“As a result of the program, I confidently put my hat in the ring for more senior positions within my organization.”
Melanie Agopian (MBA 2017),
VP of Fresh Merchandising,
Loblaw Co. Ltd.

Why did you choose Laurier for your MBA degree?

So many elements of the Lazaridis MBA program resonated with me. To start with, Laurier is a well-respected university with an accessible Toronto campus and a part-time accelerated program. The not-for-profit practicum requirement also added a unique learning dimension that made the program feel more well-rounded. The administrative staff at Laurier made a personal connection with me right away, which gave me a sense that the school really cares about its students. Finally, the flexibility of the program, having the ability to increase or decrease the course load across a two to five year period, was very attractive to me and ultimately allowed me to pursue other aspirations during the program, like starting a family!

What do you think was your biggest takeaway from your MBA experience?

The biggest takeaway from my MBA experience is the sense of strength that comes from knowing that I can tackle whatever professional opportunity or challenge that comes my way. The Lazaridis MBA program allowed me to put into practice both my analytical and leadership skills in high-pressure situations and across various settings, whether entrepreneurial or academic in nature. This process gave me the opportunity to really hone in on my strengths as well as improve skills I hadn’t yet exercised throughout my career.

How has the MBA degree changed your life?

I truly believe that getting my MBA allowed me to reinvent myself within my professional career and find my voice as a more confident leader. As a result of the program, I confidently put my hat in the ring for more senior positions within my organization and through the various MBA projects that had me interacting with my community, I am now serving as a board member of one of our community schools- another dream of mine. On a more personal note, part of my MBA experience was during my maternity leave, as such, the MBA was invaluable in keeping my professional skills tuned and providing positive career momentum while I took the time to focus on building a family.

“Every day presents new challenges and every day I find myself applying the skills that I learned at the Lazaridis MBA to solve these challenges.”
Raheem Hirji (MBA 2010),
VP of Finance,
Seasons Retirement Communities

Why did you choose Laurier for your MBA degree?

I selected Laurier for my MBA degree because of the fit. The personalized approach to this program as well as the faculty support and resources available allowed me to make the most of my experience. The Integrated Core program meant that I got exposure to a variety of disciplines fairly quickly. I quickly saw how these disciplines were complimentary and I benefited from being able to combine these skill-sets to drive multi-faceted solutions to complex challenges. Furthermore, the MBA program helped me pursue my CMA designation. The tailored learning and preparation helped me through the process and gave me a competitive advantage.

What do you think was your biggest takeaway from your Lazaridis MBA experience?

The ability to apply what we learned in the classroom to real companies provided a valuable practical component. Working in teams not only allowed for greater networking opportunities, transfer of skills and knowledge, understanding group dynamics and leveraging individual strengths, but also resulted in long-term friendships. I was also fortunate enough to participate in the International Study Trip. This memorable trip allowed me to experience how companies adapt to many different environments to achieve successful outcomes abroad.

How has the Lazaridis MBA degree changed your life?

The MBA degree has not only helped to create new opportunities for me but has helped propel growth within those opportunities. Every day presents new challenges and every day I find myself applying the skills that I learned at the Lazaridis MBA to solve these challenges. As an alumnus, I know the Laurier faculty and resources are available to me as I continue along in my career.

“This is a robust program, not just a coat of business buzz words.”
Miguel Lopez (MBA 2013),
Director of Operations,
SciCan Ltd.

Why did you choose Laurier for your MBA degree?

Once I decided that further education in Canada was going to give me a permanent ROI, I shopped around. I visited all the universities that were offering MBA’s in the GTA, including online programs. I  finally decided that the Lazaridis Toronto Part-time program was the best that suited my needs. The high prestige and curriculum, the seriousness of the selection process and the quality of the professors made me choose the Lazaridis MBA program.

What do you think was your biggest takeaway from your Lazaridis MBA experience?

As a newcomer, it helped me to position myself among the best professionals in town. It gave me the confidence that my previous experience and education was indeed valuable. The educational International Business trip to Dubai and Istanbul is something I will never forget and the friends I met on that trip are now part of my Canadian family.

How has the Lazaridis MBA degree changed your life?

I was surprised about how many of us changed jobs while we were still in the program. Even though employers may not publish “MBA required” in job postings, they certainly filter for those who have the degree or are in the process of getting an MBA. Companies see the value of the Lazaridis program and when coupled with the right experience, Lazaridis MBA candidates and graduates are invaluable assets for their companies. It certainly gave my current employer confidence to hire me in my current position.

