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Student Success Stories

John Asher

John Asher, CA, MBA
President & Co-Founder
Konfidis
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Prior to entering the Accelerated MBA for Business Graduates program, John was working for Ernst & Young, within the Advisory and Assurance Business Services Group. Since graduating in 2006, he has experienced remarkable career growth and is currently the President and Co-Founder of Konfidis, enabling investor access to residential real estate.

“I was looking for a best-in-class MBA program with a strong reputation, and for me that was Smith. The program recognized the value of my undergraduate degree and provided a curriculum that built on what I had already learned.”

Paul Baron

Paul Baron, CFA, MBA
Vice President - Asset Management
Minto Properties Inc.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

When Paul entered the program, he was an Asset Manager for Minto Properties. After completing the program, he was promoted to Director of Asset Management; and subsequently, to Vice President.

“The program helped me to develop my strategic thinking and broaden my perspective of business beyond the scope of my own job and the team-based approach increased my appreciation of seeing things from the perspectives of others. The ability to complete the program while continuing to work allowed me to stay on course with my career. I have recommended and will continue to recommend the program to others.”

Adam Brown

Adam Brown, MBA
Partner & National Leader (Value Creation Services), Canadian Leader (Performance Improvement Services)
BDO Canada
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

When Adam entered the program, he was a Senior Manager at Deloitte. Since graduating, he experienced significant career progress and expansion of responsibilities within the organization. Recently, he made the move to BDO Canada, where he is a Partner, National Leader of Value Creation Services, and Canadian Leader of Performance Improvement Services.

“Unquestionably, the highlight of the program was the development of an incredible national network. I was also very impressed with the team-based approach which, in itself, was one of the greatest learning opportunities the program offered. The videoconference classes were efficient and effective and I couldn’t imagine doing my MBA any other way.”

Karmen Conrad

Karmen Conrad, MBA
Vice President & Director, Marketing - US Personal & Business Banking-Deposits
BMO Financial
Chicago, Illinois, USA

When Karmen started the Accelerated MBA for Business Graduates program, she was working at Frito Lay Canada in a Multicultural Manager role. Upon completion of the program, she transitioned to the assignment of Marketing Manager on a flagship brand. The following year, she moved to Kraft Canada. In 2009, Karmen accepted a transfer to Kraft’s US headquarters in Chicago. Karmen is now with BMO as their Vice President and Director of Marketing for their US Personal & Business Banking.

“Smith’s MBA for Business Graduates presented an amazing opportunity to earn an MBA without interrupting my career. As a result, upon completion of the program, I not only had an exceptional credential, I also had the additional work experience to help accelerate my career.”

Arjun Davda

Arjun Davda, MBA
Senior Director of Business Development - Western Canada (Energy & Commodities)
Publicis Sapient
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

When Arjun entered the program, he was an IT Business Analyst at Encana Corporation. Immediately upon graduation, he moved from IT to Supply Chain Management, in a newly created role with a strategy and market intelligence bent element. In 2011, he returned to the energy sector, moving to Cenovus. He is now the Senior Director of Business Development for Publicis Sapient, a digital transformation partner helping established organizations get to their future, digitally-enabled state, both in the way they work and the way they serve their customers.

“For me, the highlight of the program was forming a network of peers across the country, in a wide array of industries. The Smith program was a game-changer in my professional life.”

Mark Dervishian

Mark Dervishian, MBA
Chief Operating Officer
Ardene
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

When Mark Dervishian graduated from the program in 2011, he was Vice President, Operations at Ardene, a Montreal-based fashion accessory retailer with over 400 stores throughout Canada. He is now Chief Operating Officer.

“I was truly impressed by the program and found it to be extremely well-organized and well-structured. The delivery technology is cutting edge, and the team-based approach actually reflects the workplace. The impressive network of friends, colleagues and professors that I met in the program will be an invaluable asset for the rest of my career.”

