Hear from our recent grads!

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Title: Hear from our recent grads!
Date: November 14, 2017
Panelist: Antonio Caban and Max Moll
Subject: In this webinar, Antonio and Max, two alumni from GW’s Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM) Master’s in Political Management online program share with you insights about the impact our program has had on their careers as Producer of WGBH and Press Secretary in the Executive Division of the Office of the Houston City Controller, respectively.


Antonio and Max Webinar
[Start of recorded material 00:00:00]
Interviewer: Hi everyone and welcome to the George Washington University’s Graduate Spotlight Webinar. And thank you for taking the time to join us today. We have Antonio Caban and Max Mole, two alumni from GW’s graduate school, political management, GSPM Master’s in political management online program.
They are here to share with you their experience going through the program, how they applied what they learned and also share any – answer any questions you may have about the program itself. Before I introduce you to our guests, let’s go over to today’s logistics and agenda.
So we’ll spend some time hearing from Antonio and Max. And we’ll talk briefly about the program and leave room for Q&A. So be sure to forward your questions to me via the Q&A window at any time. So two activate the Q&A window you see on the bottom menu there, Q&A, just make sure it’s lit blue and you’ll be able to forward any questions you have and I’ll be monitoring that throughout the presentation.
So this webinar is scheduled for 45 minutes. And if we’re not able to get all of your questions we’ll be happy to follow up with you. Now, I’d like to introduce you to our first guest, Antonio Caban. Antonio is a recent graduate of GW GSPM and was an online distance learning student studying political management from Boston Massachusetts.
He currently is a producer at WGBH News in Boston and former multimedia political reporter. He served in both of these positions while attending GW. He’s a native of New York who also holds a degree in journalism and broadcast communications.
Our next guest is Max Moll. Max currently serves as the press secretary in the executive division of the Office of the Houston City Controller, Chris B. Brown. In this capacity, Max is responsible for leading the offices internal and external communication strategy and execution as well as the office overall media strategy and outreach.
Prior to joining the controller’s office, Max was the chief of staff for the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce where he helped lead the organization in its work representing the regional Hispanic business community. During his time at the chamber, he was responsible for developing and executing communication campaigns serving as a liaison between municipalities and governments on behalf of the chamber.
On behalf of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce max served as communications director and senior consultant at a Houston based public affairs and strategy communications firm. Max received his bachelors of arts in mass communication from Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University.
And he also holds a master’s degree in political management from the George Washington University in Washington D.C. Welcome Antonio and Max. So Antonio, let’s start with you. I know we have, you know, a really great agenda today. And welcome to our audience once again. Antonio, can you tell us, I mean you have a very interesting background being in the media. Can you tell us how you got started in that?
Antonio: Yeah, sure. First, I want to think Kira for facilitating this conversation and allow me to share some of my experience and thank you all for joining as well. I got my start as – I actually didn’t know I wanted to get into producing. I really wanted to be a movie director to start out. But I figured my best way to get into the media was through journalism.
So I decided to do an internship. I worked at CNN for about four or five months of Kendal Brown. And I was basically embedded with their producing team. My love for producing kind of took off from there. I worked at a small affiliate in Albany New York, ABC affiliate as an associate producer. And then moved up into actually producing role in a show – working on the “Morning Show,” shortly after that.
And then decided to come to Boston to advance my skills. But my true love has always been politics and covering politics. So I ended up – I was there for about two years at 7 News here in Boston and then moved to the State House New Service, which is a local wire service that covers just strictly the Massachusetts state health, the governor, politics, and policy discourse.
And that was a great way for me to kind of get into – actually, it was a great way to kind of get my feet wet in politics itself and how it works on the policy side. I find it to be – sorry.
Interviewer: Oh, no – [unintelligible 00:05:57].
Antonio: An exhilarating experience and then I moved on and decided to come back to producing at WGBH.
Interviewer: Okay. So how did you get started? I mean you’re obviously passionate about politics. What prompted you to pursue that path?
