“Optimistic, driven, with a strong will to have a positive impact on my community.”
Hometown: I was born in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, but I am now a true Montrealer.
Fun Fact About Yourself: I always knew that I would work in finance. When I was 6, I asked my mother interest when she ‘’borrowed’’ a few coins from my piggy bank. She still reminds me of the story!
Undergraduate School and Major: HEC Montréal, Bachelor of Business Administration in finance (trilingual cohort)
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: I was an assistant to a portfolio manager at RBC Dominion Securities
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Before working for our wealth management division, I was an investment advisor at RBC. I really cared about the financial well-being of our clients and I am proud to know that my advice helped them have a better financial situation. I remember talking to a client crying on the phone. After our discussion, she thanked me and told me she felt more confident about the future. I realized at that time that my actions could have a big impact in the lives of my clients and took this responsibility at heart even when I joined RBC Dominion and was more involved in the portfolio management.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? I am amazed by the quality and the diversity of backgrounds of my classmates. They have at least five years of experience which enriches the conversations during and after class. Everybody has something to put on the table and that was exactly why I decided to do an MBA. They are also a great source of advice and I learn a lot from them.
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? The length and structure of the program was one of the key factors that led me to choose HEC Montréal. I wanted to pursue an MBA but didn’t want to stay away from the professional market too long.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I really wanted to take part to the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) and the campus abroad. I also knew that HEC Montréal was really invested in social responsibility and heard about the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) challenge organized by MBA students. Social governance really interests me, so I wanted to take part in this as well. I am now involved in the CSR challenge as a director organizing the competition and am happy to be part of the campus abroad cohort going to Mumbai and Dubai in December. I was also selected in the first phase of CDL hoping to be part of phase 2 in January.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I just passed the level 3 of the CFA exam and was at a pivotal point in my career where I wanted to have further impact in my organization. I wanted to have a more strategic role. I knew that even though I had a CFA designation, an MBA would give me the tools to succeed in a senior position and advance in my career.
How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? I was aware of the time and financial commitment pursuing an MBA represented. I talked to a lot of people at work and during networking events. I was able to witness how having an MBA could shape the mind of a leader and knew that investing in an MBA was investing in my career and my future and it is worth it.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? After doing a lot of research, I knew that I wanted to go to HEC Montréal, I therefore didn’t apply to any other program.
How did you determine your fit at various schools? I went to MBA fairs, contacted people who graduated from universities or schools I was interested in. Aside from visiting their websites, I looked at websites such as Poets & Quants for rankings and students’ testimony. I knew I wanted to apply at HEC Montréal when I met the director of admissions Anik Low. She didn’t try to sell the school, but gave me a lot of advice. That is what I have been experiencing since I started the program with professors but as well with members of the MBA office.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? Because of the political instability in Ivory Coast, my family sent me to Benin to finish high school. I was 16 at the time and living in another country, far from my friends and family shaped the person I am today. I learned to quickly adapt, to be independent and resourceful. It also allowed me to open myself to another culture and awaken my love for travel and culture in general.
What do you plan to do after you graduate? Rest! The MBA is quite intense, and I will certainly take a few weeks to enjoy some free time and travel. I would love to visit Thailand by myself.
Where do you see yourself in five years? I always wanted to help people have better lives. In five years, I see myself in a senior position in an international organization specialized in financing public and private Partnership projects. Maybe going back to Africa? On a personal level I hope to have a family by then and simply be happy!