Originally posted by Jordan Fujiwara.
“It’s the hardest I’ve ever worked in my life; it was tough mentally, and it was tough physically.” Yikes. This is what Josh Lakien, a Wilfrid Laurier graduate (BBA, with Co-op), had to say about the first academic portion of the Corporate Residency MBA program.
Is it really that intense? Josh admits: “I took on a full plate. I was a TA [Teaching Assistant] along with our full course load, I also had home and family commitments… but the experience really helped me learn my limits. The people in the program, both the students and those working for the program, have made it worth it so far.”
But I could tell Josh felt that the hard work paid off when he spoke about his experience with his current residency (EastLink) and our Management Without Borders (MWB) class. To fill you in, MWB is a multidisciplinary course where all the MBA students get together with other students in the Faculty of Management (e.g. MPA, MREM, MLIS). We get into permanent groups and are tossed into the real world, helping/consulting for an organization that has partnered with the program.
“Our group got to work with JazzEast,” remembers Josh fondly, “they needed ways to continuously collect accurate data from concert goers and customers; we needed to use different research methods to see how to first excite customers into giving their information, and then determine what is valuable to collect. We ended up doing a survey about surveys to try to find out about how people wanted to be asked questions. It was a great group, I got to work with James [another Corporate Residency MBA student] who has a musical background and always thinks outside of the box; we had a professional artist with us as well. We got to go to a lot of free concerts! In the end we got some great and concrete results; we were able to make a huge impact!”
I don’t know of too many MBA programs that get you into tons of free concerts… I remember being pretty jealous of Josh at the time! So what is he doing now? “I’m an Assistant Product Manager with EastLink,” says Josh. He’s been working on some pretty cool stuff, including a big national marketing campaign that should be rolling out soon (or perhaps it already has?). But the coolest thing for Josh so far has been the opportunity to work closely with the decision makers: “The telecommunication industry is full of huge public companies, but EastLink is privately owned, so I end up working directly with upper management. It’s like one big family.”
The work environment is excellent too: “It’s kind of like, professional-informal. People joke, it’s fun, and there’s an open door policy… now I don’t mean that in terms of the cliché, I mean I’ve literally been able to open closed doors and walk in to talk to someone! It’s a dynamic industry, so they need dynamic people that can change and adapt. We all work very hard, but we have fun doing it.”
Josh spent two years before joining the MBA program working for Canada’s leading telecommunications company, Research In Motion, as a Marketing Specialist. “The extraordinary growth and dynamic nature of the telecommunications industry continues to interest me each and every day and I am extremely happy that I can continue to grow in the industry and learn new sides of it.”
On that note, Josh reflects on how important all the hard work was and would like to offer the following advice to our readers: “push yourself out of your comfort zone. That’s really the reason I’m here in the first place; I had never lived more than an hour from home [Thornhill, Ontario] and then I came here. Take on work you haven’t done before. Take chances.”
Josh followed his own advice and has been having one hell of an experience so far! Think about it, and we’ll see you next week!
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