Two BYU MPA Graduates Chosen for Elite Program

Two Brigham Young University MPA graduates seek to capitalize on their talents in the nation's capital after being named finalists for the Presidential Management Fellows program.

Adam Rasmussen and Stuart Tsai were identified as outstanding recent graduates interested in working in a leadership position for the federal government. The Presidential Management Fellows program provides instruction to help finalists be prepared for government leadership positions swiftly.

The process to become a Presidential Management Fellow finalist takes about nine months. Students are nominated by their school, with a preliminary review by the Presidential Management Fellows program. For those who meet the qualifications, a standardized assessment is administered regionally. This year BYU nominees traveled to Denver, Colorado, for the assessment, which consisted of three components: life experiences, critical thinking skills, and writing fundamentals.

More than 850 finalists were selected and invited to the Presidential Management Fellows job fair, held in Washington, D.C., on 30 March–1 April. With more finalists than positions available, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center was filled as representatives from organizations and agencies from all three branches of the federal government interviewed the future leaders.

A finalist becomes a Presidential Management Fellow upon accepting an offered position. The two-year paid fellowship internship includes 160 hours of classroom training, developmental assignments, and optional rotations with other departments.

"I've always been interested in working for the government," says Stuart Tsai, from Grass Valley, California, a recent JD/MPA graduate and Presidential Management Fellowship finalist. "And the Presidential Management Fellowship is a good opportunity to be introduced to various government departments."

Tsai is currently working for an immigration firm in Provo, Utah, and waiting to hear back from the six departments he interviewed with.

Graduate students from all academic disciplines are eligible for nomination, but it is an especially desirable opportunity for MPA graduates. BYU's MPA program emphasizes applying practical skills to ensure success in the workforce upon graduation.   

"The program really focuses on real-world skills, budgeting, management, and communication," says Adam Rasmussen, a JD/MPA graduate. "All of these are very important to be successful anywhere but especially within government service."

Rasmussen received an offer from the Department of Homeland Security and will begin work as a policy analyst this summer. He believes the strength of the fellowship lies in the additional training included.  

"One of the great things about the program is you aren't just being hired for a job, you are being hired into positions of management quickly, with the opportunity to become familiar with other areas of government," Rasmussen says.

Since the Presidential Management Fellows program was started in 1978, there have been fifty-four Presidential Management Fellow finalists from BYU's MPA program.

The Romney Institute of Public Management was named in 1998 for three-term Michigan governor George W. Romney. Part of Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Management, the Romney Institute offers a master's degree in public administration through both pre-service and executive programs. The Romney Institute has a long tradition of preparing young people for careers in public service and is dedicated to educating men and women of faith, character, and professional ability who will become outstanding managers and leaders in public and nonprofit institutions worldwide.

Media Contact: Cindy Glad (801) 422-4516
Writer: Sarah Tomoser