The start of the long vacation at the University of Oxford doesn’t mean the end of our MPP students’ learning experience. With Trinity Term completed, our students have set off for the four corners of the world to complete the final aspect of the MPP course, the Summer Project.
The Summer Project is an essential part of the MPP, allowing the students to apply the knowledge they have acquired over the year at the Blavatnik School of Government to real-life policy challenges. Each student undertakes a six-to-eight-week work placement with an organisation engaged in policy-work, whether that’s a government department, a research centre or a private-sector company. As each MPP Class is highly diverse in terms of professional background, the Summer Project component is designed to be flexible, allowing students to tailor their placement to their own particular needs. Some choose to develop their expertise on a particular subject, while others prefer to gain experience of a new area of policy.
This year sees the establishment of new and exciting placements at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in the UK Government. Seven of our students will carry out their projects there, working with the Youth Policy Team, the Social Action Team and the Government Inclusive Economy Unit among others. Further placements with the UK Government are based in the Cabinet Office and the Department for International Development.
Another innovation this year is the opportunity for students to carry out desk-based research here at the Blavatnik School, supervised by a member of our Faculty. Students thus have the chance to “delve deeper into a topic or subject of interest”. Dr Maya Tudor, Professor Jonathan Wolff, Dr Emily Jones and Dr Thomas Elston are all supervising research.
Of course, many students choose to go further afield for their placement. Four students are working in various departments of the Australian Government, two are working for McKinsey in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia respectively, and another two are carrying out their projects with UNICEF, in Jordan and Kenya. Other hosts include the Honduran Opposition Coalition Campaign, the World Health Organisation and the UN, to name but a few.
This is undeniably a challenging part of the course, but students consider it to be a highly positive and useful experience, allowing them to gain new skills and expand their professional network. We wish our students all the best for their projects and look forward to hearing about their experiences.