AN INTERVIEW WITH MATT REESOR
What else can MBAs expect from the Smith School? Recently, P&Q reached out to Matt Reesor, Director of the Full-Time MBA program, to learn about new developments and underrated aspects of the program. Here are his thoughts…
P&Q: What are the most exciting new developments at your program?
MR: “We implemented a new curriculum this year which included two new specializations that reflect the needs of today’s employer – Digital Transformation and Management Analytics.
This year, we partnered with Third Factor to offer non-credit mandatory training in important power skills (Giving and Receiving Feedback, Managing Difficult Conversations, How to Coach and Mentor Others). This proved to be highly successful as our students found them very valuable and we plan on continuing the partnership.
We have the best employment statistics in the country. Check and compare.
This year, we are proud to welcome a class of 44% women – our highest ever!
We offer dual degree opportunities – Master of Management Analytics, Master of Management in Artificial Intelligence, Master of Finance, MSc-Health Quality. This is an excellent option for students interested in gaining more technical depth in a particular discipline.
We are now up to 35 exchange partners located at top business schools around the world, giving students access to hundreds of additional elective courses often in highly specialized areas that are not offered at Smith. Exchanges can be as short as two weeks and as long as four months, so students can customize timing to work best for them.
Our students have won prestigious international case competitions in each of the last two years (Yale School of Management Health Services Case Competition in November 2019 and Creative Shock at the ISM University of Management and Economics in Lithuania in 2018). This benefits students by allowing them to refine their analytical and presentation skills while simultaneously adding to their professional networks. Oh, another benefit is they don’t pay badly either.”
PQ: What is the most underrated part of your program that you wish prospective students knew more about?
MR: “The power of our team-based learning model in providing students with highly marketable collaboration, negotiation, and communication skills most desired by today’s employers. Our teams stay together for six months and students cannot switch teams. Why? Because we build our teams based on diversity as measured across a number of different areas so students must learn to appreciate, incorporate and manage different skills and perspectives. Team coaches provide them with advice and guidance every step of the way. The duration means students must work through highs and lows which is a skill in and of itself.
The high level of personalized and customized support given to our students is also underrated. Our staff and faculty invest fully in our student’s success. Because of this, we are able to provide students with personalized coaching, feedback and support that allows them to get exactly what they need out of their MBA experience. Again, our employment stats also speak to this. Students wouldn’t do as well or feel as attached as they do to our program if they weren’t under this umbrella of support as they complete their MBA journey.”
PQ: What have graduates told you are the two biggest strengths of the Smith MBA program? How did these strengths benefit them?
1) “Learning how to work cohesively, effectively and efficiently with a diverse team of people
2) Application of management concepts to real-world business problems through the Integrated and Individual project courses and also through the living cases that they get to work through in a number of other courses.”
WHERE EVERYBODY KNOWS YOUR NAME
Another big differentiator according to the Class of 2021: small class size. That may come as a surprise, given the size of the business school alumni network (25,000 graduates). The university itself boasts 180,000 graduates in 150 countries. With fewer than 100 students in a class, MBAs enjoy close personal attention – the kind that sparks personal growth and frees students to build deeper and more intimate networks.
The small class size was the key factor in choosing this program,” admits Ramya Tangirala, an operations consultant with a background in engineering and computer science. “I felt that a small class would expose me to every individual in class. Getting to learn from every individual in a multicultural environment would make me a truly global leader. It was the reason I chose to pursue an MBA outside my own country – a chance to be exposed to a diverse set of people.”
The class also cited coaching as a big draw. To say the Smith School maintains a safety net would be an understatement. Each MBA works with four coaches: executive coach, career coach, team coach, and lifestyle coach. From evaluating communication skills to setting a fitness plan, Smith coaches further prepare MBA students to fulfill their dreams and live healthy lives.
A COACHING CULTURE
“The decisive factors in choosing the Smith MBA were the personal touch and the very thorough approach to coaching,” asserts Sunkar Shagambayev. “I am a person who learns best from interaction with other people. I suppose that the value of time spent in business school can be maximized with these meaningful interactions, as we can get to know many opportunities we have not even considered before. We can then understand where we fit most. Speaking with Smith MBA admission staff, I felt how much care they put into helping students manage their career transition.”
This coaching culture was equally appealing to Samantha Caldwell. “Mentoring is an important cultural piece of my previous work environment, so I felt aligned with this aspect of the Smith MBA,” she writes. “I strongly think that mentoring and coaching benefits people at any and every career level. The coaching component is a unique feature among Canadian MBAs!”
For Alexander Hutton, the decision to join the Class of 2021 was easy. After all, he is a Queen’s alum – a repeat customer who understand the culture and capabilities of the program. That starts with teamwork, he says, a place where everyone pulls together to make the experience truly valuable.
“I witnessed the dedication of professors to help students both inside and outside the classroom on coursework and professional development. I interacted and even worked with some of the MBA candidates, and saw the effectiveness of the team-based structure of the program and the collaborative environment it fosters. I saw the same passion from alumni, in their enduring enthusiasm to contribute to MBA candidates and even the school itself. In the end, Queen’s was the only school I applied to because I knew from my own experience that it was the best choice for me.”
What led these professionals to enter business schools? Which programs did they also consider? What strategies did they use to choose their MBA program? What was the major event that defined them? Find the answers to these questions and many more in the in-depth profiles of these incoming MBA candidates.
|MBA Student||Hometown||Undergrad Alma Mater||Last Employer|
|Virginie Bellec||Rennes, France||Rider University||Bloomberg LP|
|Federico Brera||Abbiategrasso, Italy||University of Milan||Intesa Sanpaolo|
|Samantha Caldwell||Ottawa, Ontario||Queen’s University||Export Development Canada|
|Brady Heslip||Burlington, Ontario||Baylor University||Istanbul BBSK|
|Alexander Hutton||Ottawa, Ontario||Queen’s University||Upper Canada Equity Fund/Nylene Canada|
|Jane Liu||Luoyang, China||Peking University||CIBC|
|Angela McDonald Bazaz||Beaverton, Ontario||University of Guelph||Humber River Hospital|
|Rachael O’Neill||Halifax, Nova Scotia||Dalhousie University||Nova Scotia Health Authority|
|Bita Pourvahidi||Toronto, Ontario||Ryerson University||Mosaic Sales Solutions|
|Sunkar Shagambayev||Almaty, Kazakhstan||KIMEP University||RG Brands|
|Ramya Tangirala||Andhra Pradesh, India||Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology||ZS Associates|
|Alberto Calvo Urcuyo||San José, Costa Rica||The Costa Rica Institute of Technology||Ernst & Young|