Hearing a speech about competition law was the moment Liem Ngo decided to abandon his plans to practice law and dedicate his career to the public sector. Liem was enticed to study the Executive Master of Public Administration following a recommendation from former ANZSOG Dean Professor Allan Fels in 2003.
‘I went to listen to Professor Fels deliver the IPAA Spann Oration. I had just entered the public service and was enjoying policy work, but I had ambitions to practice law. I was eager for insights into competition law, but I can’t recall a thing he said about trade practices,’ Liem said.
‘What I do remember him talking about is ANZSOG and its Executive Master of Public Administration course. It sounded interesting and something worth aiming for. Leaving the oration, I thought perhaps my future would not be as a lawyer, but as a public servant.’
The drive to succeed
Liem credits his family background with developing his strong personal drive.
‘I arrived in Australia as a refugee when my parents fled Saigon 38 years ago. I often try to understand what drove my family to launch into such an uncertain future.’
‘I think what drove my parents then also drives me now: the opportunity for something better. The need for achievement is strong.’
A decade after setting his goal Liem achieved it, completing his Executive Master of Public Administration in 2013. Not only did he complete the program, he won the Dean’s Prize for receiving the highest marks in the course. It was an experience that has helped him progress to his current role as Principal Manager of Project Coordination and Government Liaison with Transport for NSW, a position that sees him help provide information to the community about disruption related to transport construction to help customers adapt and keep Sydney moving while the city is transformed.
‘Studying with ANZSOG was a fantastic experience. They take a really interactive approach to learning, drawing out discussions to help you apply the theory in a way that is relevant to government work.’
‘Hearing about the great work done in other parts of the public service was an inspiration and made me reflect on what I could do to make a bigger difference.’
The importance of the public sector
Liem is a strong believer in the importance of the public sector and role it plays in everyday life.
‘Working in the public sector we’re in a position of privilege. We’ve got the power to make people’s lives better, listen to what they want and deliver what they need. We all have a responsibility to use our knowledge and networks to deliver public value.’
The experiences and opportunities presented through studying with ANZSOG have helped Liem follow his path in the public sector and improved his ability to deliver for the public. ‘My Masters experience was a rich one. The course has opened my mind to the possibilities and given me the confidence to tackle the challenges we face to deliver for the community.’
Applications for the ANZSOG Executive Master in Public Administration are now open.