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The MBA with an experiential edge

Concordia's Co-op program seeks to broaden students' professional horizons
February 13, 2017
By J. Latimer

After four years working in government health-care administration, Julia Woolsey wanted a change. She decided to pursue her MBA at the John Molson School of Business, as a member of Concordia’s Institute for Co-operative Education

Julia Woolsey | Photo by Josée Lecompte Photographe Julia Woolsey | Photo by Josée Lecompte

“One of the reasons I chose John Molson was because the MBA Co-op program gives you this opportunity to go and test out anything without commitment,” she says.

“If I were to have made a life change — quit my job to try a totally new industry — there might have been very serious ramifications. But the Co-op program gave me the flexibility to try different things, and I used it.”

Woolsey, who’s set to graduate from the MBA program this spring, completed two very different Co-op work terms to broaden her experience.

“I went from making data-driven engine maintenance forecasts at Pratt & Whitney Canada to unifying the global marketing divisions of a family-owned company called Lallemand, specializing in yeast, bacteria and micro-organisms” she explains.

“Concordia exposed me to the fast-paced, private sector and I loved it.”

The diverse opportunities also taught Woolsey just how much she likes problem-solving.

For Alex Bottausci, program coordinator at the Institute for Co-operative Education, Woolsey’s story is a perfect example of how the MBA Co-op Program helps students facilitate a career change.

“Many MBA students already have a background in one sector. Perhaps they’ve been working for five to 10 years in an engineering firm but they want to move to pharma. That’s where we come in,” he says.

“Coop enables the student to migrate from one industry to another. Our programs expose students to various sectors, which can lead them down a career path they may have otherwise overlooked. We act as a bridge between different industries and different skill sets, and make the academic journey a more fulfilling one through experiential learning.”

How MBA Co-op works

The Co-op program accepts approximately 40 students per year. Participants complete one or two eight-month work terms, as well as academic requirements in the classroom.

Starting this fall, Concordia’s MBA becomes a streamlined 45-credit graduate degree, available part-time and full-time. This new structure means it takes only four terms to complete full-time.

“We’ve rebuilt from the ground up to help students develop a holistic view of management, whether it be in the for- or non-profit sectors,” says Sandra Betton, director of the MBA.  

“Our students begin their journey with a big-picture introduction to business, ethics and sustainability.”

What’s next for Woolsey? She has accepted a position with Deloitte, consulting for the public sector. Part of her new job will involve working with hospitals. “I couldn’t be happier,” she says. “The MBA Co-op helped me to solidify the skills I learned in class and exercise them in practical ways.”

Find out more about Concordia's 
Institute for Co-operative Education.



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