Let me start off by introducing myself. I’m Taralyn and you’ll probably get to know me a bit better as I navigate my way through the full-time MBA program this year.
I’ve always liked the idea of holding an MBA but I didn’t start out in business so it only emerged as a reality for me in the last couple of years. I completed a biology degree at the University of Victoria in 2006 and thought I would follow my classmates in to research or medicine. That thought was short-lived, however, and within a week of writing my final exams I packed my bags and moved to Whistler.
Finding a biology job in a town busting at the seams with plants, animals and sustainability should be easy, right? Wrong. Whistler’s economy is based on tourism and biology jobs are few and far between, so I switched gears and started working for the local Chamber of Commerce. As the Member Services Coordinator I found myself in the middle of a thriving business community, working with 800 Chamber members and helping them prepare for the biggest show on Earth.
In the spring of 2009 I started to think about grad school, and the more I thought about it the more I wanted to go… immediately. But my better judgement told me not to pass up the opportunity to work in Whistler during the Olympics so my only option was to take courses online. Business courses seemed like a good fit and after searching high and low, I came across SFU’s Graduate Diploma in Business Administration. It was perfect. I could finish the diploma in one year, and then apply to the MBA program where my courses would receive credit.
I began the GDBA in September 2009, worked and studied my way through the Olympics and was accepted in to the MBA program this past spring.
So here I am, enrolled in the MBA program with a single, lonely Strategy course making up my first semester. Going the diploma route has allowed me time to continue working until January, attend a variety of networking events and take advantage of all the services offered by the Career Management Centre. It’s a less conventional way to approach the MBA but still a great way to get started.
Very interesting post, well-written too
Thanks for the question. I’m not sure what the average GPA is entering the program but I do know that it is only one of the components looked at for admission.
SFU definitely takes a more holistic approach and even with a 2.5 GPA, students may have a strong application based on their work experience and reference letters.
I recommend doing the online assessment to see if it’s a good fit for you (http://beedie.sfu.ca/segal/prescreen.php) and I’m happy to connect you with an admissions advisor if you have more specific questions. Feel free to send me a message at email@example.com.
I came across this page when I was searching information of SFU’s GDBA. I was wondering if you could tell me what undergrad GPA you had upon applying? I know the minimum is 2.5 but i’m not sure if it competitive.
Thanks for the comment and I’m happy to share more info about the GDBA program.
The difficultly level was manageable as the program is geared towards those of us without a business undergrad. However, you definitely need to put in the time to get top marks. Taking two courses per semester, I probably spent 15 hours per week on school work. The great thing is that you can also complete the diploma one course at a time or start with two and scale back if you’re working full time and finding it a bit much.
Group work was required in most of the courses and like you, I was a bit hesitant but ended up really enjoying it. I worked with a great group of people in the first semester and tried to partner-up with them in other courses. (Some of the big accounting and finance cases we worked on would have taken me a lifetime to do alone!)
At the beginning of the program we attended a full day orientation at SFU’s Segal campus (those of us who could make it) and it included a session on team building. This was really helpful and I used it throughout the GDBA to discuss team expectations, etiquette and guidelines for conflict resolution. Working online made it easier in some ways to organize group work because everyone was in constant contact on the discussion boards. That said, course grades were heavily weighted on individual final exams so to answer your question, it is attainable to maintain a 3.5 GPA, but will definitely require some dedication and hard work. Also, you might be pleasantly surprised at some of the high achieving individuals you end up working with!
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any other questions.
Great post! I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from York University in Toronto, Ontario and was considering enrolling in the GDBA program as a stepping stone to SFU’s MBA program. Of particular interest to me was the fact that attaining a 3.5 GPA in the GDBA program waives the GMAT requirement for the MBA school. I wanted to ask you about the difficulty level of the GDBA program and how realistic it is to attain a 3.5 gpa? Also, are course marks based more on individual work or group work (because I’d rather decide my academic fate by having most of the course work based on individual effort). Looking forward to your response. Thanks