Originally posted by Jordan Fujiwara.
Hannes Weiland came to Nova Scotia in 2007. Originally from Germany (“right outside of Munich”), he obtained both a BBA and a BA in Political Science from Acadia University before setting sights on Dalhousie’s Corporate Residency MBA.
Hannes’ values and past academic experience led to his decision to pick Halifax for his graduate studies: “I wanted a program that combined the idea of sustainability and community, and you can only get that in smaller places. That kind of thinking came from my time at Acadia,” he explains. For those not in the know, Acadia University is located in Wolfville, an hour northwest of Halifax. It is a small town with a small but vibrant university population. “I wanted to stay in the area and Dal stuck out as a program with great potential.” Speaking from his international perspective, Hannes also notes that, geographically, Halifax is ideally located for travelling to the States and to Europe while being a good ‘home base’ in which he can develop the community-based skills he seeks.
So, did he make the right choice? “It was a bit of review of my undergrad in the beginning,” he says, referring to the mandatory core academic courses in the first portion of the program, “but I particularly liked it for the networking, for learning more about social and interpersonal skills, and for personal development. It’s already becoming effective in my residency, where I find myself bumping into more and more people that I know.” With eight more months of school starting in early September, Hannes is less concerned about the courses being a ‘review’ anymore, because now we get to choose most of our classes: “I am looking forward to taking electives in the fall, and for us to start to become more specialized, whereas [in the first term] we didn’t have a choice in what to take.” Hannes is going to be specializing in International Business, one of three optional concentrations (the others being Marketing and Finance). Hannes is also the International Rep on the MBA Society.
But don’t get the impression that the first part of the program has no flexibility. There is no leeway for which courses you take, but within each course there can be wiggle room. Especially in the Management Without Borders class, which we’ve mentioned on these blogs before (you get into groups with students from other management graduate programs and assist real companies with business issues). Hannes recalls his MWB experience proudly: “We did a project for the World Wildlife Fund’s Halifax office. We investigated the rebuilding of the Atlantic Cod fisheries – they wanted to figure out what international models of fishery resurrection could be applied here. We presented our conclusions to their team of renowned researchers, and felt they really valued our contribution. I’m still in touch with the WWF as a result of that project.”
So where is Hannes working? He is with Nova Scotia Business Inc. as a Corporate Analyst (Sustainability Specialist). NSBI is ’the province’s private sector–led business development agency’. “I work directly under the Corporate Strategist, who is about one or two positions away from a C-suite position. The corporate strategist works on Key Performance Indicators, which provide the organization with measurable results of success. I was specifically hired to look at a green strategy for the organization. My daily tasks can include: searching the Internet for information on competitive jurisdictions, meeting with colleagues at various government departments or private sector companies, joining meetings for investment attraction, attending local conferences or workshops, and shaping or presenting what information I find makes sense for NSBI. Part of my work has already been taken up in the business plan for the year.”
Hannes’ fondest work memory was the time he was selected to attend the Retech 2010 Global Renewable Technology Conference in Washington, DC, with a colleague from the investment attraction team. The conference lasted three days and he was able to listen to some impressive speakers, including United States Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke.
Determined to continue opening incredible doors of opportunity for himself, Hannes has arranged to work part-time with NSBI during the school year. He will commit eight paid hours a week (the flexibility of the elective-heavy portion of the program allowed him to have Wednesdays free)!
In closing, Hannes’ key observation to pass long to prospective (and new) students is this: “In the interview [for the program], they told me you have to be a genuine and humble person. That is totally true for the school environment and especially in the Nova Scotia business world: those are the kind of people that thrive here. We have some cool Chief Officers in our board meetings. They’re all humble, friendly and open; even when they butt heads there remains a congenial atmosphere in the end.”
Thank you, Hannes! Readers, we will see you next week!