Systems Synthesis Projects are a culminating experience for
students in the Master of Science in Public Policy and Management
(MSPPM), Washington DC program at Carnegie Mellon University’s
Heinz College. These projects, conducted in lieu of a thesis,
provide students with hands-on experiences that parallel the
activities and issues they will encounter in the workplace. Working
with a client organization, diverse groups of students spend seven
months (Oct – May) addressing an issue of importance to the
Under the guidance of a systems synthesis advisor, the students
identify the issue, gather and analyze data, and prepare findings
and recommendations for the client. It also allows students to
integrate the skills learned from their coursework at
Heinz--including economics, statistics, management science,
financial analysis, organizational management, policy analysis,
database management, oral and written communication skills and
others—as they tackle important policy and management problems. The
project provides students with “real-world” experience in teamwork,
analysis, project management and client relations.
General role of project advisors:
As an advisor you are tasked with providing guidance, but not
control of the project. The project team, consisting of 4-6
master’s students, will lead the direction of the project. The
project advisor’s role consists of providing guidance to the
project team in the following ways: assisting the team with
effective teamwork and project management strategies, providing
feedback and guidance on project direction and deliverables (i.e.
presentations to an advisory committee, final report, and poster
board), and assigning a grade to each student.
Timeline for Project:
Students are enrolled in Systems Planning during the Fall Semester
October 24– Dec 16, 2022, and in Systems Synthesis during the
Spring semester from Jan 9 – May 5, 2023. Advisors must be
available to meet with students weekly on Fridays during the
workday (approximately 1-3 hours, attend all formal presentations
with the client/advisory board, provide feedback and coaching to
student, and respond in a timely manner to student inquiries via
email or phone at other times during the week. The majority of
these meetings should be in person, although some meetings can take
place virtually if needed.
You should demonstrate:
- Effective, engaging, and compelling culturally responsive
communication, with the capacity to guide students and engage with
clients as needed.
- Innovation, integrity, and expertise in consulting and/or
- A strong sense of collaboration and enthusiasm for guiding a
student-led team and providing feedback at multiple points in the
- A strong grasp of the challenges within a consulting project
including the ability to help scope projects.
Application Instructions Equal Employment Opportunity
Carnegie Mellon University
- Master’s or PhD degree in relevant fields preferred
- Experience in engagement with students
- Experience working with client-based projects
- Demonstrated success in similar positions with positive
shall abide by the requirements
of 41 CFR §§ 60-1.4(a), 60-300.5(a) and 60-741.5(a). These
regulations prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals
based on their status as protected veterans or individuals with
disabilities, and prohibit discrimination against all individuals
based on their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
Moreover, these regulations require that covered prime contractors
and subcontractors take affirmative action to employ and advance in
employment individuals without regard to race, color, religion,
sex, national origin, protected veteran status or disability.