Alumnus - Class of 2018

professional headshot of class of 2018 alumnus Christe WongCurrent position:  Business Intelligence Specialist, Blue North Strategies
Co-op position: Junior Operations Analyst (Business Planning & Analytics), Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.
Academic background: Bachelor of Arts, Honours Sociology with a Specialization in Business and Technology, Arts & Business, and Political Science Minor (Studied abroad at the University of Hong Kong)

Why did you choose Waterloo’s MPS program?

When I was nearing the end of the chapter of my undergraduate degree, I knew I wanted to pursue graduate studies. At the time, I was at a crossroad deciding between a research based graduate program and MPS. However, I think my experience of being in a coop program in undergrad has really influenced my choice of wanting to combine theory with experiential learning for my graduate studies as well. Thus, when I came across the MPS program through researching into U of Waterloo’s graduate programs, the co-op aspect as well as my interests to learn more about public policy and our political economy really motivated my decision to choose the MPS program.

Tell us about your current co-op position.

For my 8 month co-op component of the MPS program, I was a Junior Operations Analyst for the Business Planning and Analytics team (now called Enterprise Analytics) for the iGaming division of Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG). We had a course in data analysis in MPS but it was really through my coop experience that I truly had the opportunity to use my data analysis skills more extensively. I learned the art of storytelling through data work and learned new data analytical tools and skills I did not had before on the job. Some of my day to day tasks include; extraction and manipulation of big data, utilizing data visualization software, and understanding different data sets to provide meaningful analysis to the retention and acquisition marketing teams. Through this co-op experience, I also had great opportunities to attend conferences and external training sessions such as Environics Analytics and SAS.

Tell us about your current position.

I am currently working for a consulting agency as a Business Intelligence Specialist. As a BI Specialist, I work in the data team alongside with data specialists and consulting analysts to provide data solutions during the process of uncovering meaningful insights through analyzing our clients’ data. Blue North works exclusively in the social sector to help non-profits from across North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia including international development organizations, healthcare and hospitals, family and children’s services, and the arts to connect and grow their donor experience. Through the data analysis work, it enables us to uncover meaningful insights on our clients’ creative programs and provide direction on fundraising strategies.

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

The course that comes to my mind first is definitely data analysis which has been very prominent in my co-op experience and current position. It’s not just about learning the technical data analytical skills, but also being able to use the data effectively in order to provide meaningful insights that guides evidence-informed decisions and business strategies. Project Management is also very relevant when organizing project tasks and resources to meet deadlines, and our communication course in MPS is helpful in crafting well-developed documents and people skills such as relationship building!

What are your favourite MPS moments?

Every social event was a memorable one. From the time we had an MPS mixer at University of Toronto’s Hart House, to when we went to Ottawa for a Policy Jam at the Treasury Board of Canada (TBS) and Innovation, Science, and Economic Development (ISED). They were all great learning and unforgettable experiences and great opportunities to connect the current cohort with alumnus and past cohorts. I really enjoyed the close community of this program and the efforts of always keeping alumni in the loop of current MPS news! 

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

Be open minded – you never know where the opportunities presented to you will lead you in your career and adventures! Coming into this program, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in public policy. However, my experience in data analytics, let to a great opportunity to learn technical skills I was not exposed to before. You never know where the opportunities presented to you will lead you. Although in the past I would probably say I’m definitely not a “data geek”, never underestimate what you can achieve.

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

Be ready to have fun, but also work hard! Come with an open mind, and a heart ready to learn. Eight months academic work, then co-op, and then another 4 months of Major Team Project (MTP) passes by faster than you’d think. So be involved in the social events and make some incredible memories. Also when you have graduated, make sure to always come back as well. We are each other’s network and the community we have in this program is truly one-of-a-kind. 

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