What Alumni Say
Alumni Views of MPA Program
Mikko J. Hilvo, MPA
City Administrator of the City of Cedarburg
The MPA program at UW-Oshkosh is an excellent program. It has helped me tremendously in becoming a better department head and a leader for our community. Through the education I have been able to change our city’s organizational culture, develop a new strategic plan, implement new technology that makes our services more efficient, develop new policies, and learned to utilize various “tools” to help engage our residents in some of our decision making.
The MPA Program at UW Oshkosh helped me to better understand the big picture – all the players and scenarios involved in leading a public organization. While the focus of the program is to prepare public sector leaders, several of the courses offered – including Organization Theory; H.R. Management; and Leadership & Ethics – also provided me with the practical knowledge that could be applied to non-profit and even private sector management. If you are looking for a flexible MPA program; instructors and classmates with years of work experience outside the classroom; and valuable tools that will help you grow personally and professionally, this is the program for you.
I am an international student from the Republic of Ghana. After finishing my bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Wisconsin (UW) Oshkosh in 2012, I decided to pursue the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program. I wanted to learn more about the public sector and health care industry in the United States. What I got from the program was far more than what I’d envisioned. Through the teaching of engaging professors, highly intellectual readings, and comprehensive class discussions and research projects with diverse and well-rounded classmates, I broadened my knowledge and skills in the field of public and health care administration. The program’s flexible weekend class options gave me plenty of time to prepare for classes; it also fit perfectly with my university part-time employment schedule. I was taking three to four classes per semester; this allowed me to graduate from the MPA program in a year and a half (Fall 2012-Fall 2013). In addition to the MPA degree, in the fall of 2014, I also started the Graduate Healthcare Management Certificate program offered by the Public Administration Department. It exposed me to additional management aspects related to the health care industry. I am completing the program in spring of 2015.
Although there are many benefits that I have gained from completing the MPA degree, the most important one is that the degree made me more marketable to a greater range of career options. I was invited to job interviews at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst and Young, in their Chicago office locations in 2014. Both companies are part of the Big Four accounting firms in the global business world. The interviewers were quite impressed with my educational background in management and health care administration, and abilities to critically analyze information. They could not agree more that I had the right knowledge and skills to deal effectively with diverse clients and industries. I now have an external audit position at Ernst and Young in the Chicago office, starting October 1, 2015. I will strongly recommend to all, and especially to international students, to pursue the MPA degree at UW Oshkosh.
Other Success Stories
The most exciting part of the MPA program at UW Oshkosh is that I was taught by professors who provided an environment that welcomed critical analysis and creative thinking. My professors exude a passion to teach and relentlessly work with myself and other students. The overall outcome not only promote rigorous inquiry into any given subject area, but also gives rise to intellectual and personal growth.
Phylicia Lee graduated from the MPA program in 2014. She was hired as Administrative Assistant to the Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty at Stonehill College, Easton Massachusetts. In this new role, Ms. Lee is working collaboratively with the administrative assistants to the Provost and the Dean of Academic Achievements, maintaining multiple budgets and file system, preparing faculty contracts and keeping track of teaching loads, maintaining faculty hire and teaching information, and working in conjunction with the Payroll Department to process stipends.
I was admitted in the Doctor of Pharmacy Program at Concordia University Wisconsin School of Pharmacy. Currently, I am in my second semester. The study experience in UW Oshkosh was my first step in the United States. Not only I learned the knowledge, but I also understood the rules and standards of being a competitive player in this entire new environment. I really appreciate the UW Oshkosh, the MPA program and all the professors for the openness, the kindness and patience toward a foreign rookie like me. Thank you! (January 22, 2014)
I always knew that public service was an arena that I wanted to work in and when I made the decision to continue my education, I was deciding between two programs, and couldn’t be happier with the decision I made to attend UW-Oshkosh’s MPA program. The education I gained while attending the program has proved to be invaluable to both my career working for the State of Wisconsin Department of Administration as a Lead Policy Analyst, as well as in my role as Alderperson serving the City of Watertown’s 1st District. The practical real-life approach that the professors used was not only extremely educational and informational, it was also interesting and motivating. There have been numerous times when I have been presented with a situation and thought to myself, “I remember a case study on that, or a lecture that covered that.” I cannot say enough about the education I received and amount of preparation the MPA program gave me entering the next steps in my career. (October 16, 2013)
After spending nearly 15 years working in county human services organizations, I finally reached my goal of becoming a human services director when I took the helm at Marquette County Human Services in October 2012. The MPA program played an instrumental role in my progression from middle management to director. The program not only enhanced my knowledge and skills, but reaffirmed my desire and commitment to work in public service. Sharing thoughts and ideas with other students from a variety of public administration backgrounds broadened my perspective and allowed me to develop connections that I have maintained in my current position. Thanks MPA program! (May 3, 2013)
The MPA alumnus, Joseph Krebsbach, has recently been leading the merger of the Door County Department of Community Programs, where he was the Director, and the Department of Social Services into a new Door County Department of Human Services. He has been appointed as Director of the newly merged department. In an email, addressed to MPA faculty, Mr. Krebsbach further noted, “…I continue using the things that I learned in the MPA program on a daily basis. Although I already had the DCP Director job, I feel much more prepared for the work I am doing. I also feel confident that the MPA program has expanded my options significantly. I want to say thank you to MPA faculty. (January 12, 2013)
I am a 1st year PhD student in Public Policy at the School of Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The MPA program at UWO has really got me prepared for this journey. I got exposed to the foundation of Policy analysis, the mixture of the core courses, as well as the elective classes were well designed. I don’t have to do any prerequisites; and that speaks highly about the quality of the MPA program. My area of interest focus on international development and Haiti. I’d like to explore strategic ways that Public Policy can be used as a tool to enhance effectiveness, equality, dignity, and the quality of life of the Haitian people. And renewable energy in developing countries is also a topic for which I have a keen interest. Thus, at this time, my idea is quite broad, and I hope to narrow down by the end this year…I will be grateful to MPA program and the whole UWO community. (October 18, 2012)
Before I decided to pursue graduate studies, I had been out of school and in the workforce for 15 years. I felt like I needed to sharpen my skills and knew that a master’s degree would open up new doors for me. The timing was right. I was drawn to UW Oshkosh because of its reputation, program offerings and convenience. Not only did UW Oshkosh have the program that I was seeking, but it just so happened to be in my backyard. The instructors were great — accessible, reasonable and receptive to feedback. With classes on Saturdays, the MPA program was completely workable for someone with a full-time job and family responsibilities. Some of my classmates drove up to three hours for class!
After 13 years of service, Ms. Connolly-Keesler has resigned from her post as President and CEO of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation on November 15, 2012. Read more about her professional contributions. Ms. Connolly-Keesler has recently become the President and CEO of the Community Foundation for Collier County in Naples, Florida.
I received my MPA degree from Oshkosh in 1988. After 18 years as a freelance corporate writer and consultant to business, healthcare, and non-profits, and three published non-fiction books, I am teaching Strategic Management and International Marketing at Ripon College, in Ripon WI and serving on the board of directors of Operation Migration, a key player in whooping crane species recovery.
I am a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) and the Wisconsin Society of Ass’n Executives (WSEA). Though I have spent much of my career in the private sector, I have served on non-profit boards and worked as a marketer and consultant for non-profits. My MPA degree has opened doors for me and has given me the conceptual grounding to make strong effective contributions to for-profit and non-profit organizations alike. (September 5, 2012)