Laurier MBA Graduate Success Stories

Anna Germenis

Anna Germenis, MBA, CMA – 2008

Sr. Manager, Accounting and Financial Reporting
Kinetic Concepts

Why do you think its important to have an MBA?

An MBA degree provides you with the necessary skills to succeed in today’s world. Whether you are running your own business or working for an organization, an MBA provides you with the skills to think about problems from all angles so that you can make the best decision possible.

It’s not just about passing a test, but really understanding the concept and applying it to what happens at work on a daily basis. The Laurier School of Business does an excellent job in training future leaders. The curriculum touches on all aspects a typical business/organization will face and shows you real world examples of how to solve them. There is no cookie cutter solution taught here.

Why did you choose Laurier for our MBA?

I choose Laurier mainly because of the part-time MBA/CMA joint program. I liked the flexibility in being able to work full time and have alternate weekends off. Laurier also has a great reputation for its business school and the idea of smaller class sizes appealed to me. Definitely was the best choice for graduate studies for me. The professors at Laurier are amazing and really care about the students. If you are looking for a school that treats you like a student, cares about you as a person and encourages and promotes learning, then this is the school for you.

What value do you add or contributions do you make at your work place as a result of being educated with an MBA degree?

My background was in Finance, but now but having the MBA allows me to look at every problem and situation from all areas of the business. I don’t just look at a project from a financial point of view, I try to relate and understand the operational issues, marketing issues and supply issues, etc. The Laurier teaching methodology teaches you to think critically, not just react to what is happening right now!

Everything we do every day requires a decision. Even personal choices are hard and having an MBA degree has empowered me to make sound decisions in personal matters.


Basma Anabtawi

Basma Anabtawi, BSc, MBA – 2010

Senior Demand Planning, Neutrogena Cosmetics
Johnson & Johnson

Why did you choose Laurier for your MBA degree?

Reputation, flexibility and environment were key elements to my decision in choosing the Laurier MBA. Wilfrid Laurier has developed a reputation across Canada as an exceptional business leader in innovation and leadership development. This reputation, combined with the flexibility the Laurier MBA program had to offer in a variety of streams and specializations, were the key to my decision.

Lastly and most importantly was the fit. I was determined to attend a school that created an environment to foster growth and personal development. The Laurier administration team has been of the most incredible and supportive teams I have ever met. Their true dedication to bring out the best in every student, holds true from admission to graduation.

How did the Laurier MBA help your career?

Laurier has allowed me to gain confidence in my abilities to tackle the biggest challenges. Knowing I have the core elements and background to deal with new situations is truly priceless.

Lacking the business background, from an educational point of view, made me hesitant on my ability to succeed in the program. However, with the help of the professors at Laurier and the variety of resources available, I was able to combine my analytical science background with the leadership skills ingrained in the MBA to provide me with a well-rounded skill set that I am able to count on daily.

What opportunities has your MBA degree provided?

The MBA has given me numerous opportunities, most importantly the opportunity to network with successful business men and women from many industries and levels of experience. I graduated knowing these are life long friends who will maintain the Laurier brand and memories for years to come.


Irina Hossu

Irina Hossu, MBA, CMA – 2008

Director, Finance
Revlon

Why did you choose Laurier for your MBA with the CMA designation?

Prior to accepting Laurier’s offer, I researched quite a number of other schools. There were several reasons that I ultimately made the decision to attend the Laurier program. Firstly, the reputation of the Laurier Business program is very strong and I wanted to be associated with the solid Laurier brand. Secondly, I was looking for a school that could offer me the MBA with the CMA seamlessly. And Laurier is a leader in the delivery of these two programs together. My research also led me to believe, (and proved true), that of all the schools offering combined MBA / CMA programs, Laurier best prepared its students for the CMA case exam and board report. Finally, Laurier’s structure of attending class every other weekend worked very well with my schedule as it allowed me to continue to work while pursuing my education.

Was the program work load heavy, while working?

