Posts tagged “Dual Degree

Stories from Abroad (Part IV): Katrina’s Dual-Degree Insights at Geneva

Here is our last post of our Stories from Abroad series.

If you guys are interested in doing dual-degree program by taking an MBA in International Organization in a university located close to many international organizations headquarters are, you’d better take a look at what Katrina Xia has to say about her program at the University of Geneva, Switzerland.

Just click below to see her complete presentation (hint: some of the pictures are breath-taking!)

International Organization MBA at University of Geneva


Hope you guys enjoy our “Stories from Abroad” series. We’ll keep you guys updated about our next stories, news, polls, and everything that happens in our campus.


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.


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.


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.


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.