December 2019 Alumni Spotlight
What are some key benefits from your Marxe MPA experience?
The Marxe MPA experience helped me in three key ways. The first was quality instruction which allowed me to build skills that were valued in the workforce; the second was the network and strong relationships that I built during my time at the school; the third was clarity around my goals and future career path.
How did you leverage the program to change your career trajectory?
At the time I started the MPA program I was working in the non-profit sector for AHRC NYC – a human services provider agency – and considering building a career in that field. During my first year, I sought out classmates and professors to learn from their experiences and engaged the Career Services team early and often. I also took advantage of the fantastic Executives on Campus program to pair with a senior non-profit Director to better explore if the non-profit field was right for me.
Midway through the program, I leveraged the coursework and skills gained during the core of the program to pivot to a role with the New York City Campaign Finance Board. My objectives were to build my resume, gain experience with city government, and grow my network. I especially benefited from the agency’s small size which gave me the ability to jump into special projects and demonstrate additional skills.
By the time I was finishing my final semester, I had developed marketable skills, written a capstone on Public Sector IT projects, and significantly grown my network with the help of the Career Services team and Baruch alumni. Further, I was able to show demonstrated interest in, and knowledge of, City government, management consulting, and KPMG. Together, these helped me secure an offer to join KPMG’s state and local government practice as an Associate.
Tell us what you do as a Senior Associate at KPMG.
KPMG is a leading professional services firm, offering Audit, Tax and Advisory services to private, public, and not-for-profit organizations. I work in the Advisory practice’s Healthcare and Government Solutions Consulting team. I specialize in working with health and human services (HHS) agencies here in New York City, but many of my colleagues travel on a weekly basis to serve clients from State and Local governments across the country.
As a Senior Associate, I work closely with KPMG subject matter professionals and client stakeholders to develop solutions to some of our client’s biggest problems. Serving as both an individual contributor and a supervisor for junior consultants, I lead project work streams and small teams to develop and present deliverables in areas like project management, business process improvement, and enterprise architecture.
How did your MPA prepare you for it? Were you able to build skills independently to complement in-class learning?
The Marxe MPA was strong preparation for the work I do now. As an early-career consultant, I am a generalist and the public sector management training that I received during the program is exceptionally helpful. Learning from distinguished practitioners and government administrators means that I now have many frames of reference for dealing with the situations our project teams’ encounter. It also means that I have a more nuanced understanding of the constraints around effecting change and am able to offer more meaningful insight to our clients.
Independent skill building was a key part of my journey. While I made a concerted effort to take challenging classes at the Marxe School that would lead to developing hard skills in Excel, SPSS, and ArcGIS, I supplemented them with advanced tutorials on YouTube and Coursera. These hard skills have been critical to my growth as a consultant and while not every engagement offers the same opportunities to flex those muscles, KPMG’s fantastic continued learning programs and professional development opportunities have allowed me to supplement my specialized knowledge of the public sector with leading practices, industry benchmarks, and applications for leveraging new technologies.
What are some of your most notable accomplishments in the role thus far?
I’ve been very fortunate to have been involved in two prominent initiatives with New York City agencies dedicated to serving some of the City’s most vulnerable populations. Through this work, I was able to make an impact on the fight against homelessness and for equity in juvenile justice. As a New Yorker, it’s truly inspiring to be able to work on projects that lead to – even if in a small way – improving our City.