Graduate Success Stories
Drew Cormier, MBA 2012
Product Quality Analyst
Google, Mountain View, CA
Drew came into the Queen’s MBA program directly from his undergraduate program in Computer Engineering. Upon graduation, he was hired by Google - a company he describes as “the best company in the world to work for”. He believes the Queen’s MBA, in combination with his Computer Engineering degree, was instrumental in differentiating himself and ultimately landing this job.
“I would not have landed the job at Google without my Queen’s MBA, and I believe it will increase my likelihood of being promoted in the future. I would describe the program as amazing and transformative. The team-based approach was extremely valuable, because knowing how to work in a team, lead a team, and find success in a team (especially in high pressure situations) is critical. The highlights of the program also included participating in the Tricolour Venture Fund, which allowed me to meet people within Canada’s new venture world that I’m still connected to today.”
Christina Waters, MBA 2012
Experienced Commercial Leadership Program
GE Power and Water, Toronto
Prior to the Queen’s MBA program, Christina was a Nuclear Fuel Remediation engineer with Atomic Energy Canada. It was interesting work, but not a career path she felt passionate about. She was ready for a change, and chose Queen’s because of its focus on teamwork. After graduation, she was accepted into GE Canada’s Experienced Commercial Leadership Program (ECLP) in their Power & Water division. This program focuses on marketing and sales within GE’s commercial functions.
“I would have never had this type of career opportunity had I not completed the Queen’s MBA. I feel that Queen’s helped transform my life in ways I did not think possible. The program taught me how to manage and contribute to a team, and provided numerous opportunities to practice these crucial skills. As co-chair of the Queen’s School of Business Innovation Summit, I was able to increase my confidence in my ability to plan and manage a large-scale event. The Queen’s experience was fantastic - definitely one of the best choices I have ever made.”
Roger Patterson, MBA 2010
Flock & Swarm Mobility Inc,.Vancouver
Before entering the Queen’s MBA program, Roger was running a data-mining software company that he had founded. Upon completion of the program in May 2010, he founded Flock & Swarm Mobility Inc., a geolocation-based smartphone gaming company that released its first product, mapdash.com in 2012. Driven by his passion for promoting entrepreneurialism, he has developed an entrepreneurship workshop for Masters, PhDs, and Post-doctoral students at universities across Canada. In 2012, he co-founded Launch Academy, a non-profit startup accelerator in Vancouver.
“I chose Queen’s for many reasons - its world-beating reputation, the networking opportunities, the team- based approach, and the one year format. However, it was their personal attention and amazing level of professionalism during the application process that ultimately won me over. The knowledge and skills I gained in the program have helped me in many ways. However, some of the less tangible influences have been the most potent: the confidence gained from the case competitions and many presentations, finding an important advisor to my company through the Queen’s network, and the reputation and influence of Queen’s opening doors to new opportunities.”
Shannon Kot, MBA 2012
Before enrolling in the Queen’s MBA program, Shannon was a Senior Consultant at Deloitte. With an undergraduate degree in mathematics, she wanted a broader business education. She chose Queen’s because of its reputation, team-based approach, and the personalized and holistic student experience and was a Forté Foundation Scholarship recipient. Upon completing the program, she returned to Deloitte and has taken on increased leadership and management roles. She believes the program has provided her with the increased credibility, confidence and leadership capabilities she needed to work and advise more senior clients.
“My Queen’s MBA experience helped me to refine my management and leadership style, and changed the way I work with people. I learned how to bring together different perspectives to reach a more sound solution to a problem. The program has provided a valuable network of future leaders through my classmates, professors and alumni. As well, the Forté Foundation connections inspired me and greatly broadened my network. For me, the culture of the Queen’s MBA program was the highlight, with a focus on learning, coaching and development – through professors, professional coaches and peers.”
