Jose Sanchez Lira

Envigado, Medellin, Colombia
Full-time with Co-op
Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Business Administration)
Associate, Sales & Trading Rotational Program, Scotiabank
Class of 2019

DeGroote’s close relationship with top employers in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area meant that the career opportunities that were available were abundant.

Tell us about your journey.  What were you doing prior to pursuing an MBA?  Why did you choose to pursue your MBA, and why at DeGroote?

After spending my first two years in the finance industry within Colombia. I noticed that I wanted to acquire and further enhance my knowledge in capital markets from a global perspective. Colombia is definitely a growing market; however it still has its limitations. I wanted to pursue an MBA to broaden my perspective of the business world, to gain international exposure, and to set a strong network of people from diverse industries and backgrounds.

DeGroote was the perfect candidate to accomplish these set of goals. The school is located in the golden horseshoe, the most populated and industrialized region. The economy is very diverse in the region, considering that Toronto and Canada in general has high living quality standards. DeGroote close relationship with the top industries in the region meant that the opportunities that I could encounter were abundant. Of course, as an international student I was drawn because of its co-op program, that allowed me to gain great exposure to the industries that I was interested to work in and head start to build those relationships that I was eager to construct.

Tell us a little bit about your experience at DeGroote. What associations or activities were you part of? What did you enjoy at the School?

  1. I have the opportunity to participate and support the various clubs that we have within. Of course because of my finance background, I tend to participate in any activity related to the finance industry, from networking events to investment challenges. It is also important to engage in social activities and volunteering work. The main objective of these sorts of events is to broaden your network and engage with your peers, helping you to build a well-rounded experience of the experience. Not everything has to be defined but what you see in the classroom.
  2. I can’t exactly name them all. But it is no doubt the relationships and the people you meet within the program. Many of us will be within the industry in a couple of years, leading entire business units, specializing in certain product groups; others will take a different route and start building outstanding enterprises. It’s amazing to see how you are influenced and inspired by those who surround you. I just love the diversity in my program, you will find people from different fields of study, background, perspective, all adding value to your whole learning experience.

How did your experience at DeGroote prepare you for your current career?

My growth and development since I started into the program has been remarkable. First of Thanks to McMaster, I have managed to equip myself with practical business skills and knowledge that I can easily apply to any work environment. The strong theoretical foundations that I have gained during my time at DeGroote has prepared me to manage real-world challenges.

Important soft skills such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, and critical thinking, are highly valued within my current industry, and DeGroote has provided the tools to learn those skill-sets through my participation in several case competitions, integrated projects, educational workshops, and networking sessions. All of this contributes and adds value to the advancement of my career.

In a classroom setting, I had the opportunity to interact and meet with students and lecturers who come from a variety of professional backgrounds. Giving me a wealth of insights and information and allowing me to broaden my professional network. Many of the people that I have meet within the program have become good friends of mine, and it is remarkable to see the type of jobs that they have landed nowadays, ranging from technological companies such as Microsoft to consulting companies such as Deloitte and Ernst & Young.

When I decided to pursue my MBA degree at DeGroote, I took a big step. The personal growth that I have experienced within the program makes me better prepared to face the current competitive work environment. I have no doubt of the future success of my professional career thanks to DeGroote.

In what ways have you grown since you started the program?  

My growth and development since I started into the program has been remarkable. First of all, your mindset kind of changes and you start to view aspects of the business world differently. Coming from Latin America, our culture tend to be homogenous if you compare it to the rest of the world, you have to be aware that you will be talking and working with people from different backgrounds, cultures, and opinions. You will notice that you have to take all of these aspects into account when you are considering ways to communicate and solutions that you need to take into place. I had a hard time approaching people senior to me, and seeing how nowadays I feel more comfortable approaching people who could potentially be leading huge global operations, says a lot of how the program prepares you to interact and communicate with potential recruiters or teams that you are interested to work for.