Jessica Schlott, a current MPP student, recently was hired as the Financial Manager of the Rebuild Program. Continue reading to learn more about how she uses her MPP degree in her new role!
Please describe your new position. What does your day-to day look like?
The Rebuild Program at the City of Philadelphia makes improvements to neighborhood parks, recreation centers, playgrounds, and libraries across Philadelphia. The program is part of the City's Managing Director's Office. Making physical improvements to these public spaces is a top priority but Rebuild is also committed to using these improvement projects as opportunities to engage with the communities they serve, help minority and women-owned businesses grow, and create local jobs.
As the Financial Manager of the Rebuild Program, my role is to manage day-to-day project budgets as they move through their life cycle. My normal workday can vary depending on the progress that is being made on each site and the number of new or outstanding projects that are available. This role has flexed my organization skills and taught me new ways of tracking and monitoring various projects. Some of the tasks that may come up in my day are reviewing vendor invoices, utilizing project management software to create or edit budgets for each site, and cooperating with the Capital Budget Office and Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development (PAID).
How do you feel like the MPP program helps you in your new role?
I honestly cannot imagine being in this role without the MPP program. Looking back at my time in the program, I have developed my professional skills, but I also am more confident in myself since I started the program. The guest speakers and networking events were invaluable opportunities to learn about different careers you can pursue in this field. Having classmates that come from diverse backgrounds also created unique learning moments on the policymaking process. The most important and relevant topic I learned from the MPP program is that understanding an organization's budget will highlight an organization's priorities. Overall, the specific skills that I use in my new role are project management, critical analysis, budgeting, and evaluation.
How do you balance your schoolwork with your job responsibilities?
Organization has been the key to balancing my schoolwork and job responsibilities. I am a planner by nature, so writing down my weekly tasks allows my mind to focus on the week ahead. This also allows me to decide the best days and times to tackle my school readings and assignments. Usually, I divvy these tasks throughout the week so I can have one free day to not think about school or work. Overall, it is important to balance work, school, and self-care so you don't burn yourself out. By planning and organizing my time, I find that it is a little easier to still make time for all the things I enjoy, while also balancing my workload.