Somen Mondal, MBA 2006
Entrepreneur and Co-Founder
Having earned a Computer Engineering degree in 2002, Somen accepted a position writing customized software programs for clients of a Toronto consulting firm. There he met Shaun Ricci, with whom he founded N4 Systems. He quickly realized that in order to take their new venture to the next level he needed the knowledge, skills and network that an MBA would provide. He chose the Queen's MBA because of its strong alumni network. With the advice and counsel of Paul Hyde, the then Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Queen's School of Business, Somen and his partner continued to grow the business. The Queen's School of Business alumni network proved to be invaluable, enabling them to acquire private funding for the expansion of the company. N4 Systems continued to flourish and in 2013, it was sold to Master Lock for an undisclosed amount in the tens of millions.
“We had already started the business, but I knew that we didn't know enough about business to take it to the next level. An MBA would give me the solid business foundation that we would need to move forward. I also knew that a major benefit of doing an MBA was access to an alumni network that I could tap into. It was a major selling point for me, and one of the main reasons I chose Queen's.”
Jeff Blackburn, MBA 2005
Vice President and General Manager
Exco Technologies Limited, Toronto
When Jeff decided to pursue his MBA, he was a Design Engineer at Exco Engineering, an operating unit of Exco Technologies Limited. He chose the Queen’s MBA program because of its strong reputation and one year format. Upon graduation, he secured a job in the consulting group at Deloitte and Touche where he worked for 6 years, rising to the position of Senior Manager. He recently returned to Exco as Vice President and General Manager, with overall responsibility for Exco Engineering.
"The Queen’s MBA opened doors that would have otherwise been closed to me. Without it, I would not have been able to get into the management consulting field and subsequently return to my former employer in a leadership role. The team-based approach taught me to work effectively with a diverse group of people, and the network the program provided has been a tremendous asset both professionally and personally."
Claudia Soong, MBA 2008
RBC Capital Markets, Toronto
When Claudia applied to the Queen’s MBA program, she was a Branch Manager at CIBC in Toronto. Her goal was to accelerate her career in the finance industry. Upon graduation, she joined RBC Capital Markets (the investment banking arm of Royal Bank of Canada) as an Associate in the generalist program in Toronto. She later moved to New York and joined the Corporate Banking team covering the Real Estate and Consumer sectors.
During her time in New York she was involved in a number of mergers and acquisitions and corporate and leveraged buyout transactions. She recently relocated back to Toronto to join the Asset-Based Lending team in RBC Capital Markets and was promoted to Vice President.
"I chose Queen’s because I wanted a program that would provide me with a competitive advantage. The Queen’s MBA enabled me to become a contender for a broader range of career opportunities. I enjoyed the extra-curricular activities and the smaller class size because it allowed me to develop stronger bonds with my classmates. The dedicated faculty and extremely supportive team of program staff allowed me to focus and succeed. The experience was truly invaluable."
William Sutherland, MBA 2007
Kensington Financial, Toronto
Prior to entering the Queen’s MBA program, William was an Engineering Specialist with Toyota, where he ran a sales and project engineering team. He chose Queen’s because it offered a well-rounded program that focused on both the hard and soft skills he was looking for. Upon graduation, he joined RBC Capital Markets as an Associate, where he participated in acquisitions, equity raises, corporate splits and conversions. In 2010, he joined Kensington Capital as a Principal. In this role, he is a senior member in the deal investment and management team, and a leader in portfolio due diligence and investment review.
“I looked at several MBA programs, both in Canada and the United States, and Queen’s was the one that met all of my requirements. The tools and experience that I gained during the program enabled me to move from the engineering sector into the world of corporate finance. Both the financial skills and soft skills that Queen’s provided have been tremendous assets. The team-based approach fostered a more creative approach to problem-solving, and provided the opportunity to participate in –and effectively lead - a team in a very dynamic environment. Queen’s challenged me to think differently, and achieve my full potential.”
Nora Kleinewillinghoefer, MBA 2011
A.T. Kearney Ltd., Vancouver
At the time she decided to enroll in the Queen’s MBA, program Nora was a Marketing Specialist for Grouse Mountain Resort in Vancouver. She knew that she wanted to make a career shift, and during the program decided on a career in Consulting. Upon graduation in May of 2011, she joined the management consulting firm A.T. Kearney as an Associate.
“I chose Queen’s because I wanted a school with an excellent reputation, high caliber students and strong team dynamic that fostered collaboration. When I decided to focus my attention on the consulting industry, the QSB Career Centre provided the support I needed to prepare for the recruiting process and assisted me in making the right connections to be successful. The fast-paced twelve month experience was a whirlwind of activity which propelled me to new levels in my career and set me up for long term success.”
