Vedant Puthran
Master of Public Policy, Munk School

Celebrating Our Graduates: Vedant Puthran

If you had told Vedant Puthran that in grad school, he would have dinner with the National Security and Intelligence Advisor of Canada, he probably wouldn’t have believed you. That’s just one of the many unique opportunities afforded to Puthran, a Master of Public Policy (MPP) graduand.

Initially wanting to be a lawyer, Puthran, who will cross the stage with his graduating class on June 14, attended U of T for his undergraduate degree in criminology with a focus on criminal justice policy. After graduating from the program, Puthran interrogated his legal desires and realized he would much rather give back to his community in a more tangible way. “For me, a career in policy seemed like the better fit for my goal of helping the public, rather than pursuing a career in law,” says Puthran. He decided a transition to public policy work with an emphasis on immigration, a topic which he had already incorporated into much of his coursework and assignments “as much as possible.”

Above all, he didn’t want to pigeonhole himself. Puthran wanted to do more than practice law — he wanted to be a decision-maker who creates the policies and laws that lawyers use, and knew he wanted to pursue grad school in Toronto. He decided to apply to the MPP program after hearing about the professional opportunities available to graduates and breadth of events and opportunities offered at the Munk School.

Throughout his MPP experience, Puthran participated in public policy case competitions, one of which landed him and his team a first-place win. At the 2021 Policy-at-Munk Fall Case Competition, Puthran and his team worked to provide solutions to the Great Resignation, an ongoing public policy problem affecting Canadians at the time. “I think it was such a unique experience, especially because I was only two months into being at the Munk School. Right off the bat, I was applying what I learned to create policy solutions. It was good to get that experience early on because then it helped with other assignments and of course, my career,” he says.

Puthran landed an internship with the RCMP and intends to work with them in an analyst role upon formal graduation. “The Munk School equipped me to write briefing notes for high-level events, research reports related to ministerial directions, and program reporting. When my manager and supervisor [at the RCMP] told me to do my first briefing note, I said, ‘Okay, I got this.’”

From participating in January Jumpstart, to candidly chatting with the National Security and Intelligence Advisor over dinner, to Michael Batista’s Canadian migration policy class and the Ottawa networking trip, Puthran cites many experiences as being standout moments of the MPP program. “Even if it's just a random networking call or meeting, you never know what can come from that. If you leave a good impression and put yourself out there, it can lead to somebody advocating for you.” Puthran found this to be true in his current role. Through the RCMP mentorship program, he received support and guidance from one of his directors. “I think my top advice for students and graduates is to take advantage of available resources and seek out opportunities on your own,” he says.

Although the MPP program was a rigorous two-year journey, the opportunities and possibilities along the way made it all worth it for Puthran. As for what’s next? Puthran is sure that for himself and the rest of his graduating class, the best is yet to come.