Admissions Blog

Fitri's Five Favorite SIPA Courses

By Fitri Mayang Sari '23
Posted Apr 12 2023

There are so many great courses at SIPA across all the concentrations and specializations available. As I am less than a month away from graduating, I reflected on some of the best classroom experiences I've had over the last two years. Without further ado, I present my five favorite SIPA courses and why I loved them so much!

  1. Macroeconomics Analysis for International & Public Affairs by Prof. Andrea Bubula Prof. Bubula's capability in storytelling is the foremost obvious reason why I like this subject. He successfully made the macroeconomic materials - which were difficult especially for me - to be chewable and interesting to learn. I also loved it when he incorporated the international current event into the materials. For example when the Russia-Ukraine war first evolved, Prof. Bubula explained what the impacts it could cause to the world from the macroeconomic perspective: increasing commodity prices for importer countries, higher interest rates for vulnerable countries, etc. Another top quality that he has is he memorized all of his students' names, which always made me feel so welcomed and the class experience so personal. Sometimes I didn't even know the name of the person next to me, but Prof. Bubula will ALWAYS remember. With his storytelling skills and teaching styles, I am convinced that I will register for any subject he teaches in SIPA and elsewhere. I will not deny that I perceive macroeconomics as a difficult subject. Thus, I thank Teaching Assistant (TA) Loretta Xu who helped me a lot to understand the materials better and to succeed in the class.
  2. Corporate Finance by Prof. Deborah McClean I am going to be honest with you all that when I first enrolled in this class, I was so afraid that I would not pass it. I have studied accounting cumulatively for 7 years, but I was terrible in this subject. Hence, if it was not a mandatory subject for my IFEP Finance Track concentration, I would have definitely not taken this class. But all my fears turned into excitement when I met Prof. McClean in class. I mean her passions in teaching, her expertise in the field, and most importantly her ability to explain the materials were everything to me. I was bought out and decided that I was going to love this class with her. Warning! This class has a heavy workload and its final exam lasts up to 4-5 hours long. No kidding, it was 5 hours in the Spring 2022 term! However, I enjoyed all of the assignments. And the group assignments gave us real study cases that definitely enriches your corporate financial knowledge. Additionally, the class gave me a lot of quality study time with my workgroup and classmates.
  3. Writing and Delivering Speeches with Prof. James Holtje I firmly believe that this 1.5 credit course is A MUST TAKE subject for every SIPA student. Because the class offers a direct usable implementable skill in writing and delivering speeches. Regardless of your current or future professional career, public speaking and speechwriting is a necessary skill to master. The class structure is efficient, less theory and more practical. The theory is given only in the first session of the class. The second session allows you to work within a group to comprise a part of SIPA dean speech. Each student will write and deliver three speeches: SIPA dean speech, an appointed topic speech (NGO, Business, or Politics), and a personal speech. In personal speech, students could write any topics that interest them, such as: life experience, the most memorable moments in life, their future political campaign speech, etc. While in NGO, Business and Politics topic speeches, students will receive feedback from guest lecturers who are expertise in respective topics. This class quota is very small, around 25 students per semester - while the waitlist can line up to 75 students. I hope in the future this class can be expanded so more students can secure a spot!  Because of the large demand, to register to the class, the students must submit a form to Prof. Holtje. This makes the class become well-curated, that only high interest students would be admitted. In my class, I could feel a great ambience since all students shared the same motivation and energy.
  4. Campaign Management with Prof. Jefrey Pollock and Camille Rivera As an international student, this class really gave me a sense of American college experience. Although, I was a struggling a little bit to understand the American campaign systems (duh!), I enjoyed the class so much. Every week, we had different guest speakers delivering a specific topic: campaign planning/budgeting; opposition research; fundraising; polling and analytics; voter targeting; paid media; press, earned media, and communications; digital strategy; direct mail; speechwriting and public speaking; and  grassroots campaigns and GOTV. In the Spring 2022 semester, it was an interesting time because the NY Gubernatorial race was taking place. So, we were grouped to run the campaign for the 2022 New York State Gubernatorial race Each team represented one of the expected candidates in the race: Kathy Hochul, Jumaane Williams, and  Lee Zeldin. Each group consisted of 7-8 students, and each student was assigned a role. I was a digital/internet strategist so I provided a strategy for the digital campaign. In the final session, we presented the campaign plan. I felt lucky to learn from Jefrey Pollock who was Hochul’s pollster for the 2022 NY State gubernatorial campaign, and Camille Rivera who served as a Senior Advisor on the New York operation for Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 presidential campaign.
  5. Scale Up Ventures: Growing A Business Outside of Silicon Valley by Prof. Fernando Fabre Mendoza Prof. Fabre is a venture capitalist himself. He co-founded and managed Matterscale Ventures. Hiis combined professional experience and mentor side makes this class suits you who dreams to start your own startup someday somewhere. It offers knowledge of how to start up and how to make it grow as well as enlighten you with insights from young startup founders who were invited to share about their business. What’s more interesting is that after the midterm, students will be divided into groups to help those young entrepreneurs scale up their business. This assignment gave your role as the advisor, the consultant, and also part of the business team. Finally, your group will present your recommendations strategy to those young entrepreneurs.

While there are SO many courses offered at SIPA, I hope you can take advantage of one of the five above. You won't regret it!