New York University's Advanced Management Program for Physicians

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Traci Sanders

MUP

2011
Policy Associate
NYU Furman Center
Traci Sanders

Why did you choose Wagner for graduate school?

I had been out of school for five years before I decided to pursue a graduate degree, and a series of very fortunate events led me to Urban Planning.  The two most important factors in my decision were 1) the program had to be located in New York City, and 2) it had to be the right fit, meaning I wanted to make sure I felt comfortable within the social and intellectual environment.  I had visited Pratt Institute and Columbia University, but I knew at the first NYU Wagner Open House that this was the place for me!

How did you find your first post-Wagner job?

I found my first job post-Wagner through the NYU Wagner Capstone. One of my fellow group members had been working for a land use practice at a prestigious law firm in New York City.  At some point during Capstone, I had mentioned to my classmate to keep me in mind if she were ever to consider leaving her position. She reached out to me a few months after graduation, and I began working for that land use practice in winter 2011.

How did your Wagner experience prepare you professionally for what you are doing today?

New York City was really an extension of the Wagner classroom. In-class learning was supplemented in three important ways: 1) encouragement to work an internship in your field prior to graduation; 2) attending panels and forums that drew on the expertise of local practitioners, academics, and thought-leaders across a variety of disciplines; and 3) the second-year Capstone experience which really forced me to begin to apply all of that theoretical and analytical learning. I left Wagner knowing I wanted to work in our nation’s cities helping to shape domestic policy and with a solid base of hard and soft skills that I continue to develop and hone in my continued pursuit of that goal.

Eric Kim

MPA-PNP

2007
Director, US Public Finance
Fitch Ratings
Eric Kim

Why did you choose Wagner for graduate school? 

I was working in NYC government and Wagner had an excellent reputation with my colleagues and peers.  I wanted a school that offered a practical, real-world education that I could also fit into my full-time work schedule.  Wagner met those needs perfectly and helped me figure out the different ways I could take an interest in public service to places I did not expect to find.

How did you find your first post-Wagner job? 

One of my classmates was interning at Fitch and as we were both approaching graduation he was kind enough to give me a heads up about some full-time openings. Having that networked connection was so key – and a decade later I think it’s fair to say it worked out pretty well. 

Describe your current job.

My group covers the US municipal market and I specialize in state governments, local governments, and even Canadian provinces - I also spent a few years at Fitch covering education and non-profit institutions like universities, museums, and charter schools. I lead the analysis for a portfolio of government credits including working with the management teams for those governments, writing up rating commentary and special reports, and explaining our views to investors and the media. 

Amy Faust

MUP

2011
Urban Environmental Specialist
The World Bank
Amy Faust

How did your Wagner experience prepare you professionally for what you are doing today?

The theoretical and practical training from Wagner was key to advancing my previous position in international development and pivoting to deeper work on design and implementation of major urban infrastructure projects. My work requires a holistic approach and a firm grounding in understanding economic, political, technical and social angles to develop sustainable solutions with government and donor clients, all of which were embedded in Wagner’s core coursework and the urban planning program. On a practical side, Wagner demanded professionalism, solid communication and presentation skills, and an ability to consider and communicate across the many disciplines involved in urban policy and planning, all of which are critical for my work at both the policy and technical level in government and with my clients.

How did being in New York impact your professional journey?

Working as an urban development specialist in East African cities, I frequently draw from my experience in New York both in how I frame and approach urban challenges. In the Wagner MUP program we spent considerable time on the streets of New York, observing, sketching, speaking with people, in addition to learning the history of the city’s development and how current challenges are tackled.  I now live and work in a rapidly developing city with myriad challenges of how sanitation, housing, transport, health services can keep up with population growth, and how an incredibly complex institutional and financial environment complicates development. This can be overwhelming at times for all of us working on these issues, but I draw from the lessons of New York when it too was a developing city and how the city was transformed through the power of planning, persistence, strong leadership, and an active civil society. I have shown images of the New York tenements to colleagues in the Tanzanian government to demonstrate that even New York faced similar challenges not that long ago – it is an inspiring message that resonates, and still inspires me as well that such dramatic changes is possible.

Describe your current job. 

