes of course). There were also a much greater variety of choice of modules to pursue. I am concentrating (majoring) in the Urban Field. My choices are not only limited to within SIPA but I can also cross-register with Teachers’ College, Urban Planning, Health, and Social Science departments as well.

For those interested in Finance/Econs/Development, the range of courses are just as varied. In fact, many take courses within the Columbia Business and Law schools as well!

One would except SIPA to have very high caliber lecturers. Almost all professors I took courses were of very high caliber, however, there are also (sadly) some rather “not as outstanding” professors here as well. No doubt they are at the forefront in their field of expertise, but personally I was unsatisfied with the teaching styles of a few.

There are a plenty of parties going around. Student groups are larger and greater in numbers (given the size of the student cohort)

5. Did you find it difficult to adjust in the new school, arriving mid-way through the programme?

Not really. You definitely wouldn’t know anyone, but hey, group work solves that problem!

6. What do you miss most about LKY?

Small cohort allows you to get to know each other rather well and the gatherings were more fun because you actually knew each other.

7. What would you do differently at LKY, had you remained for the second year?

I would actually do my PAE 🙂 Seriously, I might have focused on international relations instead of Urban Policy

8. What about career opportunities in New York/USA?
Many! Consulting mainly. And a lot of non-profit organisations. There are also numerous banks (JP Morgan, CitiBank ) hiring. However, from what I’ve heard over at LSE, employment opportunities are much better in the UK.

9. Final verdict on the LKY-SIPA Dual Degree?

DO IT! (Also, SIPA isn’t as hard as one would think….)

Siddharth Mazumdar- MPP 2010 student from India

1.    What were the reasons you opted for the Dual Degree?

I chose the dual degree for the “best of both worlds”  flavour. The chance to get a degree from two of the most prestigious universities of two regions – Asia and the US – was hard to reject. It also serves as a strong synergy to access employment opportunities, alumini network and education courses from two different institutions.

2.    Why did you choose SIPA?

The flexibility and choice of subjects one can study under an American education system is extremely alluring. Also SIPA is home to some of the world’s foremost thinkers in economics, trade, social sciences and climate change such as Robert Mundell,  Joseph Stigltiz, Jagdish Bhagwati and Jeffery Sachs. Above all SIPA is located in New York – undoubtedly the planet’s greatest city!

3.    How did you manage funding issues?

I managed to get a partial scholarship, the rest I have relied on corporate grants and personal savings.

4.    Did the Dual Degree meet your expectations (did you find what you were expecting at the partner school)?

To an extent yes and also no. The Columbian experience  did live upto its grandeur, fame and honour. But the massive class sizes and the compliance to concentration core subjects did partially erode the flexibility I had anticipated.

5.    Did you find it difficult to adjust in the new school, arriving mid-way through the programme?

Coming midway does need require some fortitude. It’s up to to you to explore rules, regulations, friendships,  customs and policies at the new school. Though you are on the same boat as a first year ,do not expect any privileges normally one would extend to a new student. At the same time it’s challenge and an experience.

6.    What do you miss most about LKY?

The intimacy of LKY and the trademark efficiency of the Ms Ruth Choe and her student affair’s office – is something even  more valued once you come to SIPA. If you require anything in LKY, you could just walk up to the academic office and be rest assured it would be in done in typical Singapore swiftness. The small class sizes means bonds build with friends can be deep and more personal.

7.    What would you do differently at LKY, had you remained for the second year?

LKY is physically isolated from rest of the NUS system , and I would have definitely utilized my second year to explore other schools and departments of the university. Also would have ensured that I had visited every tourist attraction at a radius of 1000 miles around Singapore !

8.    What about career opportunities in New York/USA?

If New York City alone were to be a country , it would be the 9th largest economy in the world. This definitely implies that the city is a great place to look for work especially in the media, services – consulting and legal affairs – and technology industry . However if you plan to make a career transition in the US , I would anticipate it’s definitely  not going to be a cake walk. For non US citizens, immigration requirements mean that you really need to be of exception value to your employer in order to obtain sponsorship for your visa.

9.    Final verdict on the LKY-SIPA Dual Degree?

On a scale of 10 I would rate it at 8. Whatever might be the pay offs and costs incurred, it not always in your life that you can spend a year each in Singapore and New York – something normally reserved for high fliers –  and also be an alumni of two renowned institutions. I definitely consider my lucky to have been given this opportunity.

Prakash Praveen Sidharth- MPP 2010 student from India

1. What were the reasons you opted for the Dual Degree?

I chose dual degree program because of the variety offered. Studying in two different cultures and studying the same subject offers you contrasting perspectives which is itself an enriching experience. And of course the fact that you earn two degrees in the time it takes to earn one!

2. Why did you choose SIPA?

First, it is one of the foremost public policy schools in the world, boasting world class faculty including nobel laureates. Second, because it is the United States. You are exposed to some of the best ideas and practices. Third, SIPA is in New York city, the most fun city in the world to be in!

3. How did you manage funding issues?

I was lucky to get partial funding from NUS and partially from the Government of India.

4. Did the Dual Degree meet your expectations (did you find what you were expecting at the partner school)?

Overall, i would say yes. The classes have been fantastic. And the program is very well run i.e SIPA and LKYSPP have a good co-ordination. Dean Tan, here at SIPA who is in charge of the dual degree program is approachable and sorts out issues immediately. Perhaps the only shortfall is that you are limited in your ability to take diverse classes because you have to adhere to the concentration and specialization requirements at SIPA. After you take all these required classes you are pretty much left with no more options.

5. Did you find it difficult to adjust in the new school, arriving mid-way through the programme?

Not really. SIPA has a wonderful orientation week with lots of fun activities so this makes adjustment very painless. It is possible to get overwhelmed initially though due to the large number of students at SIPA and bewildering variety of academic programs.

6. What do you miss most about LKY?

My LKY friends!! I made amazing friends at LKY and i wish i could have taken everyone with me to SIPA!

7. What would you do differently at LKY, had you remained for the second year?

Taken a more active role in committee affairs, more sports, more travelling around Singapore.

8. What about career opportunities in New York/USA?

Definitely not as bright as it used to be. Dual degree students are at a disadvantage since they have not done internships through SIPA. Most job placements are on the basis of student internships. However, the career services office is fantastic and you can with perseverance set up good opportunities.

9. Final verdict on the LKY-SIPA Dual Degree?

Five stars. I would strongly recommend it, if you can pull of the financing. NYC is an experience in itself and Columbia has a huge name in the US and world-wide.