Bridging Policy and Practice: Insights into Public Sector Consulting

Holland

For Batten students, the summer internship between their first and second year of the Master of Public Policy program is an opportunity to apply their classroom learning to hands-on policy work. Will Holland (MPP '24) seized this opportunity by diving into the complex world of regulatory compliance as an advisory intern with KPMG's State and Local Government team in New York City.

We sat down with Will to learn more about his experience working with public clients to navigate the landscape of rules and regulations surrounding the use of federal grant money. He shared insights into the diverse range of projects he was involved in, from expanding broadband access to disaster relief aid. 

Q: Where were you working last summer and what was your position?

A: I worked as an advisory intern in New York City with the KPMG State and Local Government Regulatory & Compliance team. The team assists public clients navigate the regulatory landscape to ensure they’re spending federal grant money in compliance with rules implemented at local, state, and federal levels of government. We also help clients build out their own compliance processes so they’re prepared to process and use public resources in the future.

Q: What drew your interest in consulting?

A: I became interested in public consulting because the industry gives you the ability to work with such a diverse range of clients and problem-solve interesting government challenges. Projects may range from partnering with New York City to help them create a broadband access plan on one project, and the next may be working with Florida to monitor FEMA disaster relief aid.

Will Holland 2

Q: What type of work were you doing over the summer?

A: I helped with a lot of different tasks, including building out PowerPoints for project status meetings with clients and analyzing recent policies and legislation at the state and local levels to explore potential business opportunities for the team. I also enjoyed doing the day-to-day regulatory compliance monitoring, in which we would review different government programs and agencies and ensure they were following rules.

Q: Any highlights from your time with KPMG?

A: I was placed on a team that was helping a state’s department of education review how different school districts spent COVID-19 relief resources. We really dove into the specifics of the district’s spending plans and even specific transactions, and eventually channeled our findings into a series of recommendations for the districts’ financial departments. It was really cool to see how our daily work could really help a client improve their operations and better position themselves to receive federal support in the future.

Q: What skills and lessons from your time in Batten helped you be successful in your position?

A: Batten helped prepare me for my role by providing me the analytical skills to identify a problem and generate creative, reasonable solutions. The problems often aren’t clear-cut, but using the analytical skills developed in classes like Research Methods and Data Analysis helped me identify problems and develop solutions like we did in Introduction to Policy Analysis. I also think Batten gave me the skills to analyze new policy and legislation to identify possible areas for the KPMG team to pitch and win new scopes of business.

Q: This year you were a Course Assistant for the MPP class “Leadership in the Public Arena.” What did you learn from this experience?

A: I learned so much by working with a great teaching team and Professor Andy Pennock on a daily basis. I enjoyed getting to know the new MPP cohort and seeing how they and the 2nd year accelerated MPP students in class approached the course material differently from how our cohort did. I also enjoyed helping students workshop their leadership case ideas, which really improved my capacity to apply course terms to real-world situations, which I think should help next year in returning to the working world.

Q: What's been a highlight of your time in Batten?

A: A highlight of my time at Batten has been meeting such awesome people. This program has a really strong community between students, faculty and staff, and I’ve really enjoyed learning and building relationships with everyone.



 

Garrett Hall at Sunset

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