The Student: Alpha Mansaray

The Student is a standing column that allows a student at the College of Public Health to share their unique experience as they work toward their degree.


  • Alpha Mansaray
April 12, 2019
Alpha Mansaray
Alpha Mansaray

Ohio State wasn’t one of my top choices. In fact, I had already interviewed with several other programs and received acceptances from my top two choices by the time I was offered an interview by the Master of Health Administration (MHA) program at Ohio State. First, I accepted the interview, then I canceled. But something inside told me, “you never know what might happen.”

I am a first-generation college student and the first in my immediate family to pursue a graduate degree. My family’s unfamiliarity with the graduate school application process limited their ability to offer me guidance. Their only suggestion was to apply to programs in cities where I have family members, so, in a way, Ohio State was on my list thanks to Uncle Amadu.

I rescheduled my interview at Ohio State a month later. The interview day began like the rest, with the program touting the same benefits: a robust alumni network, a rigorous but not-too-demanding curriculum and a close-knit community. It was when we arrived the faculty portion of the interview that Ohio State’s MHA program began to distinguish itself. 

The faculty did not ask questions that required me to reiterate what is already written in my application. Instead, the questions focused on what drives me as an individual, and they shared specifically how Ohio State’s MHA program can equip me with the skills needed to succeed as a future leader in health care. Needless to say, I left my interview no longer certain I wanted to accept an offer from one of my top two choices.

Two years later, I am finishing up my MHA degree and am 100 percent confident I made the right choice by choosing Ohio State. My courses have strengthened my problem-solving abilities and taught me skills from investing wisely to marketing to leading people through change.

The program has connected me to resources that have allowed me to attend national conferences by the American College of Healthcare Executives and the Institute for Diversity and Health Equity. I have even had the opportunity to compete in—and win!—a national case competition – the National Association for Healthcare Executives Annual Everett V. Fox Student Case Competition – where my three teammates and I spent three weeks crafting a solution for improving senior care through quality and innovation.

I am happy I rescheduled my interview at Ohio State under the premise you never know what might happen. The MHA program has equipped me with the skills to be successful as a health care leader, and I am certain I will use these skills to impact health care positively as the Administrative Fellow for Mount Sinai Health System in New York City.

Alpha Mansaray is a second-year student in the Master of Health Administration program at the College of Public Health.



About The Ohio State University College of Public Health

The Ohio State University College of Public Health is a leader in educating students, creating new knowledge through research, and improving the livelihoods and well-being of people in Ohio and beyond.  The College’s divisions include biostatistics, environmental health sciences, epidemiology, health behavior and health promotion, and health services management and policy.   It is ranked 23rd among all colleges of public health in the U.S. by U.S. News and World Report, and also includes the top 7-ranked MHA degree program.  The College provides leadership and expertise for Ohio and the world through its Center for Health Outcomes, Policy and Evaluation Studies (HOPES), Center for Public Health Practice (CPHP), and Center for the Advancement of Tobacco Science (CATS).