Jennifer McDonald

Jennifer McDonald

Research Analyst, Institute for Justice

MPA in Public Policy and Management, 2014

Why did you choose LSE, and why did you choose your programme of study?

I wanted to gain the skills necessary to conduct solid, evidence-based policy analysis, and there is nowhere better to do that than at the LSE. Attending the LSE gave me the opportunity to not only develop my skills, but also experience living abroad. I chose to do the MPA because I wanted a program that went farther than theory. The MPA provides hands-on opportunities to conduct meaningful analysis and experience working with real-world clients through the Capstone project.

Overall, how do you look back on your LSE experience?

Attending the LSE was the best decision I've ever made. I now have a meaningful and challenging career that I love, which was only available to me thanks to my training at the LSE. And my studies introduced me to some of the best friends I've ever known and opened me up to a rich world of international travel. My only regret is that my two years in London flew by so quickly!

Please describe your career path to date:

Prior to studying at the LSE, I worked in American politics. But the LSE gave me the opportunity to expand my skills, and now I get to do much more substantive work. In my current job at a DC-based nonprofit, I use the quantitative skills I learned at the LSE every day.

Why did you choose your current job?

My current job is the perfect marriage of conducting challenging, quantitative analysis, while also doing work that is meaningful to me. I work for a nonprofit law firm that fights for people whose rights have been violated, often when they have nowhere else to turn, and it is extremely satisfying to know that my work can be used to help real people.

Tell us about your current job:

My day-to-day job involves analyzing various data for reports that our organization publishes, as well as for quick stats that will be used in litigation and media documents. The analytic skills--particularly those using Stata--I developed at the LSE come in handy on a daily basis. Our organization is based in the Washington, DC area (Arlington, VA), so we are constantly using data to weigh in on important public

What advice do you have for LSE students who are looking to enter a similar profession to you?

I always tell people who ask me about the LSE that they should pursue as quantitative of a course as possible. Those hard skills that I learned at the LSE are the most important part of my job. The theoretical aspect to policy analysis is useful as well, but it's the quantitative skills that made me marketable to my current employer and will give prospective students the most opportunities after graduation.



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