Charting the Path to Columbia SIPA: Information Session Insights

SIPA's comprehensive overview and Alumni insights on the impact of a SIPA education.

November 16, 2023

For more than 70 years, Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA)  has been educating professionals who work in public, private, and nonprofit organizations to make a difference in the world. Through rigorous social science research and hands-on practice, SIPA's graduates and faculty strive to improve social services, advocate for human rights, strengthen markets, protect the environment, and secure peace in their home communities and worldwide.

David Caughlin,  Associate Director of the MPA in Economic Policy Management

In an effort to foster active engagement and inspire students from the East African region to take advantage of the School's academic excellence and abundant resources, the Nairobi Center warmly hosted David Caughlin, the Associate Director of the MPA in Economic Policy Management—one of the School's six master's degree programs. Caughlin offered in-depth insights into the five core principles SIPA pursues, including Geopolitical Stability, Democratic Resilience, Climate and Sustainable Development, Inclusive Property and Macroeconomic Stability, and Technology and Innovation. His guidance on crafting a competitive application emphasized the importance of passion in essays, a thorough understanding of the chosen program, and careful consideration of the program's alignment with individual goals, given the School's diverse degree offerings.

Sagal B. Musa, SIPA'08

SIPA alumnus Sagal B. Musa, SIPA'08, graced the occasion, sharing her journey and highlighting SIPA's role in shaping her career path. Musa underscored how SIPA's international environment expanded her network, facilitating career transitions for her and her colleagues and leading to the establishment of businesses and contributions to government policy-making. She emphasized that a SIPA education not only shapes one's thinking framework but it also cultivates a mindset geared towards driving positive social change.

During the lively Q&A session, the audience posed insightful questions, including the volume of African students applying to the School, the challenges faced by African applicants, and what sets SIPA apart and makes it appealing, especially for African students. Caughlin responded by acknowledging that while the exact number of African students may not be well-known, many alums have risen to ministerial positions and joined international organizations. He emphasized SIPA's commitment to nurturing global citizens, with a diverse faculty representing various parts of the world. Addressing concerns about financing education, Caughlin encouraged prospective students to explore scholarship opportunities and apply through their organizations, citing the School's unparalleled academic excellence and resources.

It was a dynamic session, filled with valuable insights and shared experiences that further emphasized SIPA's commitment to fostering a global community of impactful leaders.