Student Spotlight: Sai Vichare (MPA 2023)

Sai Vichare

From her leadership roles in Wagner's student organizations to working with the UN Capital Development Fund for her Capstone project, Sai Vichare (MPA 2023) utilized her graduate school experience to develop the critical analysis and managerial skills needed for global public service.

What motivated you to attend Wagner, a school of public service?

Back in India, when I was looking at university programs, the Master of Public Administration program and international development specialization at Wagner caught my attention. I noticed that Wagner offered an excellent blend of core and elective courses and I believed this degree would provide me with a beneficial balance of social and economic perspectives to successfully contribute to the field of public service.

The best part of being here has turned out to be the professors. I consider it my good fortune to have studied and trained under some of the world’s best faculty. They have a treasure trove of resources and knowledge that still leaves me awestruck. They are constantly accessible and able to address students' concerns and they create a learning environment that is welcoming and supportive. I feel that I am part of the larger NYU Wagner network of resources, people, and events and I can proudly state that the program far surpassed my expectations.

You are involved with Wagner International Students Society (WISS) and International Policy and Planning Association (IPPA)—two awesome student groups—what are some of the benefits of getting involved?

When I first started the program after coming to the United States in 2021, I was instinctively drawn to these groups due to their alignment with my interests. Being an international student myself, my personal challenges and experiences serve as a source of inspiration for helping others. The inclusive environment at the school has helped me, and by being a part of WISS, I feel I am keeping that same spirit alive. IPPA, on the other hand, was quite simply the best way to remain in touch with my academic interest in international policy. By being involved in these groups, I have met so many like-minded people with similar interests. It has made me more a part of the Wagner network and I have made great friends in both of these groups. My involvement also allowed me to grow my skills such as communicating with people, liaising with officials, budgeting, coordination, management, and leadership.

Capstone just started this semester, can you tell us a bit about your client and what excites you about this project?

My capstone client is the United Nations Capital Development Fund and the project is about developing a municipal finance strategy for two Indonesian cities, Banyuwangi and Banyumas, in alignment with the Malaga policy agenda and Smart Green ASEAN Cities (SGAC) project. The goal is to assess the two cities' financial capacity and practices as well as their current waste management scenarios and recommend the best financial solutions for funding a sustainable waste management project. Apart from getting to work on formulating financial strategies, the most interesting part is that we also get to learn about the best sustainable waste management practices. This resonates with my passion to learn about various socio-economic policies. It is an exciting chance for me to practically implement everything I have learned so far and I am excited to see the outcome. I am really looking forward to working on an ASEAN project and possibly traveling to Indonesia

Reflecting on your experience at Wagner, what skills / lessons from grad school are you taking into the next chapter of your career?

Wagner has helped me realize how valuable I will be once I graduate. I have made some wonderful friends and learned a ton of critical skills. I received much-needed knowledge about some of the best policies that scholars had painstakingly developed from the excellent academic curriculum I was exposed to, as well as details about how these policies are being implemented into various programs in New York City and around the world. I've acquired the interpersonal and managerial skills and I intend to put all of this into practice to the best of my ability and transform my surroundings for the better.