Blog October 5, 2020

'What I Wish I Had Known' - Students and Alumni Share Advice for the Master’s in International Policy Program

The application is now open for the Master’s in International Policy (MIP) Class of 2023. Five current students and alumni offer advice for prospective students.
The MIP Class of 2019 at their graduation ceremony in June 2019.
Members of the MIP Class of 2019 at their graduation ceremony in June 2019. Photo: Meghan Moura

“I would encourage students without work experience — who are coming straight from undergrad — to apply! Jillayne Ren I was discouraged when I was beginning the application process at age 21 and saw that the average age of the MIP cohorts was 26 to 27 years old. I didn’t think I had a chance to get in, but I did. So if any future students are hesitant to apply because they think they might be too young, I would encourage them to be bold and do it. You never know what could happen!”
-Jillayne Ren ‘20

“I think that challenging preconceptions about what the MIP program can offer you is really important because Kyle Van Rensselaer ‘20 in MIP and at Stanford in general, interdisciplinary learning carries a lot of weight. You can have flexibility in a lot of things that you do. And I think you can see that in the movement of students [between specializations and interests]. Many people come in with a certain specialization in mind — maybe something they did as an undergrad or as a job — but then they realize once they get here that the way they see the world has changed. So they switch specializations or they dabble in both — maybe a mixture of Energy plus Cyber or GovDev plus Security.”
-Kyle Van Rensselaer ‘20

Many people come in with a certain specialization in mind — maybe something they did as an undergrad or as a job — but then they realize once they get here that the way they see the world has changed.
Kyle Van Rensselaer
MIP Class of 2020

“It's easy to apply to grad school because a lot of other people are doing it and because you've been thinking about it for awhile, but it'sDaniel Gajardo ‘22 very hard to answer why you are really doing it. What's the purpose of doing it when you have so many options and alternatives? For example, creating your own organization, or changing jobs, or studying online.
The process is so deep and tough at the same time, that if you don't have a very good idea of what that purpose is, I think it's easy to deviate from the actual objective of having a meaningful experience and getting the tools you need to create an impact. So I would advise people to ask themselves why they want to do it first. What school, what program — that comes later. If you have a clear purpose, I think the other questions are going to be easier to answer.”
-Daniel Gajardo ‘22

I would advise people to ask themselves why they want to apply to grad school first. What school, what program — that comes later. If you have a clear purpose, I think the other questions are going to be easier to answer.
Daniel Gajardo
MIP Class of 2022

“Talk to students — don't be hesitant to reach out to people in the program. I think the nature of a policyKyle Smith '22 program is that it attracts a lot of people who are looking to do good in the world. And part of that extends to paying it forward to other people who are following close behind us. I get excited when I talk about the opportunity that I have at MIP and I think that's probably true for most of the people in my cohort. Don't hesitate to reach out and see what the experience has been like for us.”
-Kyle Smith ‘22

“When an opportunity is presented to you, go for it! There are a lot of really interesting things going on at Stanford. Olivia Seideman ‘20From time to time we'll get an email saying that a certain professor is looking for a research assistant or something similar, for example. And I think being open to trying new things and learning outside of your discipline is really useful because everything is very interconnected. And even if you're laser focused on one area of study, that doesn't necessarily mean there isn't something that you can learn that might surprisingly be applicable to what your interests are in another discipline.”
-Olivia Seideman ‘20


Begin your application for the MIP Class of 2023

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