leonardjessica_124x170100x137In this blog post, Jessica Leonard shares her thoughts on the strengths of the Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) programme, a two-year programme specially designed for working professionals and reflects on her first year as the EMPA Programme Officer. 

I officially joined the EMPA programme in December 2015, three days before the start of the new intake! I immediately noticed the high calibre of the students and the rarity of having such a diverse group of talented, driven people in one room with the same goal – to make the world a better place.

It is this shared goal which forms the crux of the EMPA. The programme equips all of its students with the skills and knowledge to make a noticeable impact on the policy making of today. The curriculum is shaped around eight weeklong courses taught in economics, policy evaluation and political science. These are all taught by leading academics and expert practitioners. Some examples of the courses include:

  • Empirical Methods
  • Global Market Economics
  • Political Science and Public Policy.

In addition, the EMPA also has three Policy in Practice weekends. These workshops focus on specific policy areas and involve cases studies, group work and presentations by expert practitioners in those areas. For example, recent Policy in Practice weekends included topics such as:

  • improving performance in public services delivery through incentives
  • international migration and integration policies
  • how to respond to global terrorism.

We also have seminars/lectures with distinguished speakers including:

  • Joaquín Almunia, former European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs
  • Paul Kirby, former Head of the Number 10 Policy Unit and current Non-Executive Director at the Cabinet Office
  • Guillaume Leigey, previously the National Field Director of François Hollande’s voter mobilization programme.

Student demographics:

The EMPA is a challenging programme which is well met by our students who represent a diverse range of nationalities and professional backgrounds. Our current cohorts of students come from
18 different countries across six continents, from South America to Australia. While the teaching Faculty provide an expert education, much of the learning in the EMPA is also conducted through drawing on the wealth of experience in the classroom. EMPA students come from many different backgrounds, including:

  • professional and financial services
  • think tanks
  • consulting
  • government organizations
  • NGO’s and charities.

This mix of talent and experience allows for innovative and dynamic peer collaboration.

The EMPA also provides many opportunities outside of the classroom to encourage networking and integration with your fellow classmates including social gatherings, careers events and the LSE Public Lecture series. We recently celebrated the EMPA class of 2016 with a special dinner at the House of Commons before their graduation ceremony here on campus!

The students are the most important part of the programme, as it is through them that the vision and purpose of the EMPA is brought to life. As recent current affairs have shown, the world needs expert policy makers more than ever. I, along with the rest of the programme team, am always excited to see what our graduating students will go on to achieve, and to meet the new students who will join us in December. If it sounds like the EMPA is the right program for you, take a look at the EMPA website or send an email to execmpa@lse.ac.uk 


Jessica Leonard is the Executive MPA/MPP Programmes Officer. She has previously worked internationally for Arcadia University and the University of Alberta in areas including student services, admissions, programme management, and study abroad. Jessica holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of St Andrews, and a Master of Philosophy from Trinity College, Dublin.