East Campus 5 (EC5)
305 Phillip Street
Tel: 519 888-4567 x 31012
Current Position: Strategic Planning Analyst, Global Affairs Canada
Co-op position: Business Improvement Analyst, Ontario Ministry of Government & Consumer Services
Academic background: Political Science & French, McMaster University
I chose Waterloo's Master of Public Service program because I wanted to learn skills that I could actually apply to the workplace. I knew I didn't want to pursue an academic career and I felt that the different components of the MPS program, especially the co-op terms, were geared towards preparing you for a career in the public service. The coursework also gives you a better understanding of fields such as economics and project management, which are definitely considered assets to employers.
For my co-op term, I was hired by the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services to be a Business Improvement Analyst in the Ontario Shared Services Division. My division is focused on the internal operations of the Ontario Public Service and is committed to providing and improving exceptional, efficient services to other government ministries and entities so that they can focus on their front-end operations and on serving the public.
I was very lucky to be hired alongside a fellow MPS student and friend, Nick Petroff. It is great because it made adapting to a new workplace easier. We work well with each other and this opportunity has allowed us to push each other to keep improving.
The MPS program was very important in preparing me for my career because not only did I learn a lot about the functions of the public service, but I learned how to do tasks that I never dreamed of accomplishing. Writing a cost-benefit analysis and a regression analysis seemed out of my area of comfort, and the idea of it, in fact, gave me anxiety. The MPS professors are awesome though and economic analyses are something that I am now comfortable doing and a skill I can contribute to the workplace.
In terms of my co-op experience, I am getting a chance to practice the skills that I learned in the hands-on MPS program, and I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people in the OPS and learn from them.
My most exciting experience was the first meeting where Nick and I presented the work we had been doing to staff of another unit. It was an amazing feeling to see that they were impressed by the work that we were able to do for them and to see that our manager was also impressed. I felt like I was actually productive and that I was able to make a contribution to bettering the functions of the day-to-day work in the public service.
I have learned that I am more adaptable then I thought I was. There are many things I have done in both the program and in co-op that I didn't think I was capable of doing. I also learned that I can still function under short amounts of sleep.
My favourite moments actually took place after class in the MPS space. The fact that the space is open to students 24/7 allowed us to spend a lot of time there together, particularly when we had exams and assignments. We would all get together and "crowd source" ideas. If one person understood a subject more than others because they had a background in it, they would help other people or we would all just help each other.
Besides the academic aspect of the space, it was also great for socializing, we would just hang out some times and tell jokes . . . on occasion, I would do an interpretive dance to Enya or Sarah McLachlan.
My advice for people in the MPS program is to take advantage of every learning experience and to remember that while it does get busy and stressful, the MPS experience is a lot of fun and you will meet friends of a lifetime. The world is your oyster!
The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is centralized within our Office of Indigenous Relations.