Sparking Pamela’s interest: What is an MBA all about?
For Pamela Psihogios, it was only supposed to be a human resources job. It was a way of getting more experience in an industry she had long been interested in and one she saw herself pursuing in the future. Little did she know that her time at a local, Montreal-based food company would change the direction of her career.
“Right before my MBA I was actually working for a small business in the foodservice industry,” she tells MBAGRADSCHOOLS. “ I slowly ended up taking on more responsibility than intended. I was kind of doing everything from purchasing, payroll… things like that. It was a really wonderful opportunity and a great experience for two and a half years.” (00:17)
These added responsibilities had a knock-on effect on Pamela. Being exposed to different parts of the business ignited an interest in her that would eventually lead to an MBA.
“During my time in the foodservice industry, the responsibilities I had started to spark an interest that went beyond just human resources. I thought there was maybe something else there that I hadn’t explored,” she explains. “It made me want to see what an MBA was all about, and once I explored it and did a bit more research, I felt that was something that really aligned with my interests at the time.” (01:00)
Finding warmth and diversity in the John Molson MBA
Pamela’s search for an MBA began with her attending a number of business school recruitment events. They were a great chance to meet different schools and understand the type of school she was looking for.
It was during one of these conversations that Pamela instantly knew what she wanted. She had started speaking with a representative from John Molson School of Business, Concordia University. It was then that she knew she had found the school for her.
“To be completely honest, out of all the schools I interacted with, there was just something special about Concordia. There was just a warmth there [and] a welcoming feeling that I didn’t quite get at the other schools. That’s what ultimately persuaded me to go to Concordia,” she explains. (02:10)
The warm, welcoming vibes she got from the recruiting event were replicated in the program itself. With a diverse mix of both nationality and gender – the class is 40% international with a 60/40 male-to-female ratio – the John Molson MBA exceeded her expectations.
“I would say there’s a lot more diversity than I initially expected,” Pamela shares. “There were more women than I had anticipated on the program. When I had spoken to people about MBAs, I heard that a lot of them were mostly men, so the fact there were quite a few women there was a pleasant surprise.” (02:40)
Pursuing a career in change management consulting
Pamela can draw a direct link between what she studied at John Molson and the career she is now pursuing. It was only because of the school’s case competitions that her interest in consulting was ignited.
“Going into the program, I heard a lot about case competitions. That was something I really became involved with and something I’m very happy I became involved in because that opened up my interest in the consulting world,” she enthuses. (03:47)
“I ended up applying to a few consulting internships that I wanted to explore last summer, and one of them ended up offering me a full-time position,” she continues. “My experience at Concordia really sparked my interest in consulting, and specifically change management consulting.” (04:14)
The one thing to consider before embarking on an MBA
Despite her positive experiences in the John Molson MBA, Pamela admits there are some things she would do differently the second time around.
“The biggest piece of advice I would have for someone considering an MBA, or any graduate education, is to really think about what they’re looking for from it,” she says. “The reason I say that is because for myself, as someone who came into the program without a business background, I felt the learning curve was very steep. I was taking classes that I had never taken before.” (08:58)
She suggests, “Try to use an MBA to complement the skills you already have, build on them and develop new skills as well.” (10:10)
An MBA wasn’t always the plan for Pamela. But, her interest was piqued, one conversation led to Concordia, and Concordia led to consulting. Sometimes, these tiny sparks are all you need to change direction in your career. The John Molson MBA may have been a steep learning curve, but it’s one Pamela has overcome, coming out of it with fresh impetus in her career.
All it took was one conversation with the right person.