This 3-part blog offers a quick insight into what a postgraduate public policy degree entails, a peek into the application process and finally, career options post this master’s. Read the first part here and the second part here.
Most candidates applying to MPP/MPA programs are so focused on the application process itself, that not enough attention is given to what happens once you graduate. And that’s when real life hits. Jobs are often in short supply, particularly for international students that have to also worry about visas.
It is always a good idea to strategize about the job market and how to navigate this before making the decision to attend graduate school. Career trajectories post an MPP span the private sector, social or non profit world and government.
In the private sector, consultant positions with the Big 4 are much sought after. Development consulting is a relatively new but rewarding space. Private companies, particularly in Big Tech, have public affairs/policy teams that work on thought leadership as well as government relations. MPP programs with a focus on data/quantitative train students to work in data analytics which are a growing trend in organizations that work with Big Data. Clean energy companies sometimes hire MPP graduates to work with them on navigating new markets or trends in this space.
Apart from jobs with established firms, there are several fellowships and grants made available by large donors and philanthropic foundations to fund social impact innovation. Many who graduate from MPP programs go on to found a start-up serving base-of-pyramid consumers in developing countries using these grants, and eventually scaling to become self-sustainable.
In the non-profit or social sector, there are a host of NGOs working at the grassroots level as well as internationally on issues such as climate change, human rights, clean energy, civil rights, urban planning and so on. Jobs with international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) such as the United Nations or World Bank are in high demand. These INGOs have their own annual recruitment processes for hiring young professionals – this is usually very competitive with thousands of applicants vying for a few spots.
Many MPP/MPA candidates come from the government sector and often return to work with governments in their respective countries. Increasingly, Ministries in India are hiring external consultants for research and knowledge creation. There are also government-affiliated think tanks and institutes where MPP-degree holders can find positions. These play an essential role in providing policy inputs to governments.
Networking and growing connections is also an integral part of the graduate school experience and often a key reason why students want to study abroad. MPP programs usually offer a career services platform and help students acquire soft skills needed in the job search.
This is a broad overview of different career paths one can go down post the MPP. It definitely helps to scan job search portals including Devex, DevNet and LinkedIn to get an idea of the kinds of roles available, and skills you need to start acquiring early on in your graduate school experience.