“In undergrad, you’re often taught about all the problems that exist in the world. But the Max Bell School's MPP program is so different—it gives you the tools to actually address these problems,” says Charlotte Reboul, a graduate of the School’s inaugural class of ’20.
Originally from France, Charlotte moved to Montreal a little over 12 years ago. After graduating from McGill in 2017 with a B.A. in International Development, Political Science & Management, she went on to work in the non-profit sector in the areas of public health, philanthropy and environmental advocacy.
Two years in, she decided to put her career on hold to pursue a master’s in public policy. Her goal?
“To get the tools to address the issues that are really important to me, like sustainable economic development,” she remembers. “I wanted to build tangible skills, to look at issues through different lenses, and I definitely got that from the MPP.”
Choosing the Max Bell School
Charlotte initially started researching graduate schools in the U.S., where her mom had moved a few years earlier. But when she learned through her McGill professors about the new MPP launching in 2019, she jumped at the opportunity to apply to the program and study in the city she loves.
“The MPP ticked all the boxes I was looking for: it was in Montreal, it offered a good balance between policy theory and practice,” she says. “I also knew that I was more interested in advising governments than working for them, and the program really advertised you were going to get a set of skills to apply in the private, public or non-profit sector.”
Program highlights and key takeaways
As the guinea pigs of the newly-launched MPP, Charlotte and her classmates weren’t entirely sure what to expect going into the program. But Charlotte says she was quickly impressed with all it had to offer.
“One of the things that made the program so great is that everyone came from very different backgrounds with experience in different fields. Everyone could contribute in different ways, which is a great strength. You learn as much from students as you do from teachers.”
Another aspect of the program she really appreciated was the diverse format and variety of classes. “We had practitioners giving case studies, then scholars giving traditional lectures. I thought that was brilliant because the format changed every few weeks.”
Even the most challenging part of the program turned out to be one of her most valuable takeaways.
“A lot of the program involves group work and as in all contexts, teamwork is challenging,” she explains. “It can be stressful. The program is intense with a lot of deadlines. But it’s been one of the biggest learnings for me—how to work effectively in a group situation.”
A stepping stone to success
Not only did the program exceed Charlotte’s expectations in terms of building skills, it also directly helped her secure her current position working as a consultant in the Economics and Strategy practice at KPMG in Montreal.
“The MPP 110 percent helped me secure my current job. KPMG gave a conference at the School, which unfortunately I missed. But I got their contact information from the School's Career Services, reached out, and here I am!”
Charlotte’s consultancy role involves advising governments and organizations on economic development and other core policy issues, and what she learned in the MPP has proven invaluable in her day-to-day work.
“A lot of what I use in my work, I learned in the program. The MPP’s focus on economics and the understanding of how governments, organizations, and institutions work together to create policies have been useful every day. Also, the skills workshops and more practical training is super useful in what I do now.”
Plans for the future
From a young age, Charlotte has been volunteering around her work or school schedule for organizations that share her vision and values—“I’ve always considered volunteering to be a core aspect of my plans and career.”
Just a few of the organizations she’s worked with include The Climate Reality Project, Climatable, and the Foundation for Environmental Stewardship. Charlotte has also been involved in organizations that support women empowerment.
“It’s a cause that’s very close to my heart,” she says. “I’ve always been very passionate about gender equality and women in the workforce. And it’s actually something I want to do long term—to create my own non-profit focused on women's empowerment, particularly young women.”
For now, Charlotte says she’s more than happy in her current role. But developing her own non-profit is definitely a “work in progress” and she looks forward to making it happen someday soon.
Any advice for people considering the MPP program?
“Absolutely go for it!” she says without missing a beat. “I feel like I’ve grown so much in just one year. It’s an accelerator, an amazing experience, and a great investment. The people you meet and the connections you make are amazing. I would recommend it to everyone.”