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Blog post

Pursuing an MBA as part of a career transition

John Molson MBA Q&A series
November 20, 2019
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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. This week, we ask two John Molson students about their career transition via the MBA program.

For Megan Ogilvie, MBA ’19, the MBA program helped her discover a new career path that led to a job offer in management consulting. During her MBA, she got experience in consulting, worked with students from around the world, and developed a strong business acumen.

Like many of our MBA students, Sapandeep Randhawa comes from an engineering background. Through the John Molson MBA, he is building a bridge between his interest in industrial engineering and corporate finance strategy.

Megan Ogilvie - from Science to Consulting

Megan Ogilvie headshot

What is your background?

Before my MBA, I completed an undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. My diverse professional experiences include working as: a Research Assistant and then as a Scientific Engineer in a physics research and development lab to develop a new greenhouse technology; a consultant on usage-based car insurance policy; and as an insurance underwriter at two multinational insurance companies.

Why did you want to do the MBA at John Molson?

I chose to do an MBA because I wanted a better business education to pursue my goal of managing a medium-sized business in the aerospace industry in Montreal. John Molson is a forward-looking business school with many experiential learning opportunities. In particular, the Concordia Small Business Consulting Bureau (CSBCB) interested me because it would give me the chance to work directly with local businesses.

How did you get involved at John Molson?

After starting the full-time MBA, I was selected to join the CSBCB, where I worked with a team to write industry research reports and business plans for clients. This was where I developed a deeper interest in consulting. I liked learning about different industries, such as artificial intelligence and healthcare, as well as providing clients with practical solutions to help their businesses.  Though challenging, it was always new and exciting.

How has the MBA changed your career path?

In the spring of 2019, I decided to pursue a career in management consulting. I started my recruitment preparation that summer since most firms recruit in the fall. It was great to have the support of the JMSB community during my job hunt: I practiced case interviews with my MBA colleagues; received career guidance from Career Management Services; had several coffee meetings with alumni working in consulting; and attended many on-campus recruitment events. This support and my efforts paid off - I accepted an offer from Oliver Wyman.

Completing the John Molson MBA gave me the business skills and confidence to pursue a career in management consulting. I am excited to begin my new career and look forward to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

 

Sapandeep Randhawa – from Industrial Engineering to Business

Sapandeep Randhawa headshot

What is your background?

When I scored 100% in Math and Science in the 9th grade, my teachers suggested that I go into engineering. I have been continuously fascinated and curious to learn about Supply Chain Management, Operations Management, Process Improvement and Lean Six Sigma, which is why I obtained both Bachelor and Master degrees in Industrial Engineering.

Why did you want to do the MBA at John Molson?

I think I was always interested in finance and in earning an MBA.  I saw people who had done the MBA program as very active and engaged in different initiatives.  They were inspiring to me. The field of Engineering can be very analytical, for example with coding, but, since I went down the industrial engineering route, I found that type of engineering to be very much in line with business operations and strategy, how organizations are managed, and change management, which is the current trend.  So this naturally led to a greater interest for me to pursue an MBA.

How are you getting involved at John Molson?

I am the President of the Briscoe Business Ownership Club, as well as being VP Finance and Analytics for the John Molson MBA Case Competition Committee. A defining moment for me so far was helping to organize the Spring 2019 Van Berkom Case Competition for small- and mid-cap companies. The experience helped me to see things from the candidate’s perspective and learn how to explore and develop solutions to a particular set of problems. Another memorable experience for me has been the "Strategies in Action" class taught by Tim Field. The class has prepared me well to represent JMSB at internal and external case competitions. These case competition experiences have made me a better presenter, to think quick off-the-cuff, especially being able to articulate key points. I recommend that current and future students make full use of the experiential opportunities at John Molson to make the MBA a remarkable learning experience.

What have learned so far during your transition through the MBA?

Students aiming to transition into an industry focused on Finance (banking, financial services, insurance, fintech, etc.), but who don't have prior finance, accounting or commerce experience might find certain courses in the MBA curriculum challenging. It can even sometimes be difficult to have conversations with people in the financial industry, since there are particular financial terms and expressions used. One tip to get a head start and show your interest in finance is by earning a certificate or designation such as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), either concurrently or even before gaining the MBA.

Thinking specifically about the John Molson MBA curriculum, I feel that two courses in particular have prepared me for a career in finance. The Financial Management course contained many elements of value: stocks, bonds, how to calculate present values on transactions, cash flow, etc. In Financial Accounting for Managers, I was most struck by the financial ratios institutions use, which seems very useful for getting a job at a top financial company. My plan is to pursue a career in banking with an equal focus on corporate finance and product strategy.

One last thing: this past summer, I was a Graduate Leadership Development Program Associate at CIBC, a position that was very rewarding and that I will also be taking next year. If students are interested in working at CIBC in a similar position, there is a posting currently open until Monday, November 25th through John Molson’s Career Management Services. Contact CMS for more details.

 

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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