Suzanne Morel, MBA 2008
Vice President, Public Policy
Before coming to Queen’s, Suzanne was an international trade negotiator for the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. She chose the Queen’s MBA program because of its strong reputation, team-based approach and exchange opportunities. While
in the program, Suzanne took advantage of the international exchange opportunities and spent the final four months of the program at the University of Peking in Beijing, China. Upon graduation, she joined the CPP Investment Board and was subsequently promoted to Director, Government Relations. She recently accepted the position of Vice President, Public Policy with MasterCard.
“I would describe the experience as intense, exhilarating and unforgettable...an accomplishment of which I am very proud. The Queen’s MBA enabled me to move into a new sector, and the skills I acquired through the program led to a promotion shortly after joining the CPP Investment Board. I enjoyed the team-based approach because it allowed me to learn from teammates while contributing to their experience. I value the memories
of working with my team and will always be grateful for what I learned from them. The academic exchange allowed me to spend a significant amount of time immersed in one of the world’s key economies while gaining a very unique perspective on Chinese culture.”
Brenna Donoghue, MBA 2009
President, Marketing & Sales
Ethical Ocean, Toronto
When Brenna decided to pursue an MBA degree, she had been working for several years in the not-for- profit sector in a communications and fundraising role. Recognizing that the sector generally lacked strong management capacity and skills, she decided that an MBA degree would provide the leadership and business skills that would enable her to make a larger contribution to the sector. After visiting several large US schools, she decided to visit Queen’s. This proved to be the deciding factor. Having graduated from the program, she is now President of Marketing and Sales at Ethical Ocean. She believes the Queen’s MBA provided the diverse skill set she required to be successful in this new role.
“I had visited a few of the big schools in the US, and then visited Queen’s. The difference was immediately evident. From the moment I walked into the office at Queen’s, I felt valued by the staff. They truly believed in the program and wanted me to meet with current students to get their perspectives. It wasn’t about putting on a show. It was about helping me decide if this was the right fit for me. The Queen’s MBA exceeded my expectations in every way but for me, the highlight was working with and learning from a richly diverse and exceptional team – a team that challenged and supported me, and pushed me to learn, test my skills, and re-examine my perspectives more than ever before.”
Kalyan Chakravarthy, MBA 2007
Director of Information Technology
Toronto International Film Festival, Toronto
Before joining the Queen’s MBA program, Kalyan was working as an IT Project Manager for GE Aircraft Engines. He chose to come to Queen’s because of the unique team-based approach and the passion with which alumni spoke about the program. When he graduated, he joined IBM in the Business Development area. He has subsequently joined the Toronto International Film Festival as Director of Information Technology. He was recently named IT Manager of the Year by Computer World.
“While deciding which MBA program to choose, I spoke to alumni from a number of schools. Queen’s alumni were very passionate about the program – something I didn’t find with other programs. The team approach provided a learning platform that was very much like the workplace, and taught me valuable lessons in how to lead or contribute to a high-performance team. As a whole, the experience was wonderful and has provided me with a personal network of peers who guide and help me through my professional career.”
David Marquis, MBA 2005
Director, Corporate Strategy and Merges & Acquisitions
Bell Canada, Montreal
When David applied to the Queen’s MBA program, he was working as an R&D engineer at Rolls-Royce in Montréal. He had heard great things about the program and wanted to complement his technical background with a business skill set. He believes the program transformed the way he thought about his career and business in general. After an exciting and intense year at Queen’s, he joined The Boston Consulting Group in Toronto. He is now Director of Corporate Development & Strategy at Bell Canada, and proud to be part of the team executing an ambitious new strategy of service and network investment for Bell.
“From that first week in Goodes Hall, the learning experience at Queen’s was truly exceptional, and being a member of the Queen’s MBA class has been a highlight in my career. In particular, the great faculty, small class size and the team-based learning environment stood out to me as features that differentiate the Queen’s experience. Overall, the program gave me the tools necessary to take control of my career and help me achieve my personal and professional goals.”