Prior to earning a master’s degree, Andrew Malkowski racked up an impressive work history, including stints as military supervisor, government planner and his current job as an economist for the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Malkowski earned a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2017, three years after he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Economics. The Air Force veteran who served tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“The master’s wasn’t in the plan at the very beginning but shortly after looking at the job market, I realized the master’s was needed for where I wanted to go,” Malkowski said. “I did it while having a full-time job and a family. I wanted to try to balance it all out, so there were a lot of late nights where I was reading, typing papers and doing whatever I needed to do.”
Once he fulfilled his military obligations, Malkowski said he had planned to become an engineer back in the civilian world. But family obligations made that pursuit difficult.
“To be successful in the engineering program, I needed a lot more time,” he said. ” I began to research other careers, and I really enjoyed seeing how things interact with one another. I stumbled into economics, and I really enjoyed working in the government side. From there, I really liked the civil and government aspect of things.
“I was looking into city planning and economic development, encouraging different entities to come into a city, how you sell a city, how you develop a city in a way that’s sustainable and natural. That’s when I went into the MPA program. It’s still engineering, but I’m just not planning on building the buildings; I’m trying to get those buildings built.”
Nothing Can Stop Him, Either
Malkowski grew up in San Angelo, Texas before he joined the Air Force. He did six years of active duty through early 2013. He was stationed primarily in New Jersey, although he made training school trips to Florida and back home to Texas. Malkowski also taught two summer programs in Colorado Springs and San Antonio, in addition to his two tours in the Middle East.
“They were about seven or eight months apiece,” he said of his overseas journeys. “It was interesting. In Afghanistan in 2005, I got there in the middle of winter. There was tons of snow on the mountains. It was very calm when we first got there. My main job there was performing flight-line security. Since the mountains were snowy, it was difficult for the Taliban to move weapons through. In Iraq, we were talking to the local leaders to identify who was setting roadside bombs. We were out pretty much every single day, sometimes twice a day, setting up meetings and talking to people.”
Through his initial training, he earned an associate degree through the Community College of the Air Force. Malkowski worked as an operations supervisor for the military for nine years. Once he came home, he enrolled at UTA while he worked for the North Central Texas Council of Governments.
“My ex-wife had moved to Weatherford [Texas],” he said. “I was looking for a school that had an engineering program to be close to my son and my ex-wife. It just so happened that UTA had a very good engineering program and was close to my kid [Benjamin, 8].”
Malkowski remarried in 2014. He and his wife, Nichole, have a son, Gabriel (1).
“I really enjoy spending time with the family,” he said. “The one-year-old is full of energy. Benjamin spends almost half of his time with us. I’ll get him for a month in the summer, pick him up from school and take him to school a couple of times a week.”
The More You Know
Malkowski said the coursework in the MPA program was immediately applicable to his job in more ways than one.
“I really enjoyed the strategic planning courses,” he said. “It was cool to take an entity and dissect it and see where they are with what they want to do, look at it to see if they’re doing that and how to get them back on track if they’re not.
“I also really liked the ethics course. It was very interesting to have discussions about the things that happen in the gray area. I think it’s necessary for individuals to get uncomfortable enough to have that conversation to find your own limit. That course was very helpful in understanding your own personal career ethics and personal hard lines.”
Malkowski says he loves his current job, which includes work with government and private organizations, but that he will keep an open mind about the future.
“I’m just taking it as it comes,” he said. “I’m enjoying where I am right now with the federal government. There are opportunities within the federal government.”
It took some long days and nights for Malkowski to complete the MPA program. However, he believes that if he was able to complete the program with so much happening in his life, anybody could — and should — do the same for their career.
“Just go ahead and take the step,” Malkowski said. “If you want it bad enough, you can work around it. You can make time for it. It was just something I really wanted to do and didn’t want to cut off time with my family.
“It was never completely overwhelming. I never had so much reading I had to do or six papers to do at the same time. It was fairly easy to keep them all balanced. In a lot of management nowadays and this very competitive job market we’re in, it’s necessary to have that master’s degree. ”
Learn more about the UTA online Master of Public Administration program.
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