Series: Admissions

Careers in public policy

December 14, 2021 0:48:00
Kaltura Video

With professional, personalized career services and a powerful, deeply committed alumni network, the Ford School helps students achieve their career goals. This session features Jennifer Niggemeier, director of Graduate Career Services and Alumni Relations, and Peter Vasher, associate director of Graduate Career Services. December, 2021.



0:07:26.4 Beth Soboleski: Hi everyone. My name is Beth Soboleski. I'm the director of Admissions and Recruiting here at the Ford School. Thank you so much for taking time to come and meet with us today and to hear from our Graduate Career Services team. They do a tremendous job for our students, so I'm really excited that they get a chance to talk with you about their work and the support that they provide for our students in our Master's programs.

0:07:49.8 BS: So I wanna introduce Jennifer Niggemeier, who's our director of Graduate Career Services and Alumni Relations, as well as Peter Vasher, who's our associate director of Graduate Career Services. They're gonna chat up for a little bit and then there will be time at the end to have questions, so feel free to as you think of them, drop those in the chat or we'll have time at the end as well. So I will turn it over to Jennifer and Peter. Thank you very much.

0:08:18.3 Jennifer Niggemeier: Thank you Beth. So welcome everyone, we are actually going to do this as an interview, Peter and I are gonna interview each other about our services, and hopefully that will set the stage for you to ask some questions as well, as we get toward the midway point. So as Beth mentioned, I'm Jennifer Niggemeier, the director of Graduate Career Services and Alumni relations, and I'm gonna pass it to my colleague, Peter, who's gonna start off the interview today.

0:08:48.2 Peter Vasher: Really excited everyone's joined us. So I'm Peter Vasher, I'm the associate director of Graduate Career Services here at the Ford School of Public Policy, coming at you live from 735 South State Street, right here at the corner of State Street and Hill. So to kick things off, Jennifer, I hear the Ford School has intentionally invested in a robust Career Services and Alumni Relations team, specifically for graduate students. So can you tell us a little bit more about the team and kinda give an overview? 

0:09:20.5 JN: Yeah, absolutely. Ford School does take its commitment to graduate Career Services really seriously, both for the MPAs and MPPs and for PhD students, and we have a team that includes a staff that work on employer relations side of things, establishing recruiting contacts and connections. We have staff that work on the counseling side, providing one-on-one and group support.

0:09:52.2 JN: And then we also have an integrated approach where our Leadership Initiative is integrated into our office with some shared responsibilities across staff, and as well as alumni relations being integrated into our office. We'll talk a little bit about that moving forward. But we talk about our service delivery in general as providing you with information, connections, strategy and support, so that information about the world of work, what can you do with the Policy degree.

0:10:29.0 JN: We know sometimes come to the program in their career pivoting and don't necessarily know the range of options that one could do with a Policy degree, and so we definitely have programs and services that focus on... On that information. But once folks do have a sense of what they wanna do, connecting with those that do that work is really important, and so that's where the connections aspect of our office really comes into play.

0:10:58.7 JN: So I think I will stop there and ask Peter maybe to unpack that a little bit, particularly about what's maybe unique about the Ford School in the ways in which we get to know our students in our service delivery approaches.

0:11:22.1 PV: Absolutely. So I know you can kind of see other teammates and colleagues on the screen right now, so we are... I think one thing that's very important in the Ford School is community, and that starts with getting to know one another. We are self-contained to one building on the Ann Arbor campus, so we're one of these small schools on the Ann Arbor campus.

0:11:41.4 PV: I think a really nice benefit of the Ford School too, is you're a part of the larger U of M community, but you really have the integral focus of community here at the Ford School, and Weill Hall overall. And the ways that we get to know our students, so we'll be reaching out to you if you decide to come to the Ford School in the summer of '22, so before you even come to campus, we get to know you.

0:12:06.2 PV: So we start with programming over the summer before you come. Every student has the opportunity to take a Gallup StrengthsFinder. So we do a little bit of strengths work in the summer to help inform in your own values in your own strengths that you're bringing with you to the community. We know that people are coming back potentially to school after a number of years of work experience, so we just wanna help with that reflection piece as you're starting at a Master's or PhD program here at the Ford School.