Antonio: You know, it was something that I figured out late in my undergraduate career. I didn’t realize that everything that my dad has been interested in, and my mother has been interested in for a better part of their lives would then eventually become my great interest. And it kind of kicked in a little late for me.
But I always wanted to learn politics just beyond the theory and the political science which is why George Washing University was perfect because they not only taught you the politics, but they also had – they also gave you this applied learned, which I found is the best way learning for me.
So you were actually not just learning it, but you were also doing it. And producing work and kind of a better understanding in that respect.
Interviewer: And Max, we’ll go over to you. Like how did get started on your career path? Let’s go back to the very beginning of your political career.
Max: Sure, yeah. I’d like to echo what Antonio said. Thanks for having me, Kira. Thanks for setting all this up. I got started in undergrad. I entered undergrad as a business major mostly because that’s just what all my friends were doing. I didn’t really know what I wanted to study. But I got wrapped up into the 2007 primary presidential election, 2008 presidential election. And that kind of took me – started me on this path, at least.
I changed my major in school to mass communication focusing on political communication. I’ve always been a decent communicator and writer so that I figured was most in line with what I was going to be able to do for my – rest of my career. But from there I interned on a U.S. Senate campaign in Louisiana as well as for a comptroller race in New Orleans.
And then I came back on the – I’m originally from Santiago, Chile, but I grew up in Houston. And I came back to Houston. I got linked up with a political consulting firm which is actually where I started entertaining the idea of entering program. But there, I kind of honed all my skills that I had been, at least trying to get my hands around, ran campaigns. Did some lobbying, some issue advocacy.
And then when I started the program I had transitioned over to those Hispanic chambers, so I got to see a bit of a different perspective, but much of the same work. And then that eventually took me to where I am today in the city controller’s office, the city controller is the second highest elected official in the City of Houston. Essentially, he or she is, essentially, a CFO of the city.
And so now I’m responsible for all the things you mentioned earlier. So really, it was just my – my parents were always politically inclined, but they were never very vocal about it. It was, honestly, it was just the media and just the spectacle of, you know, a presidential race, particularly a historic one like the race in 2008 that kind of started where – or started my career to where I guess I am today.
Interviewer: Right. And I see that you had your degree, your bachelor’s degree in mass communication. So what was the kind of like the logic behind having that background in communication and then going back to pursue your master’s in political management. What was the thought process and your research like?
Max: Sure. I mean, for me, my – as I mentioned, I was always a better writer than I was with numbers, but I’ve always been – I was always kind of inclined to advertising and just the way messages are delivered to people. So that’s what – when I made that decision to switch my major as an undergrad, that’s what led me to that. And then the political communication focus was based on just kind of my access to what was going on around me.
But the decision to pursue my master’s from George Washington, actually I was tossing around the idea between this program, getting my master’s in political management, or getting an MBA. But I realized that, you know, my love is in in politics and I wanted to be very specialized in something rather than kind of be a generalist in several areas.
So the way that the program was positioned, to me at least, is that – and I would certainly agree is that it’s the MBA for political professionals, I think Antonio said it right. It’s not just a theoretical – I learned a lot about political theory in undergrad, but this was more about the practical use of that theory and certainly, I’ve used it in every step of my career up to this point.
My career is a little different than Antonio’s path, but a little more in the trenches on the political side, but it is really – I’ve been able to take what I learned – and this is cliché, but it’s true. What I learned in the classroom that day and really apply it to what I was doing at work.
Interviewer: That’s really great. And we’ll definitely dive deeper into your thought about, you know, the impact of the program curriculum on your career. Now I also want to ask Antonio, you know, how – similar question – how your logic was formed from your bachelor’s your career path and what led you to pursue GW’s political management program?
Antonio: Well, the answer actually came from a professor of mine who said, “You know, I noticed that you’re writing more papers that are politically orientated. You’re writing for the newspaper and you’re writing about politics.” And she asked me if I ever had thought about going to GW, if I wanted to pursue my passion for politics and continue on. And that’s kind of what got me into – or got me very interested in kind of looking into the graduate political management program.