The courses offered were very relevant to the work I was doing on a daily basis in the office. The program was a lot of work however, both in and outside of the classroom. The courses and deliverables were structured in a way that was still manageable. I found the courses to be challenging and interesting. Of course it is the professors that can make or break a class and at Laurier the professors were extremely engaging. Many had industry experience which allowed them to incorporate theoretical teachings with “real world” examples. I found them to be very helpful and always accessible either through email, phone or in person.

How did you find the classroom environment?

My classmates were a considerable part of the reason that I enjoyed my time in the MBA / CMA program as much as I did. We all came from very diverse backgrounds (from business, engineering, medical field, not for profit, etc.) and our diversity allowed us to think about problems from many different angles. The classroom diversity also lead to several heated debates, however these debates forced us to evaluate and eventually compromise on alternatives. We completed the program two years ago, and my classmates and I still meet quarterly for dinner to catch up.


Jakub Kolakowski

Jakub Kolakowski, BMath, MBA – 2011

2012 Level III CFA® Candidate
Delivery Manager, Web and Components Centre of Excellence
Royal Bank of Canada

How has the degree changed your life?

The MBA has changed my life by letting me hone my analytical skills and apply them comprehensively in the business world on a day to day basis. It provides a 360 degree view into your business and accelerates your effective participation in a modern, quant-based, global business world.

Would you recommend the Laurier MBA to a friend or family and why?

I would recommend Laurier to family and friends for two key reasons: work-school-life balance and preparation for the real world. I am very proud to hold the Laurier MBA. The Laurier School of Business provides a comprehensive approach to business education preparing students to seek out a richer and more dynamic career path.

What was a particular highlight for you in the program?

The MBA program with CFA® option at Laurier attracts keen analytical minds excelling in modern quant careers. The highlight for me was being in class with these individuals, and learning from the experienced Laurier faculty in finance, economics and math, while being in a business world setting. Now that I have my MBA degree I am constantly asking questions. It has provided me with both the depth and breadth of business knowledge that is critical to understand the answers to those questions.


Jeff Melanson

Jeff Melanson, BMus, MBA – 1999

President & CEO
Toronto Symphony Orchestra

What opportunities has your MBA degree provided?

Laurier MBA gave me many key skills that have helped equip me for success in the arts. The faculty was tremendous and their creative approach to business education made every case a relevant learning experience. The MBA has opened many doors for me. It has also equipped me with the business skills to connect meaningfully with leaders from different sectors and disciplines. I can understand and appreciate their challenges and opportunities. Of course, the MBA degree has also connected me with an important peer group of fellow Laurier MBA alums.

What did you like most about your Laurier experience?

I really appreciated Laurier’s spirit of creativity, purpose and imagination. We are living in the midst of a digital media revolution that requires leaders to re-imagine their organizations, re-define their sectors and inspire staff to imagine the many possibilities that lie ahead. Laurier’s MBA is structured to ensure its graduates are equipped with the skills required to succeed a midst change and complexity.

What’s next?

A lot more innovation. Imagine a world in which everyone has the opportunity to create art within their communities and online & a world in which our stories and storytellers call us to imagine the impossible, remind us of what is important, and convey to the world who we are and what we valued. This is the world we can create and I will spend my life creating opportunities for more and more people to participate. Just watch.


Joshua Siegel

Joshua Siegel, BBA, MBA – 2009

Vice President – Organizational Effectiveness
Real Matters

Why did you choose Laurier for your MBA degree?

The primary reason would be the power of the Laurier Integrated Core. I now have the ability to understand business problems from a multi-faceted approach which is 100% integral to success in today’s dynamic, ever changing business world. And the opportunity to work with such a talented, diverse, and dynamic group of individuals. It was a great experience sharing ideas and debating with a brilliant team of professors and energetic group of students.

How did the Laurier MBA help your career?

The degree has opened doors to employers and new career opportunities. It has provided me with the skill set to excel with a new employer, and allowed me to quickly make a difference in the organization. The Laurier MBA has allowed me to sit at the table with senior leaders within my company and feel comfortable contributing to the conversation and truly providing value-add to any business discussion.

What’s next?

