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Strategic Management (Entrepreneurship & Management Strategy): Student Testimonials

Efosa KC Obano

Specialist: Management - Strategic Management Stream

What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)?
 
Growing up as a child, I was initially interested in accounting just because both my parents were accountants. But on a personal level I always had a knack for business, and I loved the idea of raising capital through practical ventures. I had my first real taste of business in high school, through my involvement in our Junior Achievement company as a senior official. It was an organization that encouraged entrepreneurship and financial literacy among students. When it was time to apply to university, my parents gave me a lot of flexibility and my program choice was a no brainer after my experiences. I also found subjects like Economics very interesting, and this made it easy to go with management. After taking courses from the different streams (finance, accounting, economics, marketing and strategy) I decided to specialize in strategy because it aligned most with what I was interested in learning.
 
Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?
 
When you hear "management" as a young teenager, you imagine that you are going to be taught how to "manage" a business (at least this was what I imagined). But the management program here is much more than that. I think it's hard to accurately describe what the program entails without actually going through it. Management in UTSC is a very interesting (yet challenging) program. It offers you way more than just an academic experience, with a huge focus on your leadership and communication skills. As I mentioned earlier, there are different streams which you can specialize in based on your interest and strengths. But regardless of your specialization, you have to take courses from every stream in order to meet the program requirements. What surprised me the most was the amount of Math/quantitative related courses I had to take. At the beginning I couldn't understand what statistics and calculus had to do with managing a business. But to stand out in today's business world you need a solid background in every aspect of a corporation's structure, and this is what the program provides you with. Your soft skills are equally as important, and this is why the program provides you with a lot of learning opportunities outside the classroom.
 
What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?
 
First of all, make sure you are strong enough quantitatively. If you struggled (or are struggling) with high school math or calculus, then you definitely need to work hard on improving. A lot of students fail first year calculus and leave the program as a result. And a lot of upper year courses involve high quantitative aptitude. The management program also comes with a lot of presentations, group work and networking. It isn't easy for everyone, but you need to learn to be comfortable and confident around other people. If you are one of those that struggles with stage fright or shyness, start working on this as early as possible by practicing with people you are comfortable with and eventually getting outside your comfort zone. From experience, it is easier to learn this when you aren't being graded on it. Lastly, time management is very integral to success in this program. You will have to join clubs, partake in competitions and job hunt all along with your academic commitments. Inefficient time management makes it very hard to succeed.
 
What will you do with your degree after graduation? (Future plans?)
 
My long term dream is to eventually start up a business back in my country (Nigeria). I am really passionate about impact entrepreneurship and I hope to establish a business that attempts to solve one of the many problems the country is facing. But before I get to that stage, I would like to spend some time working in Canada to recapture the value of my degree and get more experience. I will also spend time growing my non-profit organization (www.africanimpact.ca) which is focused on tackling some of those problems on a smaller scale. An MBA is something I haven't thought too much about right now, but depending on how things turn out I may decide to pursue that before I return home eventually.
 
What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?
 
My first year was full of adaptation. Coming from a different country, I had to cope with a lot of new things such as getting used to this education system, growing my personal network and improving my communication skills. But I didn't find my courses too challenging (apart from calculus!) as they were all intro level courses. I also took most of my elective courses in my first year. I think second year is the hardest year in management because you have to take courses from streams which you have no interest in, and combine this with extra-curricular engagement. It was a learning curve, but I got to understand the importance of time management the hard way. It was also at this time that I became sure of the stream I wanted to specialize in. Third year and my portion of fourth year have been more comfortable, because the courses I have been taking more recently are those I am really interested in. This is because as you advance in the program, your course concentration shifts more to your specialization. At this point I'm looking forward to enjoying my last few semesters here and learning as much as I can before it's over.


Shree Purohit

Specialist: Strategic Management Co-op- Entrepreneurship Stream

What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)? 

For me there was never really a debate between what program to choose. From a young age I knew that I was passionate about business and coming from a business background gave me a better understanding of what to expect if I were to pursue a career in management. I loved the idea of the ups and downs that come with being a part of a larger organization and so I decided to choose Management Co-op where I can enhance my academic and industry knowledge by applying what I learn in the classroom to my career path.

Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like? 

Strategic Management (co-op) is a rigorous and competitive program which truly helps students broaden their view on the internal and external functioning of an organization. The program not only helped me explore my place in the corporate world but has also helped me understand myself better. While building my academic knowledge and industry experience. Which I truly believe is a very valuable asset to have in todays world.

What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?

1. Consistency - to be successful you need to work consistently otherwise you will find yourself watching lectures for the first time before the exam. If you work for a few hours each day on course work you will be able to succeed in this program.

2. Networking - Networking can become overwhelming at times but if you stay organized and try your best to attend events you never know who you can end up meeting. They might just be your next employer!

What will you do with your degree after graduation? (Future plans?) 

I am still on the journey to discovering myself: however, I plan on pursuing an MBA degree or a LLB/JD degree after Undergrad.

What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?

In my first year, I felt as though I should get involved in everything I saw. I thought it would help me be the best version of myself. However, I soon realized that I felt burnout because I felt responsible for joining as many clubs and positions as I came across. Although I have always learned a lot from these experiences, I also understood the importance of gradually narrowing my interest and focusing on what I was truly passionate about. Which resulted in starting my club about Leadership. I believe that the best way to find out what it is you would like to pursue is to ask yourself, "Am I doing this for a greater purpose ?" or "Do I enjoy what I do?". You should apply and be a part of different clubs and positions in your first or second semester. However, over time make sure you are involved in co-curricular activities that will help you in the future. Due to all the amazing opportunities at UTSC, it is easy to lose sight of your academic goals so make sure you choose wisely. It is vital to find what works best for you and for you to thrive in your chosen environment.
 


Honma Amadi

Specialist: Strategic Management – Entrepreneurship Stream

What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)? 

I chose my specialization after my first year, and prior to this, I had a little understanding of what I wanted to do education and career-wise. Before deciding on my program, I took an internal assessment of my strengths and paired them with the various programs offered in Management. I also reviewed my first-year classes, what my experience was like and my final grades. As a result, I decided to enrol in Strategic Management- Entrepreneurship stream. I am detail-oriented and have always been fascinated with process management; therefore, I decided to learn more about managing organizations and people. I decided on the Entrepreneurship stream because it was an option that would give me the flexibility to look into various industries and recognize which ones I could contribute to.

Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like? 

The Strategic Management program grooms people to be analytical and great problem solvers. We are presented with various case studies that allow us to review problems faced by companies worldwide and produce solutions to go over them. We are also taught how to be innovators who design products and services that meet the world's needs. During my time here, I have enjoyed classes in consulting, new venture planning and innovation. Another great thing about the program is the professors. Although you will most likely see the same professors in multiple classes, they have a brilliant teaching style and love to help students develop their passion.

What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?

1. The first piece of advice I would give is to pursue learning outside of the classroom. Whenever you can, try to find books on topics you would love to know more about, join groups and hubs with like-minded people like yourself who would grow your knowledge base and add to your networks. If you are entrepreneurial, this advice will work for you. The more you follow this path, you will naturally find yourself speaking with new people outside the classroom, including professors.

2. Take the time to learn about prospective careers in strategic Management continuously. There are interesting new jobs for students who study this programs, and most times, they aren't talked about enough. Do some research into what this program offers, people's experience after graduation and what HR specialists in this field are talking about.

What will you do with your degree after graduation? (Future plans?)

My academic journey has been a learning process. My first year was all about understanding why university would be like. I was committed to getting the best of my first-year experience but didn’t have any expectations for my personal or career path. My second year was about paving a path for myself and coming into a better understanding of what I would like to do in the near future. My third year was interestingly about self-discovery, expanding my horizons beyond the classroom setting and discovering new interests. As I approach my final semester, I am combining the experience from my previous years to get a well-paying job that would be satisfactory to who I am and the difference I would like to make in the world.

What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?

The more I approach graduation, the more I discover interests and passions outside my program of study. Therefore, I would like to reword the question to be "what my world would look like because of who I am and what I've learned during my academic journey." With this context, I plan to make my career path and progression all about authenticity. I am pursuing ventures that would develop said passions and allow me to contribute to creating value for others.