The MBA that put me first
What were the most important aspects you considered when choosing the programme and the business school?
I knew from the beginning that an MBA would equip me with the knowledge and skills I needed to achieve my career goals, so the programme wasn’t in question. I did, however, look into several business schools and the first thing I considered was the courses that were included in the curriculum. I wanted to make sure that it adequately covered topics that would provide me with a holistic understanding of leadership and business.
Another factor that was important for me was the university’s reputation in providing their students with quality education in the business field. I researched the feedback the university got from former students regarding the programme and also looked at the career progression of these former students after they graduated. What was the likelihood of the students getting hired shortly after graduation? Were they hired by distinguished companies? Did they successfully launch their own businesses? What roles did they take after they left the university? Etc.
Lastly, I evaluated the cost of getting the degree, mainly by asking “How long do I need to be away from work and how soon can I go back?”. A shorter programme duration meant that I would need less time away from work, thereby minimising the overall cost of getting the degree. I also considered where the university is located and the performance of the technology industry in that area. I wanted to make sure that I could relaunch my career soon after graduation in a thriving economy that promised career growth. The SFU Beedie School of Business and Vancouver, Canada aligned with my needs perfectly.
Has the MBA degree helped you achieve better results career-wise, and how?
Yes, absolutely! As an engineer, I was trained to be highly technical. I realised that in order for me to be one of the leaders within a company, I needed to understand how businesses are run and learn to see things through a different lens.
The MBA programme and the experiences it provided served as a foundation that trained me to look beyond the technical details and start considering the different aspects of an organisation. I developed the ability to zoom in and examine the small details of a situation and zoom out to analyse how small details impact organisations. I learned the importance of thinking about the stakeholders involved and seeing things from their perspective. The MBA programme also sharpened my collaboration and communication skills through plenty of team activities, class presentations, case competitions, and SFU Beedie’s Toastmasters club. These are some of the skills I gained from the programme that helped me emerge as a leader and be successful in my current role as project manager.
How would you describe the learning environment (academic, extracurricular, services) at the SFU Beedie School of Business?
The learning environment at SFU Beedie has a huge focus on students. It is a programme that puts the students first. Within the classroom, professors build an atmosphere of empathy where students are encouraged to share their thoughts and contribute to the class discussions. It was a safe space for us to take risks and share our insights freely. The co-curricular activities, such as the case competitions, student clubs, externships, and internships, provided us with opportunities to showcase and apply what we learned in class. The Career Management Centre exposed us to professionals who could guide us as we made our way back to work. There was a mentorship programme where we were paired with mentors from the industry we were interested in. Additionally, there was an externship programme where we spent a week learning the ins and outs of an organisation and adding value to their projects. Both programmes were eyeopeners and helped me discern what type of role and career I wanted to build after I finished the MBA. Overall, I would say the learning environment is one of support and exploration.