Ben Boudreau is a second-year Corporate Residency MBA student from Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Initially drawn to human kinetics with the goal of becoming a teacher, it was through experimenting with business electives and supportive professors, as well as running entrepreneurial initiatives of his own, that Ben realized his passion for positively impacting his community through a business lens.
“I started to look for a post-graduate program that could provide me with an array of skills needed to showcase my abilities and experiences,” he says. “There is truly a myriad of reasons why I chose Dal’s CRMBA program. It offered me the ability to build on the knowledge I learned during my undergrad and pivot into a career in business, exploring industries and opportunities otherwise unavailable. The 8-month corporate residency provides a fully immersed educational experience in an organization. There is no better way to experience what your day-to-day career could look like!”
Last September, Ben was only three months into the two-year program and in search of his 8-month corporate residency when he attended MCS’ Rowe Networking Night. “At an informal coffee chat I was told to ‘measure each week not by how well you did, but by the people you added to your spider web.’ I thought it was brilliant advice. This idea of putting myself in a position to expand my network stuck with me and after seeing the list of Rowe Networking Night sponsors, I took on the challenge of gaining a one-on-one perspective with corporations and the great people within them.”
Ben shares that attending Rowe Networking Night was a crucial step for his career exploration, leading him to make several connections, including the person who would later become his supervisor at his corporate residency. “I learned about her own career path, KPMG where she worked, and I was able to gain insight about the organization that I otherwise would not have known,” he says. “This initial chat at Rowe Networking Night simply did not end there. That conversation turned into a journey of coffee chats and learning from various members of the KPMG team, and ultimately a conversation with the senior manager I originally met where I was humbled to cement our professional relationship by being offered an internship within her division.”
Through creating and fostering this new professional connection, Ben was offered an opportunity for his corporate residency that did not exist at the time when they met. “That initial connection and the subsequent follow-ups with company members ‘created’ a new opportunity for me, and I remain forever grateful for their willingness to take me under their wing.”
In August, Ben wrapped up his corporate residency with KPMG, where we worked as a Management Consultant within their advisory services practice in Halifax. “This opportunity allowed me to work in a collaborative environment with a diverse group of people who have vast industry experiences and are all working together towards a common goal,” he says. “In addition, my role extended further to include various ‘side quests’ which included some of my favourite moments: a bi-weekly ‘what’s in the news and why does it matter’ session with my supervisor which led to new ideas and implementations, being invited to speak to a panel of 1,200+ management consultants, and trying my hand at recruiting.”
In addition to this work experience, Ben is supporting his community of students by serving on the CRMBA Society as the Director of Corporate & Community Relations. “I had the chance to work with amazing members of the CRMBA Society and I took it. I believe that some skills are best taught through volunteering and helping our community. The hope is to help our amazing CRMBA Society team create a beneficial impact for our cohort and our community.”
Ben now passes on the advice he once received to his student peers. “Speaking from my own experience, I would encourage students to take every opportunity they can to widen their web, increase their connections, meet new people, and learn more about ‘how they got there’. I’m a firm believer in making connections in person, gaining insight into the company, listening with your undivided attention, and leaving every meeting with an action plan of who to speak to next. My advice is threefold:
- While leveraging networking events and building your spider web, understand that your goal is to learn and gain insights. Researching, listening, and asking questions are powerful tools.
- Embrace experiences. Take the time to get involved in employer and community events, and try new experiences since these initiatives allow for an easy way to meet others while building crucial skills.
- Don’t be afraid to take the path less chosen and self-develop your work term if there isn’t a position listed that resonates with you.”
This year, Dal Business Networking Night (formerly called Rowe Networking Night) is taking place on Thursday, September 14th from 4:00pm to 8:00pm. Click here to register on myCareer!