October 2016 Alumni Spotlight
October Alumni Spotlight with Mauricio Garcia, MPA ’11
Falling in love with a city is something many New Yorkers can identify with. Alum, Mauricio Garcia tells the same tale about a different city: Detroit. Mauricio touches on his role at nonprofit organization Cities of Service, his love of Detroit, his reason for pursuing a Baruch College MPA, and more.
Tell us about Cities of Service and what you do as Director of Programs.
Cities of Service is a national nonprofit organization that supports mayors and city chief executives in their efforts to engage local communities and residents, identify challenges, and solve problems together. As Director of Programs, I lead Cities of Service’s programmatic support to our coalition of cities, including strategy and design, training and curriculum development, and technical assistance.
What was it like growing up in Detroit? Can you see yourself going back?
My family relocated to the Detroit area from Chicago when I was ten. I grew up just outside of the city in a town called Troy, your run-of-the-mill suburb — shopping plazas, multi-lane roads, backyards, etc. My only connection to the city was through attending baseball games at the old Tiger Stadium and eating Mexican food in Southwest Detroit. As I kid, I had no concept or understanding of Detroit’s struggles, which included a pretty deep divide with the neighboring suburbs. Throughout high school, I found myself spending more and more time in city, going to concerts, museums, and just taking in a lot of what the city had to offer. I began to see the city in a different light, a hard-working, blue collar town that had been a beacon of opportunity, rich in culture and history. It was a gritty place, and I loved it. After college, I moved to the city and remained there for five years before making my trek to New York City. My friends and family will tell you that Detroit and, particularly, a return to Detroit is often a topic of conversation. I would love to do what I do in Detroit and play a role in its renaissance. I’m so excited about what’s going on in the city, so much innovation and investment. That said, I love New York City and I’m fortunate for what I’ve been able to accomplish here. Stay tuned.
Why did you choose to get your MPA at Baruch College?
I chose Baruch for my MPA for two simple reasons: value and connection to city. Prior to starting my MPA, I had already been active in the New York City nonprofit community and had a pretty good idea of where I wanted to take my career. I also knew that an MPA would help my career trajectory, so I applied and was accepted to three schools; Baruch, the New School, and NYU Wagner. I of course was attracted to Baruch’s tremendous value, but the tipping point was the background and experience of my fellow students. The majority of the MPA students were already active in the public or nonprofit sectors, bringing with them lots of experience and perspective that the schools simply did not have. It was an easy decision.
How did your MPA at the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs prepare you for the roles you’ve occupied finishing the program?
The Baruch MPA helped take my career to another level. I gained invaluable insights, developed my network, and it focused me professionally. It specifically helped me gain an intimate understanding of the relationship between the nonprofit, public, and private sectors, and how they must collaborate to ensure a vibrant New York City.