Sandermoen School of Business Students & Alumni

Executive MBA

Steve Hall

“I’m a big proponent of experience; experience is huge. However, you need that academic training behind you. I believe it was the day after I was taking certain modules with UFred, I was applying that knowledge."

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Steve Hall
EHS Lead Manager Canada, AFL

Health & Safety Beginnings, Trial by Fire

After 10-years in the Canadian forces as a firefighter, Steve Hall retired and made a move into the oil and gas sector as a civilian. He took a job at a safety company as a firefighter, but this did not go as planned:

“So, I showed up at the company, and they had no fire jobs, so, they said, ‘We have a safety job open today. Here’s a truck and here’s a map if you want to work, go ahead.’ So, I said, ‘sure, I just want to work,’ and I ended up on a sour site, and I was the safety guy, and I knew nothing about health and safety.”

With so much to learn, it can be difficult to break into the health and safety field. Steve recalled his first night shift while working for a security company:

“I remember the first day I (worked) night shift, and I was at the front entrance of the site. A consultant came up to me and said, ‘I’ve fired 19-guys in 19-days from your organization; however, I’ve been watching you tonight, and I like how you operate. I would like to keep you.’ I said, ‘Well, that’s good because I’d like to have a job as well.’ It was definitely ‘trial by fire,’ but I learned very quickly that safety is not a position that you’ll ever know 100%. It’s just a constant learning type of profession.”

Over the next few years, he moved through a few different safety companies, helped in different positions, and progressed quickly.  He developed a wealth of experience in all sorts of safety roles. “I’ve done pretty much every aspect of safety, food safety even, a lot of ergonomics, oil, and gas, new construction, and drilling completions,” Steve said.

The UFred Impact

Pursuing his formal education, Steve quickly realized how much he did not know. “You need to be constantly educating yourself, or you’re never going to go anywhere.” Steve knew he would need the type of education that would provide immediate benefit and not require that he leave his job. He looked to UFred to help him to gain the credentials he needed to be successful in his chosen path; he knew experience alone would not suffice:

I’m a big proponent of experience; experience is huge. However, you need that academic training behind you. I believe it was the day after I was taking certain modules with UFred, I was applying that knowledge. I found it useful right away, not like a bachelor degree where you would use it in practice later on. 100% of the material, I was applying right away. So, it was probably one of the best formal education courses I’ve received.

A traditional classroom would have been a poor fit for Steve.  He needed a flexible and innovative health and safety program:

I am proud to be part of a progressive organization. All too often, these formal academic institutions are very slow to change. They are very bricks and mortar focused, and they’re behind by dozens of years with adult education. Adult learners are all over the globe, most executives travel constantly, and there are all these factors that prohibit us from attending their institutions. It’s great to have an institution that’s progressive, leading the market in health and safety education.

Steve has been impressed with the user-friendly platform offered by UFred for his courses, and the system seems prepared to handle the special needs of professionals on the move:

“I was very hesitant at first about doing education online, due to technical issues. That user-friendly capability – I’ve attended classes in between flights at the airport, at hotels, you name it. I’ve streamed from my phone on the side of the road, and I’ve never had an IT issue. The platform is extremely easy to use.”

Bridging to Continued Education

In early 2015, Steve acquired an EHS Manager position with AFL. Fairly quickly, he moved into a national role, and now, he has international responsibilities. Around the same time, he took the next step in his educational path and started the Executive MBA degree program at the Sandermoen School of Business:

“I used the certificate to springboard into the EMBA. As I went through the training, I realized, ‘wow, this is extremely beneficial, so what will the next level look like?’ I find I’m now in a corporate position and I’m dealing with business leaders that all have MBAs or 20/30 years of business experience. So, I wasn’t talking the same language. That’s why I looked at an MBA.”

The best part for Steve was that he could combine learning about business with courses designed specifically for his skill set, by enrolling in the Executive MBA with a specialty stream in Health and Safety Leadership. “Everything you are doing is related to your current position in health and safety. You’re instantly able to apply that knowledge. You can learn it, and it was relevant, almost immediately,” he said, and added, “dealing with Economics, Finance, and the time value of money, those aren’t easy concepts to wrap your head around when you’re solely focused on health and safety. Wow! I’ve really stepped up my game now.”

Please note: Steve’s testimonial is part of the larger campaign ‘UFred10’. To learn more about UFred10, click here.

Joanne Thompson

"Technology has expanded how we can connect, and I believe that it will also shape how we educate ourselves. In no way do I feel that I have had less of a ‘university’ experience through an ‘on-line’ graduate program."

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Joanne Thompson
Executive Director

For many people, a job is a means-to-an-end; a way to pay the bills.  For some, they see their work as an expression of themselves; a chance to make a difference. With her early education in nursing, an entrepreneurial spirit, a passion for community engagement, and a desire for continuing education, Joanne Thompson fully embodies this spirit and pours herself into all that she does.

Joanne completed nursing school in the early 80s and soon after completed courses toward her BN. Then, in the early 90s, her family opened a jewelry business, and she finished a Graduate Gemologist program.  She committed early on that once her youngest began post-secondary studies, she would round out her education by fulfilling her “dream of a graduate degree.” When the time came she had taken on a new, temporary position in an emergency department; she knew she would need a flexible program with other components of value to her career:

 “The University of Fredericton (UFred) met all the criteria: A Social Enterprise Leadership stream, a Canadian accredited MBA, an accelerated course curriculum, and the ability to interact with colleagues through a V-class.”

Joanne says she “seamlessly moved from course to course,” and found her UFred MBA studies were challenging, relevant, and ultimately comparable and, in some ways, preferable to an in-class learning model:

Technology has expanded how we can connect, and I believe that it will also shape how we educate ourselves. In no way do I feel that I have had less of a ‘university’ experience through an ‘on-line’ graduate program.  The online format enhances participant diversity, and this provides for a robust dialogue and learning environment.

