Guest post – How The MPPA Helped My Career In SEO and Digital Marketing – Nicolai Andersen

In this article, I will highlight the surprisingly many ways that the MPPA program has contributed to the advancement of my career in digital marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). I graduated with my MPPA degree from Cal Lutheran in 2021. Shortly after, I relocated to Norway. Having worked for years with digital marketing in the U.S., I secured a marketing position in Oslo, which required a master’s degree. I later established an SEO bureau in Oslo.

Many have wondered why a digital marketer would pursue a degree in public policy. Upon reflecting, I can think of countless ways this program has helped me become a better marketer as well as a more well-rounded, informed professional.

Global Perspective

The SEO bureau currently serves clients from several countries across three continents. For technical and design support, we frequently collaborate with international freelancers. In essence, the global perspective I acquired not only from the MPPA program but also through studying abroad has greatly assisted me in conducting business within an international environment. This perspective has proven invaluable in comprehending cultural nuances, understanding diverse audiences, and navigating the complexities of the global marketplace.



I acquired a large number of skills during my time at Cal Lutheran. Notably, my research, analytical, communication, and advocacy skills witnessed significant improvement. These skills are not only convenient but also necessary for a career in digital marketing and SEO. Analytical proficiency, for instance, is crucial when dissecting search data, researching algorithm changes, conducting keyword research, and presenting results to clients.

Advocacy projects were integral components of several courses, contributing significantly to my growth as a marketer. They provided valuable lessons on tailoring messages to diverse audiences and the ability to effectively market or advocate for any product or company.

Furthermore, the skills gained through the process of academic paper writing have substantially enhanced my expertise in content marketing. Blog articles, for instance, often play a key role in SEO. Given recent updates to search engine algorithms, there is a heightened focus on well- crafted, valuable written content.

Upon reflection, the MPPA program has emerged as a cornerstone in my professional journey in digital marketing. The diverse skill set acquired, ranging from ethical considerations to an understanding of how public policy influences business, has not only broadened my horizons. It has also been instrumental in shaping me into a more adept entrepreneur, digital marketer, and SEO specialist.

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Transcending Silos: What Your MPPA Degree Can Do For You

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 – Sean Veal, MPPA 2013

Earning a Master of Public Policy and Administration degree can be a dynamic credential to advancing one’s career in both the public and private sectors. It is common place for a sizable number of MPPA graduates to continue in or embark on public service careers with municipalities. Such positions may range from a role in the City Manager’s office, City Planning Department, Public Works, Transportation, Human Resources, and Fire and Safety. These job functions implement administrative prerogatives and public policies for helping operate our cities, schools, and infrastructure for the common good of our communities. However, the “public” or “civil servant’ connotation of a MPPA degree is by no means the only avenue a recipient of the degree can pursue. The dynamism of the tools gained in a public policy program provides transferable skills and knowledge that are applicable to private sector jobs as well.

As a graduate student in the MPPA program, I discovered my passion for housing policy and have dedicated my career to improving housing for our marginalized communities through learning the mechanisms that will address and alleviate the pressures of the housing crisis. Moreover, during the MPPA program I gained a repertoire of skills that have served me well to support my passion for housing policy through various public and private sector experiences as a housing researcher, city planner, affordable housing developer, and investment banker. These routes are all unique, yet facets of each role share the common thread of addressing housing, which is the fabric of our urban landscape.

In the MPPA program I learned the history, foundation, and theory of public administration and policy. Additionally, I gained skills in critical thinking, leadership, presenting, and teamwork. In concert with learning practical career skills, I was introduced to urban planning and housing policy topics that have morphed into my expertise and passion. The program gave me a sense of the duty, responsibilities, expectations, and challenges of working in the public sector. It goes without saying that all these attributes have been vital to my work in the private sector.

As private companies often form partnerships with public entities to achieve goals such as building affordable housing, knowledge of the public sphere is invaluable. For example, a public-private partnership that creates and preserves affordable housing is the Low-Income Housing Tax Credits program which encourages private investors to work with developers and localities in financing affordable housing developments. In exchange for financing a portion of a development these private investors receive tax break incentives. In an effort to contribute to public-private financing, the MPPA program equipped me with an understanding of how localities operate, while simultaneously imparting the principles of thinking critically and understanding an array of perspectives involved in a finance transaction. The program also emboldened me with leadership fundamentals to work with diverse stakeholders to accomplish the financing of affordable housing.

While I used my MPPA training for traditional public servant roles, I also was able to leverage that same training to buttress my path in private sector financing. We can use our MPPA skills to transcend silos in the public or private realms for the betterment our communities.

Housing Policy Shapes Our Communities

By Sean Veal, MPPA ‘13

Housing is fundamental to the development of our communities and our lives. Policies that shape the housing landscape have worked to the benefit, and to the detriment of communities across the country. On April 20th, 2021, I had the opportunity to discuss the impact of housing policies on our communities as a guest lecturer for Dr. Khan’s course entitled “Understanding Development: Challenges and Opportunities.”

The discussion began with an explanation of a common affordability metric known as the housing cost burden measure. A cost-burdened household is one that spends over 30 percent of total household income on housing costs. For renters, housing costs include rent and utilities, and for homeowners, housing costs are comprised of the mortgage, private mortgage insurance, homeowner’s insurance, and property tax. The cost burden measure is imperative to understanding affordability challenges that renter and homeowner households endure.

Consequently, housing affordability disproportionately impacts renter households of color. According to the 2020 State of the Nation’s Housing Report produced by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, Black and Hispanic renter households were cost-burdened at rates of 53.7 percent and 51.9 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, white renter households were cost-burdened at 41.9 percent. These rates illuminate the unequal result of housing affordability by race with renter households of color absorbing the lion’s share of cost burdens.

Housing policy is a tool that at times created affordability dilemmas that are ever-present for households and amplified for communities of color. Discrimination and inequitable housing policy historically perpetuated housing affordability in tight markets through formerly legal mechanisms such as redlining, restrictive housing covenants, steering, and exclusionary zoning as described by Richard Rothstein in his book The Color of Law. The de jure discrimination fostered by housing policy that Rothstein describes has contributed to the housing affordability challenges experienced today, particularly by households of color.

Despite previous housing policies that prevented equal access to housing, there are current policies that have mitigated a stark history of housing inequality through approaches that increase the affordable housing stock, require cities to allocate ample housing for population growth, and provide subsidies to low-income households. These policies are witnessed through programs sponsored by the federal, state, and local governments.

A federal tax program that has improved the affordable housing stock is the Low-Income Tax Credit that incentivizes private developers to build affordable housing for low-income households in exchange for future tax credits. This IRS tax program has been instrumental in improving the affordable housing stock in the nation.

At the state level, the California Housing Element Law and the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) mandate that localities plan for housing supplies that account for and anticipate future growth of their community based on demographic projections. These plans are periodically required to be produced by each city in California. Furthermore, the proposed housing elements and RHNA plan must be approved by the state. Engrained in urban planning, the state-enforced housing policy programs hold cities accountable to accommodate population growth and housing needs.

Lastly, an example of a local housing policy is bonds provided by a city to support developers subsidize affordable housing developments. Proposition HHH is a local example in which Los Angeles voters approved 1.2 billion dollars to finance permanent supportive housing developments to abate rising levels of those experiencing homelessness in the City of Los Angeles.

The high-level overview of housing affordability metrics, affordability challenges, and housing policy were all presented to students to illustrate the impact of housing policy on communities. The confluence of housing policies at the federal, state, and local level exemplifies how housing policy shapes housing in communities.