Universiteit Leiden

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Public Management and Leadership (MSc)

Career prospects

The combination of academic and professional skills taught in the Public Management specialisation of Public Administration makes graduates excellent candidates for positions as a public manager, or take on an advisory role as a management consultant or strategic advisor within public organisations.

Julia Wysocka

Alumnus, Pilot Succes Specialist at FeedbackFruits

Julia Wysocka

'I vividly recall the specialisation course Leadership and Organisational Behaviour during which I learnt how to conduct behavioural analysis of a leader. The course entailed working with a group on delivering a recommendation letter for a public manager and was focused on applying academic literature to a real case.'

I have chosen this programme as the specialisation appealed to me - I looked for a master's degree that will equip me with knowledge on the topics of management that goes beyond business or focus on private corporations. When choosing a master's programme I paid attention to the course design and the way classes are conducted. I enjoy working with others and engaging with the content in a non-traditional way, hence I asked myself - are most of the courses interactive and involve peer work? Is there ample attention put into practical knowledge? This course ticked them all so it was an easy choice for me. 

A big asset of this specialisation was a rather small number of students in comparison to other specialisations. I was very lucky to be able to connect with my fellow peers during a/synchronous group work, meeting after class to work on a project or brainstorm in breakout rooms. When having 100 students online you never feel that the teacher is treating you individually and you might feel intimidated to speak up or ask questions. The seminars and workshops in smaller groups (10-15) opened a door for feeling acknowledged and comfortable to share your thoughts and doubts. It also helped make the connections and oftentimes resulted in great in-class debates that were continued long after classes were finished.

I vividly recall the specialisation course Leadership and Organisational Behaviour during which I learnt how to conduct behavioural analysis of a leader. The course entailed working with a group on delivering a recommendation letter for a public manager and was focused on applying academic literature to a real case. During that course, I had the pleasure to interview a public servant working in a Dutch public organisation, giving insights into how organisations work and what challenges people in high positions are facing. 

Oftentimes I am using the skills I learned during my elective. I wouldn't know that writing a systematic paper would be that useful in daily life, yet we have learned very valuable skills of extracting relevant information from a long research paper together with several reading techniques or searching for information. Additionally, my thesis capstone allows me to dive deep into statistics. You have the freedom to choose if you are conducting qualitative or quantitative research hence if you want to learn a new set of skills, this programme will allow you to do so. And most importantly - I have learnt what I like and where my interest does not lie, which is incredibly useful and valuable to know when joining the job market. 

I would recommend it to students who seek a high peace programme and opt for interactive work whilst learning about how management work in an international environment. In my experience, I have been equipped with valuable feedback on my work, I became more sensitive to the challenges of public managers and I acquire an interest in topics I didn't know about before. Additionally, the professors always made sure that we not only write our papers and pass the course but also that we enjoy the time spent during the seminars. If the above resonates with you, this programme is a great fit for you.   

Michele Pennalla

Alumnus Public Management and Leadership

Michele Pennalla

In my opinion, the biggest asset of the programme is the capacity of the professors, not only in terms of their knowledge in their fields but also in their educational skills. I've found myself in small classes, with professors that were pushing the class to think, discuss and participate actively in the classes.

- What motivated you to choose this programme and specifically this track?

My main motivation for applying to the programme was to understand better the relations between the political arena and the public administration. My previous working experiences were both in the Congress of Argentina (political arena) and in the Government of Buenos Aires (public administration) and I was looking to comprehend better how these two worlds interact. When I found the programme, the track met perfectly my criteria. I was also trying to study in a different context than mine to take profit of a diverse perspective (in terms of content) and a different educational style (in terms of form). 

- What sets this programme apart (in terms of programme structure, course content, teaching methods, research quality, academic staff)?

In my opinion, the biggest asset of the programme is the capacity of the professors, not only in terms of their knowledge in their fields but also in their educational skills. I've found myself in small classes, with professors that were pushing the class to think, discuss and participate actively in the classes. The master has a varied combination of teaching methods and evaluation systems, which allows you to develop different skills.  I also found very interesting the thesis development process, which starts almost immediately (Q2) and allows you to have the right time to do it (which is sometimes really hard in a 1-year programme). My best experience in the master (and from which I learnt the most) was the thesis writing process, where my supervisor supported me in the development of a proper research idea and a research method, as well as in the implementation and analysis. 

- What relevant knowledge and professional skills did you acquire during this programme?

The research skills are the main skill I acquired during the programme, mainly thanks to the thesis development process. Coming from a Latin context (which has a different writing style), I learnt the Anglo-Saxon writing style, which is more predominant in international jobs. In terms of knowledge, I appreciated the opportunity to analyse better the interests and motivations that lay underground the decisions in the public sector, and I found that fundamental if you want to work in this area. Finally, the track put a lot of emphasis in organizational change, which tends to be one a highly traumatic experience in public organizations (and which frequency is intensifying) and the study on what are the challenges in those processes has come to be very useful in my current job.

- How has the programme (think of assignments, simulations, skills training, internships, university career services) prepared you for the labour market?

