“An outgoing, yet charismatic, ambitious young man, as well as a profound thinker!”
Hometown: Montreal, Canada
Fun Fact About Yourself: I go to the cinema every week!
Undergraduate School and Major: University of Montreal, majored in International Studies
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Sales associate, Hermès Paris
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment was being the best salesperson at Hermès within my second year. Without a client list or an extensive network, I was able to use my social abilities to create value to our brand in Montreal. It was also an incredible feat for me since my colleagues were all veterans, having worked years and decades for the brand before I arrived.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? The first quality that comes to mind when I think of my classmates is: encouraging. I recall on our first day being impressed by the quality of my peers, and I yearned to learn from them. We ended up creating a rich support network through communications, clubs and tutoring classes. Ever since we started together, never have I ever felt so supported, trusted and appreciated in an academic environment; that is why my classmates are the most precious asset of my MBA.
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 always wanted to be part of what HEC Montréal stands for. Before I even got admitted, I saw the school as an effervescent community, sponsoring international students and advertising diversity as well as integrity. HEC Montréal was the proof that you could learn from the best in a laid-back and modern environment. Even though it is the oldest management school in Canada, HEC Montreal really felt young, and it is the key factor that led me to choose this program for my MBA.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? At the beginning of the MBA, I ran for president of the student council. Even though I was not elected, I persisted to be a part of the association. Therefore, I was nominated Director of Big Events and my main tasks are to organize and supervise the Christmas and prom balls. The activities I look most forward to then are these two events, and my remuneration will be the satisfaction of my fellow students when they realize it was the best nights of their MBA!
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? After my undergrad studies, I was confronted with some harsh realities about the job market; without being able to find a proper job in my field that would satisfy my professional quest for success, I came to the quick realization that nothing would ever be handed to me. Even though I am grateful for the experience I got from my previous jobs, it was not enough; I dreamed big. With little resources other than my undying ambition and my self-determination, I gave up my income and my livelihood to focus on my MBA. There was never a doubt in my mind that it was worth all the sacrifices.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? In Montreal, I only applied to HEC Montréal. I contemplated Desautels-McGill and JMSB-Concordia, but after visiting the schools, my mind was really set on HEC Montréal. Otherwise, I started my application at Cape Town Graduate School of Business, but I got admitted and chose HEC Montréal before I could even send it to South Africa.
How did you determine your fit at various schools? I visited three schools in Montreal, and one school abroad to better understand what they were offering. Every school had its pros and cons; the John Molson School of Business was next door to where I lived. McGill seemed really keen to have me within their ranks and Cape Town Graduate School of Business would have been a good opportunity to go back to South Africa, where I studied a year during my early twenties. However, since I finance my own studies and since I did not have much money saved, I wanted the best education possible at the lowest possible price. Luckily for me, being a Quebec born citizen, it allowed me to attend HEC Montréal or Concordia at a preferential rate. HEC Montréal was already my first pick and it was amongst the most affordable; it had more pros than any other school.
To make sure my decision was the best I consulted many websites, including Poets&Quants, to make sure all the schools were internationally recognized, since my aim is to work abroad. HEC Montréal has a name that resonates a lot in Europe, and a lot of affluent people in the luxury and fashion industry studied there; the school was really the perfect fit for my goals.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? A few years ago, I got extremely sick and my health was dwindling. At the same time, I went through a hard break-up and the divorce of my parents. All these elements combined made me the person I am today: autonomous, resourceful, ambitious and determined. After overcoming this perfect storm, I feel like nothing can stop me, and it is the most defining moment of my life.
What do you plan to do after you graduate? After graduating, I hope to find a job in marketing or communications. The creative side of business has always attracted me. My aspiration after my MBA would be to help forge a vision for a product or a company. I would also like to continue working in sales, perhaps as a lead at a regional or national level.
Where do you see yourself in five years? In five years, I see myself working in the USA or the UK in the fashion industry or the entertainment industry hopefully occupying a senior management position. I see myself developing the brand of an already existing company or helping a startup get on its feet. The prospect of returning to politics is also not excluded in my mind!