The power of belief in one’s self is something that should never be underestimated. After spending 12 months in the Laurier MBA I really walked away knowing who I was and what I am truly capable of. The knowledge that I can tackle any problem thrown my way is an empowering feeling. This feeling of competence is something that has not only benefited me in the professional world, but is something that has greatly enriched my personal life as well.
I look forward to continuing to leverage the MBA to identify positions that will help me broaden my skill set and further develop my business acumen.


Julie Cutter

Julie Cutter, MBA, CMA – 2012

Director of Finance
Danier Leather Inc.

Why do you think an MBA degree is important to have?

The best corporate employees, especially in management, tend to have a broader perspective than just their own personal area of expertise. Companies today will get much more from a person who has looked at and solved a variety of problems and can apply those solutions to their company. An MBA provides these types of problem solving skills and leaves it up to the individual to find the best way to use them in their everyday lives.

How has the degree changed your life?

It is very fulfilling to find that you have the strength, discipline and plain stubbornness to stay with a program while maintaining a demanding job and, of course, family life. The pride in getting a degree and professional designation is in many ways immeasurable and while it may possibly fade over time, for now it is difficult to put into words.

Why did you choose Laurier?

I found the best way to achieve my two main goals, an MBA and a CMA, was to choose a university that is well respected and has a history of providing a manageable balance of work and school & obviously location was an issue and having a Toronto based ‘˜campus’ was a factor as well. Laurier had both programs available and for me it was the best choice by far.


Leah Young

Leah Young, BA, MBA – 2011

Founder and Managing Director
Spirichi

What would you say has been your ROI from the Laurier MBA?

I’ve always believed that in life you should “bite off more than you can chew”, and because of this attitude I’ve accomplished more than I ever thought myself capable of doing by following this truism. People ask me, how did you ever find the time? And honestly, when I think about the fact that I completed my MBA alongside the full-time responsibilities of a senior management role, as well as those of a wife and mother, it is overwhelming. However, what inspires me to look past this crushing sensation is now a strong awareness of my own potential and a strong vision of where I want to be.

Why did you choose Laurier for your MBA degree?

I was well aware of their leading business school reputation. And I liked the expanded time-frame of 3.3 years part time study, with the summers off, which really allowed me to more effectively balance my full-time work and family responsibilities with my educational goals. As well, I knew from my undergrad degree, a Laurier education is a very personal experience; I knew their approach to the MBA would allow me to cultivate new and close relationships with other students, faculty and the administration in a way that would truly enhance my whole MBA experience.

What was your experience like?

I really valued the group learning. Not only was the interaction with my teammates as critical to learning as the class room, but it also gave me one of the most significant treasures I will take away from my Laurier experience, namely, the close relationships I developed with my teammates. You go through so many things together & excitement, stress, teaching, learning, laughter and success & that you develop strong, almost familial relationships with these people and I am very fortunate to be taking away from this experience some life-long, trusted friends.


Maureen Tomlinson

Maureen Tomlinson, MBA, CMA – 2005

Vice President, Products Solutions and Operations
Opta Intelligence, an SCM company

How did the Laurier MBA help you personally?

I am very proud of the fact that I had two of my children during the program (not at the same time) demonstrating that it is possible to be a mother, professional and student all at the same time! The Laurier MBA helped me by working on real life cases to build a foundational understanding of key strategy and business concepts. The tools and techniques I gained during the program, are utilized every day. The group work allowed for my personal growth in understanding diverse styles, personalities and expertise honing my leadership skills.

What opportunities has your MBA degree provided?

Primarily the depth of learning. Within the comfort of the classroom and my fellow students, I was able to stretch my wings to understand many aspects of business. At work, my MBA has provided opportunities to be recognized as having the key components to be an effective leader and contributor to my organization and its objectives. From the time I started my MBA, I moved from being a consulting analyst, to a project manager, initiative manager, program manager, director in an IT department of ~350 and now VP of Products and Operations.


Norman John

Norman John, BComm, MBA – 2010

IBM Solution Sales Representative & Security Specialist
IBM

What did achieving the MBA degree mean to you?

