Careers in public policy

Our graduates help shape the policy decisions that affect their neighborhoods, their countries, and people around the globe

A world of possibilities

Ford School graduates understand the facts. They communicate clearly. They make ethical, principled decisions. They lead for positive change in our communities and nations.

Our world is in urgent need of those skills.

Ford School MPP and MPA alumni come from diverse academic and professional backgrounds. And they go on to lead nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and in the private sector. Some hold political office, or they advise policymakers on strategy and policy, and others passionately advocate for issues they care about.  

Our Bachelor of Arts in public policy graduates go on to a diverse array of careers—on Capitol Hill, in classrooms, at hospitals, nonprofits, consulting practices, and law firms. They include the chief of staff for a Member of Congress, an assistant attorney general, and a judge.

What will you do with your Ford School degree?

60% of our on-campus employers have an alumni connection

A growing and powerful network

Our alumni are active and engaged.
Post-grad plans by sector, five year average

MPP/MPA jobs

There are many paths to policy impact.
20% of MPP students intern outside of the U.S. each year


MPP students take internships around the world.

Alumni spotlights

Check out LinkedIn for additional information about the Ford School alumni. See all alumni spotlights here.

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Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc.

Dr. Demessie (PhD ‘10) advances underserved communities

“Data matters, and we actually have really good data that shows us why race continues to be a strong predictor of outcomes in education, employment, access to healthcare, and the list goes on.”
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Nuclear Energy Institute

Kristy Hartman (MPP ‘13) informs and supports state energy policy

“States are the laboratories of democracy...It's really state legislatures where we can see innovative ideas and problem solving.”
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Institute for Defense Analyses

Claudia Muñoz (MPP ‘09) improves U.S. defense and security

“I saw that Ford School students were really good because they were very strong quantitatively, they could write really well, and they were good team players."
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California Pan-Ethnic Health Network

Ruqayya Ahmad (MPP ‘21) pivots from international policy to combat domestic health inequities

“After my first semester of grad school, I knew that I wanted to transition into the health policy field, and work in public service at a local level because I felt like that would give me more of an opportunity to make specific targeted improvements in policy, which can positively contribute to the lives of so many people."
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U.S. Government Accountability Office

Latesha Love-Grayer (MPP ‘02) brings fact-based analyses for better government decision making

“I use the critical thinking, public speaking, and collaboration skills that I developed at the Ford School in just about every moment of my current work day.”
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U.S. Senate, Office of Senator Gary Peters

Former Riecker Fellow Chelsea Davis (BA ‘15/MPP ‘19) tackles emergent issues on the Hill

"The Ford School is unique in that you can feel both completely at home yet challenged to push beyond your comfort zone to think and engage more deeply than you ever thought you could."
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Trade Counsel, U.S House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means

Julia Friedman (BA ‘10) believes that good international trade policy means investing at home and abroad

“Memos are a key tool of communication in public policy, and the Ford School teaches you how to write them.”
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Global Detroit

Steve Tobocman (MPP/JD ‘97) advocates for immigrant economic inclusion

“I encourage students to concentrate on their writing and for different audiences, and, ultimately, applying those tools in the real world by taking theory and putting it into a complex system. The Ford School does a good job of balancing those things and preparing students for careers in the field.”
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Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Susan McLaughlin (MPP/MBA' 93) manages financial crises in three decades at the Fed

"The Fed turned out to be exactly the place for me. It’s very focused on financial markets, but from a policy perspective. The environment is really professional. It has been the ideal place for me to match that market interest with my policy interests.”
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Guttmacher Institute

Zara Ahmed (MPP/MPH ‘09): Dual degree fostered her ‘Swiss Army Knife’ mindset

“The international experience that I gained at the Ford School gave me a perspective on what’s needed, how programs can work, and what they can do to change some people's lives.”
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McKinsey & Company Japan

Yosuke Matsuda (MPP ‘03) marries economics and public policy for organizational efficiency

“I prioritized policy schools that are well connected to the economics departments because public policy has multifaceted aspects.”
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Population Services International

Schneidewind (MPP/MBA ‘15) practices international development at home and abroad

“Wouldn’t it be great if non-profit organizations and public sector entities utilized some of the evaluation methods, commonly used by the private sector, to measure their performance?”
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National Science Foundation

DiGiovanni (MPP ‘00) emphasizes the critical role of budgeting in policymaking

“Few people realize policy without funding is just conversation.”
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Center for American Progress

Alan Cohen (MPP ‘75) improves U.S. social security under 7 administrations

“When properly implemented, Social Security is an anti-poverty program. Social security is the biggest anti-poverty program in the country."
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USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance

Caroline Andridge (BA ‘14) keeps a person-centered approach to humanitarian relief

“We must be willing to constantly reassess our assumptions to improve policies and programming to keep the people at the center.”
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Student opportunities lead to incredible learning

Skills development

Engaged Learning

Hands-on, practical policy experiences, including policy simulations, international travel, competitions, internships, and more.
Engaged learning
Skills development

Preparing Leaders

The Ford School helps foster a professional growth mindset that contributes to their success in diverse environments.
Preparing leaders

Policy Pitch Competition

Students returning from internships pitch their experiences, future goals. Municipal governance, economic inclusion, and environmental action among the topics covered.
Ford School hosts 5th Annual Policy Pitch Competition

2023 Riecker Fellow applies local government experience on Capitol Hill

A self-described "good government geek," James Hiebert (MPP '23) worked for Senator Gary Peters researching how the federal government allocates grants and bringing his significant local government experience to Capitol Hill.
2023 Riecker Fellow

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