Why the Ford School master's degree (MPP/MPA)?

March 15, 2011 0:05:46
Kaltura Video

A glimpse into the Ford School graduate program, as told by the students, faculty, alumni, and staff who make up our community. March, 2011.


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ª The decision to apply to the Ford School is an outstanding decision in terms of your opportunities to work at the University of Michigan, which in my mind, is one of finest institutions in the world.  [Inaudible] to world class scholars, researchers.  I think it's a wonderful decision.  
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ª When first coming to the Ford School, the thing that impressed me most was the closeness, the community.  And I think it's hard for an incoming student to get a sense of that.  But it is one of the most incredible aspects of this place.
ª It's a small place with big resources.  We don't admit huge classes here, and so the amount of individual that students can get from staff and from faculty and from their peers -- they're going to have access to some of the best researchers, policy practitioners, and faculty in their respective field.  It's nice on the one hand to have some really individualized attention and on the other hand, you've got the University of Michigan behind it.
ª One of the most important things that happens at the Ford School is the learning that goes on between the students.  Many of the courses and the activities involve group work.  Working with and learning from your peers is an incredible experience.
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ª University of Michigan is a tremendous place to study because of the ability to do what we call [inaudible] degrees in which a student can do up to 14 of them.  Students can also take classes at any of the graduate programs at the university, so it's a tremendous resource.
ª I think it's been relatively easier at the Ford School just because there's some well-established programs that they've been gotten it down to a science.  They're able to refer you to resources and get you the information you need promptly. 
ª At the classes and other parts of the university it is really easy to do interdisciplinary work, even as I grad students.  So I took classes in the school of planning; I took a class at law school -- many students take classes at the business school.  It's very easy to get access outside resources all around this great university.
ª Ford School Careers Services Office helped put in touch with a current alum.  When she found out what my interests are, we went out to coffee.  And from there, I knew it was a place I wanted to apply to work some day.
ª The presentation [inaudible] that put together along with the program were incredibly helpful.  [inaudible] came in and talked about her experience in the [inaudible] office.  And that's really how I decided to focus my career on state and local government.
ª One of the things that I really like is that they know your name and they know what you're interested.  I've gotten personal emails about job opportunities based on, you know, what I said I was interested.  They know my resume.
ª I feel in credibly fortunate.  Six months before I graduated, I was offered a position in the [inaudible] Mayor's office, which is my hometown.  And just by all my connections, it was a Ford School alum that connected to [inaudible].
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ª When a group of students realized that a lot of the policy problems that we deal with here here in the U.S. Were also relevant for our Canadian counterparts, we wanted to create a conference where students can not only study the issues, but share best practices that can be applied on both sides of the border.  By having the opportunity to lead and manage events at the Ford School, I have the honor of collaborating with a number of faculty and staff here.  They have an absolutely amazing support, both financially and [inaudible].  
ª One of the beautiful things about the Ford School is that they really encourage students and support them in bringing their dreams to fruition.  So I brought the idea to try will Trey Williams, and he completely supported us and gave us guidance. 
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ª Our real strength is it in policy analysis.  And I think it's a skill set that any policy person will be well-served with, to go to program evaluation and economic analysis.
ª The Ford School focuses on quantitative skills, because regardless of it's your trying to implement policy or evaluate policy, it's a major component in the process.
ª I use the quantitative skills and the writing skills that I learned at the Ford School every single day.  I write policy memos, as I was trained to at the Ford School; I conduct data analysis, as I learned in all of my quant classes.  I really found my Ford School degree to be invaluable as a research analyst.
ª You're going to have many opportunities to apply the education that you're getting in the classroom here at the Ford School.  Two of the main ways is through the internship and through the applied policy seminar.  The Ford School does have a required internship between the first and second year of the program where you'll spend 400 hours working either domestically or abroad in applying the skills and the knowledge that you've gained here.
ª The applied policy seminar clients represent a wide range of private, nonprofit, and public sector policy organizations.  The high quality and reputation of the Ford School have led many of these organizations to adopt and implement the student's recommendation.
ª The international economic development program is a great way for students to get involved in international policy issues at the Ford School.  Each year a group of students, supervised by a faculty member, leads a delegation to a different developing country to study and report on the special development challenges that that country faces.
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ª One thing that comes to mind is quality.  The quality of the students, the quality of the staff, the quality of the faculty.  It's just an incredibly impressive place.  And seeing all of that come together is an amazing thing.
ª And almost anyone here will tell you the same thing.
ª Go Blue.