Student - Class of 2019

professional headshot of class of 2019 student Aizaz Malik

Academic background: Bachelor of Arts, Business & Society, York University
Co-op position: Industry Analyst, Automotive, Transportation, and Digital Technologies Branch at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED)

Why did you choose Waterloo’s MPS program? 

I chose the MPS program because it most closely aligned with what I was looking for from a graduate program. Through the experiences of previous students, I gathered that the program emphasized building a community and maintaining a strong alumni network. Further, the program’s focus on career development, along with academic coursework, was a big factor in my decision to choose MPS. I wanted to go to a program that prepared me for the practical side of the workforce, in addition to the academic skills I would need in the public service.

Tell us about your current co-op position. 

As an Industry Analyst in the Automotive, Transportation, and Digital Technologies Branch, I work in a number of areas. My primary responsibilities are in investment attraction. In this capacity, I identify potential opportunities for foreign direct investment in the Canadian automotive industry, and create strategic engagement plans to support investment attraction efforts. I have also had the opportunity to support senior branch executives in preparing for potential trade developments that could impact the automotive industry.

How did the MPS program, including your co-op experiences prepare you for a career? 

The courses taught in MPS built a strong foundation for my co-op experience. I began co-op already equipped with skills that I use regularly, including writing briefing materials, preparing stakeholder engagement materials, and conducting economic analyses. My co-op experience has allowed me to hone these skills towards my specific area of interest, which is economic development.

What are your favourite MPS moments? 

My favourite MPS moments were those where we got to unwind and take a break. This included MPSA social events, the end of year gala, and just hanging around the program space. These moments helped the cohort become a community, and made the hard work we put in even more rewarding. 

What have you learned about yourself as a result of the program and your career? 

One thing that I’ve learned about myself is that I’m far more comfortable with mathematical and complex analysis than I might have thought. As someone from a social sciences background, I was a bit nervous about the math component. Fortunately, excellent teaching and studying made it easy to handle.

What has been your most interesting experience working in the public service? 

The most interesting experience I’ve had thus far is supporting my branch’s Director General on preparing for possible trade developments that could impact the Canadian economy. I was able to utilize a number of skills I learned during MPS so that I could provide effective support, including project management, research and analysis, and preparing briefing materials. I was also able to sit in on director-level meetings, which gave me an opportunity to see the decision-making process, and how my work as an analyst contributed to it.

What advice do you have for someone interested in taking the MPS program?

My advice for someone interested in taking the MPS program would be to take full advantage of the opportunities available. Work hard in class and you’ll have the skills necessary to become a successful public servant. But also engage with the MPS community, as it is a strong and supportive network. This includes alumni, who are always more than happy to speak with current or future MPS students.

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