Tracy Suerich

Alumnus - Class of 2014

Current position: Program Coordinator, Waterloo Public Square, City of Waterloo
Academic background: Theatre Technical Production, Ryerson University

Why did you choose Waterloo’s Master of Public Service program?

I wanted to open up my career options in municipal work, and this program was the perfect way to enhance my work experience and previous education in order to align myself for upper management at the city. I love living in Waterloo, so the choice was simple for me.

Why do you want to work in the public service?

I stumbled into a career in the public service by chance, but once I started, I knew it was the right place for me. I love to make a difference in peoples lives and I am passionate about community building and improving the city from the inside out. Through this program, I have enjoyed learning about other facets of public service, in other sectors and different levels of government, many of which also appeal to me. I would say that my career prospects are more open now than I ever imagined they would be.

What is your dream public service career?

In 10 years, I want to be Chief Administrative Officer at the Municipal level. Maybe even here in Waterloo or maybe in a new city that I will grow to love just as much.

What was it like to be a Waterloo MPS student?

You can tell, just by walking in the door, that this is a career-oriented program. It doesn't feel like a school so much as a think-tank or an inspiring office environment. I love that we are located away from the distractions on campus. The students are great and from a broad range of backgrounds so we learned almost as much from each other as we did from the faculty.

Life as an MPS student is challenging, with a full course load and constant deadlines, but it is very fulfilling and I still managed to balance the work load with other important things in my life, so I don't feel like I sacrificed anything to excel in the program.

What are your favourite MPS moments?

That is a hard one, there were so many memorable moments. My favourite courses were Government Finance in the first term, and Government, Business and Civil Society in the second; but the great moments were so much more than the classes. I really enjoyed the mixer at the beginning of the second term. It was a fun evening where we had the opportunity to meet students from previous cohorts and hear about their experiences. I enjoyed learning about a shared love of food over lunch hours with many of my classmates. (Being across the street from Vincenzo's doesn't hurt.) But mostly, I will remember the last day of classes, when we realized just how close our class had become, and how we weren't saying goodbye, but rather, we were making plans to see each other again and again. My class has turned into my colleagues and friends for my future.

What did you learn about yourself in the last nine months?

I learned that it is never too late to go back to school, that sharing a classroom with so many fresh undergrads is fun and everyone had something to contribute. I also learned that economics isn't so scary at all. I even caught myself enjoying it most of the time.

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in the program?

This program is very broad in scope. So don't be afraid if you don't have a business or political science background; I didn't. It is designed to quickly bring everyone up to the same level and to propel us as independent thinkers and skilled employees for the government sector. If Public Service is where you want to be, you can get there, no matter what your previous training was in. The public sector needs people from the arts, planning, and even engineering. It isn't all about bureaucracy and politics. It is about bringing your knowledge up a level in order to serve and improve our community, province and nation.

What other wisdom do you wish to impart onto others?

Though the program is great for people fresh out of university, I think that those of us who returned after several years in the workforce got even more out of the experience. That being said, leaving the workforce for studies is not something everyone can do, so know yourself and what you can accomplish now and in the future before deciding when it is the right time for you in the MPS program.

Tracy Suerich