Elizabeth Smalley

Elizabeth Smalley is a Canadian federal public servant who came to study a Master of Public Policy at the University of Auckland.

Elizabeth Smalley

“For several years now, I have worked as an environmental policy analyst with Transport Canada, our federal transportation department. I was keen to expand my policy foundation and analytical skills given I didn’t start out my government career as a policy analyst. I wanted to gain the confidence to feel like I could take on any policy challenge beyond the transportation issues I was comfortable with. The chance to study in one of the most beautiful countries in the world was also an added bonus!

“From my work experience to date with the Canadian government, some of the most sought-after skills for policy analysts include the ability to think critically, apply research and analytical techniques, work well with others, and produce concise written and verbal briefings. I believe that the MPP program has helped me to round out my own set of policy skills in these areas and has additionally provided me with a deeper practical understanding of how to be a more effective and efficient analyst.

“This degree will support my future career advancement, but more importantly it has provided me with the necessary skills to be an effective analyst in any government department.

“In my dissertation, I have explored how online and social media civic engagement influence the policy process and in particular the role of the modern policy analyst.

“What has surprised me the most is that I arrived with the intent of focusing on environmental courses, but have found myself drawn increasingly to politics and international relations papers, which I have really enjoyed.

“I chose to study at the University of Auckland because I had been wanting to come back to New Zealand for some time, and the University has a great international reputation. I was particularly drawn by the 3 semester MPP program option and the flexibility to structure my courses around my areas of interest.

“I have really enjoyed my studies within the Faculty of Arts. I appreciate the opportunity to tailor my elective courses to my interests, built around a core set of practical policy courses. The professors are engaging and knowledgeable, and the cultural diversity amongst the students really enhances the quality and depth of our class discussions.

“My advice to other potential students would be that the University has many resources to help students with their transition into the postgraduate environment. I took advantage of the many courses offered through Library and Learning Services, and gained many tips to help me improve my academic skills and navigate my way around the University.

“The Arts Grad Lab is also a great place for graduate students to work – plenty of computers, meeting rooms, lockers and a kitchen. I only found out about it in my second semester and it has been a wonderful resource, in addition to being a great place to meet new friends!”

Find out more about studying Public Policy