We sat down with Senior Associate Dean Ranjan Daniels to ask him a few questions about the value of the Evening Master’s Program (EMP) and the new non-profit and public sector employer-funded matching program.

The first EMP program launched in winter of 2018. Since then, we’ve launched more than eight cohorts. Are there any trends you’ve noticed in the cohorts, and things that set them apart from the full-time students?

Each cohort is passionate about public policy and making an impact, especially in Chicago. The desire and drive to make an impact are present with our full-time students as well, but as someone who grew up in Hyde Park and has spent their career in Chicago, I love seeing the dedication to improving Chicago that our EMP students bring to Harris. One thing that has really impressed — but not surprised me — is the strong outcomes of our inaugural cohort. 93 percent said they were promoted or started a new job within a year of completing the EMP. One year after graduation, their salaries had increased an average of $18k.

What is the typical background of an EMP student?

EMP students join us from diverse professional backgrounds: Boeing, U.S. Department of Energy, Accenture, Chicago Public Schools, Urban Prep Academies, Gibson Carlisle, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, General Services Administration, and so many more. What we see across students and cohorts is an interest in policy and a desire to move their career forward, either by advancing in their organization or starting a new career.

Can you share a bit more about the employer-funded match for the EMP?

We deeply value the dedication to policy and the mission-driven passion students from non-profits and public sector roles bring to our cohorts. We’ve launched an employer-funded match for students in these roles who are receiving funding from their employer to return to graduate school. Often, there is a limit to the tuition reimbursement, and we’re hopeful the employer-funded match can help these students to pursue the EMP. You can read more on the FAQ page for the EMP program.

Why do you think the EMP is a good fit for students interested in working in a non-profit or public sector background?

The EMP, like our full-time degree programs, will teach you to think differently about how to solve problems and move policy solutions forward. In my experience, non-profit and public sector employees are some of the most service-oriented and dedicated professionals, but they may be under-resourced. The EMP provides you tools you can immediately leverage in the workplace, allowing you to approach common problems from a new perspective. We need policy experts in the non-profit and public sector, and the EMP will allow you to continue to pursue the career you're passionate about while completing your degree. What’s also great about the EMP is you’ll develop a network of peers outside of your current industry, and if you decide you want to make a career pivot, that network can be incredibly helpful.

Any final thoughts to share with students considering the EMP?

It’s not easy to go back to school while working full-time — I know! I made that decision while juggling career changes and family, but the support our team at Harris provides is unmatched. We’ll be there to support each step of the way, and your cohort becomes a second team. You’re all striving toward the same goal together — completing your master’s and taking the next step in your career — and you’ll do it alongside your peers with the support of our team.