For those like Joanne, busy professionals committed to lifelong learning, the programs offered by UFred provide a rare opportunity to receive a graduate-level education, that enhances other essential parts of her life, “The ability to manage the course requirements with my schedule has enabled me to remain within the program. Without a significant degree of flexibility, I could not balance an intense work life and graduate coursework,” she says, and added, “The course content has consistently mirrored the strategic plan that frames my work life.”

Joanne is currently the Executive Director of a street-level community service centre for homeless and precariously housed individuals.  She is confident that her UFred MBA will meet her needs by “strategically balancing a not for profit vision, financial stability, and a governance structure that will ultimately provide a sustainable organizational model.”

Joanne Thompson
Student, Sandermoen School of Business
Executive MBA with a specialty stream in Social Enterprise Leadership

Shelley Vandenberg

"The instructors were high calibre, engaging, interested, and kept things moving at a good pace. It wasn’t always easy, but they challenged and pushed you to do better."

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Shelley Vandenberg
President, credit union

Shelley Vandenberg travels a lot, but that didn’t stop her from earning her Executive MBA (EMBA) from the University of Fredericton (UFred).

Recently, Shelley travelled all over Colombia, South America, and still managed to write papers and attend meetings for group assignments. She says UFred’s online delivery made it easy to make progress with her Innovation Leadership specialty stream studies, even in places without WiFi.

One thing stands out to Shelley about her experience, and that is how precious time is. Shelley delayed earning her MBA due to the time commitment and wondering if it could fit into her life. In the end, she believes there is never a right time.

“You just have to do it. I found out just how valuable time is when you have a busy job, a busy life and, on top of that, school. I found I had to schedule school into my daily routine, ensuring I was dedicating enough time every day to my studies. This was non-negotiable.”

Shelley believes that if earning an MBA or EMBA if your life goal as an adult, don’t delay.

“Many of the students are older, more mature, and struggle with busy jobs and busy lives, so you will be in good company and have other students that you can relate to. The best investment you can ever make is in yourself and education.”

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Jennifer Buchanan

"When I saw the Social Enterprise Leadership specialty stream at UFred, it was pretty emotional. I just knew that you basically developed this whole program just for me."

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 Jennifer Buchanan, MBA, MTA
 Chief Executive Officer, JB Music Therapy

Music Therapy in Western Canada; the Beginnings

Music Therapy was relatively unknown when Jennifer Buchanan finished her degree program out of Capilano University in British Columbia in 1991. At the age of 21, she loaded her car and traveled to Calgary to complete her certification, which required 1000 hours of internship. “I can remember filling my car with all the stuff you think you need and I had all the wisdom of a 21-year old. I fell in love with this city.”

In the 25-years since, Jennifer has been responsible for the implementation of hundreds of music therapy programs through her well-established company JB Music Therapy, currently serving around 1,800 clients ranging in ages from 2-months old to 106-years old. She provides Music Therapy in Palliative care sites, hospice sites, mental health facilities, and more. She sees clients with visual impairment, dementia, cerebral palsy, autism, and a number of other issues seeking the benefits of Music Therapy.

The UFred Impact

Early in her career, professionals attempted to dissuade Jennifer from her chosen business calling it an “impossible business model.” She was bold in early days: “the nice thing about not knowing what you are doing at the beginning is that you do whatever you need to do; you’re constantly innovating,” she said.  What led her to the University of Fredericton was the moment when she came to the realization that she did not have the business knowledge she needed.

“I was just over that 40-year mark in my own personal age, and at about the 20-year mark of my business and I was really realizing that I wasn’t sure if this was truly viable and sustainable,” she said.

Jennifer’s business model differed from others in that it is a for-profit organization that both serves non-profits and operates among non-profits. When she would speak with other executives from larger companies, they possessed a “special language” that she felt she lacked. She began her search for business education:

“I was searching for an MBA program off and on for probably 3 to 4 years when I saw the Social Enterprise Leadership [specialty] stream at UFred. It was pretty emotional. I just knew that you basically developed this whole program just for me. I am really proud to have completed my education in Canada.”

With her MBA from the Sandermoen School of Business at UFred, Jennifer has developed confidence. “I started understanding my clients better,” she said. The knowledge, she’s gained at UFred has helped her increase her business:

“We’ve tripled our profit over the years that I’ve been at UFred. We’re creating more Music Therapy jobs, and we’re able to serve more people.”

Supporting Social Enterprise

Jennifer is not planning to slow down. When asked where she sees herself going professionally from here, she said:

“I’d like to write another book. My first book was on Music Therapy; my second book is going to be about Community Impact. I’ve been looking at that for some time. Also, I would like to do more training and education myself, supporting other small businesses, other social businesses, in particular across the country. Learning from them, partnering with them, and supporting the as best I can.”

Jennifer credits her MBA at UFred with helping her recognize her weaknesses and helping to “massage” them away. To other business owners she says, “there’s always going to be a way to improve your business so it can upgrade or impact on your community and in your own life.”

Please note: Jennifer’s testimonial is part of the larger campaign ‘UFred10’. To learn more about UFred10, click here.

Sean Gray

"Higher education has always been a goal. Beyond simply expanding my knowledge and perspective on business, I wanted a designation that would assist in finding work in New Brunswick, diminishing the need to travel or relocate."

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Sean Gray, EMBA

A 20-year veteran of the hospitality industry, Sean Gray is no stranger to travel. He’s done business across North America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.  The husband and father of one is currently in the midst of a career transition and has taken steps that would allow him to put down roots in Moncton, NB; the city where he currently resides:

Higher education has always been a goal. Beyond simply expanding my knowledge and perspective on business, I wanted a designation that would assist in finding work in New Brunswick, diminishing the need to travel or relocate.

Sean believes that the fully online format and curriculum at the Sandermoen School of Business Executive MBA program is the new standard of education:

“Online study is, in my opinion, is the future of education. Being able to access course material and interact with students and professors at my leisure provided a great deal of time management flexibility. While classes were structured, interacting with students who were already familiar with electronic collaboration made group projects easier to accomplish.”

