Michael Carey grew up in central Massachusetts, and has been living in Nova Scotia since 2007 with his wife. He first moved to Canada to attend Mount Allison University, where he graduated with a BA in anthropology. Over the years he has lived and worked in a variety of settings including China, Alaska and Latin America. His love of camping, fishing and the outdoors has led him to travel overland across North America, East Africa and the Chinese Himalayas. Over the past few years, Michael has worked in the solar energy sector, where he developed a passion for empowering people and communities. He has chosen an MBA as a way of leveraging his diverse experience and his fondness of working with people.
Where are you working for your Corporate Residency and what is it like so far?
For my residency, I am working at Seaforth Energy in Business Development. Seaforth Energy is a manufacturer, installer and research think-tank for the wind energy industry. My job involves a diverse array of skills aimed at finding new clients and guiding them as they get their projects off the ground. As we work internationally, my position involves making energy infrastructure projects work in areas as diverse as the Canadian Arctic, the Caribbean, the USA and West Africa. This requires a mix of hard and soft skills and, on any given day, I may be expected to play the role of electrical specialist, economist, financial analyst, municipal by-law expert, cultural liaison, etc.
What challenges have you been faced with, and what projects have you worked on?
It has been an interesting challenge to develop projects that are viable from a financial perspective, and then convey this “business logic” to a wide variety of stakeholder groups. I challenge anyone who feels that they have sales and marketing talent to develop a wind turbine site in a small community!
One of the best aspects of this residency is the latitude I have been granted to work independently, while benefitting from the support of our sales and engineering teams. The opportunity to pursue my own leads requires dealing with contractors, financers, electrical utilities, government bodies, etc. It has also offered the opportunity to hit the pavement and explore some of the most beautiful corners of Nova Scotia. Fortunately, high-wind sites are often very scenic places.
You are originally from Boston; what made you decide to come to Dalhousie? Did you look at many other B-schools?
The decision to apply to Dalhousie’s MBA program was a pretty natural one, and it was the only MBA program to which I applied. As a workaholic I was keen to remain in the workforce while pursuing a Master’s, and was also keen to live in Halifax as my wife completes her degree in nursing. I was attracted to the innovative, employer-informed pragmatism that Dalhousie offers. This really is a program uniquely suited for the “new economy” of our times.
What did you think about the first 6 months of classes? Did they prepare you for your residency?
The first few months of classes were crucial in my preparation for residency. My work experience includes three years at an engineering firm prior to starting the Corporate Residency MBA program, and university summers on commercial fishing boats. I have found it enlightening to view these “hands on” experiences through the lens of Business Administration. For a guy with a BA, courses in accounting, finance and operations were especially intriguing, and opened me up to a perspective of business of which I had been only superficially aware.
As you may hear from many students, the emphasis on soft skills is an important part of Dalhousie’s MBA program. I am grateful for the numerous hours spent delivering presentations to roomfuls of onlookers, often on subjects outside my area of expertise! I have found comfort and composure in these situations to be some of the most valuable “material” covered.
Do you have any advice for someone who’s thinking of applying today?
For someone applying, I would recommend coming to visit and checking out the place for yourself. While brochures, websites and “schmoozing” events can convey a sense of a place, it is important to sit down one-on-one with students, and professors. You can learn far more over a beer with a recent grad than from any official review. Just imagine what a few beers can do!