Where will a degree in public policy lead you?

21 July 2020
Empowering policy leaders in key industries and sectors
From advocating on cyber security policy, to delivering strategic emergency service programs, find out how our public policy graduates are forging fulfilling careers across diverse industries and sectors.
Kristen Foster

Kristen Foster

Director and Head of Asia Pacific and Japan Policy, Global Government Relations, VMware

Kristen is a technology leader with 20+ years of international corporate and government affairs leadership and campaign management experience. She is VMware’s chief Asia Pacific advocate on policies relating to the cloud, digitisation of economies, cyber security and the benefits of apps.

“Understanding the connection between government, corporates and citizens, and striving toward answers that benefit all is vital. Governments want corporates to deliver policy solutions across industry issues, rather than turning up with a shopping list of problems,” explains Kristen.

The Master of Public Policy helped Kristen prepare for this challenge: “It’s about thinking outside the box, learning from mistakes, and coming up with the “next gen”. I learned how to craft public policy campaigns that positively impact citizens while simultaneously advocating a regional or corporate position, an invaluable skill in my role. It’s a crowded marketplace, so you need to find the right voice for your company, and differentiate yourself from others”.

As part of her degree, Kristen undertook an internship at the United Nations in New York. “It was post 9/11, the experience had a huge impact on how I view international relations. It’s important to take professional opportunities that translate academia into real-world experience,” says Kristen.

James Coward

James Coward

Director of Policy and Communications, Retail Drinks Australia

James decided on postgraduate study after finishing the Bachelor of International and Global Studies. “I was interested in politics and started meeting people who had a Master of Public Policy and had gone on to pursue successful careers, which I wanted to emulate,” says James.

The degree equipped James with critical thinking skills and key insights into the policy-making process and the various avenues that influence its development. “I have successfully transferred these skills and knowledge into my professional environment, where I have secured policy outcomes that positively impact thousands of Australian businesses.”

James directly advocates on behalf of liquor retailers at a local, state and federal government level, dealing with a range of policy issues affecting how individual liquor retailers can operate. He was pivotal in creating the first ever industry Code of Conduct governing online alcohol sales and deliveries in Australia.

“The Code has become the blueprint for government legislation being developed in multiple Australian states and was presented to the WHO as an example of industry-led, best practice policy development. Having your work recognised by policymakers at an international level is rare, and an achievement I am proud of”, says James.

Hannah Frank

Hannah Frank

Public Policy and Government Relations Manager, Google

Hannah has over 10 years experience as a public policy practitioner but saw the need to upskill as she moved into more senior roles that had policy design responsibilities requiring specialised training to ensure proposed policies could meet their aims.

“The opportunity to explore climate change policy, urban policy and security policy as part of the degree broadened my knowledge and helped me realise how a lot of these issues are connected. This has been extremely valuable in my role as a public policy generalist helping respond to environmental, social and health issues,” explains Hannah.

Hannah works with elected officials, government departments and industry bodies to ensure Google and YouTube products and programs have a positive impact on the Australian economy. She recently presented Google Trends data to policymakers to help them understand how Australians are responding to crises like the bushfires and COVID-19 in real-time, from both a health and economic perspective.

Athar Mansoor

Athar Mansoor

Assistant Postmaster General, Government of Pakistan

Athar is originally from Pakistan and completed a Master of Public Administration at the National University of Singapore before seeking a degree that would enhance his professional experience and make him an effective agent for change.

“I wanted to understand the science behind network governance and how networks in different policy domains can be used for successful policy formation and implementation. The lecturers were fantastic at imparting the latest research and methodologies for analysing and finding pragmatic solutions to modern social issues.”

Athar is a senior civil servant with extensive experience in policy formulation and implementation. He has held important posts at the Prime Minister’s Office and the Civil Services Academy in Pakistan and the Economic Cooperation Organisation in Islamabad.

“Public policy is all about transforming the lives of the people around you. Choosing a career in public policy helps you put your ideas for social improvement into action.”

Catherine O'Mallon

Catherine O’Mallon

Strategic Portfolio Director, Fire & Rescue NSW

Catherine took the next step in her career while completing a Master of Public Policy part-time. She transitioned from the City of Sydney Council to Fire and Rescue NSW, where she leads the development and execution of strategic programs and projects.

Catherine chose the degree because it enabled her to develop executive-level skills in planning and delivering transformational strategies across complex organisations. “The course content in terms of policy design and implementation was appealing to me, given these are areas you find yourself in when working in government”, says Catherine.

“The most valuable thing I learned at university is creative problem-solving. The world is changing dramatically, but the Master of Public Policy gave me the skills to define a problem, design an appropriate solution, and put it to effective use.”

Santiago Ledesma

Santiago Ledesma

Policy and Strategy Officer, NSW Electoral Commission

While completing a Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies in the Philippines, Santiago realised that ‘development’ is essentially a political process, so it made sense to enhance his understanding of social and economic development by focusing on how public policy is created and implemented.

“Through the degree, I gained an invaluable macro-level understanding of politics and its relationship to decision making and policy”, says Santiago.

Santiago now calls Australia home and works for the NSW Electoral Commission, ensuring that all political stakeholders in NSW conduct their electoral funding and expenditure activities within the legislation, and accurately disclose all this information to the public.

His proudest career moment to date has been drafting and finalising the cabinet submission for what is now the NSW Digital Drivers Licence.

Find out more about the Master of Public Policy.

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