Laura Fougere grew up in Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia. She has a Bachelor of Public Relations from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. Post-graduation, Laura worked in public relations at the IWK Health Centre. She is completing her corporate residency in Human Resources at the Bank of Montreal in Toronto.
What inspired you to do an MBA?
I always had an interest in completing my MBA. I think public relations is an important business function; however, my undergraduate degree didn’t give me exposure to some other core areas such as finance and accounting. I wanted to better round my skill set as I moved forward in my career.
I chose Dal because the corporate residency allowed me to keep one foot in the workforce while working towards my goal of an MBA. I started my career before returning to grad school and I didn’t want to put it on hold. The Corporate Residency MBA has allowed me the best of both worlds.
Where are you doing your residency, and what is your position?
I’m working as a Human Resources Program Coordinator at BMO Bank of Montreal.
A lot of people featured on this blog are focused on finance and marketing. Did you intend to get into human resources when you started the program, and now that you are, what does the HR function mean to you?
I was very open to expanding my knowledge of “new to me” areas of the business world. I interviewed for positions in finance, consulting, marketing and HR. Ultimately, I chose the HR role at BMO because it was the best fit for me. I felt a connection to the people I met from the company – they had a great enthusiasm for their work and represented the culture at BMO well. My hiring manager also did a great job explaining the ‘value add’ for both parties during my interview. He recognized the skills I brought to the table, and talked about how BMO could both add to and benefit from those skills.
HR is a really interesting field. I work with the Workforce Solutions and Strategic Initiatives teams. Traditional HR functions such as hiring or benefits are not part of my job at all. The teams I work with support the frontline business and are much more strategy-focused. Workforce Solutions enables HR Business Partners to effectively deliver strategies, and plans to mitigate identified gaps in organizational and employee capabilities and enable the achievement of business strategies. Strategic Initiatives leads the development and implementation of the overall strategy and priority initiatives relating to the Personal and Commercial banking segment.
What are your plans for after graduation?
I’m looking for a role that is the right fit for me, with opportunities to leverage my skills and experience in HR, PR and strategy. BMO has provided me the chance to meet with many other professionals in the bank and I’d welcome the opportunity to come back.
My corporate residency experience has really made me think more broadly about the banking industry and the field of HR in particular. There are so many diverse opportunities within financial services. I would also challenge others to look beyond the traditional scope of HR – there are many specialities to explore, and it’s becoming more and more of a focus within organizations that want to better manage talent in the global economy.