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Grad profile: “I wanted to go into business to make change from within”
New grad Bronwyn Worrick finds values alignment through Dalhousie’s CRMBA program (Nick Pearce photo)
When Bronwyn Worrick decided to go back to school, the Dalhousie Corporate Residency Master of Business Administration (CRMBA) was the only program she applied to.
“I was travelling around South and Central America at the time and did my admission interview from a hostel in Costa Rica,” she says. “I found out I was accepted while I was there and thought, I guess I’m going to Halifax!”
“The CRMBA is a younger MBA program than you would traditionally think of,” Bronwyn adds. “Dal has one of the only direct from undergrad programs—it allows people to come in without a lot of traditional business experience. What I love is that everyone has really different backgrounds— arts, sciences, some engineers, a lawyer, someone with a theatre background. The number of international students is increasing as well.”
The program also features an eight-month paid corporate residency with employer partners across Canada. The cohort is small and admission is competitive, ensuring students are motivated, encouraged and challenged.
But to say that Bronwyn doesn’t have business experience would be unfair. A holder of dual citizenship who was born in Toronto and grew up in Vermont, she completed a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and International Development Studies at McGill University and stayed in Montreal to pursue work in the music industry.
“I’m very passionate about the arts—music, fashion, street art, you name it. After graduating from McGill, I worked for two years in the music industry, doing a range of things from organizing my own events to promotion and marketing for other people’s events.”
“It was mostly hip-hop and electronic music, and sometimes events related to art and street art,” explains Bronwyn. “For my own events, I would do everything from hiring the artists, booking the venue and hiring staff, to creating marketing and promotion materials. It was a wonderful experience—definitely where I learned to network and work under pressure.”
Bronwyn realized she was doing “a lot of business-related things,” but didn’t want to go back to school to do research or pursue a career in international development. She was also beginning to see a bit of a ceiling in terms of event planning and nightlife.
Dal’s CRMBA was just the thing.
The program’s corporate residency runs from January to August of second year. After 12 interviews in two days, Bronwyn accepted an eight-month work term at Stantec, a global professional services and design company, and a long-time partner of the CRMBA program. She worked on its Indigenous Relations (IR) and Sustainable Development (SD) teams. Although Bronwyn was based in Dartmouth, she mostly worked with teams in Calgary and Vancouver and was able to travel to those offices twice.
“The IR portfolio was quite new. I was doing internal strategy work in terms of how to integrate IR into everything the company does. I spoke to people all across the company about doing business with Indigenous communities, how to work with and hire more Indigenous employees and build more cultural awareness in the organization. I do think my education background in sociology and international development helped me understand some of the complexities of working with Indigenous groups, because each community is so unique. The SD team is multidisciplinary, primarily focused on integrating sustainability into the design, construction and life of buildings and infrastructure projects.”
While at Dal, Bronwyn participated enthusiastically in all kinds of extracurricular and professional activities, including taking on the role of Director of Alumni Relations for the MBA Society, supporting startups in the Creative Destruction Lab, working in the student-run consulting firm Coburg Consultants, and getting involved in Dal’s Women in Business Association. She also took part in case competitions, including Scotiabank Ethics in Action, for which her team took first place. Bronwyn was awarded an Ethics in Action scholarship for her work in and commitment to ethical leadership.
Bronwyn is returning to Stantec’s Sustainable Development team as a strategic management consultant after graduation, and moving to Vancouver in June. “I’m really excited because this is an entirely new position with Stantec in which I will have the opportunity to learn from the SD team in Vancouver and build relationships with local clients.”
The learning and relationships Bronwyn built with her classmates will last a lifetime. “Being around so many people with different backgrounds and learning from them is invaluable,” she says. “It allows you to reflect on your own strengths and weaknesses and grow as a leader. It’ll be really exciting to see where everyone ends up in a few years.”
Bronwyn muses about how she got to this moment. “I think that sustainability, corporate social responsibility and community engagement are critically important to building a resilient future for our world and the businesses that exist within it. One of the reasons I wanted to go into business was to make change from within, but I was nervous because I didn’t know if I would be able to find a place that aligned with my values. Not only did I find that place both in the Dal CRMBA program and with Stantec, I now know that my values are an asset that will guide me throughout my career.”