Michelle R. Wong

MPA in Public & Nonprofit Management & Policy - 2011

U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)
Michelle R. Wong

Why did you choose Wagner for graduate school?

The people, academics, and location influenced my decision to study at Wagner.  I asked myself what I wanted to gain in terms of skills, non-classroom opportunities, living experience, and an alumni network.  I realized I wanted a program that would help me develop finance and policy skills, and Wagner’s curriculum was one of the few that included finance coursework.  Also, Wagner professors are very approachable and genuinely interested in their students' career goals.  Finally, I appreciated that Wagner is a “School of Public Service,” and its curriculum recognizes the interconnectedness of nonprofit management, public finance, policy analysis, international development, and urban planning.  After weighing all of these factors, Wagner became my obvious choice.

How would you describe your experience as a Wagner student?

Wagner is comprised of students and faculty with a variety of public service interests, and I really appreciated examining different issues through the variety of policy lenses represented. The coursework taught me essential technical skills, while my peers and the alumni network exposed me to various career plans.  Wagner helped me explore the career path I wanted to take and identify what skills and experience I needed to reach those goals. I also appreciated the practicality of the coursework; every class involved at least one assignment based on a real-world example or case study, so we never learned in a vacuum. 

What are the advantages of the Wagner alumni network?

Wagner alumni go above and beyond to support fellow members of the Wagner community. As an alumna, I mentor current students, maintain connections with other alumni, and talk to prospective students. If you want to work in the nonprofit or public sector in NYC, you will find Wagner alumni everywhere. Wagner is a broad school of public service, so a range of public service interests--from urban planning to public finance--is reflected in our alumni network.  If you're exploring different career options, this is a great starting point.