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Arkansas State University

Four consulting opportunities for an MPA

If you are considering a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree, you may be exploring the careers you can enter once you graduate. Fortunately, the job outlook for MPA graduates is strong, with a wide variety of public administration careers available, including government service, community management and nonprofit organizations. One occupation you may want to consider with an MPA degree is consulting. Consulting careers are in high demand, and an MPA degree could give you a competitive edge to start a rewarding, successful career. Below are four types of consulting opportunities you can pursue with an online MPA degree.

  1. Management consulting: Management consultants help businesses improve their performance and solve challenging operational issues. In this role, you may be directly employed by the company or act as an external consultant as part of a firm that offers these services. There are pros and cons to each situation: Internal consultants develop an in-depth knowledge of the company for which they work and may have a better chance of seeing their recommendations through to implementation. External consultants, on the other hand, have the opportunity to learn about many different industries and many different clients. Regardless of the type of management consulting, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that management consulting jobs will grow by about 19 percent by the year 2020, and income potential is similarly high.
  1. Public administration consulting: This area of consulting is one of the fastest growing public administration careers. Public affairs consultants work with companies to guide the development of funding, program creation and policy development. The outlook for these jobs is directly related to the demand for health, social and related quality-of-life services. However, because of an increase in outsourcing in this field, individuals with a more general skill set are likely to have better job prospects than someone whose knowledge and training is more specialized.
  1. Public relations consulting: These professionals focus on preserving a company’s positive public image. They accomplish this by monitoring the organization’s online reputation, managing internal communications, communicating with primary constituents and interacting with media outlets. While an MPA degree is not required for work in this field, having one will allow you to direct large-scale strategies for large government and public-sector agencies. Exceptional written and oral communications skills are also a requirement for success in this field. Employment for public relations consultants is expected to grow by about 13 percent through 2022 – on pace with the average for all occupations.
  1. Political consulting: One rapidly evolving consulting field within public administration is political consulting. Consultants have become an integral part of campaigns in recent years, making these jobs incredibly competitive. Consultants have to keep up with the ever-changing ways that voters consume information. Because the marketplace is changing rapidly, the field of political consulting is growing exponentially as well. Today’s political consultants must be well-versed in polling, media strategy, multimedia campaigns, data analytics and traditional marketing tactics.

Regardless of the specific area, consulting can be a good career choice for an MPA graduate that can offer a wide variety of experiences and instill a great deal of focus and discipline that are not gained in some other careers.

Learn more about the Arkansas State online MPA program.


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