0:12:38.3 PV: And then we get to know you individually, so we meet with every single student that comes through the Ford School one-on-one to get to know your interests. Where do you wanna go? Are you making a career pivot? Are you looking to move to California? Are you looking to move to India? What is it that... What is your why? 

0:13:00.4 PV: And that's something we work individually with you on, and we're accessible, we have 230 Master's students at the Ford School, you can see our team that we have available. We're here reaching out to you to really get to know those interests. And one thing we do is we meet with every student in August or September, occasionally that goes into October, depending on mid-terms, anything that the students may have, or really to kinda get to know those interests that you're bringing, what's your background? What are you hoping to accomplish here at the Ford School? 

0:13:34.3 PV: And then it's really that full life cycle journey, if you're getting the MPP, we work with you on your internship search. If you're the MPA, then we'll work with you a little bit on the capstone too. But what are you doing here in your year or your two years to set up an internship and then set up what comes beyond, and then everything that goes into that full life cycle of the career search, we'll work with you on.

0:13:56.0 PV: We know that many of you are bringing robust experiences with you and bringing a lot of expertise with you to the Ford School, and we tap into that in the community too. We have a number of different workshops, we'll work individually. We have one of our programs that maybe I'll let Jennifer talk a little bit about, that we really enjoy, is internship and job search groups, so where we leverage the community in the expertise that you're bringing to. You wanna talk a little bit about that, Jennifer, as one of our options? 

0:14:28.8 JN: Sure. We do lots of individual one-on-one, but we also think it's really important, and we know students have found lots of value in this to have accountability with each other. And so we organize internship search groups in the fall for students that wanna get a head start, and these are between eight and 10 students that commit to four or five weeks of one hour a week, getting together to focus on aspects of your internship search.

0:15:03.1 JN: And often students decide they wanna continue on with their accountability and they self-organize and keep... Keep meeting after the formal structure of the program's over. We'll do those in the winter semester as well, we also do job search groups for those that are second year MPAs that want that type of small group accountability and focus. And they've really been a strength of the office.

0:15:29.8 JN: Lots of schools on Michigan's campus have replicated what we've been doing with these and at many of our peer policy schools as well, because we found them to be really successful and really part of building that sense of cohort and community for the school.

0:15:47.4 PV: In addition to search groups too, we do, we'll work one-on-one with students on interview prep, interview practice. We'll have different workshops. There's, Casey Sullens is our Employer Relations manager, we have a number of different employers that are coming virtually or to campus when public health guidance allows, to connect with you. So there are a number of different opportunities for connection that build upon that individual and group support that you're going to get as a part of the community.

0:16:23.5 PV: Another really nice benefit too of the GCSAR team is the opportunity for every single student to get individual leadership coaching at the Ford School. If Jennifer, you wanna share a little bit more about the Leadership Initiative too? 

0:16:38.6 JN: Yes. So I work very closely with Morela Hernandez, who's a faculty member new to the Ford School, who is the director of the Leadership Initiative, and part of the piece that I'm responsible for is for students that are on internship, through the wonderful contributions of donors, we are able to provide every Master's student with a leadership coach that is paired with you during the time of your internship.

0:17:11.9 JN: And so it's an opportunity to really lean into how are you showing up at work. So not so much... It's not career counseling, it's about how am I growing as a leader? How am I showing up? What is my leadership presence? How am I modeling the way. What am I seeing about good leadership in the workplace? 

0:17:35.1 JN: Students found that really valuable. Last year was the first year we opened it up to all of the MPPs on internship, and mid-semester we have just launched it towards Master's in Public Affairs students, where they're going to be paired with a leadership coach currently with the time they're taking the core leadership course that is taught by Dr. Morela Hernandez. And so we're super excited about it.

0:18:03.4 JN: The coaches absolutely love working with Ford School students, they have said it's their favorite clients. And that the issues that students are bringing to the coaching are really similar to what the CEOs that they work with bring to coaching. And so the fact that you have access to this so early on in your career, we really see it as a game changer in how it will help you advance your growth and development and your leadership development. So super excited about that offering.

0:18:42.7 JN: Yeah, so let's see, Peter. Let me ask you a question now. We have... Let's see. We've talked about strategic, we talk about information, connections and support as part of what we've offered, and we talked about the programming and the individual one-on-one. Can you talk about what we mean by helping students with the strategy side of their search? 

