students standing at check-in table
Master in Public Administration (MPA) students check in during Orientation 2022.

A new cohort of Mid-Career Master in Public Administration (MC/MPA) Program students arrived on campus this week for the start of the Summer Program, and incoming two-year students will arrive in Cambridge in just a few short weeks.

As the new academic year gets underway, we asked several of our Master in Public Administration (MPA) and Master in Public Policy (MPP) Orientation leaders to offer their advice to incoming students.

Be intentional

headshot of James Schisler"Before coming to Boston, reflect on what your priorities will be at HKS. When you get here, be intentional about shaping your path so that it aligns with your priorities. Ultimately, don’t be afraid to pass up opportunities or to try something totally new! And take a deep breath: there are so many ways to get so much out of HKS. You’ll find yours." — James Schisler MPP 2024

Make time for reflection

headshot of Armughan Syed"You will be absorbing so much here. Take the time to revisit your learnings periodically. Dedicated moments for reflection (maybe an hour or two on a Saturday) will allow you to connect the dots in new (and surprising) ways that only a place like HKS can reveal." — Armughan Syed MPA 2024

Don't just focus on academic pursuits

headshot of Hector Javier Ortiz Domenech"Take the time to explore the vibrant city of Cambridge, connect with your classmates, and engage in activities that ignite your spirit. Remember that your time at Harvard is not just about building a professional foundation, but also about nurturing your personal growth, forming lifelong friendships, and cherishing the precious moments that make this experience truly extraordinary."  — Hector Javier Ortiz Domenech MPA 2024 

Talk to everybody and anybody

headshot of Luke Schields"Don't be afraid to talk to everybody and anybody. The HKS community, ranging from faculty to your fellow students, is teeming with experience and advice on any subject you could be interested in. If you see someone that has a background in or experience relative to your interest, reach out for a chat or coffee. The worst they can say is no, and that rarely happens." — Luke Schields MPP 2024

Get involved

headshot of Alexandros Pamnani"There are so many things happening at Harvard. As you begin your time here, try to get involved in different activities to explore your interests and discover what you may enjoy doing more of during your time at HKS. Also, Harvard is an extremely supportive community, so do not hesitate to ask for help for any reason." — Alexandros Pamnani MPA 2024              

Don’t be intimidated

headshot of Quint Forgey"Try not to stress out too much about the “Harvard-ness” of it all. Sure, your classmates will have pretty impressive academic and professional backgrounds, but most everyone in grad school is trying to reinvent themselves in one way or another." — Quint Forgey MPP 2024


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