Alumni Spotlight: Morgan Peterson ’18 MPA

Morgan Peterson ’18 MPA discusses her experience in the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs MPA program and how it prepared her for her position as an Analyst for The Clearing in Washington, D.C.


Minneapolis, Minnesota

You work for The Clearing, a management consulting firm that works in the areas of strategy development, change management and leadership training. What has been the most interesting project you’ve worked on so far?

I am currently on a project within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that is bringing a collaborative approach to how HHS purchases its goods and services ($24 billion annually!). We are bringing diverse stakeholders across HHS together to leverage their collective purchasing power through procurement, resulting in significant cost savings. This large scale transformation is underwritten by emerging technologies, too.

What skills from the MPA program do you use most in your job?

The foundational coursework on policy analysis and policy writing are useful with my work on strategy, analysis, and strategic communications. Understanding how the federal government functions internally and the levers it takes to implement change externally are key for my current role. Having a higher level understanding of statistical data and analysis is also a tool I leverage frequently.

The Clearing is largely focused on culture and organizational change. Thus the courses on decision-making and strategic communications (where we dove deep into social psychology and its interplay in policy) have helped with my work in the federal space.

Where did you work for your consultancy and how has it been useful in your career development?

I worked for the Global Development Incubator (GDI) in Washington, D.C. My main project included analyzing data and developing artifacts on slavery and anti-trafficking policies for the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery. Through GDI, I gained exposure to new methods in strategic communications, global policy, and strategy in the development sphere. I definitely continue to apply these skill sets today, namely the ability to view problems from multiple levels of perspective.

You entered the MPA program shortly after earning your undergraduate degree. What advice would you give incoming students with a similar background?

Find a balance between staying open to new ideas and interests while pursuing leads for your first post-MPA job. Take on a fall internship -- if you have the bandwidth -- that allows you to explore a subject area in which you're interested. Seek out Brown alumni and professors who work in your areas of interest and invite them for coffee. And, look at your consultancy as a test-run for your career — you might have the opportunity to be hired full-time after you graduate.