But what really attracted me to the school and the program itself was more about making me a better journalist in the long run. Kind of getting a better understanding of what the other side and how it operates. I do think that we do – that, obviously, operates in silos. But it’s kind of neat to get a different perspective of how the process works.
And I thought that was kind of insightful. I thought that that would be really great coupled with my background in communications and broadcast communications in journalism because it would give me a better insight when, you know, we’re waiting outside of a room waiting for committee members to come out or when we’re talking to law makers about what questions to ask, what better questions to ask to better inform the public.
Specifically, especially with this program, there was a section on polling that I found the most interesting because we really dived deep into understanding the statistics behind it. And I thought that gave me a better idea how to anticipate a campaigns next move in looking at the cross-tabs and looking at the other data that they are also investing as well in how they’re going to make their next move out in the campaign.
Interviewer: That’s great, Antonio. And then for, Max, I mean it’s a really comprehensive curriculum that the program is designed, you know, tends on the practical, but where there courses that you can recount that – you know, you mentioned earlier you can pretty much learn and apply what you learned that very day. So do you have like specific references to the program curriculum itself that has had this impact on you?
Max: So there are multiple – multiple examples I could share. I think for me, and I may be jumping ahead a bit, but I did the – in the program you get to choose between finishing it out with a residency or completing a final project. The final project I actually did was building out a more comprehensive advocacy infrastructure for the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which at the time was my employer.
So not only was I able to, you know, put together a final project that would kind of cap off my experience at George Washington, it was also – and actually it was – so I introduced to my boss, the present CEO of the organization and many of the tenets that were outlined in that project were implemented by the Chamber, even though I’m not there anymore.
So I think, for me, that was kind of the most specific and impactful kind of direct correlation between what I was doing professionally and what I was doing academically. And I mean, for me, it was really important that I continue to work while I pursued a graduate degree in George Washington was just the best I could have done, I think, with the options I had.
Interviewer: Right. Okay, thank you so much, Max. And going back to you, Antonio. So obviously, you were also working fulltime while pursuing this degree.
Antonio: Mm-hmm. Yeah, yeah. Actually I was –
Interviewer: And how did you –
Antonio: – working at the State House News Service and WGBH while doing it, yeah.
Interviewer: Oh yes, that’s right, from your bio. That’s incredible. So how was the juggling of it all for both you? I guess Antonio, you can start.
Antonio: It was rigorous. I mean it was, obviously, I’m not going to – I won’t sugar-coat it. It’s difficult. You have your professional life and your personal life and then you add in, you know, all this coursework and things need to be due by Sunday. And, you know, you’re also doing additional reading on top of that.
It is definitely a life changing experience, but one that I would definitely not trade because I was able to learn so much in two years. I did the program in two years. And I really think that it was to my benefit, even though there were many sleepless nights in getting things done. But I thought in, you know, if you’re going to do this and you’re going to take on this course, I would definitely say create a work life balance system that works best for you.
Me was, you know, coming home and working on it from 7:00 to whatever – 10:00 at night and then trying to work around it on the weekends. But it’s doable. And especially if you love what you’re doing, then I would say then you would – you’ll find it a little easier than most.
Interviewer: Right. How about you, Max? How is your experience like?
Max: No, I think Antonio, you hit on the head. I mean for me it was – certainly, it’s a rigorous – it’s rigorous just juggling, you know, like Antonio said, personal life, work, which my work hours, which I imagine Antonio’s are not dissimilar, tend to vary from all hours of the day.
Antonio: Mm-hmm.
Max: But then adding on top of that the academic load was certainly – there was an adjustment period to be sure, but I think for me it was, you know. My intent when I was pursing this degree was certainly to gain a professional credential, but it was also something I always wanted to do and it was, you know, I’m the first one of my family and all that great stuff to do it.
But it also just kind of showed me that, you know, I can handle more than I thought I probably thought I could. That said, I think certainly the professors I had, and I’m sure Antonio would say the same, were more than accommodating. They were very communicative, even though it’s a distance learning program.
