Home About the School Spotlights Taking Policy Skills from the Classroom to the Real World

Taking Policy Skills from the Classroom to the Real World

From the diverse course selections to the dual degree program offerings, Jahan Francois found everything she needed at the UMD School of Public Policy to embark on a career in public policy.
 
While completing a bachelor’s degree in government and politics at UMD, Francois learned about the SPP master’s degree programs and started attending information sessions. “I was impressed with the diversity of courses,” she said. “I was also very impressed by the accessibility of the faculty and staff who were invaluable in helping me make my decision.”
 
“I became interested in public policy while studying political science,” Francois adds. “I really wanted to learn more about decision-making processes and subsequent outcomes at all levels of government--with the hopes of being a part of bettering society in the future.”
 
This May, Francois will earn dual master’s degrees in public policy and business administration. “A degree in public policy provides students with a set of interdisciplinary skills that can be applied to a variety of positions,” she says. “Throughout the program students learn general skills such as economics and statistics, but are also able to take a deeper dive into more specific topics such as international security, environmental policy or international development through electives and specializations.”
 
Francois explored a number of internships while taking courses at SPP, which she says helped further her career. “When I began the program, I was interning at the US Department of Justice in their criminal division,” she says. “After starting the program, I began working at the US Environmental Protection Agency as a Pathways intern in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer. I worked there for two and a half years.”
 
“I used the skills I learned in the program and the skills I learned through my internships to land a permanent position at the US Department of the Treasury in their Office of International Affairs,” she adds. “Throughout all three positions, I have enjoyed being able to absorb course lessons and immediately apply them in the workplace.”
 
Following graduation, Francois says she will continue to work at her new position with the US Department of Treasury’s Office of Investment Security. “I am excited to really dive into my work, apply what I have learned in my graduate programs and continue learning as much as I can,” she says. “I would like to work in positions that allow me to continue practicing and developing both my public policy and MBA skills.”