I currently have a freelance consulting practice working at the intersection of urban development and climate change resilience. At the moment my geographic focus is on cities in Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar, but I aim to expand this scope to other countries and cities with flood vulnerability. As a consultant, my work varies widely from month to month and year to year. Right now my work is focused on two main areas: first, designing a 5-year program on building resilience to flooding in urban Tanzania, including preparation of a $30 million infrastructure project in Dar es Salaam that would tackle flooding in a complex and extremely degraded river catchment that bisects the city and improving emergency management systems in the city.

Second, I work closely with the World Bank and Zanzibar Municipal Council on implementation of an $85 million urban services project that includes drainage, solid waste management, cultural heritage investments, and a green corridor development. My day-to-day work includes project management to keep implementation on track, working with government, the World Bank and other stakeholders to design subprojects, and serve as a technical advisor on urban planning and environmental management issues.

Christian Gonzalez-Rivera

MUP

2012
Senior Researcher
Center for an Urban Future
Christian Gonzalez-Rivera

Why did you choose Wagner for graduate school?

I chose Wagner because it is one of the few schools of urban planning that is inside a policy school, and because it is a co-host of the prestigious Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. I was also attracted to Wagner because of stellar faculty whose work had helped me during my early career in policy.

How did your Wagner experience prepare you professionally for what you are doing today?

I grew tremendously as a professional during my time at Wagner. I came to Wagner knowing what I wanted: to build up my research skills in support of furthering my career as a policy researcher. At Wagner I found great professors who expanded my knowledge and deepened my commitment to the community of people who are working for the public service.

Describe your current job.

I am responsible for producing research reports, presenting research, and briefing policymakers on economic development and workforce development policy. Our research combines traditional policy analysis with investigative journalism to create approachable policy reports that present a compelling, fact-based narrative around issues that tend to fly under the radar of policymakers. Our work contributes to the public discourse through presentations to policymakers, advocacy groups, and the public, as well as testimony at city council and the state legislature. We also directly influence policy decisions through actionable and clear recommendations.

Mamta Prakash

EMPA

2015
Fiscal Management Associates
Mamta Prakash

Why did you choose Wagner for graduate school?

It felt right from the moment I walked in to the info session - from Wagner's dedication to public service to the collegial vibes. My three main reasons for choosing Wagner were its dedicated and brilliant faculty, the flexibility to design my own list of courses from across NYU with few restrictions, and evening courses that enabled me to work full-time.

How did you find your first post-Wagner job?

I have recently started as a Consultant at Fiscal Management Associates (FMA). I attended a Finance career panel (organized by Wagner’s Office of Career Services) where FMA was presenting and set up a follow-up meeting with the alumna panelist. Although that did not translate into an instant job - I am there now. Career Services was great at helping and directing me through thinking about resume and cover letter updates, how to dress for an interview, and what questions to expect.

How did your Wagner experience prepare you professionally for what you are doing today?

Wagner helped me think and grow intellectually in ways beyond nonprofit management. I learned what good leadership looks like, how to negotiate effectively and think strategically and collaboratively, and gained an understanding of my own leadership qualities.

Rachel Pardoe

MPA-Health

2013
Program Officer
New York Community Trust
Rachel Pardoe

Why did you choose Wagner for graduate school?

Unlike other academic institutions, Wagner feels like a part of New York City. I liked that Wagner professors have jobs outside of teaching and the majority of students work; my classes felt collaborative instead of instructive. And because I myself was working, I was encouraged to apply my classwork to the “real world.” Wagner provided me a comprehensive education rather than just content knowledge.

Describe your current job. 

I work as a Program Officer at The New York Community Trust, a foundation that supports advocacy, direct services, and nonprofit innovation in New York City. I oversee our people with special needs and animal welfare programs, which grant about $2.3 million each year, and advise on evaluations. On a day-to-day basis, I review proposals, work closely with grantees, convene with other funders, and critically analyze our work.

What are the advantages of the Wagner alumni network?

I think Wagner alumni have a shared commitment to “do good” and I found that they are always willing to help fellow alumni. Which is in fact, very helpful, because the network is huge and tremendously successful. I have met Wagner alumni all over the country and no matter their background or profession, there’s a sense that we have a shared understanding of our role in the world.

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