0:19:12.7 PV: Yeah, I'll talk a little bit about that. So as we've said earlier, definitely working with each of you individually to see what is the best choice for you, and we know the experiences that you're bringing are going to be varied, they're going to be different, and like I said, we'll leverage that.

0:19:34.9 PV: But we will work with you one-on-one to make strategic decisions as you like, we're a resource here for you, and that can at times be pursuing opportunities that might be different from past experiences. So it's what is the why that you're here, what is the strategic choice you're gonna make with your degree.

0:19:55.3 PV: So you're here, you're gonna have academics that are gonna be challenging you and taking up time, but what else are you gonna do strategically to connect with our large alumni base that's around the US, around the world. What are the opportunities that you are gonna be intentional in your own strategy to kind of explore different pathways.

0:20:20.0 PV: So that could be connecting with an alum to do a mock interview, it could be going to an alumni office hour, but what are the ways that you want to explore pathways or sectors while you are here at the Ford School. And in terms of your own strategy, we recognize that a number of our students might be exploring parallel pathways. And that's absolutely okay. We encourage that.

0:20:43.5 PV: We want you to get perspectives from alums, from employers, so you can make a strategic choice. In the last couple of days I've talked to students that are weighing multiple offers, and we talked through the strategy of, "What is the right choice for you knowing it might not be the one that pays you the most amount of money, but what is the right fit for you in your career?"

0:21:07.5 PV: So we will have those individual one-on-one conversations with students and build a plan of during your time here at the Ford School, what is the right choices for you to explore or to make, so you can get experiences. And some of that will be, I come from the private sector, I really would like to get a local government experience, but I also wanna get exposure to the federal government. How can I do that? 

0:21:33.8 PV: Okay, I'm gonna work part-time either for the City of Detroit or doing a project with a faculty member with the Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project, so I can get some exposure at the local level. And then my summer internship, I'm really gonna focus on either being in DC or Chicago and I really wanna work for the Government Accountability Office. And we'll talk through that strategy of, "Okay, how can I achieve those goals? What do I need to do during my time here to make that happen?"

0:22:05.6 PV: I'd say another strategy piece is we learn from and talk with you about your experiences. We've had students that will go off on a summer internship or get a capstone experience at the MPA level and they're like, "I am thankful that I have had this experience, 'cause it is validated that this is what I don't want to do. So I'm gonna look in a different direction." And that's okay too.

0:22:25.2 PV: But that's a strategic conversation you can have with us, and it's one that we're certainly happy to have with you as you're figuring out what is it that you wanna do here, and what is it that you want to do next as well. And with that too, we definitely leverage our alum network. Jennifer, I don't know if you wanna talk a little bit about how alumni relations is a part of our team here in graduate career services? 

0:22:51.3 JN: Yeah. So about 10 years ago, we made a very deliberate choice to pull the alumni relations function, which generally in most schools is connected to development, we pulled it physically out of that space and moved it on to what we call the second floor, which is where Student Services, Career Services is.

0:23:15.8 JN: So that alumni, our Alumni Relations person would be very much involved in the life of the school and get to know students. Often, Alumni Relations picks up after graduation, that just doesn't seem like the right model. Alumni relations, it's a continuum. And so we wanted our Alumni Relations folks to know our students from the get-go, and that includes playing a role in connecting those of you that will be admitted into the Ford School, you will have the opportunity to be paired with an alum to ask questions, what we call our Admissions Ambassadors Program.

0:24:00.1 JN: So alumni relations is very much embedded in the life of the school, both in terms of an admissions focus, in terms of fundraising, our alumni board is very active, they actually raise funding for internships, and we'll talk about that in a little bit. They're involved in increasing the visibility of the Ford School, whether they're connecting us to potential speakers or they themselves are receiving awards and they're acknowledging that they're a graduate of the Ford School.

0:24:32.5 JN: But the part that is most salient for Peter and I is the part that alums play in the career development of students, and that is from pieces of being employers themselves, so they graduate, they go work for a Deloitte and they come back as a recruiter. Or they're working for the US Department of Transportation, and they know that they have some Presidential Management Fellowship openings, and they're connecting back and asking, "Who are your finalists in this program that is fast tracked to the federal government?"

