Name: Rachel Langshall (nee Langton)
Current Employer: Jordan School District
Job Title: Grants Management Specialist
Year of Graduation: 2005
How has obtaining an MPA degree from the University of Utah helped you in your career? I would not have the job I have today without my MPA degree.
What skills learned from your classes, or courses in general, were most important in your career development? My emphasis was in Nonprofit Fundraising and Management. All of the classes in my emphasis have helped me in my career development. Surprisingly, the classes about Law and Public Sector issues, which I thought would be the most unhelpful, have been helpful to me as well.
What advice would you give to incoming students? Pay attention, even in the classes you don't think will matter for your chosen career. You never know when additional knowledge will be helpful.
Name: Moana Hansen
Current Employer: Office of Admissions, University of Utah
Job Title: Assistant Director of Recruitment
Year of Graduation: 2015
How has obtaining an MPA degree from the University of Utah helped you in your career? My MPA degree has helped me to become more effective in my current position. I’ve learned how to examine my role more critically and openly from multiple perspectives (i.e., legal, ethics, financial, economic, social justice, etc.). My MPA degree has provided me with a broader framework and lens to really examine the impact of my role on other moving parts within the public sector. It has helped me to gain a better understanding of public administration in our society and how it could shape outcomes for the average citizen. My MPA experience has definitely helped me advance within my current career and I am confident that it will help propel my career in future opportunities.
What skills learned from your classes, or courses in general, were most important in your career development? I gained the most knowledge and skills from my legal, ethics, social justice, organizational behavior and capstone courses. The administrative law course provided me with a legal foundation to better navigate the public sector, especially as a manager. I gained a foundational understanding of the constitution and how it applies to public administration and managing personnel. Many of these basic principles are not taught within the workplace and so it was critical to acquire an understanding of administrative law. The ethics course provided me with a greater perspective on ethical philosophies when examining issues in the public sector. This was particularly helpful in examining all aspects of the so called “moral code.” It provided deep discussion on basic and complex issues that pertain to a variety of professions. I became more culturally competent and aware of social inequities through my social justice and leadership and cultural pluralism courses. It provided me with a broader lens to better examine the distribution and access to resources for diverse and/or underserved populations. This course is critical especially when considering the diverse population that public administrators advocate for and serve. My organizational behavior courses helped me gain a better understanding of how to be a more effective and influential leader by examining best practices that currently work in successful organizations. Overall, I took away some knowledge and skill from all of my courses, however these courses were most applicable in my current profession.
What advice would you give to incoming students? I would encourage all incoming students to make an effort to network with other students, faculty, staff and guest speakers. These people possess a variety of knowledge, experience and connections, and they may help you land your next career! Also, don’t be afraid to engage in discussion. It is the best way for you to feel involved in the class and it helps others learn. Your professional and personal experiences may enrich the course discussion more than you think! Also, try and think of your MRP topic during your first year, which will help you identify a MRP advisor. This will make for a smoother second year research experience. Your advisor will appreciate your early planning as well! Lastly, enjoy the MPA experience. Your two to three years will fly by, so soak it all in and enjoy the ride. You will have a lifetime to work, so try not to skimp on your academic efforts. This is an investment in you and your future.