Dec 12, 2016

Why I Chose a Dual-Degree Program with Tuck & Harvard Kennedy School

By Alen Amini T'18

Alen is a dual-degree student at Tuck and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Originally from Ohio, he previously served as a TFA corps member and vice principal at Lakeside High School in Lake Village, Arkansas, and interned at the White House this past summer. 

I am often asked why I chose to pursue the joint MBA/MPP degrees at Tuck and at the Harvard Kennedy School. Surely, conventional wisdom suggests, there’s nothing that one degree offers that cannot be supplemented by coursework at either institution. I am certainly not getting any younger, and the ROI (and opportunity cost) seemingly cannot justify earning two degrees concurrently. As time passes, however, I am increasingly more confident that I made the right decision.

Not only have I been fortunate to collaborate with bright classmates and to learn from world-class faculty at both schools, but I have also been fortunate to avail myself of unique opportunities exclusive to each institution. For example, last year at HKS, I could not have imagined I would help run a food truck and a small clothing store as a student. Similarly, had I chosen to only attend business school, I would not have spent two weeks working with classmates to address some of the challenges facing the United States immigration system, or researched elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ultimately, I chose to pursue the dual-degree because government and business are increasingly inextricably linked. Having worked in the nonprofit and education sectors before school, I enrolled at Tuck to better position myself to seek elusive private sector opportunities and to potentially develop in such roles in hopes of eventually becoming a more successful contributor across sectors. Although some of the coursework in both programs’ core curricula are similar, applying microeconomic principles, for example, when examining social security in the United States is vastly different than applying the same principles when analyzing an aluminum company’s decision to (not) build a new plant.

The past 15 months have been truly rewarding, and I highly recommend applying to the dual-degree program if you're even remotely interested in examining how business and government can work jointly to address the world’s most pressing challenges.