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Blog post

Passing the torch of entrepreneurship

John Molson MBA Q&A series
April 22, 2020
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By Chris Wise

John Molson MBA Q&A is a series of interview-style blogposts discussing the John Molson School of Business graduate programs experience from the perspective of current students, faculty and alumni.

Anna Giampà, MBA ’03, was born and raised an entrepreneur.  In this post, Anna shares her experience of gaining and imparting knowledge about entrepreneurship, passion and reaching for new heights.

Anna Giampa headshot

Your profile reveals someone who is clearly passionate about strategy and entrepreneurship. When did that passion begin and how have you fed it?

I had the privilege of growing up in a family business and got to see first-hand my parents’ efforts and dedication to ensuring success – business success and family success.  They viewed the business as a way of working with family to take care of their family.  More importantly, they did so with enormous pride and took great pleasure in ensuring the satisfaction of their customers and in providing for their children.  As a teenager, I met my now-husband, who also grew up in a family business with similar goals and values. We immediately connected on this commonality and started our own entrepreneurial projects as a young married couple.

Throughout my career, I relished in work that revolved around entrepreneurship.  Upon completing my MBA at the John Molson School of Business (JMSB), I was invited by JMSB to teach COMM 320, a course on entrepreneur theory and venture creation, which I taught for over 15 years. I thoroughly enjoyed sharing my experiences with students who were tasked with preparing a business plan for a real business. I also worked closely with entrepreneurs in my other professional roles and, in each of these roles, I was inspired by the passion and creativity essential to entrepreneurship – keys for success, no matter the size of the business.

You describe your trajectory as being a composite career.  What do you mean by that? What is the composition?

I describe my career path as composite because I thrive on having a full plate and seek out opportunities to have multiple projects going on at the same time.  For example, while teaching at Concordia, I also balanced other full-time or part-time commitments at different times, such as owning my own consulting practice, heading a philanthropic organization and investing in real estate. 

Even today, when my professional energies are focused entirely on my role at BDO as Director of Strategy | Management Consulting lead for Montreal, I also make time to act as Editor-in-Chief of a lifestyle magazine – Eleganza Magazine.  In all cases, the components making up my composite career at any given time allow me to exploit different strengths and develop in areas that enable me to continue being a well-rounded individual, something I pride myself on. 

Being married to a serial entrepreneur also allows me to dabble in different businesses, as an advisor, investor, or simply as a loyal customer!

How do you compare teaching strategy and entrepreneurship with consulting work for clients?

Teaching allowed me to bring my varied personal experiences to the classroom and convey my passion for the topic of entrepreneurship in different ways.  I often invited guest speakers to share their entrepreneurial stories and I would use the case method to illustrate application of course theory. JMSB strives to deliver a constantly relevant curriculum based on the reality of the world and I was able to contribute to that in a very concrete way.  The goal was to relate to students and impart knowledge in an effective way.  I also participated in academic research and publications in the area of entrepreneurship, which further enabled me to bring real world examples into the classroom.

As a consultant, my goal is to help clients transform their vision into action through
comprehensive, value-added advisory services. I use the same approach – calling on my expertise in the areas of strategy, communications and operations – to help them understand and implement the most optimal strategies for their organizations. 

Unlike students learning in a classroom and who may only have grades at stake, entrepreneurs take emotional, financial and other risks throughout the entrepreneurial journey.  Thanks to my own personal experiences, I am able to relate to client challenges, understanding how all these elements come into play when developing effective strategies for business growth and sustainability.

Looking back on your trajectory leading up to, during and after your MBA, what do you recommend for current and future students?

For me the MBA was a uniquely satisfying experience.  I participated in student life, I excelled academically and I developed cherished friendships.  The MBA is more than just a degree and access to a network; it provides students with a versatile and solid foundation.  You can get what you want out of the degree, so the more you contribute, the more rewarding it will be.

A key to my success as an MBA student and beyond has always been the ability to stay in healthy competition with myself, constantly striving to reach new heights academically, professionally and personally.

 

Ever learning, improving and rising in the fields of entrepreneurship and business consulting, Anna Giampà is currently Director, Strategy | Management Consulting, BDO Consulting at BDO Canada. Watch this space to see what other plates Anna will keep spinning!

For more information on the John Molson MBA, visit our website. Then connect with a recruiter to arrange a one-to-one meeting or participate in one of our many online information sessions.

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