Meet The HEC Montréal MBA Class Of 2019

Jessica Drolet

HEC Montréal

“A French Canadian with an entrepreneurial spirit, a passion for arts, traveling and cultural etiquette.”

Hometown: Montréal, Canada

Fun Fact About Yourself: I get creativity boosts in the morning and turn smoothie bowls into art canvasses. My Instagram followers witness it from time-to-time.

Undergraduate School and Major: Marketing Communications Degree, Université du Québec à Montréal

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Communications Consultant, Pharmascience Vietnam

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In 2016, I had the opportunity to go work in Asia. One of my clients, Pharmascience, hired me to develop a continuing education and customer relationship management program, to build rapport with doctors, hospital decision makers and regional advisors in Vietnam.

Working in a developing country that has a very different culture from that of Canada was a nice challenge. This experience taught me to adapt my leadership style, to challenge my perceptions, and to be more open-minded.

Towards the end of my contract, I received a job offer in Singapore, but the MBA had been on my mind for a while and I decided that now was the right time to do it and that this option was ideal for my long-term aspirations.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Collaborative. People are always inclined to help one another. As an example, students often initiate workshops for subjects they master. The cohort is also more diverse than I expected, with 12 nationalities and 19 languages for ~100 students.

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 main reason I chose HEC Montréal is that it’s a hidden gem. I knew I could learn everything I wanted through this program, and the ROI is unquestionable.

The fact that it’s a smaller cohort (~100) creates opportunities to get to know students on a deeper level. Even the program’s director and staff know students individually, which is a major advantage.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I was looking forward to joining the Creative Destruction Lab, to connect AI startups with investors. Montréal has become an AI hub, and HEC Montréal provides many opportunities to learn about this field, through various clubs and experts.

The improvisation club launched by two fellow classmates is also a major highlight. For example, exercises teach us to replace “but” with “yes, and”. I realized how conversations are more pleasant and constructive that way.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? My main goal is to make a slight pivot in my career trajectory and play a bigger role within an organization. The nature of my work in communications has provided great conditions to develop valuable skills – like the ability to build and deliver messages to the right audience and shape public opinion – but it offered fewer opportunities to develop quantitative skills. So I wanted to gain a better understanding of finance, data analysis, investment decisions, strategy and more.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? A year-and-a-half ago, I wasn’t convinced that I wanted to do an MBA. Upon evaluating my next steps, I noticed a gap between my prior education and experience, and the positions I was contemplating.

The most important aspect of the MBA is what you do with it. To me, pursuing an MBA was an opportunity to learn from others and to interact with companies. For instance, I look forward to the five-week field project during which teams of four are hired as consultants for a company of their choice.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? One month after having sent my application to HEC Montréal, I applied to another top school. Shortly after, I received the acceptation letter from HEC Montréal, and I knew this was the best option as HEC Montréal was more aligned with my career goals.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? First, I looked at the type of companies that recruit on campus and the post-MBA opportunities. Studying in the city, establishing myself in the long-term was important to me.

I also wanted to take part in case competitions, and knew that HEC Montréal invested time in training and supporting students for a number of Canadian case competitions, which provide opportunities to meet local executives.

At last, I spoke to HEC Montréal MBA alumni who all had positive words about the program.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? In 2012, I realized that I hadn’t been to the ballet since high school, where I was part of a dance program that would take us to see shows twice a year. If I hadn’t been to the ballet in so long, I suspected many young professionals weren’t going either.

I reached out to the leading dance company in Montreal and founded the Jeunes Gouverneurs des Grands Ballets, a young philanthropic committee to build the next generation of ballet supporters.

The committee, which celebrated its sixth anniversary this year, raises over $100,000 every year and brings hundreds of young professionals to the ballet.

I learned a lot about myself, notably that I had an entrepreneurial spirit.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? After I graduate, I would like to join a company that is innovative, growth-oriented and has a positive impact in Canada.

Where do you see yourself in five years? In five years, I see myself working for a company I created or a multinational company in which I thrive, managing a team and collaborating with multiple departments.