Social and income inequality, job creation and career mobility through upskilling and education
Shimmy Technologies, New York, New York
You majored in economics and anthropology at Brown. Why did you decide on a fifth year of study to earn your MPA?
During my undergraduate studies at Brown, I grew to appreciate the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to understanding and solving societal issues. In addition to economics and anthropology, I also had the privilege of taking courses in physics, Slavic studies, international relations, and Russian. The experiences and lessons learned from this broad variety of classes made me want to further my studies in another field that would also be relevant to my work in the Singapore Public Service. The fifth-year MPA provided me with the opportunity to do just that. Furthermore, given the unique pandemic situation that we are in when comparing the different graduate programs to which I had been accepted, I felt more certainty in trusting Brown University and the Watson Institute to continue to provide a world-class education. Thus far, the MPA has certainly been an enriching experience!
What sorts of tools and knowledge have you gained so far in the MPA?
One tangible skill that I picked up so far is the ability to write concise policy memos that effectively convey information to a particular stakeholder. Another would be the ability to draw on the “best practices” in different countries and compare how different countries handle similar situations given their unique contexts and stakeholders. Some examples from class were Uber and the handling of COVID-19. For the case of Uber, we compared how the U.S., Sweden, and Germany used policies to manage the potential market conflicts between existing taxi services and the new and rapid expansion of ride-sharing entrants.
Guest speakers, be it during class lectures or the MPA speaker series, all brought invaluable insights with key takeaways that students will definitely find useful in their careers. Some notable speakers include Danielle Cerny and Professor Rebecca Henderson. Danielle Cerny, Chief Performance Officer for the State of Rhode Island, spoke to our Policy Analysis and Problem Solving class. She shared key insights based on her experiences crafting performance management frameworks and effective methods in project management in the public service. Rebecca Henderson, a professor at Harvard University and an expert on innovation and organizational change, gave a guest lecture in our Politics of Policymaking in Comparative Perspective class. She discussed the conditions and structural changes necessary for capitalism to help produce solutions to climate change, rather than exacerbate the climate crisis.