Vivianne Yao and Emily Gogarty come from extremely different backgrounds.
Yao is from Montreal, was on a pathway to study medicine, and working in sales. Gogarty is from Mississauga, Ont., completed a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at McGill and was at the helm of a team working with cutting-edge robotics.
However, both had little doubt the MBA program at McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management was the next step in their academic and professional careers.
“I could have taken an online finance course, but I thought the MBA is really supposed to be a pivotal transformation experience,” said Gogarty. “I wanted to be in an environment that would expose me to the most potential.”
“I felt stuck,” said Yao. “I loved what I was doing, but I was ready for the next step. The MBA truly was what was going to get me to the next step.”
Despite their contrasting careers, Yao and Gogarty will be linked for years to come as members of the Desautels Faculty of Management’s global alumni network. They both enjoy seeing their colleagues in the MBA program thrive in their careers, especially when it’s one of their female colleagues.
“There’s definitely a feeling of sisterhood, as cheesy as that sounds,” said Yao, who is the President of the Desautels Graduate Student Society. “We’re conscious of who the other women [in the program] are. When you hear little snippets of how they’re doing in life, you go ‘yes!’”
Like any female at the top of their respective fields, Yao and Gogarty understand how the role of women is essential in business.
“You can talk to some great people at McGill and in the alumni network about the importance of diversity and having different voices at the table,” said Gogarty, who is President of the Desautels Graduate Women’s Association. “It’s indisputable that diversity can strengthen a team and a company.”
“Women can bring in another aspect and another side of things,” Yao explained. “Especially now with businesses being so competitive, the way to better your competitors is by being innovative. It’s about time we look in multiple directions.
“That’s one thing I’ve learned in the MBA so far; it’s not a reflection of how smart you are. The MBA measures how ambitious you are. I like how that goes hand-in-hand with future leadership positions.”
There are 37 women presently in MBA program full-time, and Gogarty says that many women completing an MBA can create a vital impact.
“Having women do their MBA opens doors and gets them a seat at the table to make the decisions that can really change a company. By having more women executives, that’s going to trickle down to a culture that is more inclusive for women in general.”