Alumnus - Class of 2017

professional headshot of class of 2017 alumnus Rick CammCurrent position: Head of Regulatory Affairs, Eve & Co Incorporated 
Co-op position: Analyst, Retail and Service Industries Division at Statistics Canada
Academic background: Honours Bachelor of Arts, Political Science with Research Specialization Option from Wilfrid Laurier University

Why did you choose Waterloo´s MPS program?

I chose Waterloo's MPS program because it was one of the few Canadian Masters programs which offered not only a good balance of economics, statistics, public policy and project management, but also an opportunity to get co-op experience within the government. Getting into government these days can be tough and the opportunity to pursue a co-op separated the MPS program from every other program I was looking at.

Tell us about your current co-op position:

I currently work as an Analyst in the Retail and Service Industries Division at Statistics Canada. I analyze statistical program data and assist in the preparation of analytical material for internal use and publication purposes. The data I primarily analyze is collected data from various business surveys associated with specific industries including Head Office, Repair & Maintenance, and the Consumer Goods & Rentals industries. After Statistics Canada receives survey data from these various Canadian industries, I then examine the data to identify statistical trends and developments in order to compare it to our collected data from previous years. After I analyze our collected data, Statistics Canada will then release our findings in an annual report which provides the public and businesses associated with these various industries to get a breakdown of their industry variables including operational revenue, operational costs, and salaries/wages. By releasing this data, businesses are provided with a year over year picture of trends within their various industry sub-sectors at both a National and Provincial level.

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

The academic content of the program itself provided me with a broad understanding of economics, public policy, statistics and project management which are necessary components of working in government.  The course material also allows you to separate yourself from other prospective co-op students as it is very rare that students applying to various jobs will have experience in all of these areas. My co-op experience itself has really provided me with a greater understanding of how the structures and processes of government operate. After working with such diverse statistical business data, as well as gaining experience using a wide variety of statistical programs and applications, I have built a strong foundation which will allows me to succeed in my public service career going forward.

What are your favourite MPS moments?

My favourite MPS moments all involve my professors and fellow classmates. I´ve made such great friends in this program and can´t even describe how many awesome memories I´ve had with everyone.  Whether it was helping out one another preparing for tests or participating in social events with everyone, I can look back on my time in the program and say it was a great decision. Oh... but if there is one specific favourite moment, it would be the debates in class between Derek Totzke and Ron Mahmood.

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

I have learned that you really can do anything if you put in the time and effort. Don´t doubt yourself if you´re worried that you may not have any academic experience in statistics or economics. You have great resources and support from both your professors and fellow classmates. I never thought as a guy who never had statistics or math come to him naturally would eventually end up working at Statistics Canada. I´ve realized that I can and will succeed going forward in my career if I put in the time and ask for support if I need it.

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

My most interesting experience working in the public service has been how I´ve had the opportunity to learn so much about the specific retail and service industry portfolios.  For example, it´s really cool to collect all your survey data, analyze it, and be responsible to construct the story as to why a certain sub-sector of an industry is growing, or declining. Or why one big company representing a large chunk of an industry´s operating revenue grew so much. In general, it´s just really cool to have the opportunity to work and have access to all of Canada´s business data within the various retail and service industries.

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

Personally, I would schedule a meeting with Sheila McConnell, the Program Officer for the MPS program. I did that before I applied to the program and she was great in providing me answers to any questions I had. Also if you can, talk to alumni of the program to see what they thought of it. I am sure if you asked Sheila to reach out to any alumni including myself, there would be many that would be more than willing to answer any questions you have. Lastly, don´t be intimidated by courses like statistics or economics if you have never taken them.  Many people in my cohort did not have experience in these subjects and we still ended up with jobs. You will be okay.

University of Waterloo