Sean needed a flexible program to help him build on his existing business knowledge. In the Executive MBA program at UFred, he found post-graduate level business education that was created primarily for advanced career professionals, and that was considerate of their diverse experience:

“This program has provided a comprehensive foundation in the world of business. It expanded on subjects already familiar to me and filled in areas that I had not been exposed to through my work experience. This program truly exposes students to all aspects of business and provides a new perspective on decision-making. I personally benefited in that I have more confidence in my ability to analyze and execute complex strategies.”

Regarding his studies, Sean explains that students are in control of their learning: “You get what you pay for and the more you put in, the more you get out,” he said, and added, “the professors were very good at providing appropriate feedback allowing students to grow.”

When asked if he would recommend UFred to others, Sean said, “I would strongly recommend UFred to anyone wishing to further their education. I do believe the environment is better suited for mature students.”

Sean Gray
Alumnus, Sandermoen School of Business
Executive MBA with a specialty stream in Global Leadership

Sean Kearney

“Personally, I have an amazing feeling of accomplishment – this was about 15-20 hours a week of commitment for two years.”

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Sean Kearney
Manager, Health, Safety, and Environment

For those who believe that health and safety professionals play only a small role within a company, Sean Kearney has a story to tell. He is currently the Manager of Health, Safety, and Environment and leads a team of nine health and safety practitioners at a 650-person manufacturing plant in Edmonton, Alberta. Sean holds several health and safety designations including CSP, CRSP, and CHSC. He is always up for a challenge and considers himself a lifelong learner.

While having lunch one-day, Sean’s mentor suggested that he would benefit from career growth by furthering his education.   Sean already had a desire to understand the decisions made by his colleagues in Operations and increase his business acumen, but knew he needed a program that would not require that he be away from work. He found the Executive MBA degree program at the University of Fredericton was a great fit for his goals and life.

Sean merged his education into his professional life, and this helped him complete his studies while learning to conduct business in the global market, where career professionals often find themselves on the move:

It’s all about flexibility. I was able to slot in my lectures and team meetings just like I would any other project in my work life. Being able to contribute to a lecture or team project meeting via iPhone in an airport or traveling was essential to ‘finding the time’ for an Executive MBA.

The benefits he received were more than worth the effort he exerted to earn his Executive MBA: “personally, I have an amazing feeling of accomplishment – this was about 15-20 hours a week of commitment for two years,” Sean shared.

In the long-term, Sean reports his education has helped him gain knowledge and credibility, and that others are taking notice:

“I feel that I have helped earn my department a seat at the “big kid’s table” where I can better frame Health, Safety, and Environment and risk management in the context of our entire business. To be honest, I’ve had to turn down a couple of offers of employment since graduating! An Executive MBA is certainly a differentiating factor when organizations are looking for a senior HSE leader.”

For Sean, the highlight of his UFred experience was connecting with like-minded professionals: “I’ve developed a solid network of colleagues through the program with proven track records for delivering,’ he said. The UFred online learning environment made this easy, “in this day and age, virtual learning is the new normal,” said Sean.

Sean Kearney
Alumnus, Sandermoen School of Business
Executive MBA with a specialty stream in Health and Safety Leadership

Jason Weibel

“I’ve certainly left the program with a wider perspective of both safety leadership and business."

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Jason Weibel
Kearl Senior Safety Advisor, Imperial Oil Resources

Jason Weibel has a passion for health and safety. He has a certificate in Occupational Health and Safety from the University of Alberta and a Certificate in Risk Management from the University of Toronto.  He achieved his CRSP (Canadian Registered Safety Professional) designation in 2007, and his CHSC (Certified Health and Safety Consultant) designation in 2012.

Jason’s career spans 15-years, and he has worked across Western Canada and through much of the Canadian Arctic practicing his health and safety skills. Currently, he is working as a Safety Specialist with Imperial Oil Resources.

When considering potential options for an Executive MBA degree program, Jason researched specialty streams in Human Factors and Safety Management:

“A mentor suggested I look at the Health & Safety Leadership at the University of Fredericton as a more comprehensive education option. Organizations with strong safety performance often enjoy strong financial performance, and the program really focused on developing an understanding of that relationship.”

UFred’s program offered Jason the chance to study with ease no matter where he was:

The online format provided me the flexibility to study, learn, and communicate virtually anywhere. I can remember studying in Hawaii, a remote worksite in Northern Alberta, and in my backyard at home.

Jason left the program confident that he had made the best choice for his education and his career:

“I’ve certainly left the program with a wider perspective of both safety leadership and business. One of my key learnings has been the ability to think strategically about challenges and projects.”

When asked what his level of confidence was in recommending UFred programs to others, Jason said:

“I’ve directed many of my team to explore the certificate and diploma options within the School of Occupational Health and Safety, but I would also recommend the Executive MBA programs for any working professional looking to take the next step in their learning journey.”

His favorite part of the program was the connections he made. Many potential applicants may be wary of an online program, fearing they may have to forgo networking opportunities. Jason offered assurances that with UFred, you’re not on your own; “the program represents a community of peers across Canada and the globe. I often contact many of the professional colleagues and friends from the program to share ideas or discuss concepts.”

Jason Weibel
Alumnus, Sandermoen School of Business
Executive MBA with a specialty stream in Health and Safety Leadership

Alan Tennant

“My favorite aspect of the course was a tie between the team projects and the forum discussions."

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Alan Tennant
Chief Executive Officer, Calgary Real Estate Board

After a successful 26-year career as a real estate agent, Alan Tennant embarked on a new career path which led him to his current role of CEO of the Calgary Real Estate Board. Though having an MBA was not a prerequisite for the job, “the fact it was preferred motivated me to include the goal of achieving an Executive MBA in my career development plan,” said Alan.

