Student Stories

Sandy Christensen

Reaching for Success: Sandra Christensen MPA '12

Despite having exemplary credentials, Sandra Christensen MPA ’12 thought the deputy chief financial officer position with the city of Minneapolis was out of her reach. She balked when her professor in the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at Hamline School of Business, Carol Becker, suggested she apply.

“I didn’t think the city of Minneapolis was in my purview. It’s a big city!” said Christensen, who felt challenged by the city’s $1.3 billion annual budget. “Without the support of my instructor and my cohort, I would have thought the position was beyond me. My confidence and ability to manage the responsibilities were enhanced by my experience and education at Hamline.”

Today, Christensen is the deputy CFO for the city of Minneapolis and director of enterprise financial management.

Christensen, who has a bachelor’s degree in business and economics and a background in finance and accounting, was budget manager in Dakota County for nearly a decade before becoming finance director in West Saint Paul. There, she gained exposure to a wider variety of municipal governments and dabbled in policy development.

“My experience in West Saint Paul prompted my desire to get my MPA,” Christensen said. “And I knew it would enhance my skills, benefit the city, and open up more opportunities for me.”

Through Hamline’s MPA, Christensen gained a broad understanding of how organizations work and implement policy. It taught her to think differently and from a fresh perspective, and develop the ability to analyze and synthesize complex information in meaningful ways for elected officials, city employees, and constituents. She also gained a network of colleagues who continue to provide her with valuable perspective and support.

Christensen is glad she was encouraged her to pursue the position. “The job allows me to do the finance work I enjoy and give back to the community with my skills,” she said.

Find out more about Hamline’s Master of Public Administration on the Hamline School of Business website, or contact the Graduate Admission Office to learn more about joining the Hamline community.