The Heller School for Social Policy and Management

MPP Careers

Students make a huge investment in us, and in return, we make a huge investment in them that isn’t limited to two years, but extends across their lifetimes. Heller has a strong MPP alumni network that is committed to social justice issues and creates connections for future internships and professional positions in those areas.

As a Heller student, you will work closely with the Career Development Center to define your professional goals and build strategies to achieve them. Beginning with the online Career Academy the summer before orientation, MPP students regularly meet with career advisors, join professional development workshops and attend employer events throughout their time at Heller. 

Heller MPP students go on to positions in government and mission-driven organizations across the country. Typically, one-third of our alumni end up working in Washington, D.C., one-third are in Boston, with the remaining third spread throughout the U.S. In a recent survey of our 2017 graduates, 96 percent were employed or continuing their education a year after graduation.

Meet our alumni: 

Brian Kennedy, MPP'16

Policy Analyst, North Carolina Budget and Tax Center

“Almost everything I took out of the MPP program I’m using as a policy analyst,” he says, “especially the focus on writing and communicating succinctly. I’ve worked with a lot of other MPPs and I’ve learned that some schools send students out into the world as perfectly polished data analysts. Other schools, like Heller, send grads out with the tools to understand data and models, and also with the skills to understand whether a policy is going to help people or hurt people. The most important thing someone with this degree can do is speak up and make sure that the decisions we’re making will improve folks’ lives.”

Learn more about Brian's work. 

Fran Hodgins, MBA/MPP'18

Program Associate, Health Policy Commission

"I've always been interested in public policy and public sector work because of the potential to bring positive change to some of societies most pervasive challenges. However, before coming to Heller, I wasn't sure exactly what my focus would be. Through a combination of academic and real-world experiences during my time at Heller, I became more attuned to the role that government can play in addressing social determinants of health and other upstream factors that can improve population health and reduce inequities. The combined MPP/MBA program has given me the content knowledge and management skills to understand and analyze these issues."

Learn more about Fran's work.

Allison Ivie, MPP'13

Senior Director of Government Relations and Public Affairs, Center Road Solutions

“One of the most important skills I learned at Heller was writing policy memos,” she says. “Learning to be really concise in your language and getting your point across quickly. In any government or lobbying job, nobody has time to read academic papers.”  

Learn more about Allison's work. 

Charley Francis, MPP'10

Assistant Director, Division of Leased Housing and Rental Services, Rhode Island Housing

“I like issues that have a big impact but might not be an issue everyone is focusing on, like housing. It’s a niche policy area, but if you think about it, it’s so basic: It’s not only about survival, but about outcomes like health, employment and more. There’s a lot of work to be done.”

Read more about Charley's work. 

Kristen Whited Beals, MBA/MPP'15

Asylum Officer, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

“Heller is a great place for people who would like to be bridges. To get the tools you need to better communicate in an area you’re already passionate about. So, save all your research papers, your TCP (Team Consulting Project) paper and proposal writing projects.”

Read more about Kristen's work. 

Ricky Ochilo, MPP/MBA'15

Relationship Manager, Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency

“Sometimes policymakers don’t understand the contextual issues at the community level. That’s why I wanted to focus on the role of policy analysis and research. How do you craft policy to change the situation and the negative aspects of policymaking to address the challenges in the community that you’re witnessing? I realized, to shift paradigms we were witnessing with respect to economic fragmentation, I needed to have the tools to champion all the outcomes I’d like to see and that’s what led me to Heller.”

Read more about Ricky's work. 

James Miller, MBA/MPP'11

Former Executive Director, LGBT Center of Raleigh

“Heller stepped up with a way I could conduct my own education and research that was relevant to the queer rights movement and HIV policy. I’ll be honest: the dual MPP and MBA was extremely difficult but so rewarding, because I learned more than I ever thought I could have. How can we fundamentally change policy using the capitalist system as it exists currently? That was super powerful for me.”

Read more about James' work. 

