Dual Degree Testimonials

Sarah Leonard, MA COEX/MS’19

“The great thing about Heller is its flexibility. You can make it what you want of your degree. You have that latitude to talk with professors and say, ‘This is what I’m thinking of doing, and how I’m thinking of doing it, is that the best plan? I was attracted to the dual degree COEX and MS programs, due to the concentration in humanitarian aid and disaster management. This combination of degrees will give me the tools and experience to help me do more and make a bigger impact in my future career. After graduation from Heller, I hope to go into the federal government or state government, working with agencies that help people recover from disasters.” 

Joe Wilson, MA SID/MS’18

“I was actually in Liberia when I heard about the Heller School. I have a background in economics and was interested in international development. However, I felt that traditional economic development is usually about the details of econometrics. The Heller SID program is exactly what I was looking for; it's more about the economics, environment and the people. After taking a couple of courses in SID, especially climate change, I built my interest in food security and how to fix the broken health system in my country. I thought it was good to make use of the advantages I have, being in graduate school, and do the MS program. With the MS program, I now have strong ideas on how to fix the broken health system that is not only in my country, Liberia, but for other vulnerable populations around the world.”  

Gabriela Corbera, MA SID/MBA’18

“I chose Heller because of the mission statement. I was really compelled by the social justice focus of all the programs, but particularly sustainable development. I added the MBA degree because I was really moved by social entrepreneurship, which wasn't the main focus in the SID programAlong with my experiences with innovation communities overseas, the social entrepreneurship class really changed everything for me at Heller. In that class, we were introduced to entrepreneurs in the area who were really designing solutions to all the problems and issues we talked about in poverty and international development. I realized then that the MBA is a toolbox; the dual degree really trains you to work with nonprofits, companies and corporations and get them to think about and have capability in sustainable development. As dual degree holders, we can be a bridge for other practitioners to consider the quality of design, management, operations and strategy.”

Lena Muntemba, MA SID/MBA’18

“I was working at OxFam America and wanted to continue in the international development world, so I looked into the Heller SID program. When I saw there was this option to do a dual MBA in nonprofit management, I was interested in the skills that came along with the MBA program—especially the focus on mission-driven organizations. It’s not a traditional MBA track—half your case studies are about nonprofits—but you learn all the same core skills you would in a traditional program. That was the draw. I really like the dual degree, where I feel like each class challenges you in a different way.” 

Jacob Fox, MPP/MBA’17

“My classmates are a bunch of folks that were not satisfied with the status quo on a local level, national level and the Heller community. They’re people who are intelligent and brave and are going to make a difference in wherever they end up—that’s the community I was looking for when I came to Heller. In both the MPP and MBA programs, the approach is: what is the problem, how do you frame the problem and what are the strategies to solve it? The policy degree offers more of a theoretical perspective on policy and policy analysis and the MBA combines that with hard skills that mesh really well together. Now, I’m looking at jobs in government or nonprofits—wherever I can create large-scale change.”