Sridaya Srivatsan

Alumnus - Class of 2018

Current position: Data Analyst, Strategic Business Transformation at Canadian Heritage 
​Co-op position: Service Delivery and User Experience Officer, Canadian Heritage
Academic background: Economics, minor in Management Studies, University of Waterloo

Why did you choose Waterloo’s MPS program?

Professor Anindya Sen has a legacy in the Economics Department at UW. I attended one of his lectures at a conference and I knew I had to work with him at some point in my life. Later when I realized I wanted to use my skills in data analytics within policy making, I realized the MPS program would be my fastest route for achieving my goals.

Tell us about your current co-op position.

It is an incredibly innovative position, and breaks stereotypes of what government work looks like. Being a part of a modernization initiative, my role is to keep the end user in mind and research feedback forms to address any gaps in the service delivery model. So far, I’ve been part of a “Design Jam” conducted by design experts which brought together employees at Canadian Heritage and important stakeholders from our client list. Being a part of such initiatives is really rewarding because it is easy to see how the work we do will directly impact Canadians.

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

I would say the unique combination of skills learned in the course work have set me up to be successful in a variety of roles. Having exposure to project management, political context, statistics, communications, and policy development leads to a greater mobility in terms of opportunities. 

What are your favourite MPS moments?

I would have to say one of the potlucks where we gathered together to break bread. It sounds cheesy, but these are the moments I cherish – taking a bite into a dish that a classmate brought in and being surrounded by laughter and by a sense of belonging.

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

I have realized that if I really want to achieve something and I keep projecting that idea with every ounce of my being, it’ll end up happening. Specifically, given my performing artist background I walked into MPS with a lofty goal of establishing a career at Canadian Heritage. The co-op resume writing preparations conducted by Jay, Sheila, and Ramona supported me in representing myself in the right way on paper. The practice interviews with Sen bolstered my confidence and it all lead to me getting my co-op job exactly where I wanted to be. The admin team at MPS are the types of positive-minded people I have learned that I need in my life, and I couldn't’t have had such an amazing academic learning experience without them!

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

I would have to say attending the Innovation Fair in downtown Ottawa was the most interesting thus far. So many departments in the government are placing an importance on delivering better services for Canadians and are challenging the status quo in the government. Additionally, there were so many conversations on what it means to innovate within the framework of being a feminist public servant as well as listening to Indigenous People’s voices. It makes me hopeful for the future of Public Service in Canada.

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

  1. Think critically about everything you’re learning—being in the classroom is a privilege not a right.
  2. Start dreaming about your ideal future and the people you want to help/support – which ministry would be the best for you?
  3. Plan the projects you choose to do depending on your personal goals and not just based on who your friends in the program are.
  4. Build relationships. Do not just network for the sake of networking. I know this isn’t a popular piece of advice, but so far when I make meaningful connections with other humans a mutually beneficial relationship forms. Don’t be the person that only messages people when you need something – ask people about their lives and ambitions outside of work and actually mean it. Let’s build genuine connections at MPS!
professional head shot of class of 2018 student Sridaya Srivatsan