0:25:11.8 JN: And then they play a really important role in just career advising. We do office hours with alumni, where you can sign up for half hour with an alum of interest to you, we make their bios available. And then in the winter semester, we do mock interviews with alums to help you prep for interviews, that certainly will be happening as part of your internship and job search.

0:25:37.6 JN: And then we have a series of programs where we bring alums in more formally through [0:25:42.7] ____ Fridays, which is an informal like a coffee chat, but it's structured where we'll have two alums come in and just really field questions from students, hear a little bit about their story, and then sometimes alums come and just do career conversations or...

0:26:01.1 JN: Career conversations that are tied with recruiting for their specific organization. So it would be, you would be hard pressed to graduate from the Ford School without having had some significant alumni interaction, and they're just... They're giving back because people gave to them when they were students. And that's the culture, it's built into the culture from the start. So Peter, anything else we wanna say about alums? I guess that they're amazing careers and where they go and the impact that they have.

0:26:37.0 PV: We can definitely talk about that. Our alums are really making a policy impact across the many different states, many different countries, and they are very connected to us at the Ford School, is we talk about that community piece, when they're coming back to attend an athletic event or something on campus, they're dropping by, like Jennifer said.

0:27:03.8 PV: It's a place that people want to return to and pay it forward as they can, and they're doing that, and their actual policy impact is in a variety of different places. But before I talk a little bit about the full-time, I just wanna mention a couple of things about internships. That's a great place to make an impact too, for those that are potentially earning the MPP degree, and just super quickly, we...

0:27:27.5 PV: There are a number of different ways that students will get that kind of internship experience, and there are a number of different employers that will intentionally recruit at the Ford School, and we have Ford funded internship opportunities for students too. So just of note, in the last two summers we've been in a pandemic, and we strategically work with our students to ensure an internship experience, that's either in 2020, that was 99% virtual.

0:27:56.1 PV: In '21, majority virtual, but we did have roughly a quarter that did go on and pursue in-person experiences, 'cause that's what the employer wanted, and we will see what public health guidance allows for in the summer of '22. But one thing the Ford School remained committed to was maintaining funding levels, so that's just one thing we wanna note, is we did not diminish any kind of funding levels, so we provided funding to all students that requested it.

0:28:25.5 PV: So we have different levels of funding. We have Ford funded internships that are at the 7500 or 8500 level, with a number of key employers, whether that is different organizations and units from around here. I can share a little list that we have here. Or employer paid internships certainly as well. So there's a number of different opportunities at the internship level to get that experience as you're building to full-time as well.

0:29:00.5 PV: So this is kind of just showing levels of funding, about a third of our students are gonna get employer paid internships such as Government Accountability Office, Deloitte, Guidehouse, City of Chicago Mayor's Office, any number of places. And then also we have different for Ford funded internships. These are some recent examples of some of our internships at the MPP level that students have had the opportunity to engage with certainly as well.

0:29:26.9 PV: And this is not exhaustive. In any given summary of 110 students on internship at 1008 different organizations, so that impact is vast and varied, and again, it gets back to that strategy piece of what do you wanna do and where do you wanna go. And that global impact and is real.

0:29:46.1 PV: The [0:29:46.4] ____ behind me, you're gonna see that when you're traveling, you probably already met someone who said, "Go Blue," to you about five times too many, but we are proud and we're proud in the Ford School of where we're going and what we're doing. There's a few more employer connections, but just getting to post-grad where students geographically are going, so we kinda have a historical top six.

0:30:10.3 PV: In terms of specifics, so Michigan, DC, many different places internationally. California, Illinois and New York, and then any number of different states represented across the US and then across the world too. So geographically, there are a number of different places. Yes, we're based in Ann Arbor, but we do have that reach and impact across the US and the world too, and this is the same case for internships that people are going to many different places and many different organizations.

0:30:42.2 PV: If you're a visual learner such as myself, sometimes I like maps to represent different things, these are kind of by destination worldwide, recently, in the last five years or so, where students have ended up on the international perspective. So top five being US, Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and China.

0:31:02.1 PV: And then if we were to look at this domestically the last five years, you can kinda see, so the blue states there are top five in terms of numbers, just in terms of representation in the last couple of years too. And again, this is across sector, so federal, local, state government, foreign governments, international organizations, consulting, private sector, government relations, and a vast, vast range of different non-profits. Students are making an impact in a number of different ways.

