Abigail Brittany Sears

Master of Public Policy (MPP) Class of 2023

As someone who wants to be a change maker in the future, it was important for me to step back and learn as much about policy, the UK government and the global world as possible.

Abigail Sears, MPP Class of 2023


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Name: Abigail Brittany Sears

Programme: MPP, Class of 2023

Nationality: Caribbean-American

Congratulations on your recent graduation from the LSE Master of Public Policy (MPP) programme! What have been your key takeaways from your studies and how are you applying these in your future plans?

One of the key takeaways from my studies was the power of networking. The opportunities I received during school and the events I participated in were all made possible from the network I built during my time at LSE. Things learned in a classroom are always valuable but it’s the relationships build and the networks that makes any school experience worthwhile.

If it wasn’t for the organisations I was a part of and my wonderful professors from my favourite class this past year, I would not have received my recent job offer, or at least not as quickly.


Can you tell us about your background and your motivation for your studies?

My background is in finance: corporate finance and investment banking. I was motivated to go back to school to make a career pivot into more engaging and impactful work. I was motivated by the network, lifelong friends and the student life in London that I would establish.

This past year, being a student, I was afforded opportunities and was able to do things that I was not able to previously as a full-time employee.

I was also motivated to learn again, and learn a new subject, which in my case was public policy. I was very interested to learn about policy, how decisions are made and then carried out to the public, who makes those decisions and who has historically made those decisions.

As someone who wants to be a change maker in the future, it was important for me to step back and learn as much about policy, the UK government and the global world as possible.


Were there any standout modules from your studies?

My favourite module was PP4J2: New Institutions of Public Policy: Strategic Philanthropy, Impact Investment and Social Enterprise. This class expanded my mind on the very topics I previously did not have much insight: philanthropy, impact investing and social enterprise.

In this module, we learned about private actions for public benefits and looked at it from different lenses including mechanisms of financing, social impact and concepts like purpose-driven corporations.

The professors for this class, Professor Jonathan Roberts and Professor Julian Le Grand were amazing. They were engaging, always willing to answer our questions and made each seminar different and interesting.

The work I ended up doing over the summer aligned very closely to the things I learned and the tools I took from this particular class.


How did you make the most of being a part of the LSE community during your studies? 

For me, it was very important to not just attend LSE but to be a part of its community in various ways.

The first way was to get involved in an organisation closely tied to the School of Public Policy so I went for the position of social co-chair of the Association of Public Policy Students (APPS). As the social-co chair, I helped to put on events all throughout the year. It was my way of serving the community while also building community at the same time. To help plan the annual boat party and the spring gala and other smaller gatherings was a lot of fun and it allowed me to build some great friendships along the way.

The second way was meeting people outside of my cohort. By going to different events on campus, I was able to meet other lovely students from other cohorts with shared interests as me. This helped me to feel even more at home, especially since many of the friends I made also lived in the US as I did.

Lastly, I made the most of being a part of the LSE community by working for LSE as a fitness instructor in the LSESU gym. Teaching classes this past year was not only one of my school year’s highlights, but it also afforded me the unique opportunity to meet so many different students from all walks of life. I was very fortunate to have taught fitness classes to dozens of students during my time at LSE.


What were your favourite things about living in London?

I lived in London almost two years prior to starting my programme at LSE. And one of my favourite things about London is how much there is to do in the city. Whether you’re into plays and shows, sports or you’re a foodie who likes to eat, there is something for everyone. You just have to know where to go.

I have come to love how vibrant this city is and no matter what time of the day, I can always find something to do whether alone or with friends.

My other favourite thing about London is all the green space. London has some very beautiful parks: Regents Park, Green Park, Battersea Park, the list goes on.

When the weather is nice here, one of my favourite pastime activities is getting together with people in the park for a nice meal and some games.

This was also one of the highlights from my time with my classmates. Whenever the weather was nice, we found ourselves outside in a park, enjoying the sun and each other’s company.


Who would you recommend the programme to?

I would recommend this programme to anyone interested in making a career pivot or taking a career break and wanting to study public policy.

As this programme is aimed at those with a few years or more of work experience, it is very fast paced, and a lot of material is packed into this 9-month programme. This is great for anyone, such as me, who wants a short career break.

If anyone is looking for a shorter, more intensive programme while also wanting to get the most out of a break/pivot, this programme would be for you.

I would also recommend this programme to anyone who wants to live in London and is interested in having a career in the city. Studying at an international school such as this one can open doors for a great career journey in London. 


What advice would you give to people who are considering studying the MPP?

Take your time with everything. 9 months does not seem like a lot of time, but it will fly by. Take your time with the readings, with your group presentations, with the events you will attend. Sometimes in the moment these things can seem mundane or never-ending but there is value in everything we do so take it all in and take it one step at a time.

With that in mind, enjoy everything in the moment. There is going to a come a time when you must return to work, when you won’t be in proximity with your friends or be able to pop out to the park in the middle of the day. So, enjoy being a student living in a great city and take every opportunity presented to you, whether big or small.


How would you describe your SPP experience in three words? 

Eye-opening. Rewarding. Transformational.