Originally posted by Jordan Fujiwara.
Andrew Konesky is one of those people who can be described as a “character,” in a good way. He has a deliberate way of going about things and never fails to educate me on some aspect of the world on a fairly consistent basis. Perhaps this is due to his breadth of worldly experience. In the years before coming into the program, Andrew has sold cars, real estate and computers, he has lived in Calgary, India and Norway, worked in marketing, the oil and gas industry and probably 700 other things I’ve yet to discover. He is originally from Halifax and began his undergrad taking Electrical Engineering at Saint Mary’s University. After two years of school, he dropped out and moved overseas for a couple of years before finally returning and earning a BSc from the same school. From there he spent five years working in various remote locations, seeking his fortune in oil and gas before making the move to come back to school for round three.
“For me, the program means something a little different coming in as a mature student. The program is marketed towards younger, fresh-out-of-undergrad students,” Andrew says. He recalls the past: “I had outgrown my organization and there were considerable health risks traveling overseas for work (I was getting sick a lot). To make matters worse, I wasn’t challenged anymore; what I was doing wasn’t conducive to learning, there’s a ceiling… so I decided to make a change.”
So how has the experience been so far? “I enjoy the fact that Dal took the books and threw them out the window. They started with a clean slate when building this program and I love that they engaged employers during its creation to learn exactly what employers wanted. With significant portions of the program dedicated to Personal and Professional Effectiveness, soft skill development and ethical leadership, I believe this is the beginning of the new MBA.”
Andrew feels that Dalhousie “has tuned in to what employers are looking for.” He was able to take part in two ‘fishbowl’ sessions, which are organized conversations where participants representing various stakeholders sit in a circle and take turns contributing in order to generate new ideas. During these sessions, it became clear that the message employers were sending was received loud and clear by the school. “I’m proud to be a part of the inaugural year where we are contributing to the development of the program.”
For his residency, Andrew works for Emera Energy, which primarily deals with the procurement and transmission of physical commodities (i.e. the trade of natural gas and power). “We are a wholly-owned subsidiary of Emera, which is a utility company,” explains Andrew. “We are the unregulated branch [of Emera] with a staff of about 35 people. My role as a Gas Scheduler is to ensure that physical natural gas is transported from Point A to Point B. Whether that means moving it from the hub where we bought it to where it is being sold, or moving it to a plant for consumption, the gas never stops moving. Gas is most often used to generate electricity at one of the power plants we manage.”
This year, Andrew is also the Social Rep on the MBA Society (the official title might be something like Director of School Culture or something? I forget, so does he). He has this message for all current students: “Please let me know if there’s any event you would like to see planned. I’ll try my best to put them together for you!”
To new and prospective students, Andrew recalls something he heard in one of the fishbowl sessions: “When asked about when to begin thinking about interviews, Bruce Smith [Senior Manager of Staffing & Planning at Scotiabank] said: ‘Your interview started the minute you showed up to school on the first day.’ No truer words have been spoken.”
And finally, to echo similar statements by his peers in our Corporate Residency MBA, Andrew says: “Take advantage of every opportunity that’s presented to you by this program (and there will be plenty of them). You’ll get out of this what you put into it. Network as much as possible and go to every social event (if for nothing else but the free drinks!)”
Solid advice, my friend. See everybody next Thursday!