“Looking back to the first information session I attended, everyone seemed to really care about each person’s success and took the time to connect… not to mention the Toronto Campus was two blocks from my office!”
Amanda K. Holmes (MBA 2010, CHRL),
Vice President,
Global Talent Acquisition- AccorHotels Canada

 Why did you choose Laurier for your MBA degree?

The part-time Toronto-based program offered the flexibility I needed to continue to work full-time. Looking back to the first information session I attended, everyone from the administration to the professors seemed to really care about each person’s success and took the time to connect… not to mention it was two blocks from my office!

What do you think was your biggest takeaway from your Lazaridis MBA experience?

Of course, you learn all kind of strategic models, have a great consulting project and meet fabulous people but my biggest takeaway goes back to the fact that time truly is one of your most valuable resources. You are always going to be challenged with a number of competing priorities- both personally and professionally- and the Lazaridis MBA helped me look at all areas of my life with a new perspective and to prioritize what is most important. I was encouraged to evaluate the opportunity costs of all choices and to leverage an entrepreneurial mindset regardless of the environment, which has served me very well working in large, complex organizations.

How has the Lazaridis MBA degree changed your life?

Completing the MBA has given me a renewed confidence in my ability to evaluate opportunities and make strategic decisions. I have more experiences to draw from and most importantly have a new network of incredibly talented people to connect with.

“I knew I could not go wrong to attend a school with the ‘student-first vision’. ”
Francis Wong (CPA, CMA, MBA 2011),
My Oracle Support Business Owner,
Oracle.

Why did you choose Laurier for your MBA degree?

As a father of two young children working in a senior management position, class time and the school’s reputation were the most critical factors when I was researching MBA programs. I did not want to attend evening classes on weeknights as I wanted to continue to spend time with my children, driving them to swim and ballet lessons.  For those times I needed to put a presentation together for my VP the next day, I wanted to be able to work in the weekday evenings to meet those deadlines.
I wanted to enroll in an MBA program where I could learn practical skills to improve my work performance.  After attending a few graduate schools’ information sessions, Laurier had the part-time program that best suited my needs. The alternate weekend part-time MBA class time allowed me to maintain the work/life balance. In addition to Laurier’s great reputation, I was very impressed that the professors really care about the students’ learning and success.

What do you think was your biggest takeaway from Lazaridis MBA experience?

My MBA experience really opened my mind and changed how I see things. I became very analytical and became a more strategical thinker. Prior to my enrollment in the MBA program, I relied on my past experience in electrical engineering and management when making business decisions.  Laurier’s integrated curriculum made me realize a good manager needs to be able to apply the knowledge in all areas of business.  If you can see things from multiple angles and identify opportunities that others cannot, you can differentiate yourself and this will advance your career much quicker.

How has the Lazaridis MBA degree changed your life?

The MBA degree together with my CPA (CMA) designation has given me many new opportunities. With the strategic and analytical skills I acquired in my studies, I am able to work more confidently in multiple environments. The MBA experience also changed my personal life. I apply the skills I’ve acquired to my day-to-day life like buying a new car. Lastly, I was very fortunate to have some great MBA team members. Together, we went through international case competitions and many group projects and as a result, we have become life-long friends.

“The MBA with co-op program was the main reason I was able to sign a full-time employment contract even before I graduated.”
Rachel Ostrander (MBA 2017),
Advisory Consultant,
Global Infrastructure Advisory, KMPG

Why did you choose the Lazaridis MBA with Co-op program at Laurier?

Coming from a science background, the MBA program provided me with a great opportunity to switch fields. I chose the Lazaridis program over other programs because the school has a reputation for its co-op program with companies in Toronto, across Canada and globally. Laurier also stood out as a fantastic choice for an MBA because its community culture develops well-rounded graduates that can excel in any environment.

I would definitely recommend the co-op program for anyone considering a Lazaridis MBA. The co-op program is particularly useful for young professionals coming from different backgrounds who want to switch fields. Two four-month co-op terms allow participants to experiment with career paths and then make an informed decision about their future. During my co-op terms, I was given the responsibility of a full-time employee and was able to demonstrate all the value I could bring to a permanent position.

What do you think was your biggest takeaway from your Lazaridis MBA co-op experience?

