Leveraging the Power of Your Network

As a prospective MBA student, leveraging the power of your network is completely at your fingertips. Prior to beginning the Alberta School of Business FastTrack MBA Program in August 2015, I spoke to 12 MBA alumni, of which 10 came from the Alberta School of Business and two represented the Haskayne School of Business. All 12 accepted my request for a coffee meeting. By conducting these information interviews, my strategy was two-fold—to compare and contrast feedback from alumni representing the two different schools I was considering, as well as establish a network of MBA alumni prior to beginning a program.  In essence, what I was really attempting to do was embody the elements of the famous Harvey MacKay book Dig Your Well Before Your Thirsty by “engaging in the indispensable act of building valuable contacts.”

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From left: UAlberta MBA alumni Travis Skriver (’11 MBA), James Brown (’11 MBA) and  Alesya Bajoria (‘ll MBA) met Poonam Randhawa (’16 MBA) to talk about their MBA experience when she was considering different  programs.

The significance of the MBA lies in placing a conscious effort in interacting with alumni, professors and classmates.  As a student, you truly are an extension of the University of Alberta brand.  After years of being discredited for wanting to complete an MBA because I already had an accounting designation, the best advice I received came from a 2011 UAlberta MBA alumnus I met during one of my informational coffee meetings who said, “Don’t listen to anyone and just go do it.”

So I did it. I enrolled in the Alberta School of Business MBA program and started my journey in August 2015. My MBA cohort consisted of 80 full time students representing 14 different countries. Inside the classroom, the diversity amongst my classmates shifted my lens from which I viewed cases on organizational change, ethics, mergers and acquisitions, organizational strategy and higher level global business issues.  Outside the classroom, my classmates helped me become not only a better human being, but a more compassionate and mindful leader too. The level of self-actualization I experienced would have made Abraham Maslow and his hierarchy of needs proud!

The 10 months of the FastTrack MBA along with the monetary investment in the program is a small sacrifice to make for the multitude of skills acquired in the process. Think of it as an investment into your future self.  If you are a prospective student at a crossroads on whether or not you should apply for the UAlberta MBA program, I’d encourage you to take up the challenge and apply; you won’t regret it!

Written by Poonam Randhawa