The MBA Triple Jump: Using The Degree To Reinvent Yourself

Alex Yeo was a vice president at McDonald's China before accepting

Alex Yeo was formerly a vice president at McDonald’s China

ALEX YEO

Country Jump: Singapore to Canada

Industry Jump: Retail to Consulting

Function Jump: Operations to Management Consulting

When Alex Yeo, 36, entered Rotman he had a clear goal: to do what was best for his husband and their infant son. He was less clear on how to get there. He had several options–he could return to McDonald’s China where he’d been the vice president of restaurant solutions, move to another company within the retail industry, or make a leap to management consulting.

Conversations with alumni and industry professionals along with a summer internship in consulting helped to made up his mind. “I could always go back to retail and retail operations and strategy if I wanted to, whereas going to consulting opened up more post-MBA options for me,” he points out.

Yeo visited Rotman’s career center and attended interview and resume prep sessions hosted by the school’s Management Consulting Association to get his resume and skill set up to speed. He compares the process of making the three-way switch to training for a triathlon as a causal athlete. “It’s not like you don’t have the skills. You have the base skills, but it’s a different order of competition, and you really have to get your skills up to par in terms of what is required,” he says.

For Yeo, the gambit worked. After graduation in May 2014, he’ll join McKinsey & Co. as a management consultant in Toronto. “That choice for me was definitely a lot of hard work, but because it’s the right choice, it made the hard work worth it,” he says.

His advice for MBAs attempting a triple jump? “Be clear about what you want in terms of is this really the right fit for you. Be clear about the obstacles and gaps you might need to overcome,” he says. “It’s really a journey … You don’t have to make all of that jump after your MBA; your MBA gets you there, but it’s really the first step.”

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