Alan had nearly decided to attend another school when he learned about a new, strategic partnership with University of Fredericton (UFred) of immense value to him:

“When I learned that the Real Estate Institute of Canada (REIC) had forged a partnership with UFred… I looked very closely at the program and deemed that not only was this a better fit because of the relationship with REIC – I hold their FRI-E designation – but I was attracted to the fully online learning experience.”

UFred offered Alan a new way to learn that he found immediately benefited him in his new role:

“Studying online provided me with the research and sense-making skills I not only needed to thrive in this program but to now fulfill my duties at a very high level. This experience has updated my knowledge of dependable and cogent sources of information.”

Alan was surprised that the lessons from UFred included more than course material. He learned relevant skills, “from a professional standpoint, I was able to squeeze time for the program into my already demanding schedule, but even this challenge proved to be a time management learning experience,” he said. “I have noted an increased awareness from my peers of my newly developed critical thinking and analytical skills.”

The group work component of the virtual classes was of particular interest to Alan:

My favourite aspect of the course was a tie between the team projects and the forum discussions. As someone who works best in a collaborative and competitive environment, I quickly learned the best engagement strategies and found these interactions to be very challenged, rewarding and highly entertaining.

In the end, Alan gained the courage he needed to excel, “The professors were excellent in providing support and creating a fulsome learning environment which has given me greater confidence in tackling new or foreign concepts.” When asked if he would recommend UFred he said, “I am proud of my UFred degree and will continue to be a contagious ambassador for this great institution.”

Alan Tennant
Alumnus, Sandermoen School of Business
Executive MBA with a specialty Stream in Global Leadership

Leon Walsh

"Once I found my academic rhythm, I was able to balance travel, work, family, and school expectations without impacting my academic performance."

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Leon Walsh
Global Senior Director of Safety, AECOM

Originally from Newfoundland, Leon Walsh and his family moved west in 2008. Previously, he supported Industrial Construction, Fabrication, Modularization, Maintenance, and Pipeline Projects in various oil plays – groups of oil fields – across Canada and the US. Currently, he holds the position of Global Senior Director of Safety at AECOM, a multinational corporation.

Leon discovered the Executive MBA degree program at the University of Fredericton (UFred) while “looking for a way to combine formal education, industry certification, executive experience into a formal program.” With only a brief acclimation, his studies blended with his everyday life:

Once I found my academic rhythm, I was able to balance travel, work, family, and school expectations without impacting my academic performance. I built my study schedule to allow me to be present in all my endeavors.

The flexibility of the UFred online option was the best fit for Leon. He could be in the classroom, or online with his teams no matter where his job took him:

“I have completed this Executive MBA in the Yucatan, Belize, Caribbean, Texas, Florida, Hawaii, Nevada, Colorado, Alberta, BC, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Newfoundland, Amsterdam, and Germany. The online option allowed me ease of access and the flexibility to connect with my teammates, who themselves were often traveling at the same time.”

Leon lost no career momentum while he studied. He transitioned to a new role and was able to apply his education immediately:

“During completion of my Executive MBA, our organization went through a significant change and my role change from technical expert to an executive team member, and I was literally applying concepts and theories as we adapted to the changes in real-time.”

When asked about his favorite part of UFred learning, he replied:

“I benefitted most from the interactions between my professors and I, in the virtual classroom, by email or by phone; and through the relationships formed with virtual classmates as we moved from course to course. Overtime, you establish friendships and comradery through these classes, assignments, and presentations.”

Leon also took part in the International Field Study Program – designed to develop a deeper understanding of the complexity of doing business in the global economy and a chance to apply concepts and theories to real-world scenarios:

“The Global Capstone course in Amsterdam was a culmination of the program where my classmates, professors, and some of the student services team members moved from virtual to reality as we completed this final piece of the program.”

“UFred is an awesome school that aligns with today’s workforce. Flexible, connected, supportive, ease of access; personable, yet global,” Leon said.

Leon Walsh
Alumnus, Sandermoen School of Business
Executive MBA with a specialty stream in Innovation Leadership

Joseph Agyapong

Joseph credits the UFred Executive MBA with equipping him with “high standards of achievement, behavior, discipline, and punctuality” by offering foundation level courses that are universally applicable to both a student’s life and career.

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Joseph Agyapong
President, Providence Canada Inc.

Born in Ghana, a nation on West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea, Joseph Agyapong began his business education with a diploma in business studies. He went on to earn an International Business and Management Studies degree from University of The Hague Netherlands, and a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree from St. Francis Xavier located in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

Early in his life, Joseph realized he had a passion for business and a desire to keep abreast the rapid growth in international markets. Post-secondary education in business was his logical next step in learning, and he selected the Executive MBA program at the University of Fredericton (UFred) specifically for the flexibility of online learning paired with the “in class” feel of a weekly virtual class session, and the specialty stream in Global Leadership.

Joseph has over 15-years of proven experience in senior level management in both for-profit and non-profit sectors. He is a serial entrepreneur having established a variety of companies in Ghana, and he strives to be a successful international entrepreneur now, and in the future. Joseph is currently president of Providence Canada, managing director of Emparex International Holding with offices in Canada and Ghana, and he recently ran for political office in Ghana in 2016 CPP Presidential election.

He has made good use of his Executive MBA education by positioning himself as a thought leader in the realm of Global Leadership. He has written special interest articles and authored a book entitled, Name Your Life, where he shares that life is not only about perception, rather about your contribution and the value of hard work and spirituality. He routinely shares his senior-level corporate skills and research by teaching in both Africa and North America.

Joseph credits the UFred Executive MBA with equipping him with “high standards of achievement, behavior, discipline, and punctuality” by offering foundation level courses that are universally applicable to both a student’s life and career. With engaging, experienced, and committed instructors, he is confident in recommending UFred to others searching for a fantastic MBA or Executive MBA degree program.
Joseph Agyapong
Alumnus, Sandermoen School of Business
Executive MBA with a specialty stream in Global Leadership

Elayn Young

“The Executive MBA with a focus on Global Leadership seemed like the perfect fit for both my personality and my career”

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Marc Dionne

“As a travelling consultant, an online program was the only feasible option to obtain an MBA.”

