Name: Carl Merino
Current Employer: Roy Police Department
Job Title: Chief of Police
Year of Graduation: 2009
How has obtaining an MPA degree from the University of Utah helped you in your career? The knowledge I gained through my course of study in Public Administration has assisted me in understanding the greater picture of public service in law enforcement. In today's atmosphere of tighter budgets and greater scrutiny of all public employees and organizations, understanding how to accomplish more with less, being transparent in what you do, and realizing the concerns of the public and the elected officials we report to, is critical in being successful in public service. Being able to see beyond your own realm of concern, and having an understanding of the inner workings of City government can provide tools to help you make your own organization more effective and efficient.
What skills learned from your classes, or courses in general, were most important in your career development? The skills that have been most useful to me are those that addressed management in the public sector, statistical analysis, policy analysis and budgeting. Management in the public sector is much different than private sector management. In the public sector, the bottom line we are concerned with does not revolve around profits, but around the quality, efficiency, and cost of the services we provide to the public. Law enforcement bases many decisions on the statistical data we gather on trends in criminal activity, and as is characteristic of all statistics, this data is often manipulated to the desired point of view. A true understanding of how data is collected, compiled, and interpreted provides the ability to sift through what the data really means and helps provide guidance to real solutions through good policy analysis and design. Budgeting and the understanding of policy considerations in budgeting are evident in today's leaner budgeting times.
What advice would you give to incoming students? The advice I would give is to use your MPA as the background knowledge you need, but remember that nothing replaces hard work and dedication to succeed. Don't look at your MPA classes as a hurdle, but try to get everything out of them that you can. There will come times in your schooling where all you think of is getting done. The program at the U of U is a top-notch program, get out of it all you can. Be active socially as well as academically to get the full benefit out of the program.
Name: Sol Oberg
Employer: Kaysville Police Department
Title: Chief of Police
Year of graduation: 2011
How has obtaining an MPA degree from the University of Utah helped your career? Obtaining an MPA degree from the University of Utah helped to validate me as an executive-level candidate. It legitimized my undergraduate degree and helped separate me from my peers through the knowledge I gained in the field of public administration. The MPA degree provides a level of credibility that is difficult to obtain, otherwise. Aside from the knowledge I gained and the prestige enjoyed by the degree, I benefit greatly from the networking and contacts I made in the MPA program.
What skills learned from your classes, or courses in general, were most important in your career development? The program courses taught me the many theories of public administration. I learned how to apply the art of leadership to the science of management in my professional endeavors. It has aided me in effecting positive change to my areas of influence and my impact on the world.
What advice would you give to incoming students? Like most aspects of life, the more you put into the program the more you will get out of it. The MPA program at the University of Utah can be a life changing experience. Engage in the courses, with the professors, and your fellow student and be the positive change in your life.