By Suzanne Bowness

Tessa Seager had been a practicing lawyer for a couple of years, but she had her eye on something more.

”I’m much more interested in the big picture and politics is about as big a picture as you can get,” says Seager. “I knew the Master of Political Management program would open the door to contribute meaningfully and thoughtfully to the big issues of the day.”

She earned the degree and landed a position as principal in the Vancouver office of public relations firm McMillan Vantage Policy Group.

Seager, who moved from Vancouver to complete the program, says it was everything she expected. “It’s an awesome program. The professors are top notch, including directors of policy for past prime ministers, people who ran federal campaigns, leading pollsters and strategic communicators with decades of experience,” she says, adding that high-profile guest speakers such as former prime ministers Stephen Harper and Joe Clark added their insights.

Assignments were also highly practical says Seager who had the opportunity to write a memorandum to cabinet, the format in which a minister’s policy ideas are introduced to, and then debated by, cabinet.

A headshot of Tessa Seager against a plain white background.

Tessa Seager

She practised doing media interviews in a green room and reviewed the video footage to see how she and others performed. Field trips to the House of Commons and Senate provided opportunities to observe Parliament in progress.

“There’s readings and textbooks and essays, but that’s all complemented by really practical experience,” says Seager. Students are paired with mentors-in-residence. In Seager’s case that was Bill Fox, a former director of communications to former prime minister Brian Mulroney.

“Being able to be connected with people like that who are looking out for you and wanting to see you succeed was really amazing.”

Seager, who holds a law degree from the University of British Columbia and an Honours BA in International Relations from the University of Toronto, started working for her current employer during the MPM, spending the program’s 10-week practicum in the firm’s Ottawa office. As the country’s only public affairs firm embedded in a national law firm, the position is a good fit.

Yet another advantage of the program, says Seager, was the strong connection with fellow students, made easier with the relatively small class.

“It’s really cool to have this opportunity to spend so much time with 25 people from different political backgrounds and debate so many important issues. You really get to know people from across the aisle in a unique way,” says Seager, adding that the program’s extensive connections are also impressive. “The network of support that the MPM provides is probably its most valuable offering.”

Wednesday, November 6, 2019 in ,
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