Ian Chesney

Alumnus - Class of 2015


Current position: Senior Health Care Consultant, Santis Health
Co-op experience: PERL Policy Co-op, ON Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing
Academic background: History, Queen's University

Why did you choose Waterloo's Master of Public Service Program?

While I have always been interested in government work, I wanted a program that would provide me with the skill set I needed in order to serve the public to the best of my ability. The Master of Public Service program provides students with the most applicable and important skills in order to thrive as a civil servant. It has been the first, and best, choice I have made so far in my career.

Why do you want to work in the public service?

There is no greater feeling than knowing that your work is having a positive impact on the day-to-day lives of those around you. Whether it’s working on economic policy at the federal level, or supporting a municipality in providing its community with the services they need, as a public servant you can feel satisfaction in knowing that you are helping to provide Canadians with a better future.

What is your dream public service career?

When I picture my dream public service career, I see myself working for the Privy Council Office in Ottawa, directly supporting the federal Cabinet. For now all I can do is keep working hard to make sure my dream becomes a reality!

What was it like to be a Waterloo MPS student?

Being a Waterloo MPS student was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. While you’re learning new skills and meeting tight deadlines all the time, you have a wonderful group there to support you the whole way through. By the end of the term you feel like you have gained a new family.

What are your favourite MPS moments?

Definitely working late into the night analysing policy for Professor Henstra, or creating the briefing book for Professor Condon; at those times, taking a break and laughing over coffee with your cohort becomes your saving grace, and makes you appreciate more then ever, the support you get from your friends in the program. Also, I will never forget getting confused over economics and then laughing about the “Khubayashi Maru” with my classmates and Professor Sen. Inside-jokes like those are all part of the friendships you build in the MPS. 

What are your favourite MPS spots?

I spent most of my time at my favourite desk in the project room, combined with taking breaks and having coffee with my friends in the lunch room. These are the places where I made some of the best memories, and they are the places that I will miss the most.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned how capable I am of being successful in the face of any new challenges. As a former history major from a purely arts background, one of my major concerns at the beginning of the program was how hard it would be for me to learn some of the new skills I needed, like economic analysis and government finance. After lots of hard work and dedication, I can now say that these courses have been some of the most rewarding and enriching experiences for me in my life. 

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

If you are interested in public service, and want to learn the skills you need to build a rewarding and successful career in this field, come to the MPS! With hard work you will be successful!

What other wisdom do you wish to impart onto others?

To always stay optimistic, and never give up on your dream. When you’re confronted with challenges in life, keep an open mind and an open heart, and you’ll be successful. Finally, never shy away from seeking the support of those around you, but also remember to provide help when help is needed.