Originally posted by Jordan Fujiwara.
Michelle sends awesome emails. Every day I go through tons of emails, as many of you out there probably do. More often than not, when I get an email from Michelle she’s got it rigged up so the background is a pleasant non-white colour, and key words or points in her communication are bolded in vibrant colours. It’s not a big deal, but it brightens that otherwise cold landscape of e-communication. Thanks Michelle.
So what else can I tell you about Michelle? Her last name is Ernest, she’s 22 and she came from Liverpool, Nova Scotia. She studied at Acadia University and earned a BBA with a focus in marketing, and a secondary focus in music and Spanish. A colourful combination to mirror her trademark emails! If you’ve been poking around this site prior to reading this you might have stumbled upon her testimonial videos. (I forgot to mention last week that you can hear Rich speak about the program on the testimonial page.)
Currently, Michelle is developing her professional network through working with Aon Risk Services as a Strategic Business Advisor for Eastern Canada. “My position has been tremendous; so many once in a lifetime chances, like having an informal chat with the CEO or getting to meet people who are working internationally with the company. It’s like a real-life version of LinkedIn!” She says, “this program allows us to network early with employers, even if they’re not necessarily in your focus industry. You learn a lot from everyone you meet.”
Michelle, like the rest of us, embarked on the long six month academic journey before she got to where she is today with Aon. It started with the application process: “It was as easy as I could have hoped for it to be,” assures Michelle, “I’ve had difficulty with application forms before, and this one did have a lot of forms involved but the package made it so easy, the checklist was excellent!” Forms conquered with the aid of the checklist, Michelle remembers her experience writing the personal essay required as part of the application process: “It was a bit of a shot in the dark, I mean, I knew this wasn’t any old MBA program, and that they weren’t just looking for any old student. I remember thinking I had no idea what to say but then it just sort of spilled out… I wasn’t sure if it was what they wanted, but here I am! I figured if they didn’t like it then I wasn’t fit for the program anyway!” Finally, the interview: “It was fine; I had the option of doing it over Skype or in person so I went in. They gave good feedback through the whole thing; there was a good dialogue. You didn’t leave the room wondering if you did poorly or did really well!”
Presently, Michelle is very excited about the travel opportunities she will have as a Strategic Business Advisor. There are 13 different offices in Eastern Canada that she will have to visit, and she’s already been to Toronto twice! Not only will she get to meet new people but she will get to see our classmates who have jobs in places like Toronto, Montreal or Ottawa. “Every situation is unique; every day is different. It’s what I enjoy and what I thrive in. Despite similar work processes, every office requires plan adjustments. It’s a good challenge and a great opportunity for learning.”
While she can’t get into the specifics, Michelle is currently in a “preparation” stage. She’ll be travelling, as mentioned before, during her “roll-out” stage where she’ll be visiting and revisiting different offices in a support role to ensure that her mandate is on track. Success in Eastern Canada may bring her further west!
Yes, it’s been an interesting journey. Michelle takes a moment to reflect: “Being here in this position, as I look out the window at the beautiful Halifax Harbour, it’s funny to look back to all the little steps that brought me here. Like taking French [yes, Michelle speaks French as well as Spanish], a decision I made a long time ago. If I hadn’t done that, I might not be here. Everything I’ve done and everything I will do is a piece of a puzzle and it’s exciting to think what the final picture will be. Sometimes you gain pieces, sometimes they are taken away, but that’s life!”
With the Corporate Residency MBA contributing a puzzle piece or two to the jigsaw, I’m positive her picture will be something incredible. See you next week!
P.S. – Michelle, along with classmates Lars, Nick and Randel, is competing in TRUMPED, a local business skills competition that is put on by the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University (http://www.trumped.ca). After the first round of elimination, the Corporate Residency MBA team is ranked 5th out of 66! Good job guys!