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Arkansas State University

4 Qualities of a Strong MPA Candidate

A Master of Public Administration, or MPA, is a degree that prepares students for a career in the public sector in management, directorial or executive positions. An online MPA program provides students with the skills and techniques they need to create, implement and manage programs, projects and policies that drive professional and community change. MPA graduates can use their degrees in a variety of positions where their learned skills in leadership, economic issues and ethics would be valued, in environments as diverse as government, nonprofit organizations, international business or private companies.

An MPA “prepares students for federal, executive, and other high-level management positions that support the common good. MPA programs also train learners to work as public policy researchers and advocates.” Graduates of these programs often pursue management and executive positions, allowing them not only to advocate for improvements, but also to draft and implement policies that directly contribute to the betterment of their communities.

Because an MPA degree appeals to those interested in leadership roles within their companies and their communities, the best candidate in a competitive online MPA program will have proven leadership skills as well as motivation, passion and commitment to championing change. Admissions professionals seek talented people who have a strong desire for and the potential to effect change in whatever environment they choose. Also high on admissions officers’ list for candidates are independent types with a clear focus on their academic and career goals — and those who want to work with and manage people.

The most successful MPA candidates possess the following qualities:

  • Academic and Professional Achievement
    MPA programs look for candidates who have high achievements in their undergraduate careers, three to five years of post-graduate work experience and measurable career accomplishments.
  • Communication Skills
    Candidates who demonstrate strong communication skills and have the ability to effectively deliver their message are well prepared for the challenges of an MPA program and career.
  • Good Leadership and Decision-Making Skills
    An applicant who can make good decisions and lead others tends to stand out from the crowd and will likely find success in an MPA program and in the professional world.
  • Problem-Solving Ability
    MPA candidates who think creatively and use logic and analytical skills to tackle challenges make successful students and business leaders.

In addition to these traits, MPA candidates have been active in their communities, engaging as volunteers or advocating for positive change in society in one way or another. MPA students often go on to succeed, become alumni-advocates for their schools and are great networkers within the community.

Learn more about the A-State online MPA program.

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