And were very flexible to say, “You know, hey, I’ve been, you know, I have this crazy schedule this week.” If I would just give them a heads-up early on they would, you know, help kind of look at what the due dates look like and if there was anything they could work on me – work with me on in terms of being flexible. In that sense, they were always more than accommodating.
So it’s like Antonio said, definitely doable, but it’s certainly demanding. And the last thing I kind of want to add is that – to that is that this program, because I think of the distant learning dynamic is that once you put in – and this is, again, cliché, but what you put into in, more so than any other academic experience I’ve had is really what you’ll get out of it.
So, you know, I imagine that if you put in, you know, just the minimum work, you’ll get out of the minimum experience. But if you really kind of dive into it, it pays back ten-fold. I mean I think certainly on the – I’m a happy example of that.
Interviewer: Right. So Max, like GW, we take pride in the fact that we are four – we’re located four blocks away from the White House, you know, like in the centre of all the action. So how do you find this impact in terms of the faculty that’s represented in the program? Can you speak to that?
Max: Yeah, I mean it was just cool to be able to learn from folks who have been, you know, who have been around it and who have, you know, held positions in the White House and in the Justice Department and, you know, and these public affairs firms. So the exposure to that is – was something that, honestly, drew me to the program.
Obviously, being, you know, being this political kind of arena, a school in D.C. made sense for me to pursue my graduate degree from, even though it was distance because, you know, I was able to establish contacts up there that I wouldn’t have otherwise. You know, and I have actually continued on my relationships with some professors professionally just outside of the program because, you know, there were a couple that I had who were Houston based and we’ve, you know, kept in contact.
And so I – the faculty was great, again. And to have kind of them share their knowledge from the highest levels of the industry that I’m in, you know, was invaluable.
Interviewer: Antonio, would you like to add to that?
Antonio: Yeah, I think the – I want to echo Max, really, on all those points, that one of the – and the other thing that was really great – and I think he touched – Max, you talked around it earlier, was that, you know, our professors were not only experienced in the field, but they were also really responsive too.
I never had situation where I would send a question to a professor about an assignment or just even a topical question on what they thought about what was going on in the news just to get some of their insight and they were very, very responsive. And, you know, it was almost like being in the classroom even though you were – I was, you know, here in Boston. And I’m sure Max felt the same.
Max: That’s it – yeah, 100%.
Interviewer: Right, Max. And, you know, you mentioned that you were looking at the MBA for grad school and you decided that it was going to political management. Obviously, you know there’s quite a number of different avenues that our students can look at – perspective students can look at just because, you know, you come from a eclectic background, even though you do have a passion in politics. So certainly, there’s like public administration and there’s, you know, other similar programs out there, political science.
So this question is for, I guess, Antonio and Max. We’ll start with Antonio. What was your logic for GW and for this program?
Antonio: I touched on it a little bit before but, you know, it was that learning style that I had – that I really, really enjoyed. And when I was doing the research for it, is that the hands-on portion of it, being able to write and do and produce plans and, you know, kind of get a better idea of how to build these things for a campaign is really interesting to me.
You know, I’m not quite sure what the next step is in my career path, but I think just going on to the Graduate School of Political Management has given me a foundation to – if I want to move into the political realm I now have work that I can say, “You know, hey, here. I did this. I have done a campaign plan. I know how to write budgets. I know how to do communications plans.”
And my media background, I understand how rating systems work. So kind of marrying those two I felt would create, in the end, just a powerful resumé.
Interviewer: Right. Max, would you like to continue with Antonio’s thought as well?
Max: Sure, I mean I mentioned it earlier, but for me it was I did toss the MBA idea around. But again, for me, being on the path that I’m on, being specialized in something seemed more marketable for future employers. So me getting an MBA would have me a little more kind of generalist and just the path that I saw for myself as well. Maybe I should, you know, be closer to subject matter expert in this field and I think that that makes me more marketable.
