“My Master of Public Health continues to help me with my role in a variety of different ways. I use my health economics skills to help me identify the best way to allocate funds to ensure the greatest improvement for our population’s health."
Max always had a fascination with health which led him to study a Master of Public Health (MPH) after completing a Bachelor of Science (majoring in physiology). He is currently using his analytical skills and knowledge from his specialisation, health economics, in his role as a Senior Knowledge Analyst (heath care) for Boston Consulting Group.
Why did you decide to study the Master of Public Health?
I have always been a little obsessed with health and found the topic fascinating. What really intrigued me is how small decisions made at a national or international level can have such a profound impact on people’s lives and well-being. Examples such as smoking cessation programs and encouraging teenagers to play sport in schools have had such profound impacts. Therefore, I was looking for a course that would allow me to be involved in making the decisions that improve our overall health.
I decided to go to the University of Melbourne for two reasons. Firstly, I thoroughly enjoyed my undergraduate studies here. Secondly, the MPH offered the perfect structure for me to explore different aspects of public health before deciding on a particular area (Go Health Economics!!)
What did you like most about the course?
The MPH has been invaluable to my professional and personal development. The content was incredibly interesting as we were learning about successful public health interventions from the community scale to international health reforms. The content was also delivered by fantastic staff who were leaders in their field and truly passionate about what they do.
I developed a broad range of skills which I still use in my job today. However, the two most important skills have been about how to conceptualise and frame a particular health problem and understand what is important to the different people. In my experience, this is often the difference between a successful approach, compared to something which is theoretically correct, but fails in reality. Secondly, I use my analytical and economics skills daily in my job. They allow me to provide a fresh new perspective and I have found these skills are quite unique!
What were some highlights from studying the course?
I thoroughly enjoyed being immersed in a cohort who were so passionate and interested in learning about public health. This made uni fun and engaging and I always looked forward to my classes. There were also great extra-circular activities, such as a trip to India where we learnt about what it takes to develop a health program in rural areas. I also went to China with the Unimelb soccer team which was a fantastic cultural experience.
What kinds of work integrated learning or practical experience did you participate in your degree, and how did they impact your development?
I did an internship at the Department of Health in Victoria in the Health Reform Office. I looked at how we can change the way we (the government) pay for health care to improve health outcomes of our population while also saving money. This was arguably the most valuable part of my whole MPH, as I learnt how to implement my skills in a practical environment.
Where are you currently working and what is your role?
I am currently working for a private consultancy firm, Boston Consulting Group (BCG). As a consultant we are employed to assess, advise or guide clients such as state/federal governments, hospitals or NGOs through challenging periods. I primarily work in Australia, but also support our teams in Southeast Asia, Europe, and the US. A practical example of this is that we supported the Victorian Department of Health develop a strategy to increase the health workforce in Victoria. Other examples include working with Ambulance Victoria reduce the delays and backlogs that were being experienced during COVID and designing a funding model for the delivery of palliative care in Southeast Asia.
The thing about my job that I enjoy the most is working on real and immediate problems that are facing our society today.
My MPH continues to help me with my role in a variety of different ways. I use my health economics skills to help me identify the best way to allocate funds to ensure the greatest improvement for our population’s health. During my MPH, I also learnt how to synthesise large amounts of information quickly. I am often learning about obscure parts of international health care systems to identify ways we can improve ours.
What advice do you have for future and current students who are interested in studying this course and pursuing a similar career?
If you have even the slightest interest in public health, I highly recommend this fantastic course. Not only will it help you discover your specific area of interest within the field, but it will also equip you with invaluable practical skills that are highly applicable in the workplace. And to top it all off, the course is a lot of fun!