Having a robust network is essential for career development and the Lazaridis MBA was fantastic for helping me make some great industry connections. My first position was as a sustainability consultant in Johannesburg, South Africa where I was able to get first-hand experience navigating the intricacies of international business. I was introduced to the consulting world and also was provided with essential international experience.

The most memorable part of my co-op term was volunteering at a not-for-profit. The Soweto Marimba Youth League Trust (SMYLe) is an after-school music program for high-school students living in the township Soweto. Volunteering at the school gave me a unique view into a completely different culture and I made some lasting connections with some inspiring students. An international co-op develops a global mindset that is essential to successful collaboration in such a diverse workforce. Of course, the safaris were also quite memorable! It was because of the connections I made throughout my co-op terms that enabled me to sign a full-time contract at KPMG six months before I graduated from the MBA program.

How has the Lazaridis MBA degree changed your life?

The degree has given me a more comprehensive view of the life cycle impacts of business. The MBA has changed my perspective when it comes to business practices; the Lazaridis MBA, in particular, teaches its candidates to be thoughtful and investigative when considering all the impacts businesses can have on the world.

“The Lazaridis MBA program is more than just courses; it provides key leadership experiences.”
Adam Fox (MBA 2012),
Director of Sales,
Awake Chocolate

Why did I choose Laurier?

The decision to choose Laurier was a very natural one. First, the reputation of Laurier is among the best business schools in Canada, with top-notch teaching and many leadership opportunities. Second, the part-time alternate weekend program was conveniently located for me in the heart of downtown Toronto, in a rich learning environment at the St. Andrew’s Club and Conference Centre. Third, the experiences and integrated nature of the program makes a student leadership-ready when they leave.  The curriculum is dynamic, allowing you to see the interconnections within an organization and the business world. Having the opportunity to connect with real executives and solving real-life problems in ICE week and the six-month consulting assignment really boosted my boardroom confidence as well as ability to work within a team. This program is rooted in strategy, leadership, team building and personal development.

What do you think was your biggest takeaway from your Lazaridis MBA experience?

The connections made with faculty and fellow students are priceless. The dynamic and “real-life” assignments prepare you to be leadership-ready after completing the program. Participating in two International Assignments to China, Turkey, and Dubai opened my eyes to the global world of business and the connections I made with those who participated in the trip inspired a network that, to this day, has shaped and made me a stronger leader as I continue on in my career.

How has the Lazaridis MBA degree changed your life?

The Lazaridis MBA provided a new level of confidence not only to me but to employers on my ability to understand strategies within Canadian business organizations, as well as globally through the key international experiences that Laurier offers. Students will realize they have a different voice in the boardroom with co-workers and senior staff as a result of being part of the Lazaridis MBA.  This program helped me to understand my own leadership style as well as the effective leadership styles of others to be the most productive and successful in the workplace.

This program will challenge your way of thinking and provide you with skills that will set you up to be the leader you always wanted to be. You will meet some of the most amazing people that bring unique experiences to the classroom every week. Each student will build a solid network that will open opportunities and create life-long friendships. The Lazaridis faculty is amazing, providing a perfect blend of practical and academic experiences instilling a different way of thinking. The faculty goes above and beyond to support you in achieving your goals throughout, and beyond the program. To summarize, the experience is life-changing and if I could do it all over again, I would in a heartbeat.

“Laurier’s MBA program takes an individual from where you are, with all your current strengths and experiences and then stretches you further than you knew you were capable of going.”
MaryJo Smith, (MBA 2016),
Director of Internal Audit and Human Resources,
Denison Mines Corp.

Why did you choose Laurier for your MBA degree?

My search for the right MBA program focused on three key areas: the reputation of the school; the quality of the program content; and a positive learning environment.  The Lazaridis MBA program delivered on all of these- in hindsight, I think one of the most important factors was the learning environment. The Laurier program included a faculty that was accessible and sincerely interested in helping students achieve their full potential.  This emphasis on “team” helped me further develop leadership and interpersonal skills that are equally important as the business principles and concepts that were taught through the program.

What do you think was your biggest takeaway from your Lazaridis MBA experience?

My biggest takeaway was an improved ability to consider the big picture. The Integrated Core program was challenging and closely replicates the real world environment. It emphasized thinking beyond the immediate or obvious issues and focused on developing recommendations that incorporated different organizational perspectives. There were many opportunities to practice and apply the skill of strategic thinking; two standouts for me were the Applied Business Research and the International Studies projects.

How has the Lazaridis MBA degree changed your life?