So, you know, and again, I think the MBA for the political profession is exactly right. That’s what I view this as. And Antonio touched on it, but it gave me kind of the tools to not just, you know, run campaigns, create communications plans, but also to read organizations. I mean, you know, the reality is a political campaign is an organization – is a start-up that, you know, is put up really quickly and ends very quickly.
So being able to kind of to have that tool set is certainly something I take away from that. And I think it’s certainly applicable not just to politics, but to just managing people and organizations as a whole.
Interviewer: Yeah. I’m very interested in hearing, you know, the impact the program has had, or even just memorable stories within your career that you could maybe share with our audience. And we’ll start with Max.
Max: Sure, okay. So the impact that the program and the degree has had for me is, again, it’s kind of just giving me – I view it, you know, and I think you have to have your expectations be, you know, you have to realistic expectations of what you’re going to get out of the program what you’re willing to put into it. But for me, it certainly has – it helped me get the job I have now and I think it also helped me command a higher salary at the position I have now simply because, you know, again, I have a specialized degree in something that’s applicable to what I’m doing.
For the program, I mean again, I think the thing I’ll take away from it when I think about it today is that, you know, yes, I got a great – I feel as though I got a great education because, you know, I put in the work to get out of what I was seeking. But also, I mean just the relationships I built, I think, were – and I didn’t even do the residency.
So, you know, the relationships I built with my classmates who, again, I’m still, you know, in contact with several of them. I think not only hopes me just as like as, you know, as a political professional for a broader network, but also just it’s nice to have, you know, conversations that have nothing to do with the program, with new friends. So yeah, I think that’s my answer.
Interviewer: Right. How about you, Antonio?
Antonio: Well, I actually I had the opportunity to do both, the global advocacy residency, where we went to London and I also did a Washing residency where we went to Washington D.C., obviously, and we got to meet in those places with, you know, movers and shakers, the decision makers and news makers of – in both of those cities and I thought that was unbelievable experience. I would say to this day that is my take-away and probably will be.
I was able to – going back to, you know, what I said before being able to apply the learning, these were great examples of being able to apply what I’ve learned up into that point of the program. We went to D.C. and we went to London with about 15 classmates and we got to learn how politics was working, how do you advocate there, how journalism works, how lawmakers interact with each other and how PR firms, and how all that interconnects.
And I thought that that was just such a powerful experience for me into getting a better understanding into possibly what I might want to do in my career next. And what was great was about it – and Max touched on this too, was the relationships that I was able to build. You know, I was telling Kira earlier that we – I still have a text chain with all the people that I was – that I graduated with in my program that were people that I didn’t even know that were online.
And then once we were there in D.C. for the Washington residency it was like we’ve known each other for two years – and it was great. And the other aspect of that that was awesome was, you know, especially in these partisan times, it was really great to meet and talk and talk, you know, amicably and debate issues of politics with people from all across the country. And I think that that perspective was really eye-opening.
Interviewer: So it sounds like you both really enjoyed the online platform, right? Just because – but were there aspects of the online environment that surprised you? Let’s start with you, Antonio.
Antonio: Yeah, you know what? What just surprised me was – I actually was with many of the same people every single class that I took. So we kind of went – I went through the journey through – with these people together. And we always start with an intro. So we got to learn about people’s backgrounds. And I think one of the great things was, you know, I was in Boston, but I could talk to my classmate in North Carolina whenever. And we were able to discuss certain issues. We were able to discuss the coursework.
I think was a little bit surprised at how interactive it really was. I thought it was going to be more of a, “Here’s what you got to learn this week. Do your discussion board.” But it became much more than that. I think that’s what really what’s kind of surprised me.
Interviewer: And you, how was it for you, Max?
Max: I’ll probably just echo what Antonio said. But I – candidly, for me, I was – as I was looking at programs, I mean I just had never really experienced an online learning dynamic. It just never had been something I had experienced in my academic career. And so I, candidly, I was a little skeptical about it just because I didn’t think I would – the interactivity is so important to learning, at least for me, that I was a little worried that maybe I wouldn’t get out of it what I was looking.
