Thursday, August 30, 2012

The End

For yesterday's Leadership and Personal Change class, we had guest speaker Eva Azoulay, Vice President of Strategic Planning & Marketing at Pratt & Whitney Canada, who spoke about leadership. As a strong and ambitious professional (who also has an MBA), she was the perfect person to encourage us as we transition into our next leadership roles.

And now my MBA year is officially over! After my team's presentation (above) on the Honest Tea/Susan G. Komen corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, a finalization of our blog assignment, and a submission of my contribution to class discussion grade for Responsible Marketing, I can happily say my MBA duties are complete. No more assignments, class participation, etc. I am no longer an MBA student, but a proud graduate.

I wanted to thank my fellow classmates, professors, administrators, friends, family, boo, blog readers, and anyone who I interacted with this year. You have all contributed to my MBA experience in an amazing way. Though there were always ups and downs, challenges and victories, it was an incredible year. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support, help, and encouragement. I couldn't have done it without you.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Exercise Your Right to Vote

With only two more days left in the MBA program, we are officially in the home stretch. Since my Responsible Marketing team will be one of the last to present on Thursday, we will be working and waiting until the bitter end. This afternoon, I was developing the PowerPoint file for our Honest Tea/Susan G. Komen case and tomorrow morning, we will hopefully be finalizing the assignment, so that we can practice our presentation.

Although school has still been busy in this P9 semester, I managed to make time to go on a brief trip to Ottawa over the weekend and attend last night's AEMBA appreciation dinner at Jardin de Panos. Good luck to the new AEMBA candidates!

Speaking of elections, I voted in my first ever Canadian election yesterday in an advance poll! With my new Canadian citizenship, I exercised my right to vote, which of course called to mind the catchy tune from Tanner '88 below.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Speaking Of...

I thought about it and I have more advice for new MBA students. I previously mentioned the importance of getting involved in activities outside of school, but it is also great to hold a leadership position in the program. As International Affairs Director for the student association, I was able to coordinate student activities and collaborate with an amazing team. Even just running for election was an excellent way to break the ice with fellow students and warm up my presentation skills.

And look how far I have come! I will now be a speaker at the TopMBA Connect launch event, talking to potential MBA students.

I also wanted to mention that McGill University, my alma mater, was recently named one of the world's most beautiful universities by Travel + Leisure. See the article here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Prospective MBA Students

I have exciting news to report! Though I was already booked to attend the TopMBA Connect kickoff event in NYC on September 15, I received an email yesterday inviting me to be a speaker there! I am looking forward to this opportunity to present to prospective MBA students and reunite with the TopMBA Connect team. If you or someone you know is interested in pursuing an MBA and you will be in the area, be sure to register for the event here.

With only eight days left until the end of my MBA, I have been continuously reflecting on this past year and the advice I would give to new students. What have I come up with so far? Buy yourself a wireless clicker at the beginning of the program. With typically one presentation per class, you will need it. What else? Get involved in events and activities outside of school. It is a great way to expand your network, learn from within a different setting, and have fun. Among others, I attended a MEEX networking event (and will be going to the upcoming MEEX 8) and volunteered for C2-MTL. These proved to be exciting ways to learn outside of the classroom.

As my previous work experience was in email marketing, I was anxious to read the HBR Blog Network article "Why Email Marketing is King." Perhaps after reading the article, people will take email marketing more seriously.

Monday, August 20, 2012


After a relaxing weekend of doing readings, spending time with friends, and picking up fruits and vegetables at the Jean-Talon Market (pictured above), I started the second week of P9 with my Leadership and Personal Change course. Today was the first day that we began discussions of personal cases that students in the class have written. It is interesting to read and share these personal experiences, and I give a lot of credit to the students who have agreed to have their cases read by the class.

In related news, the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax is now looking for immigration stories from new entrants to Canada. In the past, the museum was focused on immigration between 1928 and 1971, but it has a new mandate to collect modern experiences. To submit your story, click here. The museum is also seeking proposals from artists for works to be included in an upcoming exhibit. You can find guidelines for the artwork submissions here.

I am also proud to announce that Montreal was selected by the New York Times as one of the hippest cities in the world. The article "Hip Cities That Think About How They Work" can be read at this page.