For me, completing the Lazaridis MBA program resulted in a renewed sense of energy and an eagerness to push myself even further in my career than I had previously imagined possible. As a mature student, I sometimes wondered whether enrolling in the MBA program was really the right decision for me. However, once I was involved in the program, I couldn’t imagine not having taken the opportunity to do this program.

“I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to build strong friendships with some incredibly talented MBA colleagues who have provided me with mentorship and support throughout my career.”
Fahd Gulzar (MBA 2010),
Program Manager,
Financial Crimes and Risk Compliance, SAS

Why did you choose the Laurier for your MBA degree?

I chose the Lazaridis MBA because of its versatility. It’s Integrated Core program provides a level of depth which enables you to change direction based on your career aspirations, potentially leveraging one of the combination programs. The close proximity of the Full-time MBA program in Waterloo to Canada’s technology hub was a heavily weighted factor in my decision-making process.

What do you think was your biggest takeaway from your Lazaridis MBA experience?

The biggest takeaway from my MBA experience was the importance of giving back to the community you work and live within. During my MBA, I had an opportunity to help a non-profit organization better their operations and help them achieve their organizational goals and objectives.

How has the Lazaridis MBA degree changed your life?

The MBA degree has changed my life by teaching me how to leverage my quantitative background in a business environment. It has opened up many doors which would have otherwise been closed. I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to build strong friendships with some incredibly talented MBA colleagues who have provided me with mentorship and support throughout my career.

“My MBA experience has changed my perspective and understanding of business operations and processes and has improved my strategic thinking abilities as well as my ability to work with a variety of individuals.”
Mathangi Mayakrishnan (MBA 2015),
Marketing Communications Manager,
Microsoft Canada

Why did you choose Laurier for your MBA degree?

I was looking for a school that had reputable teaching and a students-first culture. In my research, Laurier stood out among other schools with its strong reputation as a business leader in innovation and leadership development. The team at the Lazaridis MBA personally reached out to me to invite me to discuss the possibility of joining the Lazaridis MBA program. I did not receive this one-on-one human connection with other schools, which further aligned me to choose Laurier. I was also looking for a program that allowed me to complete my MBA degree within the year. The Lazaridis program allowed the opportunity to keep my life and career plan intact.

What do you think was your biggest takeaway from your Lazaridis MBA experience?

The biggest takeaway was the soft skills training I received, which is required in the business and corporate world. While we focused on our courses, the activities within these classes enhanced my skill level in public speaking, presentations, teamwork and stakeholder management. These skills are what I use every day in the corporate environment. Additionally, I participated in an exchange program in Rennes, France for two weeks. We visited three private organizations and learned their best practices on social responsibility and how they are improving their communities. This experience allowed me to study in a city where a majority of its residents did not speak English.

How has the Lazaridis MBA degree changed your life?

My MBA experience has changed my perspective and understanding of business operations and processes and has improved my strategic thinking abilities as well as my ability to work with a variety of individuals. With the Integrated Core aspect of the program, I learned the value of managing time, stakeholders and a heavy workload. With the exchange program, I found a new love for travel and experiences. With the consulting course, I learned the value of customer service and working with a client. Throughout the program, I met and worked with some of the smartest individuals I had ever met. I would describe the one year I spent in the MBA as one of the best, hardest, most enjoyable and engaging years of my life.

“I currently work as an “internal consultant” at the largest transportation network in North America, and I would have never been able to fill that role without the skills I learned in my Lazaridis MBA degree.”
Robert Colorafi (MBA 2011),
Senior Strategic Analyst,
Metropolitan Transportation Authority Bridges & Tunnels, NYC

Why did you choose Laurier for your MBA degree?

I was attracted to the Lazaridis MBA program because of the comprehensive experience it offered. The co-op element was especially appealing to me.  I knew I needed a strong academic program that would also give me an environment where I could apply that knowledge. Laurier was well-integrated into both the Waterloo community and the areas of business that I was interested in.

What do you think was your biggest takeaway from your Lazaridis MBA experience?

My MBA was an opportunity for me to apply the skills from my electrical engineering undergraduate degree in a rich and complex academic program. I bonded with and exchanged ideas with colleagues from a wide array of disciplines and backgrounds and I learned what would be crucial to prove myself in the workplace. Just a few weeks before I graduated, I participated with three of my classmates in the Aspen Business and Society International MBA Case Competition. We came in first in a field of 20 elite universities and more than 100 teams- this was the moment when I realized how much I had really learned in just 2 years.