Jennifer Dunn

Jennifer Dunn, MBA
Senior Director - Marketing & Retail
Ivanhoé Cambridge
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Jennifer joined the program as a Manager of Strategic Development at Yellow Pages Group. Throughout the program, she received several promotions and was named one of Canada's top 30 Under 30 Marketers by Marketing Magazine. Recently, she decided the move to Ivanhoé Cambridge.

“I greatly attribute my rapid career development to the strategic/cross-functional thinking I was able to hone in the Smith program. Smith developed me into a multi-tasker, who is able to jump from meeting to meeting, with strong perspectives and points-of-view, regardless of the topic or audience. I am huge fan of this program.”

Chris Edel

Christopher Edel, MBA
Managing Director – Corporate Credit
ATB Financial
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

When Chris entered the program, he was Director – Energy Exploration and Production at ATB Financial. Shortly after graduation, he was promoted to Managing Director – Corporate Credit.

“The MBA was pivotal to my career. Immediately upon completing the program, I was offered a leadership position and am now considered part of the leadership succession plan at ATB. For me, the team-based learning was a highlight. It provided practical lessons in team-building and leadership that I continue to use today. Smith is a world class business school that has earned its outstanding reputation.”

Bryan Elwin

Bryan Elwin, MBA
VP - Finance
Mr. Lube Canada
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

When Bryan started the program, he was Associate Director, Business Planning at Mr. Lube Canada. After completing the program, he was promoted to Director, Finance and then subsequently to Senior Director, Finance.

“The Accelerated MBA experience was very rewarding. By applying the learnings gained through the program, I have been able to re-define my management style, and apply a more balanced and confident approach in leading teams or evaluating opportunities. The skills I learned have been instrumental in my personal and professional growth.”

Victoria Girardo

Victoria Girardo, MBA
Vice President - Credit Risk Management
Canadian Western Bank
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

At the time Victoria started the program she was Senior Manager, Product Development and Management at Canadian Western Bank. Since graduation she has experienced two promotions.

“My growth at work, while completing the program, was exciting for me. Right from the start, you have tools, tactics and strategies to take back and implement. I also had the opportunity to do an individual strategy assignment on my company, which was escalated to our executive team and many of my recommendations were implemented. A great opportunity to gain visibility with our senior management.”

Kelly Graham

Kelly Graham, MBA
Senior Director – Marketing & Innovation
Labatt Breweries of Canada
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Prior to joining the program, Kelly held several cross-functional roles at Unilever in marketing, sales and category management. Since completing the Accelerated MBA for Business Graduates program, Kelly was promoted several time within Unilever. Recently, she made the jump to Labatt Breweries and is now the Senior Director of Marketing and Innovation.

“Completing the Accelerated MBA for Business Graduates program was a truly rewarding experience. The program helped me round out my general management skill set and challenged me to approach problems from a broader perspective. Completing the program while working full time enabled me to put what I was learning into practice almost immediately.”

Jeremy Gutsche

Jeremy Gutsche, MBA
CEO, Trend Hunter
CEO, Future Festival
Innovation Keynote Speaker & NYT Bestselling Author
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Jeremy joined the program because he wanted to start his own business. Upon graduation, he did exactly that, founding TrendHunter.com, which has grown to be the world’s largest trend publications. He also wrote the book Exploiting Chao, which was selected by Inc. Magazine as one of the top books for business owners. He has since become a widely acclaimed speaker and is CEO of Future Festival, an annual conference designed for industry leaders who ‘are ready to break through chaos’.

“Not only am I one of the biggest proponents of this program, I was also the first-ever applicant. At the time, I was working at a management consulting firm that would have paid to send me anywhere, but Smith was the only place that I applied. I’m truly thankful for the experience. Not only did I enjoy the material and meet a network of great friends, but one of my classes inspired me to start Trendhunter.com!”