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Marc Dionne
Independent Consultant

Marc Dionne began his career with Air Canada in the Logistics department and after 10-years, moved to IT consulting, specializing in the Warehouse Management (WM) module. Marc has recently been consulting mostly within the aerospace domain with definite plans to continue.

Drawn to UFred after a conversation with David Large, former Dean of the Sandermoen School of Business, Marc was intrigued with the idea of completing his studies online from where ever he was:

As a travelling consultant, an online program was the only feasible option to obtain an MBA.

He was, “…impressed with the curriculum, the professionalism of the staff, and its positive reputation as a strong, accredited, online Executive MBA program.”

Marc strengthened his organization and communication skills while creating a balance in all areas of his life:

“Incorporating course work into an already full agenda was not easy at the beginning, but after a few weeks, a rhythm evolved and became the secret to success. Studying online also allowed for flexibility, I was able to attend classes from home, hotels, airplanes, airports, and several other non-classroom environments.”

He also realized the time savings involved with online learning at UFred: “Although schools are generally centrally located, saving the commute to and from class on a weekly basis helped to achieve a healthy balance of home, work, and school.”

The online EMBA degree program at UFred exceeded Marc’s expectations: “The most important factor was the ability to maintain a progressing career and acquiring additional academics, in parallel.” His interactions with Student Services were consistent, reliable, and timely which helped to “mitigate the inherent stress of completing a program of that magnitude.”

“I am very confident recommending UFred, in fact, I have and will continue being an ambassador for UFred with colleagues, friends, family members, and potential students. UFred gave me an opportunity to obtain an MBA at a reasonable pace, a manageable price, all while providing all of the necessary support, which turned out to be a recipe for success.”

Marc Dionne EMBA
Sandermoen School of Business Alumus
Executive MBA with a specialty stream in Global Leadership

Brene Monk

"The diverse and challenging course content in UFred's Executive MBA program has helped me thrive in demanding, international business environments."

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Brene Monk
Entrepreneur

A student of the Executive MBA degree program at the Sandermoen School of Business, Brene Monk is no stranger to business. His earliest memories were deeply rooted in commerce. Entrepreneurialism runs deep in his family, with Brene stating that, “boardrooms and offices were as familiar to me as playgrounds and parks were to most children of the same age.”

“My goal as a driven and passionate entrepreneur has always been about growth and development, both personally and professionally”, said Brene. In this spirit, he started his profitable business ventures all while successfully obtaining his education. This was possible in part owing to the University of Fredericton’s (UFred) fully online degree program.

“I needed an online platform that would allow me to successfully study and work at any time of day, anywhere in the world”, he said, “UFred’s structure is perfectly designed to those individuals who face the challenges of demanding schedule, but remain committed to investing in their future education.”

Brene chose the specialty stream in Global Leadership to expand his analytical skills and business knowledge needed to be confident working in a global environment. “The EMBA course at UFred has provided me with the valuable tools needed to lead a dynamic, internationally positioned executive team successfully,” he said,

The diverse and challenging course content in UFred’s Executive MBA program has helped me thrive in demanding, international business environments.

Of his interactions with staff, Brene said “From the beginning communication with UFred’s Student Services has always been pleasant and professional”, praising the helpful, positive, prompt, and efficient support he received. “Questions or concerns were addressed, and solutions were provided. Student services has greatly helped make my student experience at UFred positive and very enjoyable.”

Brene recommends UFred without hesitation, “I confidently recommend UFred to any working professional that aspires to further their post-secondary education. UFred’s structure is perfectly designed to those individuals who face the challenge of demanding schedules, but remain committed to investing in their future education.”

Brene Monk
Alumnus, Sandermoen School of Business
Executive MBA with a specialty stream in Global Leadership

Fiorella Sist

"It makes sense for modern university education to follow in the footsteps of businesses, and leverage what technology has to offer."

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Fiorella Sist
Academic Board of the University of Fredericton

Fiorella Sist has more than 15 years of experience providing operations leadership in the mining, oil and gas, aviation, technical services, and manufacturing sectors. She is multilingual, fluent in English, French, Spanish and Italian, which she says, “have led business turnarounds in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific”. She finished the Sandermoen School of Business, Executive Master of Business Administration degree program in October 2016.

Due to the volume of international travel and heavy workload, Fiorella found herself doing work suitable to a graduate of an MBA program without the ability to study until she found UFred. “There are a lot of professionals, like me, who have a bachelor’s degree, but never had the time or physical ability to attend university”, she said, “UFred provides what today’s business professionals need to upgrade their skills and build up their careers.”

Fiorella found the ability to apply her studies real-time chiefly added real value to her work:

“Each class offered a glimpse into various topics revolving around the MBA coursework. Because I was going through the MBA program while still maintaining employment, I was able to probe deeper into my job and company, uncovering new insights I would not have otherwise encountered.”

In keeping with her choice of specialty stream, Global Leadership, Fiorella also took part in the inaugural International Field Study (IFS) program held in Amsterdam offered by the University of Fredericton in partnership with Wittenborg University. This program was designed to help students gain an understanding of the intricacies of international business. She was pleased to join her teammates and professors in person for a part of her study. She said it “mimicked what really happens in a global business – whereas 99% of the time, you are connecting with your fellow employees in other global affiliates via emails, conference calls and online meetings – but, once in a while, you meet face-to-face as a group for a very important project or event.”

Fiorella recommends UFred to others, saying:

As each year goes by, businesses are following the trend of more globalization and more digitalization. It makes sense for modern university education to follow in the footsteps of businesses, and leverage what technology has to offer. UFred provides what today’s business professionals need to upgrade their skills and build up their careers.

As of December 2016, Fiorella became a member of the Academic Board of the University of Fredericton. The University’s Academic Board works with other authorities and represents a place for advocacy of academics.

