Meet the MBA Class of 2021: Carl Hageraats, Ivey Business School

Carl Hageraats

Ivey Business School at Western University

“Analytical, results-oriented, collaborative, curious, and passionate about Canada’s technology and investment ecosystem.”

Hometown: Pembroke, Ontario, Canada

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’m an amateur musician, and have been playing guitar and piano in bands since I was 14

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Ottawa, Bachelor of Social Science, Political Science and Master of Arts, Public and International Affairs

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), Senior Advisor

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? My classmates have a rare combination of qualities: they’re all extremely talented, but also incredibly down-to-earth and generous with their time, experience, and support.

How has the case method enriched your learning? The case method has encouraged me to engage with new material and concepts at a deeper level and, from day one, has challenged me to tackle complex problems from the perspective of the decision-maker. Not only has the case method allowed me to learn at an accelerated rate, it also enables me to more effectively apply and retain information by putting it to use from the get-go.

Aside from classmates and cases, what part of the school’s MBA programming led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Culture is an important reason why I chose Ivey, and it stood out as a clear differentiating factor as I explored various MBA programs. Beyond Ivey’s track record for academic excellence and for developing some of Canada’s most accomplished executives, it became apparent that building a strong, supportive, and tight-knit culture was one of Ivey’s top priorities, which was validated by students and alumni I spoke with leading up to my application.

You moved online quickly after arriving on campus due to COVID-19. What has the transition been? How has an online platform impacted your relationships with your peers? It goes without saying that COVID-19 has radically changed the MBA experience. Since moving online due to physical distancing requirements, our class has had to build connections and community virtually and creatively. Whether that means getting together weekly for early morning Zoom yoga sessions led by one of our classmates or Thursday virtual “wine nights” to pause, unwind and sing karaoke, we’ve been able to build and deepen relationships and friendships that will last us for many, many years.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest career accomplishment so far was serving as a Special Adviser in the office of Canada’s Deputy Minister of National Defence between 2016 and 2018. In this role, I supported senior decision-making across a range of files including investments in military equipment and infrastructure, innovation, research and development, and international security policy. What struck me the most was navigating the sheer size and scope of Canada’s largest federal department and observing the capacity and professionalism of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). This experience gave me the privilege of working alongside and learning from some of Canada’s best leaders, CAF officers, and dedicated public servants.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I decided to pursue an MBA because I was looking to make a shift from the federal government to the private sector, specifically to work in technology investment which I see as one of Canada’s most exciting areas of opportunity and challenge over the coming years. I spent the two years leading up to my MBA working at one of Canada’s federal regional development agencies and observed how many promising Canadian companies continue to face challenges raising capital and pursuing their growth ambitions. I saw the Ivey MBA as an excellent opportunity to pivot towards working on addressing this challenge in a more direct and impactful way.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? In the end, none. I seriously considered a number of top schools in the US, which involved meeting with admissions teams, visiting campuses, and networking with Alumni. I ultimately decided that a one-year MBA in Canada was best for me, and Ivey stood out on a number of fronts: quality of instruction, student experience and culture, value for money, and a globally connected community of top business leaders.

What did you do during the application process that enabled you to get accepted into Ivey? I spent a lot of time in the research phase, collecting as much information as I could from leaders in the technology and investment space, my own mentors, and MBA graduates from a number of schools in Canada and the US. I think the investment I made in preparing ahead of time was critical to helping me articulate my academic and career goals and clearly answer questions like “Why an MBA”, “Why Ivey” and “Why me”.

What is the biggest epiphany you’ve gained about yourself or the world since you started at Ivey? The last few months have reinforced for me the need to make every moment count. You don’t know when your environment and your “plan” will be disrupted, so it is critical to make the most of every situation, and each opportunity that presents itself.


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