But, you know, I’m happy to say that that’s – it couldn’t be further from the truth. I think, for me, it was remaining as engaged as I could with my classmates, with my professors, with the material. And that was really – is really what informed kind of how I feel about this program today. I recommend it to anybody who’s even considering it. And online learning, in general, I would recommend to anybody.
But again, I think it’s a situation where you – particularly because it’s distance, you get out of it what you’re willing to put in. So if you’re willing to put in as much as you would in a classroom environment, then I think you’ll get out of it as much as you will. So for me, it was – I started a little – not pessimistic. I started a little wary of the platform, but by the time I was done it was, you know, I’m an advocate now. So I think that says – speaks to the power of the platform.
Interviewer: That’s great. Do you recall what – because I know we have, you know, three clusters within the program. There’s electoral politics, there’s advocacy politics, and applied proficiencies. Max, do you remember which one you specialized in?
Antonio: I believe I specialized in advocacy. That’s just what I’m more interested in as my career path. As the communications guy, that’s just kind of naturally makes sense. But also, you know, some day I may end up, you know, doing advocacy work for another organization. So that was what – what I thought I’d do in the future was attractive to me in terms of my specialization.
Interviewer: Right. And then how did you find just a way you formulate your thoughts and how you recall the knowledge from the program? Like how has that impacted your career? Like the before and after, you know, difference?
Max: You know what I’ll – yeah. And for me, what I’ll tell you is that I had gained practical political experience before I entered the program. And what I, you know, as in most situations, there’s not like a training manual as to how you do things professionally. So a lot of what I did was based on directions.
But what this program has done has kind of – it’s hardened that foundation of knowledge for me so that I’m much quicker and more confident in this decision that I make in both, you know, a political setting and also just kind of a strategic setting. I think one thing that I was surprised that I got out of this program was kind of in honed my strategic thinking, just capabilities and I think it’s made me a better employee. It’s made me a better professional, and certainly, it’s a useful tool set to have just, you know, in everyday life.
So I think that’s a long way of saying it has made me more confident in making, you know, high stakes decisions at a pretty quick pace.
Interviewer: Right. That’s really great, Max. And for you, Antonio, do you recall what cluster you followed? I know you graduated this year, so congrats to both of you. It’s still fresh in your mind.
Antonio: Yeah, thank you. Yeah, congrats to you as well, Max. I went with political management. I felt like it – I felt like political management kind of encompassed every aspect of each individual course concentrations that you can do. And I just kind of wanted to learn – that’s my personality. I like to learn a little bit about everything. And I felt like political management was the best way to do that.
And I do want to echo Max again on the strategic thinking part. You know, as a reporter, that’s extremely important. I felt that that’s something that changed, definitely, before and after because it gave me a better understanding, like I said before, what’s happening on the other side and what moves they might be making so then I can inform and better ask questions about what’s going on.
You know, and I spoke to about the polling earlier. You know, that talks just – polling mainly talks about the horse race and who’s up and who’s down, but being able to kind of get in there and learn a different aspect of polling was very also informative for my job. And I think it’s helped me hone in on different types of stories, different type of story idea that we can do. And yeah, so I think that that’s pretty – that sums it up.
Interviewer: Perfect, thank you so much Antonio and Max. So we’re just going to be, you know, taking your questions as well so be prepared to send them over my through the Q&A box. But doing this time, I’m going to just, you know, talk to you briefly about the program itself. So as you know, with this program it’s going to be completely online, just as Max and Antonio has mentioned. They were both working. In Antonio’s case he was working, you know, at two different organizations and Max had a very hectic schedule as well.
And they’re both, you know, living outside of the Washington D.C. area, so the online was just the perfect platform for them to complete the program. And estimate reference that, you know, it is pretty much like the MBA of political management just because it’s so applied base. You know, they’re really amazing comprehensive course listings within our curriculum and it’s all geared for teaching you the strategies and tactics and be able to apply that into the real world.