0:31:34.9 JN: Peter, I wonder if you wanna share a little bit about the Bohnett Fellowship and the Riecker Fellowship that both have applied policy impact components to them? 

0:31:47.0 PV: We have two of the fellowships that Jennifer just listed there. So the Bohnett Fellowship, which will have an upcoming application in March of '22 for those that are emitted to the Ford School, and that has a built-in internship component to it. So our Bohnett Fellowship is partnered with the City of Detroit Mayor's Office, so for the students, they receive tuition support in scholarship for their academic pursuits, and then they also will receive a $10,000 stipend to pursue an internship with the mayor's office in Detroit.

0:32:20.6 PV: So we have three fellows each summer, and that internship component is in a policy area of interest to you, so it varies in terms of what department it might be within the mayor's office in the City of Detroit, but it's a great opportunity. And our fellows have gone on to continue to work in the City of Detroit or in local government in other areas, or in a variety of different spaces. So it's a nice network. As a part of that fellowship too, you will join fellows who are at NYU and UCLA and become a part of that broader network, and then you can have the opportunity to attend the US Conference of Mayors.

0:33:01.6 PV: The Riecker Fellowship is a six-month-long fellowship. We are directly on Capitol Hill in DC, working either in a Senate office or a member's office in the House Representative doing policy work. And so that is an opportunity that's open to students in their second year of the MPP program, so after they've done some policy coursework, you apply typically in the fall of your second year, or depending on if you're a dual degree student. And then you will spend from January to early summer in DC, directly working on policy in the Senate or in the US House. So we have two right now.

0:33:40.6 JN: Yeah, supporting a member of the mission to delegation.

0:33:44.7 PV: Yes, sorry.

0:33:44.8 JN: Focused on that. So for instance, this coming January we will have two students on the Hill, one will be supporting the work of Senator Gary Peters, who is the chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and the second student will be on the House supporting the work of Dan Kildee on his work on House Ways and Means Committee.

0:34:13.5 PV: Yeah. So two definite positive experiences there, and both opportunities are very competitive, but nice experiences that are only open to Ford School students too.

0:34:26.5 JN: Yeah. So we said we'd take half the time and we did. And so we'd love to open it up for your questions. Peter, maybe we could take the spotlighting off so we can see everyone. Feel free to raise your hand or to put your question in the chat, but we would love to hear your questions. Anything that wasn't clear, anything you want more clarity on? Anything we didn't cover? Don't be shy.

0:35:06.2 PV: We're here, we love questions, we love talking. We love listening too.

0:35:13.7 JN: We like getting to know you and your interests. It's actually something that we will do once we know who the class is for the coming year and who is admitted and accepts at Ford. We send out a survey over the summer and we will ask you what you know at this point about your career interests, and the organizations that might be of interest to you, and that becomes a basis for our employee outreach. Alright, I see question. Casey, unmute, ask away.

0:35:49.7 Casey: Thank you. So I actually am hoping to start the program part-time as I work. I work at the U of M already as staff, and so really, the Bohnett Fellowship seems very interesting. But my question would be, is there a restriction on when you have to apply for that? So I wouldn't wanna apply for it next year, but I would say in two years. Or I think the... It's gonna take me about four years to complete the program. So could I in year three or four apply for that fellowship and still get it? 

0:36:30.9 JN: I don't know the answer to that. We've not had that question before.


0:36:35.8 JN: But I would say that that is maybe a question to talk with Beth about, but in general, the students that have been the Bohnett fellows have been full-time, often dual degrees, and so there is this juggling with another program. But we have not had somebody who's been juggling with full-time work. Doesn't mean it couldn't happen, but we just haven't encountered it yet. Alright, other questions? 

0:37:08.5 PV: I'll just add to that, that we have a number of students that will work for the City of Detroit outside of the fellowship too, whether that's for part-time, during the school year, or for the summer internship component for the MPP degree as well. Yeah, other questions? 

0:37:33.4 JN: Alright, well...

0:37:33.9 BS: Can I pose a question you to you guys, Jennifer? 

0:37:36.9 JN: Yes, please.

