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Stanford MS in OR vs. Harvard MPP

gluttonxywgluttonxyw Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
edited March 2011 in Graduate School
Hi Everyone,

I recently got admittance from Stanford MS&E school for MS in Operations Research and Harvard Kennedy School for MPP. I know they are very different programs. So I'd really appreciate opinions from you guys who know about either programs.

Here's a brief description of myself and my goals: I am an international student who completed undergraduate degrees in Biochem and Econ (and a policy studies concentration) in a liberal arts college. I applied to OR and MPP programs bc I know I love doing sth related to system design and system improvement.

My understanding is that OR MS programs usually fit more into private policy design (ie, consulting firms design management strategies for start-up companies), whereas MPP is really "public" policy stuff, providing graduates opportunities to participate in large national and international projects of policy anlaysis.

I do not know more about these two fields though. So additionally, if anyone may tell me more about these practice areas and how OR or MPP fit into them, it will be very helpful to me. Also, as any international student who faces work visa sponsorship issues, I'd like to hear any perspectives on job placement for intl students as well.

Thank you very, very much!
Post edited by gluttonxyw on

Replies to: Stanford MS in OR vs. Harvard MPP

  • 3togo3togo Registered User Posts: 5,233 Senior Member
    edited March 2011
    hmm ... operations research grads could get jobs looking into private policy decisions of companies but operations research itself is essentially math modelling of business programs. So initial jobs right after graduation in operations research itself will tend to be very quantitative looking at higher level decisions ... so this often will be analytical support of policy/strategy development. Many OR grads leverage their analytical training and go into jobs other than pure OR jobs after getting their masters .... often working for consulting firms ... where policy analysis and development would be common. I have two degrees in OR including a MS from Stanford (from the dark ages) ... and I'd say of my master's class about 1/2 went into pure OR type jobs and 1/2 ventured into other things. Either way I believe OR gives people a TERRIFIC foundation for looking at business problems in a very logical analytical way even if you never use a pure OR technique after graduating.
  • gluttonxywgluttonxyw Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    Thanks a lot, 3togo! I wonder if you still have connections with the Stanford MS program after "the dark ages":) If you do, do you know if the program's reputation and job placement have gone down a little bit in recent years as the acceptance rate has gone up to 37% (I've heard several ppl who said so..) Another thing I was thinking as I read your post is that are consulting firms more concentrated in the Northeast (Boston, NY) or are there abundant consulting firm opportunities in Cali, too? Further - this might be a little too specific - since I did a lot of biochem/biotech stuff as an undergrad, I will be very interested in biopharmaceutical consulting. I know there are a lot of biotech companies at the west coast - what about the consulting firms in biotech industry and would OR foundation be quite pertinent in these firms too? Thank you very much for being so helpful!
  • 3togo3togo Registered User Posts: 5,233 Senior Member
    edited March 2011
    hmm ...

    I graduated from Stanford in '82 so it was a long time ago ... at that time there were 4-5 top OR grad programs so coming out of any of those was a pretty good deal ... the number of OR programs has multplied since then ... so I'd guess all the top programs are not quite as selective as they were then ... I do not know Stanford's position now but I'd be surprised if it is not still one of the top OR programs.

    There are consulting firms all over the place especially consentrated in major cities and areas with lots of corporate headquarters ... so in California I'd think LA, SF, and Silicon Valley would be major consulting hotbeds ... those only guesses on my part.
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