Famous MPA Graduates

If you’re unfamiliar with what an MPA is, at the very least you’ll know some of these famous graduates of MPA programs. Many of the world’s foremost leaders in public policy received masters in public administration degrees before leading outstanding careers. Here’s a list of some of the most successful MPA graduates from both within the United States and around the globe. Feel free to suggest your own!

David Petraeus, Director of the CIA Petraeus is a former Commander of United States Central Command, former commanding general of American-led forces in Afghanistan, and the current director of the CIA. He received both an MPA and a PhD from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Petraeus was even a rumored presidential candidate at one point, but denied that he has any political aspirations.

Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon succeeded Kofi Annan in 2007 to become the 80th leader of the United Nations. After receiving a B.A. in International Relations from Seoul National University, Ban earned his MPA at the Kennedy School of Government. So far, as Secretary-General of the UN Ban has worked to address global policy issues such as weapons of mass destruction, the Middle East peace process, global warming, Darfur, and the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore Lee is Singapore’s third prime minister, and the son of its first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew. In addition to degrees in mathematics and computer science, Lee holds an MPA from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Lee’s accomplishments include elections reforms, the establishment of maternity leave in response to a declining birth rate, and returning budget surpluses to the Singaporean people.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia Sirleaf is both the first and the only female head of state in Africa. After earning an accounting degree as an undergraduate, Sirleaf received her MPA from the Kennedy School of Government. In addition to being elected president of Liberia, Sirleaf received the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for her work towards the advancement of women’s rights.

Felipe Calderon, President of Mexico Felipe Calderon became the president of Mexico in 2006. After receiving degrees in both law and economics, Calderon attend the Kennedy School of Government for his MPA. Despite having to deal with the fierce Mexican drug cartels, Calderon has greatly expanded access to education and health care in Mexico.

Ray Kelly, NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is currently in his second term as police commissioner for New York City. After studying law in New York, Kelly went to the Kennedy School of Government for his MPA. Kelly is credited for his work on enforcement of quality of life crimes in New York City, as well as revamped counter-terrorist efforts in the years since 9/11.

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