Students do come from, you know, very eclectic backgrounds too, but it does prepare you for a great variety of career paths such as, you know, campaign managing, people working Congress, people working in lobbying, consulting, you know, communications and marketing, etc., and then also public relations.
So it’s going to be about two years to complete the program. There are going to be also the Washington residency which Antonio participated in. It’s something that we highly recommend for students to kind of wrap up the program and just consolidate all of the knowledge and be able to meet and greet with, you know, the movers and shakers within Washington itself.
And yeah, definitely, so if you are ever looking to have more information, I would encourage you to speak with our enrollment advisors. We’re currently accepting applications for the spring start date which is January 15th, start date. And in terms of the application package itself, you’re going to have the resume, there’s also the application fee, statement of purpose, also recommendations, and of course, the official transcripts from your alma mater. But our very friendly and instructive enrollment advisors will be happy to work with you on that.
And so we have here questions coming in from our audience and I’m just going to take a look here. So give me one moment while I just take a look at this question. The question from our audience is, “Do you think the master’s degree can help navigate politics internationally? And of course, you know, courses here are focused on American politics, but do you think this relevant for someone who has some international political background?” I guess we can pass this on to Max first and see if Antonio wants to add in.
Max: Absolutely. I mean again, I think it, you know, that it’s kind of the foundation of this program is about strategic thinking, how to be a better communicator, how to be a better manager. And I think that’s applicable no matter what country, continent, career path, or you know, profession you’ve chosen, I think all those skills are applicable.
Now the political dynamics are, obviously, a little different here than in say, you know, Chile, where I’m from, but certainly, it’s a foundation for you, for anybody who’s interested in international politics to be able to just have a foundation of knowledge to build on.
Interviewer: Thank you Max. Antonio, would you like to add?
Antonio: I think Max kind of hit it – the nail on the head there. I would say – and I hope I’m answering the question correctly. When I was over in London, actually many of the advocates and many of the political, you know, PR folk were saying that a background in American politics is extremely valuable to them and to the, you know, if you were looking to work overseas, having a background just in American politics is really valuable.
People overseas are very interested in our politics. They’re very interested in how it works. And if you have already a background in international politics and American politics, you’re only going to be an even better candidate.
Interviewer: Perfect, thank you so much, Antonio. And our next question is how is the class work setting like? Can you describe in terms of, you know, time commitments, level of interaction, things like that? We’ll start with you Antonio.
Antonio: I guess, you know, I maybe can talk it from a procedural standpoint. So I would have – Monday would be the day that we would get – well, actually, let me start from the beginning. You have all of your assignments based on weeks already set out for you. And again, you can do it at your own pace. However, the class typically goes week by week.
You have assignments where you’re going to be answering discussion questions from your professors and answering your classmates and responding to them. You’ll have papers to do, but mostly everything is due on Sunday. So again, that week time span to get everything done. And there is reading as well that’s associated with both. Either a paper that you might need to right or a project you might need to do.
Some of the courses I took had final projects and they built upon each other every week which was – I felt was kind of nice because it wasn’t, you know, rush and get and get final project done at the very last minute. It was you have the foundation that has been built over the last six weeks. Then you kind of put together in one final product. I hope that answered the question.
Interviewer: Perfectly. Thanks Antonio. So another question we have with regards to job placements while in the program with Graduate School of Political Management. And I know like we have a very extensive alumni network that students in the program can leverage from as well as access to the career centre. But maybe Max, you want to talk, you know, just being with the network within the program and if you’ve heard, you know, success stories about people that you know within the program in terms of job placement opportunities or how it’s able to help them expand their network?
Max: Sure. I mean for me it certainly expanded my network. Again, I mentioned earlier that even with some of my professors I’m still in contact with today. And, you know, for me personally, it wasn’t a direct, you know, because of George Washington I, you know, got X job. But it was because of George Washington that I had the knowledge base to get, you know, the job that I got when I finished the program.
