Alumnus - Class of 2019

professional headshot of class of 2019 student Kyla Mackenzie

Academic background: Bachelor of Arts, double major in English Literature/Law/Justice & minor in Philosophy, Laurentian University
Co-op position: Project Management Coordinator, Office of the Auditor General of Canada

Why did you choose Waterloo’s MPS program?

I chose the MPS program over other graduate programs because of the community-based atmosphere that was evident coupled with the array of multi-disciplinary courses, and attractive co-operative education component.

Tell us about your current co-op position.

I am currently working as a project management coordinator for the Office of the Auditor General of Canada. The office recently implemented large IT based projects, and subsequently created a Project Management office within. It is my role to assist in the advancement of this office by using two current projects as templates, and creating a variety of tools which would aid in the accessible and efficient management of large IT enabled projects the office will tackle in the future.

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

The MPS program has helped me prepare for a career in a variety of ways. From the group work, to the mock interviews, to the coursework, to the co-operative education, the MPS program has trained me for a career in the public service in the most effective way possible.

What are your favourite MPS moments?

Although there are many to choose from, some of my favourite MPS moments were in the classroom.  One of these memories is presenting for Kitchener MPP and former minister of Community and Social Services John Milloy and answering tough questions posed by David Fulford, former assistant deputy minister of Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MEASD).  Surprisingly, another accomplished moment for me was during the statistics exam; I actually understood the material, which I never believed would be possible at the start! The co-op interview process (believe it or not), was another favourite memory because of how much I learned about myself during the grueling process. Finally and most memorable of all, were the many lasting friendships created with my classmates.

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

Throughout the MPS program and my current career at the Office of the Auditor General, I learned that I hesitate and doubt my capabilities far too often. The program and this job are showing me that change is a good thing, education is a good thing, and following your dreams is a good thing. DON’T BE AFRAID OF CHANGE, EMBRACE IT!

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

My most interesting experience thus far has been getting to know the Auditor General during the Phoenix Pay system crisis. They way he and the OAG Office of Parliament handled the situation was very impressive.  Under his leadership, the team ensured all current projects are being allocated the appropriate amount of resources to be implemented effectively and successfully.

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

My advice would be that if you’re interested in working for the public service at any level (municipal, provincial, or federal), MPS is the right place for you. MPS gives you every skill and insight that you need to prepare you for work as a public servant. Lastly, if you ever feel hesitant about your decisions, call Professor Sen. He will be honest with you and connect you with the best alumni/students who will give you their honest opinion

University of Waterloo