I used to work as a busy auditor. Taking about two years off to sit in a classroom might seem unreal as compared to my previous deadline-driven life. It seems like an amazing luxury for me to be able to get out of the day-to-day grind to sit and learn. Since I have more time to get involved with my community, there are no excuses for me to miss opportunities that could add value to my MBA journey. I believe the top-five experiences you should participate in as an MBA student are: case competitions, the Mentor in Business Program, student clubs, the MBA games, and the Student Ambassador Program. In this blog post, I will share my experience with case competitions and the Mentor in Business Program.
Starting the case competition was a bit daunting at first, as this was the first live case competition we had. But the support from the team, case coach, and faculty at SFU made the process go smoothly.
The case competition was hosted by HEC Montréal and Association des Étudiants MBA (AEMBA) for problems and challenges of environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility. There were 24 MBA teams from 17 different universities from around the globe. Our team, Team Corporate Pirates, representing SFU, consisted of four members.
The first round lasted 7 days, given the limited available common time slots due to different schedules we have in our diverse team, we treasured each second for all our team meetings. There were a lot of challenging tasks, long hours of meetings, countless researching, and editing. However, on the actual presentation day, we conducted the case presentation and Q&A session with the judges flawlessly. After 15 minutes break, we had the second round, where all the participating team members were randomly distributed to new teams. Teams were then given 4 hours to analyze the case and prepare their 20 minutes presentation with 5 minutes of Q&A. Our team, Team Alpha, consisted of four strangers. Surprisingly, we spent only 2 minutes on ice-breaking. We immediately talked and agreed on our strategies for the execution. We then quickly started allocating tasks after we shared our strengths and interests. We finished everything 9 minutes before the deadline. It was incredible, and I was shocked to see the efficiency of members from other teams.
It had been a long day, our team had recognized that moving forward (the top 8 teams) was unlikely, given the high competitiveness of other teams. But, in the end, it was all well worth the time and energy spent. I feel it was truly an honour to have worked with such a talented group of people, and it was a big eye-opener for me.
Mentor in Business Program
In our cohort, a significant number of students joined the program because they are looking to switch careers and more than 70% of the cohort are international students, including myself. How can we secure a job in our desired industry in this new place after graduation? We need to expand our network and build relationships with those who have a lot of experience that we are interested in learning about. For me, the Mentor in Business Program (MIB) is a perfect way to get involved and set myself up for success in the future.
I worked as an auditor specializing in the financial service industry in both Hong Kong and Mainland China. I am looking forward to new opportunities in the credit and risk sector in commercial banks or financial institutions upon completion of the MBA program. I joined the MIB program, and the school matched me with the Director of Real State Finance in BMO. Until today, we have met twice virtually. He provided me with great insight into the local banking industry as well as possible career options that suit my background. I kept myself open to learning new ideas, and I also heard things from the mentor’s perspectives openly. I think he could be the person who can help support me in terms of making career choices.
In Part II, I will share my experience participating in student clubs, the MBA Games and the Student Ambassador Program.
About the Author
Vico is a full-time MBA candidate at SFU Beedie. He worked at KPMG as an auditor in the financial service sector. He often seeks opportunities for mentoring to develop his coaching skills and help people achieve their goals.