Dave Hannah

David Hannah, MBA
Co-Founder
Scaf-Tech
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

When he started the program, David was a Supervisor for Production Support at Apotex, Canada’s largest producer of generic medicines. Just before graduation, he was promoted to Program Manager of Global Operations Launch Department. David moved to several other companies before focusing exclusively on his personal business in 2019, Scaf-Tech, which specializes in providing scaffolding services, scaffold equipment, and labour for industrial, institutional, and commercial applications.

“The team-based approach is very much like the real work environment in which we all live, and the team building challenges and opportunities were life-changing. I still meet with some of my team mates to this day. I have already recommended this program to several colleagues and will continue to do so.”

Manasi Kulkarni

Manasi Kulkarni, MBA
Senior Vice President - Strategy & Corporate Communications
McKesson Canada
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Prior to entering the Accelerated MBA for Business Graduates program, Manasi was a Manager of Strategy in the Business Development Department at Shoppers Drug Mart. Upon completion of the program, she was promoted to Director within the same group and her role expanded to include leading the company's strategic planning process. She is now the Senior Vice President of Strategy & Corporate Communications for McKesson Canada.

“The program greatly enhanced my strategic planning skills, and helped me to look at business issues and opportunities from a broader strategic perspective. It has facilitated my movement into new roles.”

Toyin Ope

Toyin Ope, MBA
Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Asia Pacific
Visa
Singapore

When Toyin started the program she was Business Planner - Upstream Americas Strategy and Planning Group at Shell based in Calgary. Within a year of completing the program, she accepted an international posting as Global Finance Improvement Analyst - Shell International Exploration and Production, in the Netherlands. She is now Senior Asset Analyst for Shell in Houston, TX.

“The outstanding thought and detail that goes into the design of the program is remarkable. The residential and videoconference sessions, Fit to Lead™, Team Coaches, Career Coaches... there isn't a program out there like this one!”

Chris Manning

Chris Manning, MBA
Senior Vice President - Global Business Payments
Scotiabank
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

When he entered the program, Chris was a Senior Associate at Roynat Capital, a subsidiary of Scotiabank. Since graduating, he has received a number of promotions within the company. Today, he holds the position of Senior Vice President of Global Business Payments.

“In my opinion, the team aspect of the program is a key differentiator. Smith does an incredible job of offering an effective structure to manage teams. The faculty was fantastic, and you left the class able to apply your learning immediately. In all, this is just a great program and I would absolutely recommend it.”

Farhad Merali

Farhad Merali, MBA
Head of U.S. Industrials - Corporate Banking
CIBC Capital Markets
Chicago, Illinois, USA

When Farhad entered the program, he was an Associate for Corporate Banking (Global Energy) with CIBC World Markets in Calgary. After completing the program, he took on the role of Director, Project Finance (Energy and Infrastructure) with CIBC in Sydney, Australia. He is now the Head of U.S. Industrials in Corporate Banking with CIBC Capital Markets, in Chicago, USA.

“The program provided many highlights, such as the Fit to Lead option. From fitness assessments to the personal training sessions to morning jogs while on campus, it provided a great outlet from the academic demands during the year.”

Daniel Monehin

Daniel Monehin, CPA (US), DBA, FCMA, FCPA, MBA
CEO & Founder, Resolut Consulting
Adjunct Faculty, Smith School of Business, Queen's University
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

While in the program, Daniel joined MasterCard Canada as Director of Finance. He was subsequently promoted to Vice President and Regional Financial Officer, and served on the Strategic & Risk Management Committee of the Society of Certified Management Accountants of Ontario. In 2019, Daniel founded Resolut Consulting and is currently an adjunct faculty member at Smith.

“The Accelerated MBA for Business Graduates was an exceptional opportunity for me to add strategic management to my finance background. The program’s high-calibre professors, challenging course work, and outstanding peer networking opportunities made me a well-rounded professional. The benefits of the program continue to accrue and seem to ramp up as the years go by.”

Lesley Scorgie

Lesley Scorgie, MBA
Founder
MeVest
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

At the time Lesley entered the program, she was successfully pursuing two careers simultaneously - Corporate Strategy Analyst with Encana Corporation in Calgary, and best-selling author. In 2007, she founded MeVest, formerly named Rich By Inc., Canada’s first leading-edge Money School, offering unbiased one-on-one Money Coaching, eLearning and Workplace Financial Education. She recently left her [position at Encana to devote herself full time to this business. Lesley is also the best-selling author of three books on financial literacy, Rich By 30: A Young Adult’s Guide to Financial Success, Rich By 40: A Young Couple’s Guide to Building Net Worth and Well-Heeled: The Smart Girl's Guide to Getting Rich.

“Smith's Accelerated MBA for Business Graduates was a powerful learning experience that enabled me to grow professionally and personally. The team-based methodology taught me different ways to approach and solve problems. The professors were of the highest quality, and the Coaching was well informed. I can’t say enough good things about this program.”

Erin Stephens

Erin Stephens, MBA
Senior Manager - Downstream Planning
Husky Energy
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

When Erin entered the program, she was an Investment Relations Advisor for Husky Energy in Calgary. Since completing the program, she has been promoted several times, most recently to Senior Manager of Downstream Planning.

“The team-based approach was powerful. Working with people from a variety of backgrounds and seeing the unique talents and perspective they each brought to the table was amazing. I found that we were constantly learning from each other.”

Ujal Thakor

Ujal Thakor, CFA, MBA
Director - Strategy Execution & Transformation
FYidoctors
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

When Ujal started the program at Smith, he was a Senior Analyst in WestJet’s Market Analytics Group. Upon graduation, he moved into WestJet’s Investor Relations group for a year. He then joined the Strategy and Operations group as a Senior Consultant at Deloitte Consulting. Recently, he made the move to FYidoctors as their Director of Strategy Execution and Transformation.

“At Deloitte, I’m able to take advantage of the experience gained from the Smith program, especially in terms of strategic thinking and working in diverse teams. Being able to bring a deeper understanding of strategy and performance has helped me to succeed in discussions with clients at all levels. I continue to recommend this program because I believe it provides great value.”

Janet Vanderlaan

Janet Vanderlaan, MBA
Principal - Financial Services Group
Optimus SBR
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Prior to her degree, Janet spent five years working in various roles within retail banking at TD. Near the end of the program, she was promoted to Product Manager of Small Business Banking Products at the bank’s head office. In 2017, Janet made the move to Optimus SBR, overseeing a portfolio of projects and a diverse team of consultants within the Financial Services Practice.

“I chose the Smith program because it was the only program that I could complete in one year, while still working, and offered a more advanced curriculum, building on my undergraduate studies. For me, the team experience is what really sets Smith apart. I have recommended the program to a few people over the years and they have found it to be as rewarding as I did.”

Samantha Welscheid

Samantha Welscheid, CPA, CA, MBA
Partner, Enterprise Risk Services
Deloitte Canada
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

When Samantha enrolled in the Accelerated MBA for Business Graduates program, she was working at Samson Belair/Deloitte & Touche as a Senior Consultant in their Enterprise Risk Services group. Following completion of the program, she was promoted to a management position. She is now a Partner at Deloitte.

“The Accelerated MBA for Business Graduates was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Being in an environment where I was surrounded by highly motivated, energetic, and intelligent individuals from across the country was absolutely inspiring. The relationships that were fostered during the program are certainly set in stone.”

Jonathan Zammit

Jonathan Zammit, CPA, CA, MBA
Head of Operational Finance & Analytics
SteriMax Inc.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

When Jonathan entered the program, he was a finance manager at Maple Leaf Foods. After completing the program, he joined Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment as Director of Finance (Business Analytics). He recently became Head of Operational Finance & Analytics at SteriMax Inc., a privately held, wholly-owned Canadian pharmaceutical company.

“The Smith program allowed me to complement my technical CA background with a skill set that enabled me to go beyond numbers to see the whole story. The quality of this program is second to none - a world class brand, amazing faculty and an incredible network. I would definitely recommend it.”

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