By Brandon Moore MPP/MBA 2025

portrait of Brandon Moore standing in a suit with walkway in the background
Brandon Moore MPP/MBA 2025 reflects on his experience in the Master in Public Policy (MPP)/Master in Business Administration (MPA) joint degree program between Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) and Harvard Business School (HBS).

Tell us a little bit about your background. What were you doing before you came to Harvard?

I was a helicopter pilot! Upon graduating from West Point in 2014, I commissioned as an Army aviation officer. My service brought me from frigid upstate New York winters to the Korean DMZ to rural Afghanistan. To call these experiences life-changing would be an understatement. However, it was the people I served alongside that had the greatest impact on me. From aircraft mechanics to pilots to senior officers, these folks were truly America’s finest. They taught me lessons in humility, perseverance, and grit. After eight years surrounded by genuine selflessness and patriotism, my separation was bittersweet. But as I applied to the joint degree program, veterans spent countless hours helping me along the way. It is a fact: I would not be here today if it weren’t for their mentorship!

What drew you to the joint degree program? Why did you want to get both an MBA and an MPP?

In considering my own career, I realized the extent to which our biggest challenges demand public-private cooperation. We’ll only achieve our climate goals if private firms develop innovative technologies and public regulators keep a tight lid on emissions. Similarly, policymakers cannot fix our country’s wage gaps without real support from employers. Public-private cooperation is a precondition for progress. Knowing that the joint MPP/MBA best equips future leaders with this mindset of cooperation, I decided to pursue the joint degree program between HKS and HBS.

What has been the highlight of your joint degree experience thus far?

During each year of the program, students enroll in a seminar exclusive to the HKS/HBS cohort. To complement the MPP core curriculum, the Year 1 seminar is instructed by HBS Professor Shawn Cole. The course focused on public-private integration, creating shared value, and the role of the private sector in solving public problems. Coming from a military background with minimal private sector exposure, I learned a ton! It also made me more optimistic about how cooperation between public and private sector leaders can have real, tangible impact. Professor Cole’s course was certainly the highlight of the joint degree experience thus far!

Tell us about the Joint Degree Leadership Council (JLDC) and the HKS/HBS joint degree community.

It is impossible to overstate the sense of community among joint degree students. Although we’re fortunate to have a home at both HKS and HBS, the only folks we truly spend all three years alongside are our joint degree classmates. Furthermore, this sense of community extends to all three years of enrolled students. We kick off each year with a cross-class retreat, so all 60+ joint degree students really get to know each other. As I graduate next year, I’m certain that my fellow “Jointees” and I will remain lifelong friends. 

What is your advice for prospective students who are considering the joint degree program?

Are you questioning whether the HKS/HBS joint degree program is the right fit? So was I! But here’s my hot take: At the most fundamental level, this program teaches you “how the world works.” By spending three years deeply exploring both the public and private sectors, you’ll gain a unique agility to operate across sectors. It’s an incredibly holistic education that adds value to nearly any career path. Your combined experiences at both HKS and HBS, coupled with their unique cultures and alumni networks, will make you better prepared to have real impact on the world.

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