When asked what the state capital of New York is, most people outside the U.S. would be quick to answer, “New York City.”
While that is a fair assumption given the popularity of the city, Albany is actually the historic state capital of New York — a short 240 kilometres north of New York City — where public policy comes into action.
It’s an exciting and dynamic city to work in for public policy professionals with its proximity to several city departments, such as Albany Community Development Agency, the Mayor’s Office, and Youth & Workforce Services, in addition to major state agencies like the Department of Health, Division of the Budget, and Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.
Albany is also home to Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy at the University at Albany, SUNY, which has been recognised by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best public affairs schools in the country.
Empowering future leaders with the power to shape public policies and make a difference in communities, Rockefeller College provides the ideal platform for working professionals to gain extensive knowledge and acquire specialised skills in their respective industries.
Carve your niche in public policy
With a strong reputation of developing impactful leaders across a range of fields, Rockefeller College equips students with the latest knowledge to succeed in the industry.
This is done through their Master of Public Administration, a unique and flexible programme providing professionals with the chance to build on their existing foundation and bring their career to greater heights in the field.
Students in this programme also have the opportunity to specialise in their area of interest.
They can choose from the following concentrations: Nonprofit Management and Leadership, Public Policy, Healthcare Management and Health Policy, Information Technology Management, Public Economics and Finance, Public Management, Homeland Security, in addition to a number of substantive public policy areas, including Women and Policy, Education Policy and Environmental Policy and Politics.
Some of these courses even have sub-concentrations, allowing students to further develop their specialised skillsets.
Students can also tailor their coursework with the help of their advisor to design their own programme by taking additional courses from other programmes. For example, students in the Public Management concentration can take multiple courses in sub-fields such as Local Government Management, Organisational Behavior and Theory, and Human Resources Management.
As for students in the Information Technology Management concentration, they can take multiple courses such as Information Strategy and Management, Data Analytics and Modelling, Information Policy, or Cybersecurity to round out their academic experience and develop niche expertise.
Jasmine A. Clemons graduated with her MPA degree from Rockefeller College in 2016 and currently works as the Senior Policy Manager for the Office of Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski.
Attributing her career success to the holistic approach of the MPA, she said, “I spent over a decade in the private sector before ultimately deciding to change careers. The MPA programme taught me how to tie my established sales and marketing skills to my future public sector work, while filling in the gaps to mould me into what I think is a well-rounded public servant. Also, internships at United University Professions (UUP), New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), and New York State Division of the Budget (DOB) gave me opportunities to see that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to policymaking.”
Developing dynamic leaders in public policy
Upon graduation, students will be prepared for an array of jobs, such as a government administrator, policy analyst, information technology manager, or as a strategic and financial leader of public and nonprofit institutions.
The balance of experiential learning and knowledge acquired in this programme means that students learn how to successfully oversee and manage projects, support and motivate teams, improve organisational performance, and monitor policy impact to help solve complex socio-economic problems.
Emily Hetzel, who graduated from the MPA programme in 2018, is currently working as an Excelsior Service Fellow at the New York State Office of Mental Health.
She said, “Rockefeller College provided me with both the practical skills and knowledge to become a successful public servant. The MPA programme’s focus on developing qualitative and quantitative competencies, and on working in teams will be invaluable to me as I begin this fellowship. I am confident that I can apply my expertise in public financial management to make a positive impact in New York State government.”
Students also gain valuable real-world experience through the internship component of the course, which can be either full-time or part-time. They can choose from a variety of internships to apply for due to the strategic location in Albany.
Students have the chance to work for the state legislature, federal agencies, public service departments, political organisations, non-profit groups and policy research firms to gain more expertise and hone their soft skills.
In the past, students have landed internships at organisations such as New York State Senate Finance Committee, New York State Office of Counter Terrorism, Social Security Administration, American Red Cross, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and more.
Through experiential learning opportunities in the bustling city of Albany, and the chance to enhance one’s specialisation in public policy, graduates from this programme are positioned to become dynamic leaders in their areas of interest.