0:37:40.6 BS: So Bohnett and Riecker is more domestically focused, but I'm wondering if you guys can talk... We definitely have a lot of students that are interested in international work and international opportunities, so wondering... And obviously, that's been a little difficult during the pandemic, but just wondering if you could highlight a few sort of places that we have really great relationships with, 'cause I know we have students that go all over the world? 

0:38:04.8 JN: Yeah, and actually someone just dropped that, [0:38:06.1] ____ just dropped that same question right in the chat. Yeah, certainly we have developed lots of opportunities abroad. The last two years have been challenging of in terms of travel. So where we have worked with our employers is to still offer those positions, but to do it in a way that's remote.

0:38:32.5 JN: Obviously, it's not ideal, it's not really what students mean when they say, "I wanna do an international internship," but it is still international policy focus in its connection to those organizations. So for instance, for the past two summers, we've had somebody work for the International Organization of migration, connected to the Costa Rica country office. But that student has been in the US, not traveled there.

0:38:57.9 JN: This year, that could open up and it could be possible that they're traveling. We've had folks at the UN High Commission for Human Rights. I just learned yesterday about an alum who took a job at UNICEF that I am already on him about, "What do you think about internship possibilities this summer?" And certainly students have found positions at the World Bank.

0:39:30.4 JN: I do a program on individually developing your internship. Obviously, there are lots of resources that we make available. I find that a lot of the best internships are ones where students develop it on their own because they have a very niche interest. "I wanna work on water and sanitation, and I wanna be in Francophone Africa."

0:39:54.1 JN: Well, chances are, we're not gonna have an internship that specific, because it's not gonna be as... It's not as widely of interest to the larger audience of students. But working with you one-on-one to help you develop a strategy to create that internship by reaching out to the organization is, it's really super fun.

0:40:19.2 JN: We actually have a template that has worked numerous times, where students have adapted the template, emailed it to a UN office in Bangkok, Thailand, and within hours got a response saying, "We would love to talk with you about the possibility of an internship." So you can take a path of least resistance, relying on our resources. Which are great, right? I don't wanna diss them.

0:40:44.5 JN: But if there's something that you really wanna do that is... You'll hear me talk about that hitting the bullseye your career interests, then sometimes that means you're gonna... You're gonna wanna create it yourself to get all of the different pieces lined up as best as possible.

0:41:04.6 PV: And a question about international students at Ford and completing internships in... Yes, our Ford School international students complete internships domestically in the United States. They'll complete them abroad in their own country. It really just depends on what their interests are. But at the internship level, there's a lot of opportunities, it depends on what visa you might be on, in terms of the ability to complete an internship, but we have a number of international students that do.

0:41:36.6 PV: That is with non-profits, with private sector organizations, also local state government, there are any international organizations, any number of opportunities for our international students. We do acknowledge there are some companies that will put restrictions on there, so there are some barriers that they will not hire international students at the internship or full-time level.

0:42:03.2 PV: That is a choice that they're making that we disagree with, but it's a choice that they are making. But a number of our international students are finding very exciting opportunities that align with their goals for summer internships as well.

0:42:18.9 JN: The federal government in general is not gonna be a path for international students, but all other sectors are.

0:42:30.4 PV: Yeah.

0:42:33.4 JN: And then certainly students have also wanted third country experiences, again, a little bit lower than in recent years because of the pandemic.

0:42:42.3 PV: Right.

0:42:44.9 JN: So professional development funds. So this is a pool of funds that are available for students that want to develop a skill, and this year we actually expanded it to a leadership competency. You can request up to $500 in support. For something that isn't already available on campus, and not just a networking, because there are plenty of networking opportunities, it needs to be something unique.

0:43:17.7 JN: I would say in general, students have often used them for conferences or for workshops where there is a new skill being developed. It's been under-utilized, obviously because of the pandemic lots of things on Zoom have not had a cost, but we have had students that have used and access those resources to just expand on what is available to you.

0:43:44.8 JN: I think a couple of years ago, a big one was case competitions that were led by other schools, and students needed to travel to Chicago or just upstate New York, and they requested support from the professional development fund, and that was a great opportunity.

0:44:03.4 PV: Think of all their experiences where it's been a interactive experience to develop some sort of policy training not offered at U of M, that students have done as well, or presenting at some sort of conference.

0:44:18.1 JN: Presenting at a conference for sure. And there are other funds in the university available for that as well. Questions? Have we answered everything? 