Friday, August 17, 2012


Today has been a jam-packed day! This morning, I rushed to do my readings, assignment for next week's Responsible Marketing class on Food, Inc., and my reflection paper and team evaluation for P8. I am now officially done with the P8 supervised consulting project! During the P8 semester, one of my teammates had been our paparazzo, taking many photos throughout the project. I am thus including a couple below.

I then spent the entire afternoon today participating in a scavenger hunt around the city with the new cohort of HEC Montreal's MBA students. Though my team did not win a medal, it was an amazing and fun experience! Below is a photo of my awesome team. Afterwards, we had a barbecue at school where I was able to answer many questions about the program and help the new students begin to navigate their MBA year.

Team 2

Though I spent last night hanging out at Bar Waverly with the Frank & Oak team, I've been running on adrenaline for the entire day. As I see the incoming MBA students with their excitement and I reflect on this year, the end is certainly bittersweet. I also wanted to mention that, for anyone who is thinking about doing an MBA, TopMBA Connect will be hosting a launch event on September 15 in NYC that is for potential MBA students to meet admissions directors and network with business leaders. You can find more information here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

That's the Spirit!

Today was my team's presentation to the National Film Board (NFB) and I cannot be prouder of my group. We received excellent feedback from our professor, as well as our client. I hope that the NFB is able to integrate elements from our marketing plan when launching their upcoming film about women's issues in Canada. I wish the NFB the best success with this documentary!

With only two and a half weeks left in the MBA, it seems like everyone is feeling nostalgic. We definitely have memories to last a lifetime. Though the below photo was taken a few months ago, it certainly captures the enduring spirit of my 2012 cohort.

HEC Montreal 2012 MBA Cohort

Monday, August 13, 2012

Stars in My Eyes

It's shocking how much I feel that I have been thrust right back into the craziness of classes. After a weekend of kayaking and biking, and also watching the Quebec-made Monsieur Lazhar (Canada's 2012 official Oscar selection for the Best Foreign Language Film category), I returned to school for my first day of P9 today. As per prior semesters, I already have readings and assignments to work on, even during this first week. After all, the P9 semester is only three weeks long!

I have also several times practiced my section of tomorrow's presentation to the National Film Board (NFB). I am looking forward to seeing everyone at the NFB again and letting them know what our team has been developing for the past five weeks for the P8 consulting project.

I recently joined The Daily Muse's Insider List which provides career tips. A recent email from The Daily Muse contained the following article:  "Work the Room:  How to Be the Star at a Networking Event." Since networking is an important skill to gain for all professionals, especially MBA students, I recommend reading the article and trying out its suggestions.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

End of P8

On Thursday morning, I attended a breakfast to welcome the new cohort's international students. It was a great opportunity for the graduating MBA students to share words of wisdom with the new class. After the breakfast and presentation by International Student Services, I led a tour of the Cote St. Catherine HEC Montreal building, to orient students and answer their questions.

It's hard to believe that yesterday was our last full day of the P8 semester. Though my team still has to wait until Tuesday to give our presentation to the National Film Board (NFB), and we have to submit a final reflection paper and team evaluation afterwards, we are done with our written marketing plan and PowerPoint file. We spent yesterday formatting the paper and practicing our presentation. Then, we went out to dinner to celebrate at Juliette & Chocolat and it truly warmed my heart when my team paid for my dinner, since I had secured the NFB mandate. Thank you, 5 Senses Marketing Team!

Now, I will be spending the weekend reading for next week's P9 classes and practicing my part of the NFB presentation. Related to the film my team has been working on, Fast Company had a couple articles recently that deal with women's issues:  "How to Create a Company That Won't Fail? Put Women On Your Board" and "How Women Lead Differently, And Why It Matters."

I also noticed a Techvibes article that mentioned how Waterloo is promoting itself as Canada's innovation hub (see here). Though Montreal and other Canadian cities may seem like obvious centres of technology, it is not surprising to find Waterloo as a self-proclaimed hub. After all, the city is home to Research In Motion (RIM).

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Space Between

I just finished reviewing and editing my team's marketing plan for the National Film Board (NFB). Though we initially planned to finalize the document by today, I believe we are pretty close to completing it. I am hoping to have it done by tomorrow, so that we can spend all day on Friday working on our presentation. I am so proud of my team and all that we have accomplished, especially in this last week.

