Western Australia's Shaun Whitmarsh tops ANZSOG’s Executive Master of Public Administration

Public Sector Commission

In December last year, the Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) 2016 cohort celebrated the completion of the program at a ceremony in Wellington, New Zealand. The EMPA is part of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG).

The ceremony acknowledged the achievements by the 2016 cohort and presented awards to participants who achieved the highest academic grade in each of the EMPA’s core subjects.

Shaun Whitmarsh, Executive Director of Strategy and Coordination from Western Australia’s Department of Finance, was named the valedictorian.

Each year, public sector employees from across Australia and New Zealand are exposed to new tools and approaches to solving complex problems, and have been challenged to explore new ways of thinking about their roles.

Mr Whitmarsh described the program as challenging and demanding, but also a very rewarding experience.

‘The EMPA has taught me to apply a much deeper description and understanding to problems, with a wider range of policy solutions in my ‘toolkit’ and a better ability to match them together,’ he said.

Mr Whitmarsh added, ‘I feel more confident breaking down problems, framing arguments and analysing evidence, and being better equipped

all-round to think about what the role of government should be.’

Mr Whitmarsh also cited that the professional network he has made through the program as an invaluable resource that he would use throughout his career.

The EMPA’s group-based approach means graduates build relationships with peers from across Australia and New Zealand which enables them to share insights from across jurisdictions.

Mr Whitmarsh said he would recommend the EMPA program to other public servants wanting to take the next step in their careers.

‘I was fortunate to have a great mentor and supportive leader in Anne Nolan (Director General of the Department of Finance), who encouraged me to do the EMPA as a way of enhancing my formal qualifications,’ he said.

Balancing a young family and working full-time, the EMPA scholarship presented a unique opportunity for Mr Whitmarsh to undertake university level study.

‘For those willing to put in the time, and make the sacrifices required, I think there is so much to be gained from this program. I genuinely think that the time I have invested will continue to pay dividends for years to come,’ he said.

If you are thinking about applying for ANZSOG's Executive Master of Public Administration in 2019, you can now submit an expression of interest.

The original version of this article was published by ANZSOG 20 December 2017.