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James Clark

Senior Analyst, Climate Finance at Global Affairs Canada


Year of Graduation: 2012

Prior Education: Honours Business Administration Degree, Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario

Prior Experience: Maritime Surface Officer, Royal Canadian Navy Reserve; Commercial Intern, United States Consulate General (Vancouver; Term Employee – Visa Processing, Canadian High Commission (Islamabad)

MPP Summer Internship: Strategic Policy Development Division, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

What influenced your decision to attend SPPG?
I have always been interested in working in government. When I looked at the MPP program, I was impressed by the breadth of the coursework and the quality of the faculty. Being located in Toronto also gives the school amazing access to business and government leaders and policy experts. These people visited the school with impressive frequency and were a constant feature of class discussion. More generally, I had also always wanted to live in Toronto, so attending SPPG gave me a chance to experience everything that Canada’s largest city had to offer.

What is your favourite memory of SPPG?
My favorite experience at SPPG was organizing the Ford/SPPG conference, which is now an annual event. As a dual citizen and a graduate of the University of Michigan, the conference was a very personal undertaking. After a year and a half of planning, the conference finally came to fruition during my last semester at SPPG with the help of SPPG funding, Pam Bryant who served as an advisor, and my colleague at the Ford School. It thrills me to no end to know that the conference has continued running even after my graduation from SPPG and that it has been institutionalized as an annual event.

What is a typical day like at your current job?
During the Parliamentary session, it is usually pretty hectic as we work with partner department to develop policy and funding approval documents. My team follows a matrix approach to assigning work, so I often find myself working on new area of public policy. I am constantly learning new things, which I find tremendously stimulating.

What advice would you now want to give to yourself on your first day as a MPP student?
Make an effort to get to know your classmates. The network and relationships you develop in graduate school will be enduring and one of the best takeaways from your time at SPPG.

What are your favorite Toronto activities, places or restaurants?
Running on the Toronto waterfront. I grew up near water for much of my life, so I found the light and space of the Toronto waterfront relaxing to run in.

What aspects of your MPP program did you most appreciate?
Frequent and lengthy engagement with professors and faculty – very different from undergrad. Opportunity to be exposed to so many different and interesting public policy practitioners. Clear focus on career development and opportunities to put theory into practice.

What book are you reading now?
The War that Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 by Margaret MacMillan; Tax is Not a Four Letter Word by Alex and Jordan Himelfarb