Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are among the most sought-after employers for individuals holding Masters in Public Administration (MPA) degrees. While many MPA graduates and candidates go on to work in government, there are several advantages to working with government, rather than for the government. In comparison to public agencies, NGOs generally offer more flexibility in terms of policy choices.
Whereas a leader in government may have to spend a good deal of time considering the political implications of every decision, an individual working at an NGO does not need to worry about party politics in the same way. Instead, NGOs can focus squarely on solving the issues. Organizations such as Oxfam and Human Rights Watch are able to effectively provide services to communities in need all around in the world in part because their actions are not constrained by national politics or borders. Furthermore, NGOs often tackle a wider range of projects than government offices do. In this way, NGOs can be seen as a better environment for implementing the innovative practices that MPA graduates have spent a year or two developing and studying in school. Groups such as the Wikimedia Foundation and the Global Viral Forecasting Initiative have succeeded in creating and executing projects that bear little resemblance to the methods used by more traditional groups and government agencies. The incredible range of policies that NGOs are involved in worldwide guarantees that no matter the focus of your MPA degree, there is an organization that is a perfect fit for you. Some graduate schools even offer degrees focused on understanding the operations of NGOs. Groups such as CeaseFire, Search for Common Ground, and International Alert work hands-on with local organizations to help promote conflict resolution. Meanwhile, NGO’s such as BRAC, the International Rescue Committee, and Mercy Corps work to promote human rights through a variety of means including emergency relief efforts. Non-governmental organization are now also driving progress in the fields of information technology, medicine, and education.
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As experts in their respective fields, MPA graduates have the knowledge to truly make an impact. A career at an NGO may be the best vehicle for turning talent into progress in the 21st century. Already proven leaders in the academic world, MPA graduates have the opportunity to expand the influence of their ideas and in doing so make a real difference in the world.