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EMPA alumni tell how program changed their careers

15 August 2017

News and media


ANZSOG’s Executive Master of Public Administration is the premier program for public sector leaders in Australia and New Zealand. Its alumni benefit from its tailor-made design which gives them access to top academics and practitioners.

Alumni of the program say it has changed their careers and given them the skills they need to make a greater contribution to their organisation.

ANZSOG interviewed a group of recent alumni to get their views on the program, and found that they believed the EMPA had opened their minds, got them thinking in a deeper way about the work they did and given them the practical skills and confidence to make a more significant impact at work.

Jenny Stephensen, Manager Workforce Strategy, Queensland Public Service Commission, said that “What’s great about the EMPA is not only the deep and sustained learning, but the fact it has been created by government, for government.”

The program recognises that participants are experienced public servants and engages them with practical learning and case studies. The EMPA’s faculty has vast experience of the public sector and can expose students to the best in contemporary thinking about the most pressing issues.

It brings together public servants from a wide range of departments, allows them to learn from each other and to build a network which lasts long after the program is completed. Discussing real-world problems with 100 other people, in an engaged way is a great way to think in ways you haven’t before.

Many participants spoke of the value of the networks that they built during the course, and the value of discussing issues with like-minded people.

Simon Phemister, Deputy Secretary of Economic Policy and State Productivity, DPC Victoria, said that the EMPA was: “a tailored course that is relevant to my day-to-day work as well as the opportunity to learn from people and colleagues who face the same challenges on a day-to-day basis. It was an incredible group of people from Australia and New Zealand, many of whom I’m still in touch with. Some of the lessons I have learnt from them were equally as important or as profound as the content I learnt from the lessons and tutorials.”

It is not just alumni who benefit from the EMPA, their organisations and colleagues also gain when new knowledge is brought back to their workplace.

Liem Ngo, Principal Manager, Project Coordination and Government Liaison, Transport for NSW said that: “The standard of teaching was excellent, and the case studies really encouraged creativity. I’ve applied the course learnings to help me, my team and colleagues to manage the ongoing changes to the organisation.”

Public sector leaders in high-pressure roles can lose sight of the bigger picture: both of the political environment they operate in and the broader purpose behind what the public sector does. Studying the EMPA gives participants a chance to step back and think about what they do, and develop an intellectual framework that will last for the rest of their careers.

Natasha Ryan: Assistant Secretary, Medical Specialist Services Branch, Commonwealth Department of Health said that: “It gave me a far greater appreciation of the public service, its relationship to the political, and a new language to describe the work that we do. It is a hard, but valuable journey and I couldn’t recommend it more highly”

If you are looking to make the next step in your career, and to reach your full potential as a public servant then the EMPA is a unique chance to be part of a rigorous program specifically designed for you.

Tui Marsh: Regional Manager at Te Pune Kokiri, the Ministry of Maori Development, New Zealand said that: “The courses have real grunt and are specifically tailored for those working in the public service. You get to learn from the best lecturers and pit yourself against the very best that there is. Take up the challenge, you won’t regret it!

Applications for the 2018 program are closing soon. For a copy of the EMPA brochure and details of how to apply click here.

The EMPA is a two-year part-time program available across Australia and New Zealand. Our students complete eight core subjects and three electives over two years, taught at one of eight partner universities. They also have an opportunity to complete a module at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.

The program is intensive, but ANZSOG has years of experience in helping participants structure it around their work and family responsibilities.

If the experience of previous graduates is a guide, you will not regret it.

Watch what EMPA alumni had to say about their experience: