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SA Housing Authority Senior shares career journey and study advice: Q&A with Michael Guy

Posted 22nd September 2021

Michael Guy was awarded the Downer-Rann Scholarship to pursue his Master of Science in Public Policy and Management (MSPPM) in 2016. He also holds a Master of Urban and Environmental Planning degree from Griffith University in Queensland.

Michael graduated from Carnegie Mellon University Australia (CMU-A) in 2020 and has since moved on to the SA Housing Authority, where he is a Senior Planner within the Affordable Housing Team. “Strategic planning and policy skills developed at CMU have been highly relevant to my Senior Planner role, where I am required to develop strategies to address critical housing affordability issues in South Australia,” he says.


"Strategic planning and policy skills developed at CMU have been highly relevant to my Senior Planner role, where I am required to develop strategies to address critical housing affordability issues in South Australia."

Photo: Michael Guy (right) with Ben Olijnyk, Deputy Head of CMU-A

How did your CMU-A degree help you with your career goals? 

My Public Policy Masters degree armed me with a range of new skills that are very relevant to both management and public policy roles within government. This allowed me to move into a new role with the SA Housing Authority that combines urban planning, strategy and policy. It's certainly broadened my horizons within government and given me a fresh perspective.


Why did you choose the Master of Science in Public Policy Management?

I was potentially looking to do an MBA at the time but there were a lot of subjects in the MBA that didn’t interest me.  I found Carnegie Mellon's MSPPM program had all the best subjects from an MBA (eg. economics, strategic planning, project management, scenario planning, finance) as well as some relevant to my government job at the time (policy analysis, data analysis, statistics, strategic presentation skills). 


"I found Carnegie Mellon's MSPPM program had all the best subjects from an MBA."


Why Carnegie Mellon University Australia?

I wanted to develop my career and diversify my qualifications beyond urban and environmental planning. I considered other universities in SA but after sitting in on one of the public policy lectures at CMU-A, I was attracted to the interactive discussions, complex subject matter and intimate class sizes that CMU offered. I also did some Googling before choosing on CMU and gained an appreciation for how highly regarded they are globally. 

How have you found your time studying with CMU-A? 

I really enjoyed it. I think the small class sizes and being on a first name basis with the teachers is a real advantage as if there are any concepts you don’t understand you can give them a call or drop in and they will make the time to explain things to you. I found this particularly handy when completing some of Professor TK's notoriously complex financial management and economics classes!

The small class sizes also mean you get to know your fellow students. I hardly got to know anyone during my bachelor’s degree at one of the big Adelaide universities. However, at CMU I met some fascinating people from Adelaide and around the world, made lasting friendships and even keep in touch with some of the professors. 


"At CMU I met some fascinating people from Adelaide and around the world, made lasting friendships and even keep in touch with some of the professors."


What’s your best memory of studying at CMU-A?

My best memories are just the convenience of being able to take a short walk to the CMU campus after finishing work and being immersed in a welcoming learning environment, covering some really challenging topics with professors who encourage healthy debate. It always felt like the door was always open at the CMU campus (and still is as an alumni). 

Getting through Professor TK's challenging finance subjects was another good memory. So much content, so little time!. 


What are the three key pieces of advice you can give students coming into CMU-A?

Be prepared to work hard. The standards are high.

For international students, make sure you branch out. Adelaide is a great city but sometimes it's not obvious where to go and what to do. The local staff and students can help!

Make sure to connect with alumni when you finish. There's not many of us from CMU-A, which makes the community more tight-knit.

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