MBA opens doors for STEM grads

A management consultant, a tech program manager, and a physician weigh in on the value of their Desautels MBA.

Alexey Baranov (MBA’17), Diana Menzies (MBA’18), and Ebram Salama (MBA’20), arrived at Desautels with at least one thing in common: a strong drive to expand the realm of possibility within their chosen career fields. While they appreciated the technical expertise gained from earning STEM degrees, they realized that achieving their career goals would require a completely new skill set—one that an MBA can provide.

Alexey Baranov (MBA’17): Driving into the Unknown

Alexey Baranov, who graduated with a Computer Engineering degree from the University of Ottawa, works in Silicon Valley. He was recently promoted to the role of Senior Technical Program Manager for Cruise Automation, a startup that develops self-driving car technology. As the company experiences enormous challenges and growth, Alexey is grateful for the “world-class toolbox” his MBA experience provided.

“There are no recipes for success in our business,” he reflects. “You need to be able to define problems and understand how the solutions will impact your balance sheet.”

At Desautels, Alexey learned principles of organizational management and strategy that he applies daily. “One of the things that sets the MBA skill set apart is the way it helps you crystallize information and put it into a comprehensive picture for senior leadership,” he explains. In his industry, Alexey notices, it’s the people who are “well-rounded and knowledgeable about different facets of business” who gain a competitive edge.

Over time, Alexey has proved his worth and reaped the benefits. “I’ve significantly increased my pre-MBA salary and moved up the ladder, which is a testament to the skill set McGill provides,” he acknowledges. “You can run with top performers.”

Diana Menzies (MBA’18): Consulting for Impact

Diana Menzies graduated from Queen’s University with a bachelor’s degree in Engineering and Applied Science. After graduation, she co-founded BDSA Zambia, a business development consultancy service. “After a few years of working in Zambia, I started to plateau,” she remembers. “As someone who constantly needs to grow, I determined that an MBA would give me the opportunity to push my career to the next level.”

At Desautels, Diana joined the McGill Not-for-Profit Consulting Program, a collaboration with McKinsey consultants. “It was great to have exposure to McKinsey consultants and find out more about their approach,” she affirms. “The MBA gave me the opportunity to develop the critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills to succeed.”

After graduation, Diana landed a management consulting job with McKinsey.

Ebram Salama (MBA’20): Navigating Changes in Healthcare

After earning a medical degree from McGill in 2016, Ebram Salama joined the McGill University Health Centre as a General Surgery resident. “With an aging population placing increasingly higher demands on our public healthcare system, resource constraints have become a major concern,” Ebram has observed.

“We are transitioning into a very data-driven era, and with this transformation comes significant opportunities to optimize our processes and resource allocation.”

With his sights set on promoting data-informed healthcare, Ebram joined the Desautels MBA program. “Specializing in data analytics provides the tools that are necessary to translate the wealth of healthcare data we collect on a daily basis into managerial insights,” he believes. “At the same time, the MBA provides a broad-based background in other topics like business strategy, supply chain management, marketing, and finance, which are all transferrable across industries.”

From Ebram’s perspective, an MBA creates value for anyone looking to move into a leadership role. “In ten or fifteen years from now, I will still be able to look back and realize just how impactful my time at Desautels has been.”

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