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What hard skills could an MPA student develop to make themselves more attractive to employers?

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Hey all,

I'm going to be starting my first year of my MPA program this Fall and I'd like a little bit of advice regarding what future employers will be looking for. The first semester's classes have already been chosen- general intro classes for the most part. There are a number of different specializations that you can choose from after that and I'm not too sure what to explore. These include financial management, healthcare management, community/economic development, land use etc. I have no particular calling for a specific "field" per se, but as an Americorps VISTA I found that I really enjoyed project management and systems analysis. While that provides me some direction, I feel like I could do that in almost all of the specialization fields.

I suppose I'm mostly wondering: Are there hard skills that I can acquire through the specializations that would make me a more attractive candidate for analyst or project coordinator positions in these fields? I'm worried about the fact that I don't have much work experience as well, with only a year and a half of full time experience before I applied for the program. Think that will hurt me as an applicant post graduation?

Thanks for the help!

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