Originally posted by Scott A.E. Smith.
For our latest blog, we caught up with Mary-Eleanor Walker, who’s currently on her Corporate Residency with Scotia Mocatta in Toronto. Enjoy!
How did you end up in the Corporate Residency MBA program? Tell us a little about the Mary-Eleanor story.
I was working in marketing/communications for a Crown corporation—closing in on my sixth year at Nova Scotia Business Inc.—and couldn’t shake the desire to go back to school. I had completed an undergraduate degree in Public Relations at Mount Saint Vincent University in 2006, and jumped right into a career. I loved my job, but knew I’d eventually want to get back into the classroom. A fundraising adventure and hike in Nepal led me to finally take the leap and hit the books again. Once I made that decision, I had to decide which program. I met with the faculty and administration at Dalhousie University and appreciated their candid outlook on the program. It’s new and it’s got a lot to offer. You learn a range of subjects and meet many new people with diverse skills and backgrounds. I also found the residency component appealing; who wouldn’t want to gain more work experience and make new connections?
Where are you working for your Corporate Residency and what is it like so far?
I am working for Scotia Mocatta, the precious and base metals division of Scotiabank in Toronto. It has been an exciting and challenging adventure thus far. This is a big departure from marketing/communications and, in some ways, a steep learning curve. I’m being assigned a range of work and have been exposed to many areas of the bank. I’ve learned a lot and I’m only two months in!
Tell us about the first six months of the MBA program? How did it prepare you for what you’re doing now?
The first six months of the program had their ups and downs. It took some time to get used to student life again. I really enjoyed the orientation retreat; it was a great way to kick off the program and I appreciated getting to know the others in the cohort.
It certainly helped prepare me for what I’m doing now because I hadn’t previously been exposed to the banking industry. The best part of the first six months were the people in my cohort. I’ve learned as much from them as I have from my professors.
Do you know what you want to do after graduation?
I wish I had an answer to this question, but not just yet. I’m certainly exposing myself to a new industry here in Toronto, but it’s still early and I’m not sure if this is the direction I want to take. I’m also not sure if I want to return to marketing/communications. There are a lot of questions yet to be answered, but what I do know is that travel and volunteer work are ambitions of mine and I’ll be adding them to my post-graduation plans.
What would you say to someone who’s thinking of applying today?
I would say, explore it and see if it’s for you. It’s a big decision and not one you should take lightly. I took time to determine that this program was the right step. I would also say that faculty and administration are more than happy to meet with interested students – take advantage of this opportunity. Meet with as many people as you can and gain different perspectives.