Applying to the PMF Program: Does the Type of Degree You Received Matter?

Applying to the PMF Program: Does the Type of Degree You Received Matter?
Last week, the Robertson Foundation for Government and GovLoop launched – a new website and guide designed to assist potential applicants to the prestigious Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program. The program has expanded over time, including significant changes to the eligible requirements to ensure that the broadest possible number of prospects would consider applying for the program. 
As a result of those changes, there has been an increasing number of students beyond the more traditional public administration or public affairs graduate degree programs that have successfully applied and gained Finalist status in recent years – mostly due to a shifting job market. In fact, the two graphs below illustrate this trend.
That’s good news for students who come from a variety of backgrounds as the government is seeking to hire students with expertise and education in physical and social sciences, information technology, health, security and environmental studies, to name a few. The graph below reveals the diversity of backgrounds when it comes to Finalist fields of study.
Even more good news is that a traditional public administration or public affairs graduates is still a great way to prepare for a career in government – and a stint as a PMF! In fact, college and university career directors reported in 2010 and 2011 that PMF applicants from schools of public affairs (MPA, MPP, etc.) and international affairs (MIA, MA in international relations, etc) had higher “conversion” rates from nominee to semi-finalist, and from semi-finalist to finalist, than applicants overall.  One out of four nominees (26%) from these programs were selected for the semi-finalist in-person assessment, compared to 21% of all applicants. The difference for selection as a finalist was even larger with 72% of semi-finalists from MPA/MPP/MIA schools being named finalists, compared to 56% overall.
What’s the bottom line?
Regardless of your degree, you should apply for the program!
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  • Jake

    Are PhD’s more competitive than MPA/MPP/MIA? What percentage of finalists have a doctorate?

  • Cyndera

    I received my first Master’s in Germany, and back then we did not have the BA/MA system but went straight for the graduate degree (it actually has the Latin name Magistra Artium). That means I don’t have an undergraduate degree. Does anyone face the same situation? It just looks a little weird on my resume I guess. Thanks!

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      Hi Cyndera – If you fear that it would raise a red flag or seem incomplete, then please be sure to include a line that explains it for the reviewer.

      • Cyndera

        Hi again,
        Ok, thanks 😀