Are you a new Master of Public Policy (MPP) student? If so, you’re probably feeling a mix of excitement and nervousness about starting the program in just a few short weeks. To help ease you into the program and ensure you get the most out of it, four current MPP students have a few quick tips to share. Check them out!


Scheduling Makes You Human, Not a Robot

Student name: Kareem Groomes

Hometown: Philadelphia

Policy interests: sustainable housing and ecological design    

Between family, work and trying to maintain mental health, our lives dog us out. Finding a way to be a student in all of that can seem impossible. What saved me was creating a weekly schedule. Creating space for finishing lengthy readings, recouping on the couch and staring at the computer with writer’s block: I had time carved out for all of that.

I was not always happy with every study session but creating that time (having those raw hours) was a key abeyance from the anxiety the program could have given me. I enjoyed my first semester so much because I made time for it. I found myself able to engage with the material, see my friends and figure out a proper meal schedule. Be realistic with what you can do and be patient with yourself. You may have to give some things up, miss out on others and your schedule may need tinkering. What’s important is maintaining consistency, mindfulness and structure. 


Take Advantage of Training Opportunities Beyond Classes

Student name: Karla Martin

Hometown: Santiago, Chile

Policy interests: education and public health policy

Often, students tend to forget going to graduate school is not only about attending your classes. The key to success lays in making the most out of your graduate school experience, not only through engaging with the university community but also by learning about the different partnerships and programs you have access to. Graduate school is what you make of it, and you can choose how you want to get involved and seek training and networking opportunities.

As an MPP student, I was able to get accepted into Young Involved Philadelphia’s Board Prep Program, a unique and comprehensive training program for young professionals interested in serving on nonprofit boards. There are many student resources and events you can attend, such as conferences, expert panels, skills workshops. Stay engaged and get involved!


Your Profs Are Your Friends

Student name: Hannah Engber

Hometown: Chesterfield, Virginia

Policy interests: foreign and international policy, counterterrorism, reproductive rights

Expanding on what Karla Martin wrote, I can honestly say that the professors in the MPP program are the coolest people. Their expertise is so important, regardless of the class topic. Their anecdotes—whether about philosophical qualms with TV shows, buying stock in LaserDisc, or unusual run-ins with wildlife—are a constant reminder that the public policy realm isn’t all cut and dry. Establishing a relationship with my professors has been so helpful, not just for my research, my job hunt and my future planning, but also for reshaping how I see the world. They truly are experts in policy and in navigating the “real” world.


Your Classmates Are Also Your Teachers

Student name: Miriam Lipschutz

Hometown: Lexington, MA

Policy Interests: Food Security and Agricultural Policy

One of the most valuable parts of the MPP program for me has been being able to learn from my classmates through working in group projects, listening to presentations and hearing about the internships and jobs others have worked at. Whether peers are 4+1students or coming back to school during a professional career, whether they are from Philadelphia or another country, everyone’s background informs how they show up to the MPP program. I have really appreciated getting to learn from others’ experiences and viewpoints in public policy, which has made me a better student in the program.


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