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Nina Arbabzadeh

Special Policy Advisor and EA, Treasury Board Secretariat


Year of Graduation: 2013

Prior Education: London School of Economics, MSc. International Political Economy

Prior Experience: Compliance Analyst, Bank of Montreal

MPP Summer Internship: Policy Analyst, Personal Income Tax Policy and Design, Ontario Ministry of Finance

What influenced your decision to attend SPPG?
University of Toronto always resonates with home (i.e., Toronto) for me (I spent my undergraduate years at UofT as well); accepting an offer from SPPG after having spent time abroad was like coming home. This is apart from caring for and wanting to know more about policy.

What is your favourite memory of SPPG?
I have a few good memories, but one memory that comes to mind first is of Professor Fraser playing ‘Pumped up Kicks’ at the end of a gruesome stats class. I’m starting to think this memory might have entirely reshaped statistics for me as I’ve been working for ‘Education Statistics’ for the past year!

What is a typical day like at your current job?
It’s like always being prepared to face unknowns and trying to stay on top of issues; it’s challenging and fast-paced and very different from my other desk jobs where I had the liberty to take time to splurge on information and then reflect.

What advice would you now want to give to yourself on your first day as a MPP student?
I would advise myself to actively take part in and try to create and promote a sense of camaraderie between fellow peers.

Who inspires you?
It’s difficult to pick just one person who inspires me, but from SPPG, both Audrey Macklin and Chaviva Hosek were big inspirations for me, not just because of their great many accomplishments, but also because of their mentorship, the ease by which they created a free space for exchange of thoughts and ideas, and lastly for having instilled mindfulness for integrity when practicing public policy into their teachings.

What aspects of your MPP program did you most appreciate?
I really appreciated and took advantage of the opportunity to spend a semester abroad, but I especially appreciated and learned immensely from my peers at SPPG.

What book are you reading now?
I just recently finished reading the novel ‘Homo Faber’ by Max Frisch, which was a present from a good friend – I have to admit that recently, and somewhat sadly I have become more of a hoarder as opposed to reader of books.