While I was doing the Master, I discovered (thanks to the professor I had) my interest in pursuing a PhD programme. The Master (because of the research's quality of its professors, but also because the topics addressed were absolutely up-to-date with what is being studied in the academic world) prepared me for that perfectly, and when I finished it, I was accepted for the PhD at Indiana University (#1 in Public Administration in the US) - although I decided to not attend it at the end. In my current job (in a UN Agency) I have to analyze the Governments' interests and to support them in the formulation and implementation of public programmes, and the knowledge acquired in the master is of great usefulness for that purpose. 

- Why would you recommend this programme?

 I recommend the programme both for people trying to continue their career in the academic world and for people looking to understand better the dynamics behind the public sector. In my personal understanding, it is always better to select a Master Programme with some working experience after the Bachelor Degree. That allows people to engage more in the discussions and to take more profit of the classes, as well as to make the decision on which programme study in a more informed way.

Hendrik Ewens

Alumnus Public Management and Leadership

Hendrik Ewens

What I think is outstanding is that the programme gives you a solid foundation of theoretical knowledge that you can apply in practical situations. As a student, you discuss actual societal problems and learn how to analyse and solve them by applying state of the art research.

- What motivated you to choose this programme and specifically this track?

Before I started at Leiden University, I worked as a civil servant in Germany. Thus, I had some practical knowledge about how public organizations function. My motivation for studying Public Administration was that I wanted to get a deeper understanding of public organizations and learn how to improve them. I decided to follow the Public Management track, because I am interested in how politics and laws can be transferred into action through public organizations.

 - What sets this programme apart (in terms of programme structure, course content, teaching methods, research quality, academic staff)?

What I think is outstanding is that the programme gives you a solid foundation of theoretical knowledge that you can apply in practical situations. As a student, you discuss actual societal problems and learn how to analyse and solve them by applying state of the art research. This is not only done between academic staff and students. Since Wijnhaven is close to ministries and the municipality, we had many activitie with politicians and high-level civil servants.

 - What relevant knowledge and professional skills did you acquire during this programme?

I learned about characteristics of public organizations and how they influence the performance of public organizations. Due to the management perspective, we learned how to steer performance through management. Besides the content of the programme I learned how to analyse a lot of complex information, structure it and come up with own solutions. In today’s information age, where access to knowledge is de facto unlimited, this skill is highly relevant.

 - How has the programme (think of assignments, simulations, skills training, internships, university career services) prepared you for the labour market?

The programme prepared me well for the labour market. During lectures I learned how to solve public sector problems (academically, practically or both combined) and many group assignments improved my ability to work in teams. In addition, for some assignments we had to research actual issues in public organizations and interview employees. This helped to build up connections in the labour market. 

 - Why would you recommend this programme?

 Choosing Public Administration brings you already in the middle of the policy arena, as Wijnhaven is located next to policy institutions, public organizations and NGO’s. I can recommend this programme, as it brings those policy players in the university and gives you the opportunity to go out to them. Studying Public Administration at Leiden University sets the foundation for you to become a relevant part in the field of public administration.   

Skills after Graduation

In the Public Management specialisation of the Master in Public Administration, you gain knowledge and understanding of the key concepts and theories of public management, as well as how to carry out state-of-the-art academic research. On top of this you develop the professional skills to be able to effectively apply your knowledge in practice to  respond to management challenges in international, national and local public organisational settings. After graduation you are especially well-equipped to fulfil a managerial position in a public organisation.

What does Public Management and Leadership enable Students to do After their Studies?

We see that our alumni find employment in of three roles. First, many work in a public organization as a manager, supervisor or management trainee. Second, our alumni work as internal advisors in public or semi-public organizations, for instance as a strategic advisor to the management team of a municipality or human resource management advisor in a ministry. Third, our alumni are active as private sector consultants for companies such as PriceWaterhouseCoopers and CapGemini. In each of these roles, our alumni benefit from the theoretical knowledge, analytical skills and practical competences that are central to the Public Management and Leadership specialisation.

Did you know that… ?

  • 53 % of our alumni found a job within two months after graduation?
  • 77 % of our alumni found a job within six months after graduation?
  • 91% of our alumni found a job within a year after graduation?
  • Over 60 % of our alumni have a job for which the MSc Public Administration or a closely related studies was a requirement?
  • Our alumni work on average 38 hours per week and have a gross monthly salary of more than € 3.000?

Positions our alumni hold

Graduates of the MSc in Public Administration, Public Management specialisation currently hold a wide variety of managerial, policy-making and consultancy positions within such public organisations as the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and private organisations.

Sector of first job

  • 42 Business (e.g. consulting, finance, legal)
  • 12 Other (e.g. non-profit, political party, media)
  • 19 Research & Education
  • 28 Government

In which sector do our alumni find jobs?

  • 46 Public Sector
  • 14 Business services, industry, transport, trade
  • 6 University
  • 7 Financial & legal services
  • 4 Press, information, communication
  • 2 HBO
  • 21 Other

The most popular jobs of our alumni

  • 27 Policy advisor
  • 17 Project manager
  • 11 Consultant
  • 6 Researcher
  • 6 Communication expert
  • 3 Teacher
  • 3 PhD
  • 3 Financial advisor
  • 24 Other

Source: Database Alumni Public Administration

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