Since today was our final day of work at the NFB office, as the remainder of our time on the project will be spent elsewhere, we took a final parting photo:

As my team's unofficial "chief editor," I often get asked grammar and punctuation questions. Today arose a question about spacing after periods, which seems arbitrary and funny, but actually it was interesting to briefly research the topic. There is a very passionate article on Slate entitled "Space Invaders:  Why you should never ever use two spaces after a period." I quite enjoyed the article and my team's discussion, and I am happy to report that one space after a period is the acceptable convention.

Regarding my team's dynamic and success, this may be due in large part to our group's size. According to the HBR blog entry "Why Less Is More in Teams," the optimal team size is four to five members. Since team effectiveness is such an important factor in business school, I think the aforementioned article would be of interest to anyone in an MBA program.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

La Belle Ville

My third article for QS TopMBA Connect was published today! The article about Montreal startup events and resources can be found here. I am more than happy to share the knowledge I have acquired about entrepreneurial events in "la belle ville."

Considering my team is in the final week of our consulting project with the National Film Board (NFB), things are pretty calm. We are busy adjusting our recommendations, marketing plan, and presentation, but we are attacking our work efficiently. Hopefully, we will be able to finish our written document tomorrow, so that we can focus on our oral presentation for the remainder of the week.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Girls Just Want to Have Fun

I saw the headline "Want to Have More Fun? Go on a Mission" and I couldn't help but read the ensuing article. As someone who typically tries to stay positive and is always looking to have fun, I was curious to learn the one method to boost happiness. It turns out that the key is to have a mission, a purpose. One of my life missions is definitely to travel to every European country, and my quest certainly makes globetrotting more fun.

Yesterday, I went to Osheaga and it turned out to be one of the craziest things I've ever done. Between the oscillating weather extremes (insufferable sun and heat to torrential chilly downpour), massive crowds of people, mud everywhere, and a full day of standing and dancing, it was certainly a long day. But of course, it was worth it! After seeing awesome performances by Zola Jesus (which was, sadly, cut short due to the weather), Santigold, The Shins, Passion Pit, and Metric, I was happy to have experienced the Osheaga event.

Emily Haines during Metric's set

After my weekend fun, it was back to work at the National Film Board (NFB) today and we had quite a surprise! We learned that one of our core recommendations for the feminist film would not be suitable for the organization, and so in the last week of our consulting project, we are forced to quickly address this issue. Though it limits our recommendations, it has forced us to narrow the scope of our assignment and focus on the core things to address. While it is a setback for our team, it may prove to be beneficial for our paper and presentation in the end.

Fast Company published an article today called "Is This the Jeff Bezos of Russia?" featuring CEO Maelle Gavet. It was interesting to see that the journalist Max Chafkin had raised many of the same points that I had introduced in my final paper for Russia Campus Abroad, where I had explored technology and innovation in Russia. Though Chafkin's article is long, I recommend it to anyone who wants an accurate depiction of the Russian business environment.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Winning Advice

It is hard to believe there are only 27 days left until the end of the MBA program. In fact, what is crazier is to know that we still have to complete our P8 consulting project, make our presentation to the National Film Board (NFB), and take two classes all within those few days.

While collaborating on our PowerPoint presentation for the NFB, I shared words of wisdom with my team, care of Guy Kawasaki. One of my other classmates had sent me the video below, where Kawasaki describes his 10-20-30 rule. Though my group will not be using only 10 slides, we will be heeding the rest of Kawasaki's advice.

I am also happy to announce that my team is already on a winning path. For all P8 teams who found their own consulting project mandates (rather than selecting one of the projects organized by HEC Montreal), we were entered into a drawing for $1000. Yesterday, MBA Program Director Michael Wybo did the drawing and my team won! As Charlie Sheen would say, "Winning!"

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wealth of Information

Wow! I am shocked to learn that, for the first time, Canadians are wealthier than Americans. See the article here. Why am I looking at jobs in the US, then? As a dual Canadian-American citizen who has employment opportunities in both countries, I definitely need to keep both options open.

Now that I am developing a marketing plan for a film about women's rights in Canada, I seem to find articles everywhere about this issue, or related subjects. In fact, the Montreal Gazette featured a blog entry entitled "Female participation in the Olympic Games - we've come a long way... or have we?" Though "London 2012 is the first Olympic Games to have female athlete representation from every participating country," the article's writer questions women's social equality in the Olympic Games.

Because of my recent trip to Moscow, I was excited to learn that a Moscow architecture firm called Za Bor has developed a creative workspace solution for cramped cities. The firm and their office of the future have been featured in Fast Company's Co.Design section here.