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Daniel R. Oettl

Senior Consultant, Gandalf Group


Year of Graduation
2011

Prior Education
International Business Diploma, BA in Political Science and History from McGill

Prior Experience
Research Associate at Innovative Research Group, Secretary/ Research Assistant at Canadian Association of Programs in Public Administration (CAPPA), Accreditation Board

MPP Summer Internship: Policy Intern, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Green Energy

What is your favourite memory of SPPG?
Lots of great memories, but my favorite would have to be one time in my first year when I got really excited (as I tend to) about a policy debate in class, and interrupted Erin Riley while she was making her points. She firmly but politely told me to wait and let her finish. That moment sums up so much about my experience at SPPG; the excitement, the debate, and meeting really smart and talented people (from whom I am still learning).

What influenced your decision to attend SPPG?
I was initially turned down by SPPG in May, and was 12 hours from moving to Vancouver (to attend the MPP program at SFU) when I was offered a spot at SPPG. I called an old boss for advice; he asked me where I wanted to build my network. Basically, unless I was ready to commit my early career to BC politics, SPPG was a no-brainer. It made sense when I heard it, and it is absolutely true now; my network makes me better at my job.

What is a typical day like at your current job?
Often my first few hours are a rush to produce a draft document (a proposal, supplier costing/feasibility memo, flash memo on interim data, presentation deck, moderators guide, exploratory advanced analysis on some fresh data, draft questionnaire/screener, topic background research, etc.) for internal review. Then a client presentation or project consultation meeting, or perhaps an internal staff meeting. The rest of the day is usually spent finalizing documents based on new feedback or information for final submission to the client. Add constant emails discussing or tweaking said documents/projects, and regular browsing of news sites and twitter to make sure I’m as up to date as possible.

What advice would you now want to give to yourself on your first day as a MPP student?
Dedicate significant energy to engaging with and learning from your peers and faculty. Help your peers whenever able and have an honest look at the reputation you are building. Build relationships, earn trust, and deserve respect.

What have you done or are doing now that you believe has the most impact?
Public opinion research and strategic communications around retirement income adequacy. With any luck, research that I (and my bosses) designed, analyzed and presented will have directly contributed to the successful undertaking of substantive pension reform in Ontario.

Who inspires you?
Although they are demanding, my bosses (all 4 of them) are daily examples of where hard work and talent can take you. Each of them has different styles, skills and careers, but they are all excellent consultants and trusted advisers. (Seriously, I’m not sucking up; I know for a fact they won’t read this. Alex smells like boiled cabbage)

What book are you reading now?
Why the West Rules-for Now by Ian Morris & The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver.