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My Smith Experience (Fall 2020)

Mark Saldanha

Mark Saldanha, MBA’21

Hometown: Halifax

Current job: Neuroscience student/researcher, founder of Greater Love Canada, a non-profit that helps the homeless.

I enrolled in the MBA program because there is a great overlap between social impact and business. The two are not mutually exclusive. I want to use the skills I’ve gained as a neuroscience researcher, the founder of a non-profit, and an intern for the Anaheim Ducks and Sobeys to drive impact on a global level.

One thing I learned at Smith that I’ll never forget: No matter who you are, what your role is, what stage of life you are in, you can drive impact and change lives. I’m in the Smith MBA program thanks to the generosity of Donald and Rob Sobey [through the Sobey Award for Atlantic Canadians]. I’ve had the pleasure to get to know Rob, and I look up to him as a successful business leader who will stop at nothing to change people’s lives throughout the world.

An MBA highlight was working late nights with my incredible team on a significant deliverable. Amidst the panic and stress, there was profound beauty in playing off each other’s strengths to create a masterpiece.

One thing that challenged me at Smith: You won’t be good at everything. You will have bad coffee chats, bad interviews, and will struggle learning some concepts. It’s easy to compare yourself to your classmates. Pushing through this will make you stronger.

A Smith professor who inspired me: Len Anderson (financial accounting). He went above and beyond to engage his students and teach us the beauty of a sometimes easily dismissed subject. He did whatever it took to help his students. I enjoyed my chats with him after class, and appreciated his genuine care for me and my classmates. A wonderful professor, and an even better human being.

My fav business book: The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni.

The best business advice I ever got: Comparison is the thief of joy. Do what makes you come alive, and don’t worry about what others are doing.

My best advice to future MBA students is: Make the most out of this experience. Learning takes place outside the classroom, too. Seek out opportunities to serve the community, small businesses and other organizations while you are a student. Apply what you are learning to the real world. This could be by starting your own initiative, helping a friend grow his business, or asking your dream company to take you on as an intern.