Fiorella Sist
Alumna, Sandermoen School of Business
Executive MBA with a specialty stream in Global Leadership

Tammy Wall

"I have had several people comment at work on how they see a difference in how I approach challenges and opportunities since starting this course."

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Tammy Wall
Operations Coordinator

A 2000 graduate of Holland College and a lifelong resident of PEI, Tammy Wall has worked in both the public and the private sector. Well-versed in operations management, she has spent a great deal of the last 16-years working with entrepreneurs. She has a genuine passion for seeing their projects come to life.

Tammy researched Executive MBA (Executive MBA) degree programs for years, stating, “While I didn’t have an undergraduate degree, I had many years of experience in operational management, as well as a strong foundation from my diploma at Holland College.”

A busy mother of two, community volunteer, and operations manager, Tammy chose the University of Fredericton for the online delivery, cost, and reputation. UFred provided a program where she wouldn’t be “tied to a classroom” and, with a son soon beginning college, one that she could afford.

The specialty stream in Innovation Leadership has been especially helpful to Tammy in her career:
“I currently work in a food product development center in Prince Edward Island. My work often requires innovative leadership in guiding clients through their development process. It requires a strong understanding of business and markets, as well as costing and even learning about food science and culinary arts.”

Before completing her Executive MBA, Tammy had already found value in her UFred education in how it applies to her job:

I have had several people comment at work on how they see a difference in how I approach challenges and opportunities since starting this course. There are many courses that are so directly applicable to what I do it has been easy to incorporate it into my day to day work.

Tammy believes that being given the opportunity to learn from other students has benefited her. She found that the collaboration in UFred’s online learning environment encouraged discussion, sharing of best practices, and lessons, which helped her to learn.

She indicates that her interactions with Student Services, though not frequent, have always been prompt and professional. She trusts that the feedback she provides will help UFred in its goal to offer comprehensive business education to students now and in the future.

Tammy Wall
Current Student, Sandermoen School of Business
Executive MBA with specialty stream in Innovation Leadership

Jo-Anne Henderson-White

"I would recommend the program to anyone else looking for a truly exciting learning experience that is in tune with the business sector that offers excellent value at a reasonable cost, and recognized in the professional world."

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Jo-Anne Henderson-White
Director of Children and Family Services for Nunavut

Jo-Anne Henderson-White has lived and worked in Nunavut for the past 15-years, interacting with Inuit communities ranging in size, with populations from 250 to 6000 people. During that time, she held the position of Community Social Services worker, supervisor, Direct of Social Programs, and when they established her current department, the first Regional Director. She enjoys sports, travel, and outdoor activities with her partner and her three children.

Jo-Anne currently holds a “BA in Sociology with a Minor in French, Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), and Master is Social Work (MSW), Certification of Accreditation: Canadian Professional Supervisor.” A proponent of life-long learning, she wanted to continue her education. She chose the University of Fredericton due to her remote location:

“Studying online provided the opportunity to continue my learning and simultaneously to apply what I have learned within my work environment. It provided me with the ability to access knowledge and augmented learning without disrupting my work and my personal life by having to relocate to access the program. A whole new work opened up to me right within my home and community. I would not have been able to achieve what I have thus far without the opportunity this program has provided.”

She selected the specialty stream in Innovation Leadership because it best suited her needs. “I felt that this would not only be beneficial to me but to those that I live and work with her in Nunavut,” she said, “it has allowed me to apply what I learn in real-time in my work environment and provides new lenses from which I can view issues and challenges.”

Her favorite part of the experience was “the interactions that I had with the rest of the UFred learning community,” she said. She enjoyed her Marketing course and the specialty stream in Innovation Leadership segment best. Jo-Anne was thrilled with the online delivery by the UFred professors:

“They are genuinely interested in the students and are so engaging. They all made their excitement about their courses ring out in their delivery and the projects that they assigned with each course.”

Jo-Anne recommends the University of Fredericton with confidence:

I have recommended the program to friends and colleagues, and I would recommend the program to anyone else looking for a truly exciting learning experience that is in tune with the business sector that offers excellent value at a reasonable cost, and recognized in the professional world.

Jo-Anne Henderson-White
Current Student, Sandermoen School of Business
Executive MBA with a specialty stream in Innovation Leadership

Sadiq Umarji

"Absolutely, I recommend UFred to other working professionals without hesitation, who would like to further their post-secondary education."

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Sadiq Umarji
Health & Safety Manager

Sadiq Umarji is a Health and Safety professional with over 20-years of experience. He is currently working as a Health & Safety Manager for a large integrated development service, design, and construction firm in Vancouver. He is a soccer fan who enjoys running and is currently enrolled in the Executive MBA degree program with a specialty stream in Health and Safety Leadership at the University of Fredericton.

He chose the University of Fredericton program for the flexibility, convenience, compatibility to his life goals:

“UFred has given me the opportunity to achieve my academic potential without sacrificing the needs of my work and family. I can complete my EMBA and still support a work/life balance, and I am confident that the EMBA designation will compliment my experience.”

Online learning has allowed Sadiq to experience a diverse set of people:

“My favorite aspect of the Executive MBA program is probably that I get to connect and communicate with a group of individuals who have come from various backgrounds, to gather and further their education, and it gives me the opportunity to learn about them, their experiences, and their backgrounds.”

He was pleased with the professional, quick responses and support that he has received from Student Services. “There are there when I need them,” he said.

When asked if he would recommend UFred to others, he said,

Absolutely, I recommend UFred to other working professionals without hesitation, who would like to further their post-secondary education.

Sadiq Umarji
Alumnus, Sandermoen School of Business
Executive MBA with a specialty stream in Health and Safety Leadership

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Adam Cole

"Looking back there is no question that I made the right decision in selecting The University of Fredericton."

