"Brown’s MPA program challenged students to write concise policy memos which have been of tremendous value when colleagues or clients ask for a quick turnaround on a complicated problem."
Natalia Brusco, MPA '22 shares her experience in the Brown MPA program and how it contributed to success in her career as an Analyst for Pallas Advisors.
Hometown: Castro Valley, California
Tell us about your job?
Pallas Advisors is a strategic advisory firm specializing in national security, defense and innovation. We work alongside technology and space clients in the private sector to help them develop a plan to secure opportunities in new markets and capture business in the national security space. As an Analyst at Pallas Advisors, my role is to help develop campaign plans with clients to assist in business development and build brand awareness through strategic communications.
What skills from the MPA program do you use in your work?
I learned many indispensable skills from the MPA program that helped me successfully navigate my job at Pallas Advisors. The course “Policy Analysis and Problem Solving” taught me how to deduce essential problems from complex situations and strategize feasible solutions. Brown’s MPA program challenged students to write concise policy memos which have been of tremendous value when colleagues or clients ask for a quick turnaround on a complicated problem. Also, learning how the federal government operates and the steps that are required to implement change has been extremely helpful in understanding the atmospherics within my sector.
Where did you fulfill your MPA consultancy and how did the consultancy experience prepare you for the work you are doing now?
I completed my MPA consultancy with Greenmantle, a macroeconomic and geopolitical advisory firm. Our group was tasked with identifying country-specific variables that could predict future GDP growth for several countries in addition to explaining the relevant macroeconomic trends and their implications. GDP forecasting is essential to federal budgeting and economic planning as these models affect every aspect of society (i.e. infrastructure, education, etc.). We analyzed macroeconomic themes, different countries’ politics, and applicable laws in order to create a comprehensive picture of various economies and prospects for investors. I continue this same line of effort at Pallas Advisors as staying up to date on relevant politics, current economics, and new policies is vital for any work that deals with connecting the bridge between the private and public sectors.
What has been the most impactful project you’ve worked on so far at your job?
One of the most impactful experiences I have had thus far at Pallas Advisors was meeting the Commanding General of Fort Campbell and the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), General Joseph McGee.
He informed the Pallas team about the mission of the 101st and shared the lessons in leadership he gained. He explained what it means to be part of something bigger than just yourself. Overall, this experience at Fort Campbell greatly expanded my personal knowledge of the military and the national security ecosystem. I was able to share my perspective on navigating policy-making realms in Washington DC, which I have been researching throughout my time at Pallas Advisors. Pallas’ ability to help emerging technologies reach the hands of warfighters showed me our impact in national security. This experience gave me the privilege to leave Fort Campbell equipped with the necessary knowledge and tools to become a more effective professional in the national security space.
What was a highlight of your experience at Brown?
Other than creating lifelong relationships with the students in my cohort and learning from some of the best professors, one of Brown’s foundational courses became the highlight of my experience. The course was “Management and Implementation in Public and Non-Profit Organizations” and my section was taught by Professor Bill Allen. Within this class, we were assigned a semester-long project to create a Task Force Report on an issue of our choosing. My group tackled the inequity of education funding in Cook County, Illinois. By taking into consideration a variety of factors from analyzing the stakeholders involved to utilizing evidence collected about the problem, we learned how to develop, implement and sustain change. We spent all semester examining the issue’s roots and implications, identifying relevant state policies, analyzing stakeholders, and developing a set of manageable and well-supported recommendations. The highlight wasn’t creating the Task Force Report, but was working with my team who was dedicated and committed to figuring out the most practical and reasonable solutions to the problem. Each of my group members brought something different to the table whether it was creating GIS maps learned from an earlier elective or their in-depth research skills. It was motivating to work alongside other students as passionate and driven as me to find the solution.
What advice would you give young professionals entering the MPA program?
Everyone comes into the MPA program with a general idea of what they want to do and what policies they want to help change. Know that there is not one right path following your MPA to achieve these changes. You can make them in the private or public sector, working for a small consulting firm, an international organization, or working directly in the government - you can make policy changes anywhere. This being said, embrace your passions and the right path for you will follow.