Capstone Workshop: Consulate General of Mexico

The following was contributed by Anesa Diaz-Uda, a second-year MPA student.

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At the beginning of my last semester, I wondered how I was going to spend the few remaining months in the program.  The past year has been pretty busy with my commitments to student groups, but now that I will no longer be on the board of any of these student groups, what on Earth will I do?

  • Play with my puppy English Bulldog more – check
  • Hang-out with my SIPA and NY friends more – check
  • Sleep more – check
  • Continue my fellowship in the Office of Admissions – check
  • Job-hunt (SIPA students are getting jobs!  I signed my contract with Deloitte Consulting in October, so don’t fret 😉

You read earlier in John’s post that SIPA students are given the opportunity to participate in Capstone Projects.  As an MPA, I must enroll in a Capstone project.  These projects are great experiences because we finally get to put all the reading, memo-writing, quantitative classes and analytical skills to use.  I was placed on the Consulate General of Mexico in New York City project.  I’m very excited to put my Management classes to use, as we dive into a Project Evaluation for the Consulate General.  I’m also really nervous about my ability to remember my college Spanish!

My team met with the Consulate General and his staff at his New York Office. Below is what we’ll be working on, and I’ll keep you posted with our work!

Workshop: Consulate General of Mexico in New York City

Over the past year, the Consulate General of Mexico in New York has radically altered its practices and administrative procedures to improve services provided to Mexican nationals located in the states of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. With one of the largest concentrations of Mexican nationals in the United States, the primary service conducted by the New York Consulate General office is the issuance of identity documents, such as passports and matricula consular IDs, though other services are provided as well. Ambassador Ruben Beltran, Consul of Mexico in the City of New York, formerly Consul General in Los Angeles, implemented a series of administrative changes upon his assignment to the New York office.

Modeled upon Ambassador Beltran’s previous work in Los Angeles, the goals of these changes were to reduce appointment backlog and reduce wait time at the Consulate General for consular services.  Two strategies were implemented to tackle these challenges, including a decentralization of consular services (Consulate on Wheels -a mobile consulate unit which visits areas with a high concentration of Mexican national in the Tri-State area) as well as a redesign of the work flow of consular activities in the actual Consular Office.  The Consulate General would like Columbia University to document and evaluate these changes, as well as offer suggestions to further improve the efficiency of their services.

Objectives:

This project will document recent changes to the practices and administrative procedures conducted by the Consulate General of Mexico in New York, evaluate these changes using performance measurement techniques, and provide suggestions to further improve these services. Specifically, tasks include (1) documentation of recent changes made by the General Consul, as well as other successful strategies to improve services in similar work environments, (2) an analysis of the impact these changes have had on Consular services and customer satisfaction, using both qualitative (e.g. focus groups, individual  interviews with Consulate employees and Mexican nationals using Consular services) and quantitative methods (e.g. analysis of administrative data, survey data, etc.),  3) Provide recommendations for further improvement of services/identify constraints to further improvements, (4) identification of best practices which could be replicated by other General Consul offices.  As a final deliverable, the client will receive a final report evaluating changes to Mexican Consular General services.