2021 Best & Brightest MBAs: Jaquelynn Mateluna, McGill University (Desautels)

Jaquelynn Mateluna

McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management

Agribusiness enthusiast with a passion for sustainable food production.”

Hometown: Kelowna, British Columbia

Fun fact about yourself: I lived in a Buddhist monastery in Nepal after my undergraduate degree.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Bachelor of Science in Biology, McGill University; Master of Science in Plant Genetic Manipulation, University of Nottingham

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I worked as Sales Manager for my family business, Bubbles Car Wash & Detail Centres.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? Since beginning my MBA journey in 2019, I have been working as Chief of Staff to the CEO of Lufa Farms—an urban farm-to-table e-commerce firm in Montreal. We operate rooftop greenhouses around the city of Montreal (including the largest commercial rooftop greenhouse in the world!) and sell sustainably grown food directly to consumers.

Where will you be working after graduation? EY Parthenon – Analyst (Senior Consultant). EY’s Agribusiness team has shown me the possibilities to affect transformation in this complex industry.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Volunteer consultant to a local non-profit in Montreal
  • Volunteer Social Impact Consultant for a first-time entrepreneur in Kampala, Uganda
  • Launched a student-led health and wellness committee
  • Served in the Desautels working group focused on embedding sustainability in the MBA program
  • Women in Agribusiness Student Scholar (2020)
  • Awarded: Pierre-Olivier Perras MBA Leadership Award; Dr. Peter Briant Award for Entrepreneurship; Desautels MBA Entrance Award

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of being awarded a full scholarship to attend the Women in Agribusiness Conference in 2020. It was confirmation that I had successfully built credibility as a young professional in this space. Attending the conference allowed me to supercharge my network of industry peers during an especially turbulent time for agribusiness.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Feeding over 20,000 families per week during a pandemic. When Montreal locked down in March, it was all hands on deck at Lufa. The demand for our service doubled overnight and I had to rise up to the responsibility of being an essential worker. Everyone in the company worked tirelessly to scale up each department and increase capacity. Looking back, that period really taught me the importance of remaining adaptable.

Why did you choose this business school? The McGill-Desautels MBA is special because students can gain diverse experience outside of the classroom. The flexibility of the program, paired with the unparalleled opportunity in Montreal means that you’re not restricted to the traditional 4-month internship. As a career-switcher, I knew that this kind of work experience would be critical to building my brand within agribusiness.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? John-Paul Ferguson, our Organizational Behaviour professor. We all inherently understand the necessity for company culture, but he formalized the way that I think about establishing and maintaining culture within a firm. Outside of the classroom, he is a cycling enthusiast and gives great advice on the topic.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Definitely the Desautels Ski Trip. The Desautels family truly comes from all around the globe, and many of my peers had never skied or snowboarded before. I was excited to introduce my friends to this quintessential Canadian winter activity.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Stress less! It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of doing an MBA the ‘right’ way. It’s important to remember that an MBA is what you make it, and no two paths are the same.

What is the biggest myth about your school? One myth is that there are fewer offerings than larger schools. In reality, the smaller cohort means that you get a lot of personal support from the administration. For example, I received funding to attend conferences to further my unique goals. There is a world of opportunity at Desautels.

What surprised you the most about business school? It was how accessible the learning is. Coming from a heavy science background, I was concerned that the learning curve would be steep. In reality, I found that my previous science experience taught me the necessary skills needed to succeed in the MBA: analytical problem solving, first-principles thinking, and of course the logical quantitative skills. In addition, my global experience has taught me to keep an open mind—an essential trait for a highly collaborative environment like Desautels. 

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? My goals are as untraditional as they come, and I think that can be daunting for many admissions committees. To overcome this, I had a clear vision for my post-MBA career and made a plan to get the most out of my MBA experience, down to the clubs I would join, the classes I would take, and the companies I would network with. This type of planning shows that you’re self aware and you understand the work that you need to put in.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Hasnain (Has) Shaikh. Prior to joining McGill, he worked as an award-winning playwright and comic. Now a fellow finance major, it seems as though there’s nothing Has can’t do. He is the person I always want on my team.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? I was thankful for the flexibility that online learning offered, given my role as an essential worker through the pandemic. Though there were some technical glitches, it was the impetus needed to learn the communication skills that will be pivotal in the workplaces of the future.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My grandfather. He is a true entrepreneur and is evidence that hard work and vision pay off.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  • Feed the world
  • Make sustainable agriculture mainstream

What made Jacquelynn such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“Jaquelynn is a real go-getter; she perseveres through any challenges that come her way to reach her goals. She worked exceptionally hard to land her dream internship in food production sustainability and subsequently attained the consulting role in her industry of interest at the company she developed strong ties with—EY Parthenon. Her communication skills, networking talents and resourcefulness are truly admirable. Jackie has the strategic mindset and passionate drive that will contribute to her success.” 

Anne-Jennifer Challard
CHRP, Career Coach
Desautels Faculty of Management



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