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Adam Cole
Founder & President, HealthChainRx
Partner, REDDS Venture Investment Partners
Digital Health Executive

After receiving my undergraduate in a top-ranked program at a prestigious university I was somewhat hesitant to pursue my EMBA online, with a new university no less.

Looking back there is no question that I made the right decision in selecting The University of Fredericton.

They hold themselves to an exceptionally high academic standard. I was delighted to see the university executive recruit excellent professors who are established thought leaders in their respective disciplines; the university holds their professors to the same high standards as the students. This translates to a rich, relevant, robust learning experience. I have spent much time comparing my experience with friends and colleagues who have received their (E)MBAs from Ivy League schools and we have all concluded, you get out of it what you put into it, regardless of the institution. With the University of Fredericton I went in knowing that relative to an Ivy League school I was sacrificing networking opportunities in favour of keeping my wallet intact and enjoying the benefits of learning online. If you are serious about pursuing an EMBA and you are prepared to make the necessary commitments then I strongly encourage you to consider The University of Fredericton. I am delighted with my decision.

Adam Cole
Alumnus, UFred
Executive MBA with specialty stream in Global Leadership

 

Anthony Yu

"It is very true that your work experience is very valuable in referring to during your studies and discussions with students."

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Anthony Yu
Manager of Customer Experience and Relations, TD Canada Trust – Prairie Region

The decision to choose the University of Fredericton was an easy one. After speaking to the Student Services Coordinator and reviewing the University website, I was able to make an informed decision to enroll into the Executive MBA program. I have a fairly young family and expecting our third child this October, 2011 and I feel that I have the flexibility to study and complete my assignments within an acceptable time frame. Prioritizing your day ensures that you can commit the time you need for Masters Studies.

It is very true that your work experience is very valuable in referring to during your studies and discussions with students. I find that I learn not just through the textbooks but also through the experiences of my classmates.

I am ‘extremely likely’ to recommend this program to those individuals interested in a post graduate degree and are willing to take the time to learn!

Anthony Yu
Alumnus, UFred
Executive MBA with specialty stream in Global Leadership

 

Eric Bender

"The online classes were a perfect fit for my intense life schedule of juggling a new job and a newborn at the time."

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Eric Bender
VAR Partner Manager, Rogers Communications

My name is Eric Bender; A Swiss Canadian, originally from Montreal, Quebec, but currently residing in Mississauga, Ontario. I am a Value Added Reseller (VAR) Partner Manager at Rogers Communications involved in bringing new programs (such as Mobile Broadband) to the different B2B channels. It is a great experience for me to learn and grow within one of Canada’s best communications companies. Previously, I worked at Nortel for about 9 years in a variety of positions (Order Management, eBusiness and Sales & Operations). My last role was as a Sales & Operations Manager supporting Nortel’s Distribution Channels. That role involved working closely with a variety of different groups, both internal and external, to ensure that the channels have whatever it is they need to function smoothly.

I have recently completed a certificate in Marketing Management at Ryerson University and a yearlong Leadership Development program (LEDP) at Nortel. Prior to those achievements, I completed my BA at McGill University in English Literature, with minors in Psychology and Marketing. I am also an active member of Toastmasters International.

Selecting the University of Fredericton for my Executive MBA was an easy choice.

The online classes were a perfect fit for my intense life schedule of juggling a new job and a newborn at the time.

The material was current, relevant and thought provoking and the staff made me feel like a part of a team, helping me learn new things every step of the way. Since receiving my Executive MBA at University of Fredericton, I am more confident in my day to day activities and my career at Rogers Communications has benefited as a result.

Eric Bender
Alumnus, UFred
Executive MBA with specialty stream in Global Leadership

 

John Querques

"I can truly say that this experience has proved to be a valuable learning experience that has already paid dividends; I have recently been appointed V.P."

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John Querques
Vice President Operations & Customer Service English Canada, Quebecor Media

The UFred Executive MBA program has successfully integrated online learning and the traditional face-to-face classroom environment into a unique virtual classroom utilizing synchronous technology for a complete learning experience. It is a delivery method that supports a full range of learning experiences encompassing a structural component, which includes the methodology of the taught courses and the qualifications of the professors and those running the program, and a self-directed component where managers are able to access resources that provide practical support to their regular management role. The Executive MBA program also provides the opportunity for on-the-job learning through different work experiences and sharing experiences with other managers.

My experience at UFred has convinced me that online methodology provides all the benefits of the traditional classroom environment and more. Key factors I considered in my decision to pursue an Executive online included:

  • Flexible learning options that allowed me to do course work from anywhere, anytime.
  • Accommodated financial constraints.
  • A growing number of Accredited Programs from which to choose.
  • Faculty that were highly qualified and experienced in their fields of study drawing on an international pool of leaders in their fields of study to ensure I received the most current and relevant education.
  • A growing trend in e-learning and online degrees being increasingly accepted by employers.
  • Accessibility provided to me living in a small rural community.

As a December 2011 graduate of the University of Fredericton EMBA program,

I can truly say that this experience has proved to be a valuable learning experience that has already paid dividends; I have recently been appointed V.P.

Operations and Customer Service English Canada for the prominent multi-media organization, Quebecor Media. I am confident that the future prospects for eLearning and the University of Fredericton will be one of continued growth and success.

John Querques
Alumnus, UFred
Executive MBA with specialty stream in Global Leadership

Michael Sekerka

"Being a virtual program, the university can draw top talent from all over North America to deliver their courses and it shows in the quality and the personalized attention they are able to provide their students."

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Michael Sekerka
Chief Operating Officer, Neptec Technologies Corp.

Pursuing my Executive MBA at the University of Fredericton has been an extremely positive experience and has helped expand my understanding of business. Unlike most Executive MBA programs offered by traditional universities that require students to dedicate their weekends for two years to classroom sessions, the flexibility of the online UFred program really made the difference for me. Not having to physically travel to a classroom every week saved tremendous time and allowed me to integrate my studies seamlessly into my work and family life.

