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What a Master’s in Public Policy Can Do for You — From a Drexel Alumna

December 21, 2015

After reading “What My MPP Did for Me and Can Do for You” in the PA Times, we caught up with the author, public policy alumna Mobola Owolabi, MS ’14, to ask her about her experience as a student here at Drexel.

Drexel Alumna Mobola Owolabi

Making the decision to return to school is a difficult one, and you articulated it gracefully and realistically in your article. What did you write your case study on and what was your biggest case study challenge?

I wrote my case study on the need for collective action when combating human trafficking in the United States. Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the country and I became intrigued with the topic when cases were repeatedly discussed on the local news when I lived in DC. It wasn't a crime that I initially associated with the U.S., so I was excited that I had the opportunity to do research on the topic for my case study.

The biggest challenge with my case study in the beginning was narrowing down which law/protocol to examine. When I first selected my case study topic, it was human trafficking in general and my initial research was very broad. My professor recommended I focus on the United States and one law, which was the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Once I narrowed down the law and the issue in the U.S., my research was lot less stressful.

What was your favorite class you took here?

My favorite class at Drexel was Nonprofit Organizations. I thoroughly enjoyed this class because my professional career has been working with nonprofits for the last eight years; it was awesome to get insight on how they are run and the many unique issues they deal with. The course also had guest speakers almost every week. It was great to hear real-life stories from individuals who worked with nonprofits, served on nonprofit boards or were owners and CEOs of nonprofits.

What was the most useful class you took here?

The most useful class I took at Drexel was Public Finance and Cost Benefit Analysis with Professor Mullin. The class exposed me to many concepts of public policy with which I had no prior experience. I enjoyed learning about the cost of public services and projects and gaining a deeper understanding of why certain projects sometimes aren't funded.

Did you do any internships or volunteer work while you were here in the program?

I volunteered with Price of Life New York my last quarter at Drexel. POLNYC is a faith-inspired anti-trafficking organization that raises awareness around human trafficking and holds events at local college campuses for this same purpose. They also host several fundraising events throughout the year to support anti-trafficking efforts.

Did you return back to your job after getting your master’s degree or did you find a new one? What was that search and transition like for you?

I did not return back to my job after completing my masters; I decided to stay in Philadelphia. I left my previous place of employment on great terms and still keep in touch with many of my former colleagues. I had the opportunity to go back but stayed in Philly. I started my search relatively early and knew that I would likely be getting back into the nonprofit health care field. Having that in mind made my job search pretty targeted. After about two and a half months of searching and applying, I had a job lined up and started two weeks after commencement.

Can you describe your job and what a typical day looks like for you?

I'm currently a senior project manager with the Society of Hospital Medicine's Center for Hospital Innovation and Improvement and there's no typical day for me. I currently manage about six quality improvement projects and sometimes more than that. If I had to explain a typical day to someone, it would include sifting through emails to try to have some control over my inbox, conducting webinars and/or conference calls, participating in on-site meetings, budget reviews, and checking in with the experts and other project managers I work with.

What is your most memorable project you worked on and what was your role in that project?

My most memorable project is still going on, and it is SHM's Fight the Resistance Campaign, which aims to change antibiotic prescribing habits in hospitals. The campaign encourages hospital clinicians to work collectively to combat the issue of over prescribing, review antibiotic timelines with patients, and rethink treatment time courses.

This has been my most memorable project thus far because it started out as a small idea and has grown into a nationwide campaign for hospital clinicians around the country. As an organization, we've received so much positive feedback regarding the campaign, and I served as the lead project manager in this effort. I collaborated with SHM's Marketing, Communications and IT Department to bring this idea to life, along with the clinical expertise of SHM's Antimicrobial Stewardship Subcommittee, which I am the liaison for. It's been very exciting to see how fast the campaign has grown, and we are still working on additional resources to ensure the sustainability of the program.

What is the in-person networking event that you most look forward to?

The Pennsylvania Conference for Women. SHM gives staff the opportunity to go to this conference each year and it's an awesome and empowering one-day event.

Where do you see yourself in five to 10 years?

I see myself continually growing in my field, whether it be in the nonprofit health care field or the anti-trafficking/community support field. I feel that I'm constantly growing and meeting great people who I'm learning a great deal from.

In addition to your organization, are there other organizations that you find impressive in Philadelphia? Any volunteer efforts you would like to promote or pass on?

In addition to working at SHM, I'm currently a board member with a local nonprofit called The Hope Zone. This is a recent appointment and it has been very exciting so far. The Hope Zone is a nonprofit in Philadelphia that encourages total wellness and stability for families in the local under-served areas. They promote spiritual, physical and financial stability to local families, and facilitate and host several activities and events throughout the year to encourage community unity. They are 100 percent volunteer based and always open to accepting new volunteers.

Mobola Owolabi is senior project manager at the Society of Hospital Medicine’s Center for Hospital Innovation and Improvement. She manages multiple aspects of quality improvement initiatives and supports various SHM programs and committees/subcommittees within the Center. Prior to joining SHM, Owolabi worked in Government Affairs for a health care association in Washington, DC. She earned her undergraduate degree in organizational communication from Old Dominion University and her master’s in public policy from Drexel University.