How has the Lazaridis MBA degree changed your life?

My MBA has changed my life both professionally and personally. My analytic skills were honed in a way that allowed me to go further and faster in my career. I currently work as an “internal consultant” at the largest transportation network in North America, and I would have never been able to fill that role without the skills I learned in my Lazaridis MBA degree. I also bonded with my classmates and they are some of my closest friends to this day.

“The teachers were exceptional and provided current knowledge, access to industry experts, and experiential learning opportunities.”
Sharon Steele (MBA 2017),
Director of Product Innovation,
RBC

Why did you choose Laurier for your MBA degree?

I love the flexibility of the Laurier program and the location. The part-time option in Toronto allowed me to remain focused on my career and remain part of my family’s life. It was critical for me to not impact either of these. The program coordinators provided guidance throughout the journey, which is helpful when juggling a career and family. The teachers were exceptional and provided current knowledge, access to industry experts, and experiential learning opportunities.

What advice do you have for potential Lazaridis MBA candidates?

It goes by fast. Stop thinking about it and just do it! Continuous education, no matter what, is a must. This is not the end of my learning journey!

How has the Lazaridis MBA degree changed your life?

I feel more confident in my role as a leader. With so much transparency (ex. LinkedIn), people also have more confidence in me. This confidence has made me be an advocate for my career, which I would not have done without this added confidence completing my MBA has given me.

“The program asks a lot and will challenge you, but it will make you a better professional.”
Sean Flinn, (MBA 2017),
Director Commercial Banking,
Scotiabank

Why did you choose Laurier for your MBA degree?

There are many MBA options but for someone working on Bay St., the flexibility and location of the Laurier Toronto MBA campus is compelling.  After researching satisfaction levels, program choice and price point, the Lazaridis choice was undeniable.

What do you think was your biggest takeaway from your MBA experience?

My single biggest takeaway is the program’s reinforcement that I can perform at a high level across diversified classes while maintaining full-time employment. The program asks a lot and will challenge you, but it will make you a better professional.

How has the MBA degree changed your life?

It has provided me with the confidence that I have an expanded professional network at my fingertips and can be competitive in my career, wherever it may take me.

“The collaborative nature of the program, and especially the teamwork required during the Integrated Core, encourages you to form strong professional relationships with your peers.”
Valen Boyd (MBA 2014)
Account Manager,
BDC Technology Sector

Why did you choose the Lazaridis MBA?

I chose Laurier because of the 12-month format, the Integrated Core, and its strong connections to the Toronto-Waterloo technology/innovation corridor.

What do you think was your biggest takeaway from your Lazaridis MBA experience?

In addition to what I learned in the classroom, which has absolutely accelerated my career, I gained a great network of peers and mentors. The small class sizes mean that all your professors know you by name and are invested in you and your future. The collaborative nature of the program, and especially the teamwork required during the Integrated Core, encourages you to form strong professional relationships with your peers. The connections I made during the program are still strong and it’s great to be a part of the supportive Laurier Alumni Community.

How has the Lazaridis MBA degree changed your life?

The Lazaridis MBA program gave me the opportunity to enter a new industry and the ability to excel in a new role. I am grateful for the personal and professional growth I experienced during the program.

“With the business tools and strategic thinking strategies that Laurier gave me, it has allowed me to compete with the best candidates in our enterprise and access positions that would not have been possible without my MBA.”
Eric Boutin (MBA 2011),
Director, After Sales,
Volkswagen Canada

Why did you choose Laurier for your MBA degree?

For me, the greatest asset of the Lazaridis MBA program was the Integrated Core curriculum. It captured my attention right from the beginning. It was something I was looking for in the structure of an MBA program. I knew that the curriculum would allow better networking opportunities and allow everyone to get a similar level of understanding that would benefit me for the rest of the program.

What do you think was your biggest takeaway from your Lazaridis MBA experience?

The biggest takeaway from my Lazaridis MBA experience has been the ability to integrate the concepts I learned through the program to my everyday work. Since I chose to do my MBA part-time while working, it allowed me to apply the concepts I learned throughout the program. It gave me a completely different sense as to what I was learning over the weekend, knowing that some of the concepts could be applied in my job.

How has the Lazaridis MBA degree changed your life?

My MBA degree allowed me to accelerate my career. With the business tools and strategic thinking strategies that Laurier gave me, it has allowed me to compete with the best candidates in our enterprise and access positions that would not have been possible without my MBA.