Lam Bui


 Leaving a good job to come back to school was a tough decision for me. 

Why did you choose the McCourt School?

I was working for 9 years as a managing editor for a national daily newspaper in Vietnam before going to Georgetown University. When I was looking for an appropriate public policy program, an American close friend advised me to choose GU’s program. I was happy that I did so.

There are a lot of factors that make Georgetown a great place to study policy issues. First, the McCourt School offers a top-ranked policy program with strong quantitative emphasis and analytical skills that are essential for a public policy professional. Second, there is a mixture of academics and practitioners with a lot of faculty currently working in policy and politics that might provide you with the most updated practical training on policy and political issues. Last but not least, the school’s location in Washington DC is ideal to build up network with policy-making agents.

How has your experience at the McCourt School been so far?

Leaving a good job to come back to school was a tough decision for me. However, after going through one year at GU, I feel confident that I made a right choice. I have learnt new skills that I always aspire to do. The core curriculum offers two economic courses – microeconomics and public finance that give me key concepts and theories to analyze economic-related issues. Meanwhile, three subsequent statistical courses helped me build up a strong foundation of quantitative analytical skills that would be important to my professional betterment.

Another thing I love about the program is that it does not narrowly focus on US-policy making but offers a variety of perspectives in a comparatively global setting. I feel like my academic experience at GU has opened up ways of critical but constructive thinking about the world.

Apart from academics, the school has a strong cohort and emphasizes collaborative learning. I have learned an incredible amount from my fellow students and their diversified experiences.

Have you taken advantage of the McCourt School’s DC location? If so, how?

I am interested in international development policy, so I found the school location in DC a perfect place to engage in international development issues where the most important think tanks, multilateral organizations and government agencies are located. I have met a lot of people who are working in my field of interest. They have always been very willingly to share their vision and experience with me as a GU student. They gave me insightful perspectives about the contemporary development world. I have also tried to enjoy DC socially – there are a lot of museums, performances, historical locations and outdoor activities. I did really enjoy my time in DC.

What do you hope to do with your McCourt School degree?

I deeply believe that a well-defined, evidence-based policy would make a difference. I would come back to my home country and bring new skills and insights I have accumulated during my study at Georgetown to contribute to the policy discourse. As a policy analyst and political journalist, I would try to engage the voices from different walks of our society into the policy deliberation so as to make the policy-making process more transparent, efficient and equitable. I also love to get involved in higher education, inspiring the young generations to think critically and innovatively.

What would you say about the McCourt School to a prospective student?

The first year might be tough for any student, particularly if you do not have a relatively strong foundation of mathematical skills. Coursework is challenging. Professors are demanding but very accessible and helpful. If you take advantage of their incredible knowledge and experience, you will be fine. Try to think critically about the connection between concepts and practices, prepare for a broad range of subjects influenced by public policy, you would get a lot out of two years at the McCourt School.