0:44:38.0 BS: You guys are just so good.


0:44:39.0 JN: Hey, we try and be comprehensive, but honestly, the more we know about you and your interests, we will say this over and over again, but it's true, the more we know about you and your interests, the more we can assist you. Yes, Liz. Go for it. Is that a hand-up, Liz? No. Oh, sorry, sorry. It was my machine. [chuckle] I thought your hand was up, but it was my cursor.

0:45:07.0 JN: Okay, so I had another thought I wanted to share. The more we know about you. So let me give you an example. A student was in the office just the other day and talking about they wanna do health policy and they wanna be in Sacramento. And so we had a good conversation. I suggested a couple of organizations and alums they might wanna have conversations with, and as as soon as they left the office, I'm not kidding you, I got an email about an internship in a health policy organization in Sacramento.

0:45:42.2 JN: So I just forward it right to the student, I'm like, "Oh my gosh, this is serendipitous, this may be exactly what you're looking for." Obviously I shared it with other students as well through our online system, but it's like knowing what you are interested in helps us help you. Any other thoughts or questions folks have? Mary, you're muted.

0:46:16.8 Mary: Thanks. Sorry, I couldn't unmute myself. I appreciate all the information that you've shared. I'm wondering if students often become involved with the Michigan League for Public Policy or other state priority partnership groups that kind of focus on fiscal policy? 

0:46:39.8 PV: Yeah. The short answer is, is yes. The follow-up answer is yes and which of those do you wanna get involved in? So we've had students work with MLPP through our program in practical policy engagement, through a practical learning project. Or some of those organizations through our Strategic Public Policy Consulting class. Or just doing... Not just doing, but doing some sort of part-time research or internship experience during the school year.

0:47:12.9 PV: So you mentioned budget, and we've had... There's a lot of different budget policy opportunities, for sure here at Ford. You might work closely with our close up or the Center for a Local State and Urban Policy here at the Ford School, one of our research centers, and I've a meeting tomorrow about a number of different Michigan State policy organizations looking to connect with our students. So yes, absolutely.

0:47:42.9 JN: We have a lot of alums at OMB, the Office of Management and Budget, the White House Budget Office, the City of Detroit Budget Office. So certainly experienced at the fiscal school side. California Legislative Analyst's Office, it's a lot of fiscal analyst work. And then on the monetary policy side, certainly connections with the Federal Reserve board, as well as some of the regional banks.

0:48:12.2 Mary: Okay, great, thank you.

0:48:14.5 JN: Yeah, lots of interesting organizations and employers. Other questions? So we talked about... Oh, Casey was that a question? Okay, go for it. We can unmute you. Yup.

0:48:36.5 Casey: I had a question about the MPA program versus the MPP program. I feel like I... Maybe this is just impostor syndrome kicking in, but I feel like even though I'm applying for the MPA program, I feel like I've benefited from a lot of the kind of leadership support and educational things that come with the internship associated with the MPP program. So if you guys could talk about ways that MPA... Just clarify that interaction? 

0:49:13.9 JN: Yeah, so the MPA program is really designed for mid-career folks that have several years of work experience, and is definitely a little bit more conducive to people that are staying in their jobs and wanting to do it on a slower track. The leadership coaching is very much still a part of that, the strengths assessment, which is part of our Leadership Initiative, that's all open to MPAs as well. You still have access to the coaching and all the policy talks.

0:49:53.3 JN: The capstone is not really an equivalent to an internship, but it is an applied experience where it's kind of the summation of your year in the program, where you work with a client on a project. It's more of a research project that you'll identify with an organization, and we encourage people to use those very strategically to position yourself for the kind of work you may wanna be doing next.

0:50:24.0 JN: And so there is a lot of support. Liz Gerber right now is the faculty member who is leading out the capstone course for the MPAs, and we were really closely with her. She's incorporating strengths into the capstone class. I'll be doing some career-related work in the capstone class around your pitch, and we'll be doing a panel of MPAs that use the degree to reposition themselves in some different ways in their career. So we're very much invested in the leadership dimensions of that program as well.

0:51:05.9 JN: I think that where you would lose out, well, one is it's a longer program to do the MPP, and it tends to be a little bit more early in career, and you do lose out that summer internship experience. But if you're working, if you're working full-time, you may not need or want that. But that's a question that we can, Beth or I can talk with you about.

