Perspectives: Cesar Munguia, MPA Graduate
Cesar Munguia is one of Excelsior College’s School of Public Service first Master of Public Administration graduates. The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program launched early 2015. The MPA program offers individuals from a variety of educational backgrounds the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and skills in the government and non-government sector.
Munguia is no stranger to Excelsior College’s degree programs. He enrolled with Excelsior in 2012, and completed his Bachelor of Arts (BA) in 2013 and his Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) in 2015. He was introduced to the College while he was Active Duty in the U.S. Army. “I was teaching the Battle Staff Course at the US Army Sergeants Major Academy (USASMA). Our director had a professional development policy that encouraged faculty members to enroll in classes and make progress towards a degree,” explained Munguia. “Because of the close relationship between USASMA and Excelsior [there is a remote College counselor on the USASMA staff], it seemed like a natural fit.”
Munguia currently lives in Copperas Cove, Texas—a small town about five miles west of Ft. Hood—with his wife, Esther, and two sons, Cortez (11) and Elias (2). When asked why he decided to pursue his second master’s degree and how his experience in the program has impacted his life today, Munguia reflected on his experience with Excelsior College.
I didn’t want to stop learning, and was looking for a challenge. Additionally, I recognized a need in my company for a good understanding and appreciation of how government agencies operate. As a private-sector employee working for a defense contracting company, I thought the Master of Science in Public Administration (MPA) program would help me leverage this knowledge towards providing better products and services for our customers and stakeholders.
Throughout my experience in the MPA program, I was fortunate enough to work with professors who were subject matter experts in their fields. They were able to not only teach, but to facilitate critical thinking and cooperation with every one of my peers as we navigated through the curriculum. Without their mentorship, and the lively interaction with my fellow students, I don’t think I would have learned as much as I did in the year I took to complete the program. In the two months since completing the MPA program, I have hit the ground running. I have used the lessons learned in Public Budgeting and Financial Management, Statistical Analysis for Decision Making, and Leveraging Technology in the Public Sector in order to help the Tennessee National Guard upgrade three of their military simulations training facilities. While competency in a field helps keep one competitive, it’s the commitment and expertise that the MPA demonstrates that truly sets a graduate apart from everyone else. While distance/online learning may not be for everyone, for me it offered the flexibility to pursue a fast-paced career in the defense industry while tackling an educational challenge.