It takes a certain kind of student to join a brand new academic program in its first year. But Meghan Hapgood was looking for a change, and Dalhousie’s Corporate Residency MBA seemed the right fit.
“I had been teaching for five years, and most of the time it was amazing, but I got to a place where I couldn’t see myself doing it for another 25 years,” says the native of Halifax, who at the time was teaching high school in Goose Bay, Labrador.
“I was struggling to figure out what I could do that fit the skills I had, but that didn’t pigeonhole me into something. And when I read about Dalhousie’s corporate residency program, it was like ‘neon lights.’ This was exactly what I was looking for.”
The Corporate Residency MBA, launched in 2009, represented a massive change for the Faculty of Management, replacing the traditional MBA program with an intense, innovative two-year curriculum with the corporate residency at its centre: a fully-paid work opportunity with a major employer. This not only gives students a significant work experience, but the opportunity to reduce their debt while in school. Some of the program’s employers include lululemon in Vancouver, Aon and CIBC in Calgary, TD Financial and Proctor & Gamble in Toronto, and Innovacorp and Nova Scotia Business Inc. in Halifax. And this week, it graduates its first class of 38 students—most of which have already secured full-time employment, many with their corporate residency employer.
“I am so proud of this first class,” says Greg Hebb, director of the School of Business Administration. “They took a risk entering an untried program, worked with us to create success for themselves and the program and will now act as ambassadors in the workplace giving testament to value and excellence we have created with this new program."
Ms. Hapgood represents the program’s broad appeal, as her background isn’t business – she has a BSc from Dalhousie and a BEd from Acadia. But the classwork quickly brought her up to speed on the key concepts of business and built the skills needed to succeed in the modern workplace. And her corporate residency with the Atlantic Regional Office of the Canada Revenue Agency was so successful that she has continued to work there part-time while finishing her studies and will be employed there following graduation.
At the vanguard
“You have to have an idea of the basics of finance, marketing, operations,” she says. “But, really, when someone’s looking to hire or promote you, it’s about what you bring in terms of ability to talk to people, your emotional intelligence, your ability to deal with conflict...those skills have really been emphasized in the program, and I’ve really seen a change in myself.”
Dr. Hebb says that graduates like Ms. Hapgood will further expand the reach and reputation of the Corporate Residency MBA program.
“These graduates are the vanguard of a new breed of managers who have benefitted from a unique combination of experiential learning gained from an eight-month, paid residency and a business curriculum developed in consultation with employers. Their success is sure to accelerate the rising tide of interest in our program.”
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