7 questions to ask before making the jump to MBA

December 20, 2020by CEO

[:en]Undertaking an MBA is a bit like embarking on a marathon: do not start too fast, manage your efforts, progress with regular strides are just some of the rules to follow. If discipline is essential, the support of loved ones and a healthy lifestyle are all factors that contribute to getting closer to the finish line.

1-  Is this done for me?

The qualities necessary to undertake an MBA are numerous, just like the challenges that await graduates in the exercise of their functions. “Intellectual curiosity, a great sense of respect for others and a great ability to work under pressure!” Says Brigitte Dupriez, President of the Association des MBA du Québec.


During the training, a lot of the work is done in a team. If we prefer to play the hermits and the fiery discussions hit us on the naves, it is better to choose another way …

Another essential ingredient: ambition. No need to sharpen your canines, but all the same, the training directs you to positions where you have to decide, motivate and lead. A minimum of spine is required.

“You have to show determination, you will need it once you have it, and you will have to demonstrate it during your studies,” says Jacques Roy, director of the MBA program at HEC Montréal.

These studies require a significant effort for a long time. A great desire for personal investment is therefore essential. In selection interviews, the candidate’s commitment potential must be obvious. “Volunteering, social causes, interest in traveling, interest in culture, everything is good to show off,” says Mr. Roy, “show passion and prove that you want to help change things.

“We are looking for managers, people who can swim in the storm,” says Louis Côté, director of MBA programs at the University de Sherbrooke. As the business context becomes more complex, managers must develop the ability to have a global vision of the company, to develop links with other services. To avoid drinking the cup in the first wave, the sense of resilience is essential.

“You have to love your world to work with and get the best out of it, and empathizing and listening are the main qualities we are looking for in our students,” adds Côté.

2 –  Good reasons to do an MBA?

> Moving from role to leader

> Change work environment, move to another sector of activity

> Start a business

> Go to a higher level position

> Advancing your organization

> Deepen your knowledge and structure

> Improve your quality of life

> Develop your self-confidence

> Leave your comfort zone

> Learn best practices

3 –  bad reasons to do an MBA?

> Want to hang the diploma on his wall. You do not do an MBA to get the paper. An MBA is a considerable investment that often requires you to leave your job for a year, and that is very stressful for family relationships … and for the bank account.

> Play the tourists. If you do not really know why you are here, you will not stay long. You risk losing your motivation.

> Believe that wearing the title will help you progress in society. The MBA is not the TGV of a career. You have to have the qualities and experience that make it work.

> Want to make a radical career change. The MBA remains a general education. If you want to change your sector, for example, leaving finance for architecture, it is better to choose specialized training, says Brigitte Dupriez, of the Association des MBA du Quebec.

4 – What should my motivations be?

“The MBA is for individuals who want to change organizations,” said Jacques Roy of HEC Montréal. To achieve this, they must be able to make financial or accounting decisions that affect all areas of the business, and able to lead teams.

“Often they have the knowledge to do it, but they need to structure it to make it explicit. With the curriculum, what they learned on campus on Friday, they can apply it in the business as soon as possible. Monday. “

The MBA allows you to learn how to better manage your time and become more efficient on a daily basis. Expertise are refined. We learn from others from selected examples from different companies.

“It gives you tools – fill your trunk so you can go further,” says Jean Gattuso, president, and CEO of A. Lassonde.

The MBA allowed Mr. Gattuso to develop an essential element in his eyes: the creation of value. “Doing more with less is a thought I instilled in my employees as a result of training, we are fighting global giants, we need to have the best training possible.”

5 –  How to accelerate your career with an MBA?

Expectations for the MBA holder are high. But just because you have an MBA does not mean you can rest on your laurels. The diploma opens doors, but you have to keep working.

Most courses are based on the case study. Many working students have the opportunity to study the company that employs them. “This allows us to reflect on the company and provide solutions, something that is very appreciated by the bosses,” says Anne-Marie Croteau, director of the Executive MBA at Concordia University.

