This year, HKS has introduced a new analytical resume requirement for MPP candidates to complete. If my clients who have my expertise to lean on are freaking out about it, I know those of you working through this process on your own could use some help. I made something like a template/sample that you can use as you work on your analytical resume for Harvard Kennedy School or any other policy school that requires it. Dr. Travis Brown, Director of the Quantitative Skill Center at my beloved alma mater Pomona College, was kind enough to speak briefly with me and provide some great tips for thinking about how to discuss your quantitative skills. A huge thank you to him for lending me some of his quantitative expertise so I could translate it into English for all of you. Know that any mistakes or misstatements are mine and not his. I was furiously taking notes during our conversation. Below are some questions you may be thinking about and a mish-mash of Dr. Brown and my responses.
What counts as a quantitative skill?
Any time you are using numbers/data to draw conclusions and make sense of that data, you are using quantitative skills. If you were like me and avoided “numbers” classes in college, not to worry. Quantitative skills are useful and used in every discipline. You just need to know what to look for.
What kinds of courses can I list on a quantitative/analytical resume?
- Math courses, especially Calculus or higher
- Economics courses
- Physics courses
- Computer Science courses
- Statistics courses
- Accounting and Finance courses
You’re using quantitative skills when you…
- use Access, Excel, STATA, SPSS, R, or LaTeX
- use Java, C++, or any other programming language
- do research projects individually or with professors that involve data
- attend numbers-oriented labs
- perform financial analyses
Useful buzzwords and phrases for discussing your use of quantitative skills:
- descriptive statistics (a fancy way to say basic statistics in which you are finding the mean, median, and mode)
- basic data analysis
- advanced data analysis (i.e. you know how to do variance analysis and parametric tests)
- trend analysis
- experimental design
- and the list goes on and on… (I wish I had an actual long list of quantitative skill phrases to give you)
Other useful resources:
- This whole one-pager from Calvin College is gold, but the phrases under the column “Dealing with Data” are especially helpful.
- Those of you who follow policy school applications closely know that Columbia SIPA already required a quantitative and language resume. You can see a sample of one of these distributed by SIPA here.
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