How JGU prepared Dr. Boubacar Toure to make meaningful impact on policy decisions

Dr. Boubacar Toure, Regional Budget and Finance Director at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Dr. Boubacar Toure stumbled upon the online MA (Public Policy) programme offered by JGU while browsing Coursera. The programme not only helped him advance his career but it also equipped him “with the tools to make a meaningful impact on policy decisions affecting the U.S. and the world.” He was recently appointed as Regional Budget and Finance Director at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). JGU Blog had an email interaction with him on the importance of online degree programmes. Excerpts from the interview:

Q: Where did you hear about JGU and what motivated you to pursue the online MA (Public Policy) programme from JGU?

I first heard about JGU through Coursera while I was exploring flexible options for advanced studies in Public Policy. I was particularly motivated by the university’s strong reputation and the quality of its Public Policy degree program. JGU is renowned for its rigorous academic environment and its focus on impactful, real-world applications of policy study, which aligned perfectly with my professional aspirations and my commitment to contributing effectively to the field of public policy. The opportunity to study at such a prestigious institution and gain insights from leading experts in the field was a pivotal factor in my decision to enroll in their online MA program.

Q: What were your other educational achievements prior to pursuing the MA Public Policy Programme from JGU?

Education and Professional Training

  • Policy Analytics Credential, The University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy, Chicago, IL, June 2024
  • Executive Education. Certificate in Public Leadership. Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge, MA, 2020.
  • Professional Certificate in Management. University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, 2020. 
  • D.B.A., Doctor of Business Administration, Wilmington University, New Castle, DE, 2018.
  • Executive Education. Emerging Leaders Program. Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge, MA, 2018.
  • Certificate in Strategy and Performance Management, Georgetown University, Washington DC, 2016.
  • Certificate in Public Performance Measurement, Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration, Newark, NJ, 2016.
  • M.B.A., Master of Business Administration, Norwich University, Northfield, VT, 2013.
  • B.S., Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/Finance, Colorado Technical University, Colorado Springs, CO, 2009.
  • Advanced Certificate in Project Management – Stanford Certified Project Manager, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 2009.
  • Certificate in Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Villanova University, Villanova, PA, 2008.
  • Certificate in Financial Management, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 2007.

Q: How have you benefitted from the online MA PP programme? Has it anyway help you advance your career?

I have found the online MA in Public Policy from JGU to be incredibly beneficial for my career. The program has helped me enhance my analytical skills through its rigorous curriculum. As a result, my understanding of economic and social policy issues has significantly deepened. This has greatly improved my ability to contribute to public policy discussions and initiatives, especially those focused on social and economic reforms.

Professionally, my academic program has played a crucial role in preparing me for my current position as the Regional Budget and Finance Director at the USDA. My studies have provided me with a deep understanding of policy analysis and public finance, which has proven to be essential in my current responsibilities. These responsibilities include budget planning, financial analysis, and the strategic allocation of resources. The knowledge and skills I acquired during my academic experience at JGU have prepared me to oversee complex budgets effectively and improve financial operations, which will positively impact more efficient and effective policy implementation within the department. The MA in Public Policy has not only advanced my career but also equipped me with the tools to make a meaningful impact on policy decisions affecting the U.S. and the world.

Q: What are your words of advice for other aspirants who want to pursue a similar online programme?

If you are interested in pursuing the MA in Public Policy program, I strongly recommend committing yourself to it with devotion. Online education is a flexible and accessible way to enhance your knowledge and skills, but it requires self-discipline and effective time management. To make the most of it, actively engage with the course content, your professors, TAs, and participate in discussions, live lecture and forums. The more you interact with your peers and instructors, the richer your learning experience will be. Consistency is crucial in online learning, so create a study schedule that suits your personal and professional life to ensure that you can devote time to your studies regularly.

Take advantage of all the resources available at the university, such as libraries, virtual tools, and resources to improve your understanding and develop valuable skills. Try to apply what you have learned to real-world scenarios as much as possible, which not only deepens your understanding but also enhances your practical skills, making you a more competent professional. Lastly, keep your end goals in sight, whether it’s advancing your career, contributing to policy development, or enhancing your expertise. Remember why you started this journey whenever challenges arise. With the right approach, online education can open doors to numerous opportunities and equip you with the tools to make a substantial impact in your chosen field, community, and the world.

Q: How significant are the online programmes in today’s globalised world?

Online programs have become increasingly important in today’s globalized world, providing essential accessibility and flexibility that traditional educational models may lack. They are particularly valuable for individuals with other commitments or those who live in remote areas, as they allow access to top-quality education from prestigious universities worldwide without the need to relocate. This democratizes learning and opens up opportunities for a broader audience.

Moreover, online education helps professionals stay up-to-date with rapid changes in technology, business practices, and global policy by facilitating continuous learning without interrupting their careers. It also fosters a global perspective by connecting students from diverse cultures and backgrounds, enriching the learning experience and promoting a deeper understanding of global issues. This cultural competence is invaluable in international relations and global business, making online programs significant enablers of personal and professional growth in a highly interconnected world.

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