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    I'm currently agonising over whether to embark upon a postgrad degree in public policy or whether to just spend a little time doing internships before application time hits in November.

    I'm hoping to go work in the think tank area / public sector or third sector and so I think a masters would perhaps be useful (and think tanks essential?) but I'm also unsure whether it's just delaying my moving forward by a year?
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    That's quite a tough question to answer. Both a masters and experience will look good on your CV. Some think tanks will definitely want a masters, but lots of places favour experience. There's no reason you can't try to get internships over the summer, then do a masters, or try to get part-time experience while you study. One thing I would say is that you have likely missed the funding deadline for lots of post grad courses for next year. Also, don't assume that you have to wait for November to apply for things. Lots of smaller places look at applications all year round.
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    (Original post by Little Jules)
    That's quite a tough question to answer. Both a masters and experience will look good on your CV. Some think tanks will definitely want a masters, but lots of places favour experience. There's no reason you can't try to get internships over the summer, then do a masters, or try to get part-time experience while you study. One thing I would say is that you have likely missed the funding deadline for lots of post grad courses for next year. Also, don't assume that you have to wait for November to apply for things. Lots of smaller places look at applications all year round.
    Thanks for your reply I haven't been able to find any funding whatsoever for a public policy masters so should still be ok to aplpy
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    Well in that case your best bet is to start applying for everything. Apply for masters (some will be approaching their deadline), apply for internships, jobs, grad schemes. You may as well see what your options are before you start worrying about what to choose.
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    (Original post by veggie4life)
    I'm currently agonising over whether to embark upon a postgrad degree in public policy or whether to just spend a little time doing internships before application time hits in November.

    I'm hoping to go work in the think tank area / public sector or third sector and so I think a masters would perhaps be useful (and think tanks essential?) but I'm also unsure whether it's just delaying my moving forward by a year?
    I am looking into think tanks, research assistants, third sector, and public sector work. The situation is pretty dire with very few posts being advertised in any of those areas and with a large number of highly experienced applicants which make are chances pretty damn small.

    Now with the masters you may be viewed as over qualified (the same is true of a degree but I would say a masters has a worse impact). This can leave you in the situation of basic admin jobs wont give you a chance as they view you as over qualified but for jobs you are qualified for then you lack the necessary experience. It is a pretty nasty situation.

    That said I would think carefully about the masters. While I did enjoy mine and got a lot out of, the experience was stressful and I blew all my savings for essentially a piece of paper which has left me living back at home unable to find a job.
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    (Original post by veggie4life)
    Thanks for your reply I haven't been able to find any funding whatsoever for a public policy masters so should still be ok to aplpy
    Funding for masters is like gold dust. There basically is only a tiny amount of funding with the masters being a major funding gap.

    There is more funding for PhD study, but it is extremely competitive that you cannot count on continuing to PhD study. For example I applied to one university which had 8 funded PhD places for the entire social sciences department which had hundreds of applications.
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    (Original post by Politics Student)
    I am looking into think tanks, research assistants, third sector, and public sector work. The situation is pretty dire with very few posts being advertised in any of those areas and with a large number of highly experienced applicants which make are chances pretty damn small.

    Now with the masters you may be viewed as over qualified (the same is true of a degree but I would say a masters has a worse impact). This can leave you in the situation of basic admin jobs wont give you a chance as they view you as over qualified but for jobs you are qualified for then you lack the necessary experience. It is a pretty nasty situation.

    That said I would think carefully about the masters. While I did enjoy mine and got a lot out of, the experience was stressful and I blew all my savings for essentially a piece of paper which has left me living back at home unable to find a job.
    I think that's my biggest fear - being overqualified. I'm lucky that my parents live in London so i've been able to volunteer with organisations like the Terrance Higgins Trust so hopefully that'll help a little!
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    (Original post by veggie4life)
    I think that's my biggest fear - being overqualified. I'm lucky that my parents live in London so i've been able to volunteer with organisations like the Terrance Higgins Trust so hopefully that'll help a little!
    True that volunteering is good but I would not count on it on getting you a job. There are a lot of other people with far better experience and these jobs are highly desirable as well as being pretty rare to get advertised at the moment.

    The overqualified situation is something to be wary of as the economic situation is dire. Cuts to PhD funding and the amount of applicants can land you in a no win situation. With my MSc and a decent range of experience (office work, telemarketing, retail, and research assistant) I have had 1 interview in 5 months and that was for a part time job at Subway (They only read my application in the interview which went very well but I did not get the job).
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    (Original post by 09034958349053)
    Hi Tyler. It is Dan by the way.

    Personally I’d advice getting internship(s) under your belt. Months of applications for entry level jobs related to think tanks/politics have told me that experience is what counts though ironically you seem to need the experience in the first place for them to take you seriously.

    I would ask given the way that the public sector is contracting is a Masters in public policy going to be any use? I know too many people who have done Masters and ended up with more debt (real debt not the SLC kind) and no better career prospects – in fact ending up overqualified for many jobs.

    Unless there is demonstrable demand for a Masters I’d avoid personally as it can be one expensive delaying tactic otherwise and in some ways quite counterproductive….

    Many think tanks want you to do unpaid internships. For example I recently saw an advert for the think tank Demos that would only pay lunch and travel expenses. Can you afford to live off the bank of Mum and Dad for sixth months in order to get a foot in the door? If not you might need to look elsewhere…

    Then again if you’ve got the money and want another year of the student lifestyle why not? It is a grim economy to say the least. Increasingly I've starting looking at a PGCE though I think for the wrong reasons (job security, nice bursary,get to use my brain) Whether teaching a bottom set year 9 class would be that fulfilling is another matter :-D

    I graduated in the year above you and I’m afraid I don’t have any easy answers. In fact I’m still trying to work it out myself to be honest. Some people from my year group have landed on their feet with regards to jobs so it isn't impossible, others are working in jobs which are decidedly non-graduate if I can put it like that.

    I'm having the same problem you've mentioned on another post. I just can't get through maths tests for anything. I struggle helping my brother with Year 8 maths homework these days. I've just forgotten what I learnt years ago at GCSE having had five years of being assessed on essays.

    Good luck whatever you decide to do
    Dan you're killing me!

    I think the logic behind the masters was that a lot of the profiles on think tank websites of interns all seem to detail they have masters (working for free after a masters is an exciting prospect). I definitely get what you mean about public policy but I'm aiming to work in the third sector where it'll still hopefully be applicable without all the massive job freezes of government.

    Bah I don't know what to do. I genuinely don't think i've ever been so stressed in my entire life.
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    (Original post by veggie4life)
    I'm currently agonising over whether to embark upon a postgrad degree in public policy or whether to just spend a little time doing internships before application time hits in November.

    I'm hoping to go work in the think tank area / public sector or third sector and so I think a masters would perhaps be useful (and think tanks essential?) but I'm also unsure whether it's just delaying my moving forward by a year?
    Do the Masters. I work in the third sector ATM and I can tell you that if you want a topish job in the future you will most definitely need a Masters (or a father who works here...). Experience is also extremely important, but in this field a Masters is just as important.

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