Thirty-two students. Sixty-seven employers. And three different sessions of speed-networking set in the National Arts Centre. This was the highlight of the second annual Ottawa trip for graduating students in the Master of Public Policy (MPP) program at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy that took place in early February.

“The purpose of the Ottawa trip is to connect students to employers and ultimately, to jobs in Ottawa,” said Kate Dewasha, Career and Outreach Development Consultant for the MPP program. It was a natural follow-up to the fall visit for first-year students,which introduced them to the kinds of opportunities found in federal organizations – from government departments to think tanks to consulting services.

“It seemed like the perfect opportunity to speak face-to-face with federal public servants, gain insights on the work that they are doing and learn about potential opportunities within their respective departments,” said Faiza Mehboob, 2019 MPP candidate. “With graduation coming up quickly, our job search is ramping up and the Ottawa trip provided a chance to help explore our career options further in a targeted way.”

Over two days, second-year MPPstudents were encouraged to network as much as possible. The first day was devoted to meetings with alumni or previous connections made during summer internships. The second was dedicated to speed networking: employers were already prepared to meet the students, having received one-page resumes from each of themprior to the “first date.”Every student met with a potential employer for seven minutesbefore goingto the next table over a course of eight rounds. Students participated in two sessions each, resulting in at least sixteen opportunities to make connections and impressions. “I am really happy that I participated in this trip because I would not have been able to meet such a diverse group of prospective employers in one meeting,” said Mehboob.

Employers were pleased by the calibre of MPP students – calling both the event and the students “impressive.” Organizations represented at the speed networking event ranged from the Privy Council Office to Transport Canada,Public Policy Forum toDeloitte.

“I have already received positive follow-ups from the employers who reached out to me, so I hope they lead to fruitful career opportunities,” said Niha Shahzad, 2019 MPP candidate. “I’m also hoping to continue cultivating the relationships I made on the trip throughout my careerwith mentors I can consult for career advice, and continue learning more about the country’s most impactful government services.”

In 2018, nearly 40 percent of students who participated in the visit were able to find employment in Ottawa due to the contacts they had made through the trip’s networking opportunities.

February 27, 2019