0:51:34.6 JN: On the MPA side, for those of you that are thinking about that program, the way we structured it, beginning this year, is that I work with all the MPAs as your career coach, because it really feeds into how much I know about you helps me to best match you with the leadership coach, based on the conversations that we have and the things that you identify as where is your growing edge in your own leadership development.

0:52:02.4 JN: That doesn't mean you can't use the services and participate in everything GCS does, absolutely can. But at least initially, I want to, I meet with all of the MPAs. I work with the MPPs as well, but that's just one of the ways that we've structured it this year, and it seems to be working really well.

0:52:23.1 Casey: Thank you very much.

0:52:26.7 JN: I'm happy to touch base if you wanna talk about your specific situation, just shoot me an email.

0:52:31.6 Casey: Okay, I will do that. Thank you.

0:52:32.7 JN: Yup. So I do see another question. Peter, you wanna take that one? Around examples of environmental organizations for student interns.

0:52:40.3 PV: Yeah. So we've got a number of different options there, so thanks for the question, Erin. But recently we've had students directly go and work for the EPA. I actually have another meeting with one of the offices in DC on Monday, so actually one of those is working with an alum of the Ford School, and then they've made... Those interns have made such an impact that there are other units within the EPA that now wanna have Ford School interns.

0:53:11.0 PV: So EPA, the governor's office here in Michigan, the Executive Office of Policy, focused on environmental policy leads for the state. We've had students intern there, the Michigan Environmental Council, EGLE or Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy within the State of Michigan is another example too.

0:53:29.4 PV: We've had students that have gone on to work on the Hill, specifically focused on some environmental issues. Students that have worked in DC at think tanks focused on different environmental issues. And then also the environmental consulting space, we've had a number of students go on to different firms as well, to work in that environmental policy, and then a number of other non-profits.

0:53:57.5 PV: So I think the question would be, Erin, where and how do you wanna work in environmental policy? The EDF Climate Corps, we've had students complete that internship fellowship recently too, partnering with non-profits. The most recent example for that, they were over at Sustainable New Jersey, working just outside of New York City. So a number of different environmental policy opportunities.

0:54:23.6 PV: A number of our students will also be involved in environmental policy at U of M, where there's a number of different collaborative opportunities to work with our School of Environment and Sustainability too. So a lot of options, depending on the interests. And at the MPA level too we've had environmental policy, one of our alums is now the chief sustainability and resilience officer for a major city in the US, so environmental policy is definitely top of mind right now.

0:55:08.5 JN: Yup.

0:55:09.0 PV: Any other questions for the group? 

0:55:16.7 JN: I don't see any. I just wanna say that in the support side of our office, hopefully you felt a little bit of that through all that we do, and you know what, there's a support that we just provide in the highs and lows of a job search. There will be jobs that you are finalists for and you don't get, and we are there to help you vent and help you redirect, and acknowledge how difficult those can be, and we're there to support you as you negotiate salaries and make difficult decisions between offers, and just to be a sounding board as you balance the multiple factors.

0:56:00.5 JN: Career decisions do not happen in a vacuum, there are multiple factors, family dynamics, commitments, responsibilities that we have, that impact on our geographic mobility, that impact on some of the choices. That's why every story is different, there are no two students whose career path is identical, because we all bring identities and back stories and preferences to our work and to who we are and to the impact that you wanna make in the world.

0:56:32.3 JN: So we hope that you complete your application to the Ford School, and that we will see many of you here in the fall in person. Fingers crossed that we stay the course on all of that. And I guess we'll turn it over, back over to Beth now. But thank you all. Great questions.

0:56:53.0 PV: Thank you, thanks for joining us.

0:56:57.2 BS: Thank you, Jennifer. Thank you, Peter. This is all really helpful. Hopefully, you all got a chance to hear the great supports that are provided by our Graduate Career Services Office. And I'm confident that they would be happy to answer any follow-up questions if you have them.

0:57:12.0 BS: So just wanted to remind you again that the last webinar in this series is gonna be on January 6th, with our Dean, Michael Barr. So if you're able to join us for that, that would be terrific. A quick reminder that the application deadline is January 15th. So thank you so much again for coming and have a good afternoon. Thanks.