The Max Bell School welcomes its inaugural MPP class

The first cohort arrived for orientation week at the end of August and classes are underway

As the 2019/2020 academic year kicked off, McGill University welcomed thousands of new students. This year among those joining the McGill community was a group of 31 outstanding individuals selected as the inaugural class of the Max Bell School’s Master of Public Policy (MPP) program.

Chosen from a pool of close to 200 applicants, the MPP cohort represents students from 17 countries, from Argentina to Zimbabwe, who are as accomplished academically as they are professionally.

Max Bell School MPP Class

Twenty percent of the students hold advanced or additional degrees in fields as varied as International Economics and Educational Sciences, while others have undergraduate degrees in disciplines as diverse as Theatre, Psychology and Architectural Planning. A quarter are McGill graduates.

“It has been meaningful to me to return to McGill, my alma mater, as a graduate student at the Max Bell School. Since orientation, I am certain that the year ahead will include a challenging mix of discussion and study surrounding today's toughest policy questions,” says Erika Moyer who has a B.A. in International Development Studies from McGill.

The MPP students also bring a broad range of professional experience that encompasses careers in areas such as politics, journalism, human rights, the environment and tech, to mention a few.

“It’s rare to have this kind of diversity in a graduate program, but this spectrum of educational and professional backgrounds contributes to a dynamic classroom environment. It also reflects the school’s commitment to including voices from different perspectives,” says the school’s Director Chris Ragan.

MPP student Enzo Zorigtbaatar agrees. “When everyone has a different background, you’re able to broaden your point of view and really get out of your comfort zone.”

Director Chris Ragan lectures students in their first week.

The students’ orientation week kicked off with a breakfast and introductory remarks by Dean of Arts, Antonia Maioni and McGill Provost and Vice-Principal, Christopher Manfredi, followed by a welcome reception for the students and Max Bell School faculty.

Dean Maioni is enthusiastic about the arrival of the class. “By serving as a nexus for collective imagination, analysis, debate and wisdom, the School is deepening McGill’s already well‐established national and international reputation for innovative thinking and results‐oriented action.”

Students then embarked on a scavenger hunt that introduced them to McGill's downtown campus and some of Montreal's iconic landmarks.

MPP student Sebastian Muermann is excited about the start of the year: “Orientation week was only a sample of what I am sure is to come in the next 11 months. Both students and teachers seem energized by the prospect of embarking on the academic cycle, and that was palpable in the room. I truly enjoyed coming together for a week to get onto the same page.”

Fellow classmate Enzo Zorigtbaatar feels the same way saying, “Already we’ve created friendships and close bonds. There’s a sense of camaraderie - we know we’re all in this together.”

The students are already immersed in the School’s uniquely designed syllabus that aims to bridge the gap between the theory and the practice of policy-making.

Sebastian finds the course to be living up to his expectations: “The Max Bell program is like nothing I have experienced thus far. There is a high exposure to practitioners, and the space that has been created for them to teach is remarkable.”

In the next year, through a combination of theory and practical skill-building, the students will take core policy courses, policy case studies and complexity seminars  which focus on the development of their understanding of the complexities of policymaking, as well as a skills workshops will equip them soft and hard skills useful for their careers in public policy. The year finishes with the policy lab, where students will work closely with a private, public or non-profit organization to solve a real-world policy issue, while building connections and gaining invaluable experience.

Stayed tuned as we follow their MPP journey and for details about admissions for the 2020/21 year.


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