Giving a mentor to the company and seeing how it works can also be a great help in implementing the ideas gleaned from the university benches.

Gilles Lachance, a graduate of the Université de Sherbrooke, chose to give himself a mentor in the company for which he worked for many years, Jean Coutu.

At Colabor, a firm he has chaired for 11 years, he applies certain values advocated by the founder of the pharmacy chain, such as respect for employees and customers. “The idea that you can get results without putting pressure on the staff and giving them room to make decisions has helped me a lot to make progress throughout my career,” he says.

Many graduates say the MBA has allowed them to develop deeper insights. They gained more confidence in their abilities, which helped advance their careers.

“Without the MBA, it would have been more difficult to move forward because I would not have had the overall vision that allowed me to access promotions, so I personally was able to expand my network contacts and have access to exciting challenges, “admits Richard Couture, of Arista Wines.

“The more I’m going to evolve professionally, the more my MBA will become important,” says Chloé Naccache, who works for Ranstad, an investment firm, “that will accompany the image I’ve tried to build in the company. help to progress, but first you have to be credible. “

After his MBA in Boston, Jean-François Michaud wanted to work in mergers and acquisitions. He received an offer from IBM while he was not yet finished his studies. After refusing employment, he accepted the position of senior underwriter of new outsourcing contracts for the firm in Montreal. “At IBM, I use the models learned at the university from specialists who deal in billions of dollars, and these mentors teach us knowledge based on their practice.”

Finally, the diploma is nothing if it does not rely on a certain coherence of the course and skills in the individual.

6 – Is there an ideal age for an MBA?

At the age of 22, Chloé Naccache was the youngest member of the MBA marketing group at Université Laval. At first, she perceived her age as a handicap. She had to establish her credibility in the group and take her place. His youth also brought him benefits. “Some people tended to take me under their wing, and I received a lot of support because I reminded them of how they were at my age,” says the 26-year-old, who works in communications at Ranstad.

Executive Vice President at Lassonde for 23 years, Jean Gattuso could have rested on his laurels. In 1997, he returned to school, at UQAM, to the Executive MBA program. “I had already thought about doing it in the late 1970s, but I did not have the time.After 40 years, I thought: ” If I do not do it now, I’ll never do it. ” “

He was not disappointed. He wanted to update his knowledge and be confronted with other environments, he ended up with engineers and dentists. He enjoyed sharing with other students and he was full of new ideas.

“It’s a different way of thinking, we’re not there just to listen to the professor, we absorb while remaining critical, we ask questions that challenge everything and make us think.”

Too old at 40?

Brigitte Duriez began her MBA studies at age 28. “Between the ages of 27 and 30, it’s the worst time to start,” she jokes, “it’s an age when we’re really busy, we have children …” After 40, is it still worth it? worth it? “You have to wonder,” she says. Before 25? “Too young, she slices in. We do not have much to bring in. As you get older, you bring your experience.”

Too old at 40? Jacques Roy, from HEC Montréal, disagrees. “In an executive MBA program, you have to dismantle an exceptional roadmap, for the over 50s, there are still things to learn, and working with younger people helps to change the way you see things.”

Undertaking an MBA at age 50 would be advisable in three cases, according to Louis Côté of the University of Sherbrooke: we have just bought a company, we want to work internationally or we want to solve a specific problem in the company.

7 – How to optimize your degree?

The people who graduate most are those who continue to train. Reading, attending conventions, attending seminars are ways to keep up to date.

Keeping in touch with the network developed throughout the studies makes it possible to have people of confidence to exchange and find solutions to the problems. “Helping each other for two years builds solidarity, and we should not hesitate to call upon it later when we need it,” said Anne-Marie Croteau of Concordia University.


Being active in professional associations and investing to develop a network well placed in companies are also essential to make your degree grow.[:]

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