I saw that Ford School students were really good because they were very strong quantitatively, they could write really well, and they were good team players."
Claudia Muñoz' (MPP '09) career has focused on improving the national and international defense and security sector.
With over 20 years of experience in the public and private sector, Munoz continues her dedication to these sectors as a research staff member for the Institute for Defense Analyses. Munoz provides recommendations for tough policy questions like "how to improve security cooperation planning," said Munoz.
Since the introduction of the FY '17 National Defense Authorization Act, "there are all these requirements on how to do assessment monitoring and evaluation of Department of Defense Security cooperation programs," which has kept Munoz and her team busy.
She said the quantitative, writing, and technical skills she learned at the Ford School have kept her adaptable to a changing political environment.
When Muñoz graduated, she applied to work as a consultant with LMI. "When I initially applied, it was a public policy fellows program. They recruit at the top policy schools in the country, and 25% of the selection criteria was quantitative skills. So if I'd not gone to the Ford School, I wouldn't have gotten in," she said.
Muñoz admits that quantitative work was never her forte. "I was not necessarily that strong quantitatively, and I liked the fact that it [the Ford School] kind of forced you to be," she said. But it has paid off in the different facets of her work. "I'm working with a group of researchers at IDA and there's this methodology that they've developed that was used for Africa and how to measure the effectiveness of defense institutions," she said.
Recognizing the dynamism of students coming out of the Ford School, Muñoz has recruited several graduates to work in her organizations.
"I saw that Ford School students were really good because they were very strong quantitatively, they could write really well, they were good team players, so it was a good match," said Muñoz.
Most importantly, Muñoz learned adaptability at the Ford School: "You could put us in any positions like, "Okay, you're gonna write a policy memo." And we could do that, it's like, "Oh, now you're gonna put together a complex spreadsheet to calculate costing." And it’s like, "Okay, we could do that."