Be prepared to learn, not just from your professors but also your peers. That’s one of the biggest takeaways from the program.
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?
I was based in Dubai, in the UAE, and I was working as an Account Manager in the tech industry prior to my MBA. I guess I saw myself plateauing in my career a little bit, and I felt the need to advance my knowledge in a variety of business functions – especially because my undergrad was not in business. It was in computer science. In order to take the next step in my career confidently, I decided to look at MBA programs.
I would say the one at DeGroote especially stood out to me for a few reasons. The first one was because of the co-op program, so that stood out to me the most. For me personally, it was all about learning and testing myself at a workplace. The three co-op opportunities really allowed me to do that, and grow my knowledge and my experience through the entire MBA process.
The other reason for me to pick DeGroote over other schools was also the proximity to Toronto. That wouldn’t just help me find opportunities for the three co-ops close to Toronto or within the GTA area, but also look at networking events and workshops that happen in the region. Ultimately, it would help me find opportunities post the MBA within the GTA area.
Finally, the most important reason is the mix of students in the classroom. Prior to joining I had learned about the variety of industries that students come from, and that ultimately helps with the experiential learning that any MBA aspirant is looking for.
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?
There were quite a few events and activities that I enjoyed at school. The first one was the Embark Leader position. Embark is, of course, the event that takes place in the student orientation week. It’s a fun mix of activities and challenges that students go through that make them think on their feet, be creative, and, most importantly, be a leader. I was one of those team leaders last year and I really enjoyed that experience.
I was also on one of the associations. I was an exec on the MBA OM, which is the Operations Management club. I really enjoyed this experience over the course of two years. This was our chance to give students the opportunity to attend events and get more information about supply chain. There’s so many things happening in the supply chain space, in the operations space. You know, with automation, procurement warehousing, and demand and supply planning. My team of execs and I, we had a lot of fun organizing events [and] organizing networking opportunities for students within our program. We learned a lot of things about this domain, so I really enjoyed that experience.
I would also say that I enjoyed attending events run by the other clubs. I attended quite a few events run by the Marketing club, [as well as] one by the Women in Management club that I remember I really enjoyed. I always made sure I attended other club’s events as well because I wouldn’t normally get the chance to attend those events otherwise. So, this is a great opportunity for me to attend events on-campus.
How did your experience at DeGroote prepare you for your current career?
Like I mentioned earlier, I had just finished my first co-op when I decided that I wanted to get into the consumer packaged goods industry after I finish my MBA. The first thing I wanted to do was make sure that I was taking courses that would help build my analytical skills. As a Customer Development Analyst, it is very important for me to be making recommendations that are backed by strong, actionable insights. So, I’m glad I got that opportunity within my MBA. Moreso in my second year where I could pick and choose my courses, and be prepared me for the job that I’m in today.
Secondly, I also wanted to ensure that my next co-op – or even my next two co-ops – were in the same industry. A lot of the concepts and tools that I work on in my industry are very specific to the industry, and it was crucial for me to get as much CPG experience as I could before graduating. This is something I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do in most other MBA programs that have just the one summer internship. I knew that I was going to be in a better position compared to another student in another MBA program when I graduated.
What is your biggest takeaway from the MBA program?
I think I’ll go with experiential learning – learning by experience. I feel that it depends on how much you want to give into the program. If I were to speak to any prospective student, I would say that the more you put into the program, the more you get out of it. Be prepared to learn, not just from your professors but [also] your peers. That’s one of the biggest takeaways from the program.
When I’m at events, I’m not just there for networking but I’m also there to learn something new about a different industry or a different role that I didn’t have my eyes on. Essentially, I was prepared to get outside of my comfort zone. I can say that the MBA kept me extremely occupied. But because of all of the work I put in, I feel I’m reaping its benefits now. I’m missing all of it now that it’s over.
What 3 words would you use to describe DeGroote?
The first word I would use is diversity, and I know that I touched on that in the previous question. I found that coming in, my class was extremely diverse in terms of the experience each person brought to the classroom. There were backgrounds in supply chain, in financial services, and in marketing. I, of course, had prior work experience in the Middle East, and I learned so much from my peers who had worked here in Canada; and not just in Canada but in other parts of the world as well. My co-op placements, for instance, were in consumer goods but there were other students who had worked in technology, who had interned in the retail space. It’s just a great mix of the class where people come with so many backgrounds, and there are so many perspectives on the same case study that we’re working on together. That blew my mind completely.
The second word is networking and I know that’s something that is talked about a lot in not just our, but every MBA program. But I’d like to share my thoughts on it. Networking is often considered as meeting employers on- and off-campus to build your network. While all of that is great, I think something we tend to forget is our biggest network is within our school, our own cohort. These are people who you’ll work with in the program on projects [and] on assignments every single semester. They will all be graduating around the same time as you, and maybe [be] in similar roles to you. My advice to prospective students is to leverage that network the most.
The final word I would use to describe DeGroote would be fun. I know many students would say that there are days where you’re under a lot of pressure with projects and assignments due, exams coming up, all while you’re working on your co-op job applications. All of this is extremely enriching. There will be work that you’ll do that will be a lot of fun, and you’ll end up making a ton of friends in the process. So, my final advice to any student would be make sure you’re having fun in the MBA.
Meet Our MBA
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Siddhaganga Institute of Technology (Electrical Engineering)