Andrew Bryant, a student on military active duty in the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program, sees the transition from military to public service to be a natural one—despite common misconceptions.
“I think many people feel the military is an organization of mindless robots who are designed to just follow orders,” Bryant said. “In fact, the exact opposite is true. The Army teaches its leaders to think independently, ask ‘why’ and devise creative solutions to solve problems. I believe this often makes men and women who have served as leaders in the military extremely successful in other fields.”
According to Bryant, he has applied many of the skills he has acquired in the Army to his studies at Northeastern, including organizational, teamwork and communication skills.
“Those are the skills I believe have most helped me transition from the military to the MPA program,” he said. “Aside from those three, I would add that the Army teaches you to, simply put, ‘work hard’ towards your goals. You can have all the skills in the world, but you have to have the desire to learn and improve if you want to be successful in the Army and I believe the same holds true as a graduate student in the MPA program.”
In fact, his favorite project has been a policy analysis of gun violence issues in Boston.
“It was extremely interesting to study a controversial topic like gun control,” he said. “It made me put aside some of my pre-conceived notions and acknowledge realities that today’s policy makers face.”
It’s a lesson in open-mindedness that has rung true throughout Bryant’s time in the MPA program.
“The most valuable lesson I’ve learned so far is that everyone has something to bring to the table through their personal experiences and I would be wise to pay close attention to perspectives and opinions that differ from my own.”
Bryant is motivated to be in an environment in which faculty and peers show so much passion and dedication. “Having a cause is near and dear to me and is one of the reasons I am so proud to serve in the armed forces,” he said.
He has experienced this same feeling as a student at Northeastern when he took a summer internship with the New England Center for Homeless Veterans.
“Working with this organization has really opened my eyes to the world of non-profit work and the fantastic causes that so many organizations are dedicated to,” Bryant said.