Alumna Namrata Garg says her journey to public policy was a “happy accident,” and after studying and earning her Master of Public Policy degree at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, she developed an interest in public sector consulting. She currently works as a human capital analyst at a consulting firm, consulting for the federal government.
“I was originally interested in becoming an architect,” Garg says. “I then decided to look into different programs and found environmental policy and planning. Everyone told me that this was an up-and-coming field and I would be able to utilize my creativity in a new way. I started environmental policy and started to really like the policy field, a field I never thought I would enjoy.”
After studying environmental policy during her undergraduate career, Garg says the UMD School of Public Policy’s location influenced her decision to pursue a degree here. “I am originally from the Washington, DC metro area and knew that I wanted to eventually work in DC” she says. “I decided the best way to accomplish this was to go to school in this area so that I could build my network and have a better chance of obtaining a job. From my own research, as well as my conversations with faculty, I decided that SPP would give me exactly what I wanted in a graduate program.”
Maryland allowed me to learn more about all of the different paths I could take while still enhancing the skills I would need for all of the possible paths.Namrata Garg '14
She goes on to say that while her career goals weren’t well defined when she started at the School, she enjoyed the fact that the program allowed her to figure it out. “Maryland allowed me to learn more about all of the different paths I could take while still enhancing the skills I would need for all of the possible paths,” Garg says. “This outlook into all the different topics and fields is what eventually led me to my interest in public sector consulting. I really enjoyed exploring different topics and consulting really gives me the opportunity to continue doing so; I work with different clients on varying projects.”
“My education has really helped me in the real world,” she says. “My time at UMD really taught me to be proactive and ask questions. My job now requires me to constantly ask questions and be proactive. With each new project I get there will be new clients, new situations and new problems. If I sit back, don’t ask questions and make assumptions, there could be bad consequences.”
In addition to the flexibility of the program, Garg says the people at the UMD School of Public Policy made a huge impact on her. “Everyone has a part in your degree at SPP, when most people think about influential people in a degree program they always consider the faculty. Maryland’s program is so great that they accept the best students,” she says. “You are constantly learning from your peers just as much as you are from your teachers. I learned so much about public policy and the different realms just from casual conversations in the grad student lounge.”
Garg adds, “The people are one of the greatest parts about SPP. The community that is created by these influential people is amazing. I really utilized my community when I was looking for a job. I reached out to not only my peers, but also previous grads to get their take on their career and garner advice on how to be successful.”