- Degree type: Master's degree
- Degree: Master of Public Policy Management
- Current position: Healthy Living Manager (Victoria), National Heart Foundation of Australia
Prior to joining the National Heart Foundation, I worked in local government for over 15 years, with shorter stints in national government.
I was working in local government at the time that I enrolled in the Master of Public Policy and Management. Once I had decided that a master's level qualifiction was needed to take the next step in my career, I looked around to find a suitably challenging and interesting one. I chose the Master of Public Policy and Management as it aligned well with the roles I was most interested in. Many courses focus on the private sector, so it was enormously beneficial to be able to study content that focusses so much on the public sector.
My studies helped me focus on what it was that I really wanted to do and have already led to a significant career change. The degree provided me with a thorough understanding of the Australian political context and what is expected of the public sector. This helped me significantly in clarifying and validating the types of roles I was interested in.
Early into the course, I realised I would like to work on the other side of of the table to local government and use my policy knowledge to try to influence governments. I felt it was more important to play more of an advocacy role to seek policy change, rather than being in such a responsive role.
When my current position with the National Heart Foundation was advertised, I saw the opportunity to work with an advocacy body on areas that I am incredibly passionate about - healthy eating and physical activity. I have no doubt that listing a Master of Public Policy and Management on my resume helped me to secure an interview. My studies then shone through during the interview process. Being able to demonstrate that I was working toward a Master's degree, as well as demonstrating a sound knowledge of research and evidence based strategy, were critical to securing my current role.
I am currently loving the diversity of my position, which includes managing work aimed towards a healthier food supply, and creating environments that promote a more active lifestyle. I also love the advocacy task of promoting and enabling healthier living with state and local government.
Studying this course gave me a very solid understanding of how government and policy making works. It has also given me an incredible understanding of strategic management, and the steps required for and the reasons behind the development of strategy.
I have been taught the importance on keeping on top of current affairs, particularly in the government sector. Gaining a thorough understanding of the challenges of creating or changing policy was also enormously helpful. The capacity to effectively research material has proven invaluable, as has the strategic planning tools, experience and skills.
I made a number of significant connections during my study, particularly with other people working in the health or the not-for-profit sectors. These networks have proved invaluable as I worked my way through the challenges of starting a new job. I also made some really good friends who are likely to stay in my life for a very long time. We now get together outside of class for a regular catch-up.
I really loved the open and respectful conversations that took place in lecture time. My advice for future students is to be prepared as much as you can for class time and make sure you participate in the class discussion. This was where I learnt the most and had the most fun.