Osman Khawaja

Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Ryerson University (Commerce)
Senior Asset Management /Supply Chain Analyst, Johnson & Johnson
Class of 2016

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?

Prior to my MBA, I was working as a Business Analyst at CIBC on a multi-million dollar technology program which was designed to evolve the way CIBC’s front-end staff interact with all the different back-end systems. It was a great role where I was constantly learning, but I always wanted to increase my exposure to different industries as well as compliment my undergraduate education in Technology & Business (from Ryerson).

As I was looking at my options, I spoke to a few DeGroote MBA alumni and they recommended that I visit during their open house to get a feel of their offerings. That is where I was exposed to the Supply Chain industry and how impactful it is to essentially everything we do. If I were to summarize the point of Supply Chain, it is to ensure the right product is available at the right time for the consumer. However, there are industries and many people working behind the scenes to bring you that convenience. Given the plethora of possibilities, I decided to pursue my graduate studies. After personally speaking to the teaching professors and hear them talk about their real-world experience, I was convinced that DeGroote is the place I want to be.

Another reason why I chose DeGroote over other MBA programs was because of the Accelerated program offering. At the time, there wasn’t any comparable program that allowed me to finish my graduate studies in a condensed fashion—the Accelerated program was everything I was looking for and allowed me to hit the ground running as soon as I graduated.

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?

The best part about DeGroote was the close-knit culture of the student body. Given that there was just one dedicated building away from the campus helped quite a bit to foster the relationships. What I liked the most was everyone’s mature outlook and willing to help each other achieve goals. For example, I looked forward to group projects because it enabled me to network with different people coming from diverse backgrounds and work experiences. This helped me understand the concepts I was learning in my classes but from a different perspective.

I avidly participated in the social events at school where we could let off some steam and just relax with fellow students. I also participated with MBA Beyond Borders which helped the underprivileged in Canada and around the world with respect to relief planning. This actually helped me volunteer at a local organization to bring awareness of drought in Burkina Faso. With my MBA, I was better able to understand the social and environmental issues affecting life in Africa and how we could help as Canadians.

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

What I liked most about my MBA experience was the level of interaction it required in the class and in front of everyone. For most part of my life, I was an introvert, scared of public speaking or sharing my thoughts out loud. DeGroote changed all of that for me. I learned from being called out by peers and challenged by professors during class discussions. This also honed my persuasion skills when I defended my perspective on issues that interested me. Therefore, the most significant contributing factor of DeGroote to my career (and life!) would be confidence. I am a lot more confident in sharing my ideas, participating in meetings and supply chain strategy sessions then I ever thought I would be.

What is your biggest takeaway from the MBA program?

My biggest takeaway is that learning is never-ending and constant. Whenever I thought about successful people I would think that they’re successful because they’ve been doing essentially the same thing for so long. Therefore, that can be my silver bullet. However, the real success is because of constantly learning and broadening your skill-set. Before the MBA program, I was resistant to change. After completing my MBA, I look forward to embracing change! I enjoy the challenges that require novel solutions because that’s what my DeGroote MBA prepared me for.

What 3 words would you use to describe DeGroote? 

I would say DeGroote MBA is:

  • Focused
  • Collaborative
  • Life-changing