Achieving my MBA is a testament to the fact that you can overcome anything you put your mind to. I was born into a rocky life filled with struggle. I have encountered considerably more socio-economic challenges than the average person. My only path out of the chaos was to pursue higher education. I was determined and nothing could stop me. Although you cannot change your past, you can decide your future.

What did you like most about your Laurier experience?

I would have to say it was the interaction in the classroom. The culture at Laurier and the calibre of students the program attracts is unique. When you look around in the classroom you will see over-achievers of all sorts. Whether it’s in sports or industry or academics. People who I would describe as go-getters, yet there is a camaraderie that exists, that is so refreshing.

The Laurier MBA offers the opportunity to add a new perspective to your career. Whether you’re coming from a non-business background or need to re-invent your career, the Laurier MBA will give you the opportunity to create a bold, new future. Laurier MBA students are well-rounded people that are successful in many aspects of their lives. Its not uncommon to sit beside someone who has already been vastly successful and is simply looking to expand on their past success.


Pamela Marck

Pamela Marck, HBA, MBA – 2008

Vice President
Daggerwing Group

Why did you choose Laurier for your MBA with Co-op?

I selected the Laurier MBA co-op program because it is highly recognized for the unique combination of in-class education, as well as the applied experiences through the co-op component taught by a faculty of both academic and business leaders.

The first semester began with the integrated core curriculum which touched on a number of business disciplines. Coming from a non-business background, the integrated education process provided me with a holistic and in-depth understanding of key business models and concepts within an accelerated time frame. This better prepared me from both a skill and knowledge perspective for the co-op component of the program.

How effective was the co-op work term experiences?

The co-op experience allowed me to apply in real life the practical application of key business models and concepts that we were learning in the classroom, in a real professional environment. It also provided me with an opportunity to work in different fields and industries, to firstly help me to develop my own strengths, and also help me to focus on my desired career path.

What do you think was your biggest take away from the MBA with the Co-op option?

The most impactful component of the MBA co-op program, in addition to my work terms, was for me the Applied Business Research Consulting Project. The project provides students with an opportunity to consult on a strategic management issue with a real local business. This was without a doubt one of my favourite components of the MBA program. This experience stirred my passion for consulting and helping organizations solve complex business challenges by providing practical and focused solutions. Once full-time recruitment began I had a very clear vision and focus for my preferred career path in consulting, which ultimately landed me an exciting position at a boutique strategic management consulting firm.


Yusuf Tokmachi

Yusuf Tokmachi, BSC, MBA – 2011

IT Director, Information and Technology
Siemens
Turkey

Why did you choose Laurier for your MBA degree?

I was looking for a school with an excellent reputation and one that would demonstrate care for the students. I have heard nothing but great things about the quality of education at Laurier, but what was even more important was the care and personal attention I received from Laurier staff from the first day I started contacting the schools. That was when I knew this would be the right place and proceeded with my application right away!

What opportunities has your MBA degree provided?

One of the best parts of the weekend MBA format is that you get equipped with tools you can start using in the office right away. The two week break between classes gives you a chance to digest and practice your newly acquired skills. After just a few months in the program, I was more comfortable dealing with the increasingly challenging tasks and responsibilities, and after the core portion of the program was complete, I felt ready for any challenge that would come my way. This attitude and readiness helped me to take on additional responsibilities at an accelerated pace, and I moved into progressive roles twice while completing the 3 year Laurier part time MBA.

What did you like most about your Laurier experience?

Laurier offers excellent options to customize your MBA experience. I am glad I took advantage of every opportunity to gain additional experience and having a great team really supported my personal development. I was very fortunate to have met my teammates, and participating in the John Molson MBA International Case Competition with them was an MBA experience on its own. The coaching and attention we had received from faculty was second to none, and competing against international business schools was very exciting. It was a great feeling making it to the semifinals by finishing 2nd of 36 international schools in the Round Robin portion of the competition. This is an excellent demonstration of the quality you can expect from Laurier MBA.