Meet The HEC Montréal MBA Class Of 2019

Yannick Klein

HEC Montréal

A distinctive manager who wants to live his dreams without regrets.”

Hometown: Whitehorse, Yukon Territory Canada

Fun Fact About Yourself: MBA students come from so many different countries and have so many different backgrounds. But I am pretty sure that I am the first veterinarian MBA student who comes from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada who is passionate about paragliding!

Undergraduate School and Major: Veterinarian: Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d’Alfort, France; Master of Science on pure research: Université Pierre et Marie Curie Paris, France

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: CEO in Clinique vétérinaire du Val d’Arve Haute Savoie, France

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I doubled the annual sales of an existing business in only five years by defining a new strategy. I didn’t reach this goal alone. I identified all the skills I had in my team and lead them, motivated them, organized them to go forward with the same values and direction we built together.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Open-minded: During the MBA, we learn many different skills in very different topics. We all come from very different fields, with different backgrounds, skills, personalities, countries, cultures, passions. To enjoy your MBA program, you must be open-minded; you have to want to learn from each other. And in my opinion, in 2018, that’s one of the most important soft-skills to have for a manager because everything changes very fast, people travel all over the world, and there are so many things to learn from different cultures.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? I was looking for a Canadian MBA as I recently immigrated to Canada. I came from France and living in North America and especially in Canada was an old dream. Doing a MBA in Montreal helps me to build my network in Canada and to understand business and North American culture.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I was looking forward to a sports club. In my opinion, sport is very important for managers. It helps us to deal with emotions and release pressure. It also helps us to become more confident and persistent. Moreover, becoming stronger mentally and physically enables managers to make better decisions. Finally, sport is a good way to go out of your comfort zone (I am a paraglider) and to meet people or work in a team.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Last year, because of a different vision with my partners, I decided to sell my business. Then, I had different kinds of choices. With my family, we thought it was a good opportunity to try to live our dream. So, we started an immigration process and we finally moved to Whitehorse in Canada. I knew it wouldn’t be possible for me to work as a veterinarian in Canada. I could have spent one year to pass my degree equivalency but I was really interested in business management. Before the MBA, I took a very interesting training seminar about business management (human resources, marketing, and accounting) that I really enjoyed. That’s why I looked for a degree course in Canada which could give me some advance knowledge in business management. As I am in a professional transition, pursuing an MBA is a very good way to discover new opportunities.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? As many students, it was difficult to make the decision. With two young kids at home, it was really important to budget this year. HEC Montreal has a very good reputation and the MBA’s fees are very affordable compared to other schools. The investment was more about the cost of living without any revenue during one year. Moreover, that’s a family decision (everybody is involved). I think an MBA is worth the investment as it gives us numerous different hard and soft skills and a wonderful way to build a diversified network that enable opportunities all over the world.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I did not apply to other MBA programs as I was looking for an MBA in French and in Canada for an affordable price!

How did you determine your fit at various schools? As I said before, I was looking for an MBA program in French and in Canada for an affordable price! I used the internet to learn about MBA opportunities. I received advice from inspirational managers I knew. Once I collected enough information about HEC Montréal’s program, I decided to take four days off to fly to Montréal and visit the school during an open-house day in January 2017. That was a really good way to visit the school, and to determine my fit.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? There are so many, but the most important one might be my first paragliding flight by myself. Why? Because it exactly represents what going out of your comfort zone is about! Most people think paragliding is a very dangerous sport because they don’t really know about it or because they only heard about certain accidents in the media. Many people will tell you not to try it. But in fact, it’s very easy and safe (more than driving a car on the highway 1 meter from other car!) And once I made my first flight, I understood that I was very lucky to fly like a bird watching lakes and mountains from the sky and free to choose any direction in the air. Once I landed, I was very proud of myself: I dared to face my fears and I understood that sometimes it’s very important not to follow common thoughts. Flying helped me being more confident: that’s what going out your comfort zone is really about. Thinking out of the box, facing your fears, dealing with emotions, pushing your limits is what a manager has to do!

What do you plan to do after you graduate? My objective is to go back to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory. I know that many people will be surprised by this choice, but I really love this place – the wilderness around the town and the values. They are many economic opportunities in Whitehorse, but that’s still a big challenge as there are fewer big industries in Whitehorse than in Montréal: I’ll have to find a dream job in my dream place. I like the idea of trying to take control of my life, to decide where I want to live and what I want to do. Just following the common thought is not in my DNA.

If I don’t find a job in Whitehorse that makes me happy, I will have at least tried and will have no regrets. Then I would come back to Quebec and might work in veterinary industries or coaching in a veterinary business.

Where do you see yourself in five years? I hope in the Yukon. I don’t know yet where exactly, but I’m working on it!