“I evolved over those four years into a better leader, a better co-worker, a better mom and wife, and a more well-rounded person than I would have thought possible”.
–Heather Fraser, MBA(L), Class of 2022 –
Heather Fraser is currently the Director of Enterprise Application Services at Dalhousie University. Having balanced a full-time job, a busy family life, and her part-time studies, Heather is thankful for realizing her full potential and graduating from the MBA, Leadership program.
CEGE Connection recently reached out to Heather and asked about her experience with the MBA program. Heather talks about a higher state of learning that goes far beyond what is taught in textbooks.
Working in higher education (Dalhousie University currently, and Saint Mary’s University prior to this), I am in the privileged position of being surrounded by education, research, and great people doing amazing things every day. It is inspiring and humbling at the same time. So, when I joined Dalhousie as an employee in early 2017 it didn’t take long for inspiration to be matched by motivation and I started to research options for pursuing a graduate level degree. The MBA-Leadership program couldn’t have been a better choice for me, where it offered the flexibility of online and in-person learning, the opportunity to collaborate with great minds across the country, and a gathering of some of the best faculty I’ve ever worked with, right here in our Rowe School of Business.
When I started the program in the summer term of 2018, I was equally excited and apprehensive. Excited at the opportunity to be a student again, to achieve great things, and to meet new people who share my interests and thirst for learning. Apprehensive because, like many of my peers in this program, I have a full-time job, a busy family life with 3 children (at the time all spanning elementary and junior high), and a lot of interests outside of these. I had many assumptions of what graduate school would be like, most of them (wrongly) based on my experience as an undergraduate student twenty years prior. I assumed I would be reading textbooks, memorizing concepts, and regurgitating that information back in the form of assignments and exams. But while there was some of that, from a fundamental teaching and learning perspective, what I learned through my MBA went far beyond the basics.
I learned very quickly the value of time management, and how I could set myself up for success by prioritizing and planning the components of my life based on what was most important that week, or sometimes that day. I learned how to leverage the partnerships in my life for mutual benefit – my husband, my children, my co-workers, my fellow students, my friends. I learned that I really can’t do it all, at least not at the same time, and how there is strength in recognizing that and an important humility that comes along with it. I learned how I learn best, based on my own abilities and strengths, instead of the prescribed formula and process that is drilled into you as an 18-year-old first year undergrad student. I learned to celebrate my own wins, and that being proud of myself is an addictive form of motivation that I was compelled to pursue. And through all of this, I learned that there is far more to learn in an MBA program than what you read in a textbook. Of course, I gained practical and theoretical knowledge in leadership, accounting, finance, business, economics and more. But to me, those courses were the vehicle by which I drove myself forward in a higher state of learning.
I am a different person than I was when I started in 2018. I evolved over those four years into a better leader, a better co-worker, a better mom and wife, and a more well-rounded person than I would have thought possible. And that self-improvement was not gained through textbooks, but rather the fundamental driving force of wanting to improve my outlook, knowledge and skills.
When I graduated in November 2022, I was very proud to walk across the stage cheered on by my fellow graduating students as well as valued co-workers from Dal.
Being a Dalhousie alumni and current employee is an honor and a privilege, and I’m thankful that while my studies have concluded I still have the pleasure of stepping onto the Dalhousie campus every day.