Alexandra Bastien, MPP'12

Program Associate, PolicyLink

“I didn’t know I was going to become super passionate about asset building when I came to grad school. Literally in my first class at Heller, which was with Janet Boguslaw, I learned this language around asset building, the racial wealth gap and the hidden welfare state. It was an amazing experience.”

Read more about Alexandra's work. 

Calvin Harris, MPP'10

Senior Manager of Public Affairs, Bipartisan Policy Center

Harris was inspired to get into communications by a course at Heller that got him thinking about how to share complicated policies with people in simpler terms. He fell in love with the methods of sharing information so everyone could take part in the conversation, which led him to his role at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Read more about Harris' work. 

Toni Burke, MPP'09

Vice President and Executive Director, City Year San José/Silicon Valley

“The level of discipline and rigor I learned at Heller has kept me and my organization sustainable and excellent in the work we've done. It's required an intensive strategy and relentless discipline, which I would have never gotten without the Heller School.”

Read more about Toni's work. 

Erin Robinson, MPP'16

Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Fellow, Office of Senator Cory Booker

"Heller is truly a people-centered school. I knew that my professors were interested in my learning and development. The small size of the MPP program helped me get to know them and feel comfortable asking them for advice."

Read more about Erin's work. 

Kaytie Dowcett, MPP'15

Executive Director, Waltham Partnership for Youth

"The Children, Youth, and Family concentration prepared me with knowledge of the most current trends in youth programming, the principles of Positive Youth Development, and examples of effective youth programming throughout the country. I use this knowledge daily to inform the development of new programs and initiatives."

Read more about Kaytie's work. 

Nicole Rodriguez, MPP'14

Senior Policy Analyst, Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center

"I believe that one of the best avenues towards improved policy is to take an intersectional lens in order to assess the differential impact of proposed and existing policies, programs and legislation on families of different incomes, genders, and racial and ethnic groups. For this, the Heller School prepared me well."

Lang Le, MPP'10

Social Science Research Analyst, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

"The Heller MPP program, with its nationally recognized faculty and staff, served as a public policy incubator for students such as myself to elevate critical thinking skills while harnessing collective student passion to advance societal benefits. For example, the Heller MPP coursework enabled me to extract information from large data sets and then succinctly integrate it with social policy analysis to advance transformative national health care programs."

Analissa Iversen, MBA/MPP'16

Consultant, ORS Impact

"The most important thing I took away from Heller was the way I approach my work. As someone passionate about social change, I bring a much stronger equity lens to every aspect of my work as a result of my time at Heller. I also feel more confident, more organized, and generally more impactful in my work processes."

Richard Sheward, MPP'13

Deputy Director of Innovative Partnerships, Children's HealthWatch

"The Heller MPP program gave me the policy research and analysis tools needed in my role at Children's HealthWatch to help policymakers and the public better understand the social and economic factors that impact children’s health and development. Gaining the knowledge of how advocacy and communications strategies frame policies and influence policy adoption has been invaluable to my work ensuring all children have equal opportunities for healthy, successful lives."

Nicole Hudson, MPP'12

Health Insurance Specialist, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

"My MPP capstone allowed me the opportunity to study in-depth the high rates of avoidable hospitalizations among nursing facility residents and provided invaluable background and experience for my current position. My capstone allowed me to enter my position with a strong knowledge base and understanding of different policy options which has been crucial to managing a complex demonstration project."

Sho Garland, MBA/MPP'15

Boston Community Programs Manager, Keshet

"I manage, support, and implement all of Keshet's community building work in Boston by creating and running programs for LGBTQ Jews. I also support Keshet's education and training work by building relationships and working with Boston-area Jewish institutions. Heller's MPP gave me a strong background in statistics and data analysis, which I use to evaluate the effectiveness of programs."

Illustration of man sitting in orange jumpsuit

MPP Alumni Connecting the Dots on Criminal Justice Reform

From policing to substance abuse to recidivism and re-entry, Heller MPP alumni, researchers and students are striving for change at every level of the criminal justice system. Read the article in Heller Magazine. 

Calvin Harris, MPP'10, of the Bipartisan Policy Center, explains why social justice is important to him.