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From struggling student to successful business owner

Posted by Margaret MacQuarrie on February 9, 2023 in News

“School never came easy to me,” says Noah Maislin (BMgmt ’11), who describes himself as being more “street smart than book smart.” Getting a post-secondary education was his mother’s goal—not his. “I was hesitant,” says Noah, “and my mother sat me down and said ‘Not only will you learn a lot by going to school, you’ll learn a lot about life.’”

Noah chose Dalhousie over his local Toronto options because he wanted the challenge of being on his own and figuring things out for himself. He’d always had a passion for business, so taking the business management program fit the bill.

Except he didn’t do a great job of figuring things out for himself. “I take full ownership of my story,” says Noah, admitting that in the first year he spent more time hitting the bars than hitting the books. “I think my GPA was .69.”

The summer after first year changed his attitude, especially when his mother got a letter saying he was facing academic dismissal. “I had to fight to get back into school,” says Noah. “I was calling and emailing my profs, telling them I was ready to take things more seriously and be a better student.”

That’s when he met academic advisor Margie Muise. “She had sympathy for me and got me back in for my second year—on academic probation,” says Noah. Margie also guided him to take a major in entrepreneurship and innovation, because it fit his interests. “That was an aha! moment,” says Noah. “All the classes started to become easier, more enjoyable. Margie set the tone for the rest of my time at Dal.”

By graduation, Noah (pictured right, on vacation in Georgia) had gone from facing dismissal to winning an entrepreneurship award.

He continued to follow his entrepreneurial passions and, after a short stint working for his family’s transportation business, bought into a small minute-taking business. The business had six clients at first, says Noah, and was more of a side-job for the two lawyers who had originally started it. Two years later, Noah and a friend would buy them out and eventually grow Minutes Solutions Inc. to over 4,000 clients across Canada and the United States. (The friend has since left the business, making Noah the sole owner.)

Looking back, Noah’s thankful for his full Dalhousie experience—the highs and the lows. His advice to any student struggling today is to “stick with it. See it through to the end. You might want to give up or think it’s too difficult, but it gets easier and more enjoyable. Going to Dalhousie benefitted my life in many great ways.”