AiLun Ku
MPA 2013

AR: Why did you apply to Wagner – do you remember your own admissions process? AK: I applied to Wagner because I wanted an education in public service that pushed me to be both an effective practitioner and a critical thinker. I’ve always worked in public service organizations and I thought that law school was going to be the place where I learned the skills to help me change the world. I was very lucky to have wise mentors around me that recommended that I work for a few years before deciding on the law school path. I did just that [at the Fund for the City of New York, and later as a legal secretary] and took time to learn about legal education. I found out that I wouldn’t thrive under that environment. Furthermore, law school wouldn’t have prepared me with the level of practical knowledge that I yearned for, that Wagner is so good at doing as a graduate school. AR: What did you do after graduating from Wagner, and how did you end up in your new role? AK: I worked as the programs manager for the Research Center for Leadership in Action at Wagner for two years and briefly as the chief operating officer for a social justice nonprofit called the Equal Justice Initiative. I came to this enrollment position fortuitously, as I never sought after a job in admissions and enrollment in higher education. However, when this opportunity became available, all the pieces fell into place. This job makes sense for me because I’ve always felt strongly about my Wagner education and now I get to communicate the value of a top-notch public service education and use both the hard and soft skills that I’ve gained through Wagner to recruit and attract the next student body. AR: What do you enjoy about your job? AK: I enjoy many things about this role. I love the fact that I get to tell prospective students about the Wagner experience and the Wagner education every day. I love the fact that I can speak to how well my Wagner education has positioned me to take on any challenge in any role. To be living proof of the versatility and practicality of a Wagner education makes my recruitment job easy and fulfilling. AR: How so? What are the skills you gained at Wagner that have been particularly useful or relevant in your current position? AK: There are so many. As a PNP-Management alum, I pretty much can recall something that I learned from Wagner every day. I sharpened my communication, project management, financial management, data analysis, conflict management, and evaluation skills at Wagner and I use all of them to help me form and run the most effective enrollment management team I can for Wagner. AR: What are some of the challenges your office faces, and how do you overcome them? AK: We are always trying to improve and streamline our processes to ensure the most efficient and consistently high quality outcomes and experience for prospective and admitted students. We are trying to engage more alumni in the recruitment process and enhance our communication and marketing efforts globally. I overcome some for these challenges by connecting with other Wagner alums and forming ad hoc ‘advisory committees’ with my peers and colleagues. AR: How is your perspective about the admissions process different now that you are reviewing applications as opposed to applying, yourself? AK: Before I began advising prospective students on the admissions process, I went back and read my own personal statement to be reconnected with why I thought I would be a great candidate for Wagner. I read my statement through the eyes of an Admissions Review Committee member and I was happy (and relieved) to say that I answered the key questions that a good personal statement ought to: Why public service? Why Wagner? Why you? Why now? These are now the questions that I ask prospective students all the time and it’s exciting to see prospective students add it all up in their own minds. AR: So now that things have come full circle, it must be satisfying, yes? AK: My role in NYU Wagner’s office of enrollment management is fun and fulfilling because I genuinely believe in the values of the Wagner experience and education. If I didn’t know and believe in the School from a student perspective, it would be harder for me to be in the role and interface with prospective students who primarily want to get a sneak peek into Wagner and understand why they would want to come here or why they would thrive here.