Chris Blattman is one of the first graduates of the MPAID program and now maintains a very interesting blog on development, with special focus on Africa. Following his MPAID, Chris did a Ph.D. in economics at Berkeley and is now on his way to Yale as assistant professor of economics and political science.
He is therefore in a perfect position to provide advice to students who are looking to do graduate work in development, and to those who are considering the choice between an MPAID (or regular MPA/MPP) and a Ph.D. In a long post on his blog (honestly Chris, you do have to think about your career too!), he does just that. It is a great post, and I recommend it to all students interested in development.
One comment on what Chris has to say about the MPAID. It is true that there was little emphasis on micro development in the first years of the program, when Chris was there. But that has changed a lot, and we know have a strong group of faculty who teach and do research in the area. Besides Rohini Pande, whom Chris mentions, I would list Lant Pritchett and Asim Khwaja in particular. I team up with Rohini to teach the intro course on development, providing students with an integrated micro-macro perspective (which is exceedingly rare these days). Many of our students take courses with or work with the other micro-development economists in Cambridge. And we currently have two offers outstanding in micro development.
Indeed one of the strengths of the program is the variety of interests the students come with. You put in the same lecture room students whose passion lies in microfinance or education with students who care mostly about fiscal policy or industrial policy--and you are always guaranteed to get a very nice discussion going.