As part of our series on graduate degree programs and their value to government administrators, here is a brief profile of the Master of Public Management (MPM) program at Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Mellon University's (CMU) Heinz College.

The MPM program is designed to provide career-track professionals with management, analytical and evidence-based skill sets needed to assume leadership roles in organizations across the public, private, government and not-for-profit sectors. The MPM program aims to help emerging and established professionals become effective and innovative leaders, thinkers and administrators.


Here are the views of Reed Schoenly, program director of CMU’s MPM program.

GPN: Can a CMU MPM degree offer new opportunities to our readers?

Reed Schoenly: Public Administration and Public Policy degrees have long been the cornerstone programs for aspiring civil and public servants. The MPM degree however, is designed to promote the leadership, management and administrative skills of experienced practitioners. Public managers will further develop their skills and practice through an analytical, evidenced based learning experience.

GPN: Is 2013 a great time to earn an MPM for government administrators?

RS: Since 2010, 31 municipalities have filed for bankruptcy throughout the United States. In 2013, the city of Detroit announced a financial overseer to help restructure the city’s finances. In a do-more-with-less environment, the ability to govern in the public and private sector has never been in more demand. The need for highly qualified public leaders is critical, making 2013 the perfect time to earn the MPM.   

GPN: Does CMU have any advice for our readers on choosing an MPM program?

RS: The MPM program is designed to promote the practice of management and administration in experienced leaders within the public and private sectors.  We promote more efficient and effective management and leadership skills through analytical, evidenced-based learning.

GPN: What makes the CMU program unique? What are some of the school’s outstanding features?

RS: Carnegie Mellon University is a nationally and world-ranked institution.  Our brand is our name and our name is our brand.  We have more than 15 Nobel Prize winners, over a dozen Tony Award winners, and nearly 50 Emmy Award winners in the CMU community. US News & World Report has recognized Heinz College as a top ten college of public affairs, and the MPM program boasts the largest alumni base of all Heinz College programs.

GPN: Can students earn credits online for the CMU MPM program?

RS: In 2012, the MPM program offered its first online course through Blackboard, our learning management system. While a full program experiences is not available completely online, the MPM program is leading innovation and change throughout our School of Public Policy and Management with technology-enabled delivery and learning experiences.

GPN: Is the MPM program best suited for recent college grads or practitioners who have spent some years working in the field?

RS: Separating the MPM from every other program in the Heinz College is our dedication to advancing the understanding and application of professional excellence. To do this, we require that applicants have three to five years of documented professional experience. Our average work experience of applicants during the 2011-12 academic year was 12 years.

GPN: Does the MPM program have a global component or Washington-based federal internships?

RS: The MPM program is based in Pittsburgh, Pa. However 50 percent of our current full-time student population is international. For more than two decades, the MPM program has attracted students from Singapore, Kazakhstan, Japan, Liberia, Turkey, Malaysia and numerous European and South American countries. While our location is not global, our program truly is.

GPN: Can CMU students earn the MPM degree in combination with other CMU degrees?

RS: The MPM program has developed a partnership with the University of Pittsburgh College of Education in which program graduates of the K-12 Leadership concentration are offered advanced standing in their Ph.D. and Ed.D. doctoral programs.