t-14orbust wrote:I've been thinking about JD/MPP at
Kellogg (Kennedy?). Is it difficult to get into the MPP program? What benefits do you think it would give that aren't attainable through the JD alone? Thanks!!
Piggybacking off this question, if the benefits stem from the knowledge, rather than the degree itself (a question in and of itself), would taking selected courses at HKS be sufficient to obtain said benefits. Going one step further, might this approach only be sufficient for a,b,c career paths, but not x,y,z (where the MPP itself might be required/preferred/beneficial).
I've posted about this several times before in this thread, but I'll say this.
1. As for how difficult it is to get in, I don't know. You can apply simultaneously with an application to HLS, and you can also apply to one school from the first year of the other. I do know that reapplicants are viewed with some favor, so if you apply to both at once and don't get into HKS, you have a slightly higher chance on reapplication to HKS. Also, being in the Harvard family is viewed with favor, so if you're at HLS, you stand a better chance than if you were just applying from before law school. I can also say that HKS is a little more like business school in that your grades and test scores are less important and your resume is more important, compared to law school. But you should look at the HKS website (and, if you want, talk to HKS admissions) for more on what your chances are like.
2. As for the benefits, a lot of people who ask about this on TLS really want an answer in the form, "If you want to work in [x], then the diploma you need to purchase is a JD. If you want to work in [y], then the diplomas you need to purchase are JD and MPP. [etc]" It doesn't work that way. There's almost no job that requires an MPP specifically. I have (rarely, but not never) come across jobs that require either an MPP or a grad degree in Econ — the one that comes to mind is the California Legislative Analyst's Office (and maybe some jobs at the Federal Reserve or other regulators). But I've never come across a single job where the JD/MPP combination is particularly crucial as a recruiting standard (as in, "We only take JD/MPPs"). It's possible that it's the norm in something in D.C. — I've not spent time there so far, but there are a lot of JDs and a lot of MPPs there. (I've heard that it's useful, at least, for regulatory legal work in D.C.)
So what do you get? Well, you get an education. You get the core, which is loaded with econ and stats but also politics, political philosophy, management, etc. You also get greater access to the electives at HKS, the most popular of which you can't cross-register for, and — even of the ones you could cross-register for — you'll take more of them as a JD/MPP than as a cross-registrant. The elective classes are very different from law school classes; they have things like Negotiation Workshop — skill-building and experiential — but for tons of things: making speeches, writing op-eds, etc.
But, in addition, you get the experience of going to HKS. You get an extensive additional network, friends and fellow travelers in policy circles, which you can sort of get by cross-registering, but only sort of. This also includes the mid-careers and the alumni network, both of which are interesting contacts to have. You get more exposure to all the things that happen at HKS, like the Forums (which are fun) and the Institute of Politics and other centers (which are pretty remarkable, really), though you could get all of those things if you just walked down to HKS — but let's be real: you won't. You get a third summer, which can be useful if you want a broad range of internship experiences. You get to not be in law school
for a little while, which — even for someone who likes law school a lot, as I do — is valuable for gaining perspective.
On the other side, it's another year of school that you have to do and go into debt for. To which I can only say, meh.
A common line from old JD/MPPs goes, "I got my job because of the JD, but I knew how to do my job because of the MPP." I think that's a fair summary. It's not for everyone — if you just want to take a couple of econ classes, or a couple of politics classes, or whatever, then you can just cross-register — but if you're interested in a deep dive into policy analysis and skill-building from every direction, it's a good experience.