Mark develops and modifies energy sector policy and programs with an emphasis on electricity pricing. He also contributes to the province’s electricity system planning role, including the Long Term Energy Plan process. Mark started his career in the Toronto office of a U.S. based economic consulting firm and then moved to a position in the Finance department of a natural gas distribution company, where he forecasted weather, customer additions and electricity prices.
What interests and goals led you to graduate studies in economics?
Throughout high school and university I developed a general interest in business and investing. I had also chosen economics as a major during my undergraduate studies and had a good grasp of fundamental economic concepts. At the same time, I had done some research and realized that most professional economists had either a Master’s or Ph.D. degree. For these reasons, I knew that graduate studies at the University of Waterloo was the right choice for me.
How has your graduate training in economics impacted your career path?
It has provided me with a significant amount of choice in the job market and the opportunity to earn a good salary that has increased over time. A resume that features a Master’s degree in Economics, in my experience, is typically very well-received by employers. During my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work for the federal government, a consulting firm, a regulated utility and a provincial government.
What aspect of Waterloo's economics graduate program did you find most useful in terms of your career?
The major research paper that I worked on while studying at Waterloo was extremely helpful to my career development. Working closely with a professor, I developed an econometric model that considered the demand for cigarettes. Using provincial data, the model estimated the price elasticity of demand for cigarettes and considered the impact of smuggling on tax revenues. This process developed my quantitative skills – expertise that proved to be tremendously valuable in the workplace.
If you went on co-op how critical do you think it was for your career?
The co-op program was extremely beneficial for my career. I had the opportunity to work for the Business Income Tax division at the federal department of Finance in Ottawa while Paul Martin was Minister of Finance. During consecutive work terms, I learned basic job skills that served me well in later positions.
Any other comments about the Department? Would you recommend it as a destination for graduate education? If so, why?
I would definitely recommend the Economics department at the University of Waterloo as a place for graduate education. During my time in the department, the professors were of a very high calibre and had a diversity of backgrounds. The department’s focus on the quantitative aspect of economics is a strength that differentiates it from other programs. Individuals who are numerically inclined could consider pairing a Master’s degree in Economics from U of W with a Certified Financial Analyst designation, or a law degree.