So what I will say also is that the – all of the services of the university – and this was something else I was concerned about as a distance learning student was available to me. Anybody I called in career services – again, Antonia said it, but they were all – everybody is very responsive. They – when I was looking at moving jobs, I asked them for resources and they provided me a whole slew of resources that, quite honestly, I never got through all of them, but you know.
And they pointed me to specific contacts and organizations that I was interested in learning more about. So I mean for me, it was, you know, again, as I would expect any university of George Washington’s caliber, they were nothing but responsive and were extremely helpful. And my network has grown, you know, the political business and certainly, the media environment.
I imagine Antonio, your network is kind of where most of the things it’s happened for you professionally. So you know, just being able to bolster that group of folks who I can reach out to is absolutely an asset of the program.
Antonio: Yeah, I would say that too. And, you know, shortly after I started the program I realized that there was many more GW graduates in Boston than I ever anticipated. Actually, my boss and one of my editors is a GW graduate. So it’s kind of amazing how extensive it is too, once you realize it.
Interviewer: Excellent. So do you have, Antonio, any advice for people who might be researching this program or considering it? Like what tips for success do you have for our audience?
Antonio: I mean like with anything, I would definitely say do the research and look into it. Make sure it’s exactly for you and, you know, when you get in, get into it, there will be some days that it’s really difficult to balance everything out, but you know, in the end I found it to be very rewarding. It sounds like Max is – Max also found it to be very rewarding. I think it will be for you as well.
Just make sure that – I would say the biggest tip for doing this is to – beyond the core curriculum that they give you, there are classes that you have to do, but then there are electives beyond that. Beyond the core curriculum I would say just to tailor it to what you want to do in the workforce, eventually. What you want to do in politics or advocacy or PR.
You know, just make sure that the classes that you’re choosing will eventually match up to something that you possibly want to do out in the real world. Because again, everything that you do is applicable. You can show your future employer that you know how to put together a plan or you know how to do a budget.
So it’s only valuable to you to kind of – you have the choice. So I would say it’s valuable to you to do what you want to do. And this program wants you to do that.
Interviewer: Perfect. Thanks Antonio. And you, do you have any final thoughts for our audience?
Max: Sure, I think I’m probably going to say a lot of what Antonio said, but just be, I think, for me, it was – just be realistic about what your expectations are of the program. I mean you have to be honest with yourself if this is something you’re willing to invest your time, your resources, and your energy on. And if you are, be willing to kind of put everything – all the extra time and energy you have into it because I think that’s where it’s rewarding.
You know, and I think be honest with yourself about what it is you want to do with the degree. For me, you know, I try to approach it from a very level-headed point-of-view. I didn’t, you know. I knew that it was a professional credential that would make me more marketable to my employers and would bolster my knowledge. And I think it did all three of those in spades.
So I think if you have realistic expectations and you’re willing to, you know, put in the work, it’s – that’s how you’ll be successful in this program or any other program, but certainly in the political management program as a distant learning student.
Interviewer: That’s great advice Max and Antonio. Thank you so much. And we’re just coming up to the 45-minute mark. So I want to thank, you know, our audience for reserving the time to attend and be here with us today and to our guests. Thank you, Max, Antonio for providing insights about GW’s Master’s and Political Management Online Program. It’s great for you offer perspectives as learning with different professional background.
And I know it’s wonderful that Antonio participated in the global residency while Max completed the research. So it’s really good to have those varying perspectives so that our students can, you know, understand the differences between the two experiences. And to our attendees, I hope you have found our webinar informative and relevant. Thank you for spending your lunch hour with us and you are passionate about politics and want to prep yourself with the right knowledge and expertise to make an impact in the ever-changing political landscape.
To find out more on how you can achieve your goals, please reach out to our enrollment advisor. The number is on the screen there. And again, the spring 2018 term is now open. Thank you once again for your attendance today. We look forward to having you come back and join us for future webinars in 2018.
And to Antonio, thanks so much for your time as well as Max. And enjoy the rest of your week.
Antonio: Thank you everybody.
Max: Thanks.
Interviewer: Thanks everyone.
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