Being a virtual program, the university can draw top talent from all over North America to deliver their courses and it shows in the quality and the personalized attention they are able to provide their students.

Michael Sekerka
Alumnus, Sandermoen School of Business
Executive MBA with specialty stream in Global Leadership

Riz Premji

"The EMBA program has been very effective at enhancing my contribution to the organization."

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Riz Premji
Director, Human Resources & Compliance, Drive Products

The Executive MBA program at University of Fredericton has been a stimulating experience full of challenges, but an equally rewarding journey as well. Balancing assignments, time with family, business travel, and increasing professional responsibilities – all while trying to pursue a new life path focused on health and fitness – was overwhelming at times. To achieve my goals, I had to follow a very structured schedule, and appreciated the flexibility that the online courses and evening classes offered.

The Executive MBA Program provided an opportunity to network with students from other industries, and has been invaluable in terms of the knowledge and insight gained from the experience as a whole. As the Director of Human Resources and Corporate Compliance, and as a member of the senior executive team, I am actively involved in strategic planning and decision making;

The Executive MBA program has been very effective at enhancing my contribution to the organization.

Riz Premji
Alumnus, Sandermoen School of Business
Executive MBA with specialty stream in Global Leadership

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MBA

Jenny Pitt-Lainsbury

"I have traveled and worked extensively on international projects, and the Global Leadership MBA at UFred broadened my understanding of sustainability, leadership of global teams, global marketing, global information systems, corporate governance, and strategic leadership."

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Jenny Pitt-Lainsbury
Senior Chemistry and Science Teacher

 A self-titled “academic with business inclinations,” Jenny Pitt-Lainsbury is an accomplished instructor. She currently works with the University of Toronto Schools, a prestigious private school with specific programming designed for exceptional students, helping them excel and thrive in their studies.

Jenny has worked as an administrator and instructor with the teacher education programs at the University of Toronto, served as Chair of the Standards of Practice Committee at the Ontario College of Teachers, and as the National Examiner for the Chemistry Institute of Canada.

Together, Jenny and her husband, Jeff Lainsbury, both considered MBA programs. They found “the residency component and cost were prohibitive” for many of the programs they researched. The challenge was to find a program that would accommodate their careers and personal lives:

“Both of us had full-time jobs in the Toronto Area and three kids under five years old (twin three-year-olds and a four-year-old). We found the pioneering and affordable UFred program, which was one of a kind in providing a fully online learning environment with relevant program-focus options.”

Jeff began first by enrolling in the Executive MBA program at UFred in April of 2012. Encouraged by his experience in the program, and with a keen interest in the subject matter of his studies, Jenny followed soon after. She enrolled in the MBA program by June 2012.

Jenny attributes the success of UFred’s innovative program to the collaboration involved in each course:

“The UFred program provides an exceptional opportunity to connect with classmates and instructors across Canada and internationally. Everyone brings different experiences and insights which enriches the learning experience. Interaction with classmates and the instructor are essential for success.”

For anyone wary to begin the UFred program due to travel or work requirements, or wondering if they would sacrifice connections made in the classroom, Jenny had this to say:

“During my 3 and half years with the MBA program, I met fantastic people, and I use a lot of the theory I learned in my courses in my professional practice. I had the flexibility to travel with work and family and continue my studies. Despite the power outages during ice storms and heavy rains in Toronto in 2013, difficulty connecting when lava was compromising the wifi infrastructure in Hawaii in 2014, challenges with a communication line in a remote farm in southern France in 2015, I still managed to attend every class except three during my MBA degree. I have made connections with many classmates and professors who enriched my UFred experience. In the ever-evolving global environment, connections with like-minded, motivated and talented individuals are crucial, and UFred provides great opportunities.”

As part of the coursework for MBA 5035 Strategic Market Planning, Jenny was part of a group who submitted a business proposal to a non-profit organization, Professional Vegetation Mangers Association (PVMA). The group paper constituted a feasibility plan and was entitled, PVMA eLearning ProgramsWith the help of their instructor, Dr. Blake Escudier, they submitted the paper to the 41st Annual Small Business Institute (SBI) Conference and the team earned 2nd place for their work. Jenny reported that this course assignment went on to provide a real-world application: “The report served as a springboard for pitching a new training structure for PVM to the Government of Alberta and acquiring funding from funding from the Professional Vegetation Managers Association.”

Each MBA student at UFred will select a specialty stream as part of their program. Jenny chose Global Leadership, and as a result, she received the education she needed for success:

I have traveled and worked extensively on international projects, and the Global Leadership MBA at UFred broadened my understanding of sustainability, leadership of global teams, global marketing, global information systems, corporate governance, and strategic leadership.

Jenny Pitt-Lainsbury
Alumna, Sandermoen School of Business
Master of Business Administration with a specialty stream in Global Leadership

Vanessa Yurchesyn

"Most people worry that they have to sacrifice something to complete an MBA program while working full time but UFred makes this worry go away. It allows you to have balance."

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Vanessa Yurchesyn
Director of Business Development

Registered Dietitian Vanessa Yurchesyn held several jobs throughout her career, including at long-term care facilities and as a retail dietitian at Loblaw Companies Ltd. She also launched her own nutrition and wellness consulting business, and eventually moved on to her current role as Account Manager and Director of Business Development with Complete Purchasing Services.

Vanessa was interested in aspects of sales and marketing, as well as operations and human resources management. Given that she never wanted to practice dietetics in a traditional sense, she thought being knowledgeable in those areas would provide her with an advantage, which led to her decision to pursue an MBA.

UFred’s programs stood out to her because she could continue working full time and be engaged in her career, in addition to being affordable. The online learning environment allowed her the flexibility to moves provinces for a career opportunity while still completing her degree. She added that the UFred website is extremely user-friendly, and she likes the convenience of not having to drive to a university after a long day at work.

“I can engage in classes from the comfort of my home, in a hotel room if travelling for business, or vacation in another country, or even at airport lounges. And yes, I’ve done it all,” she said.

She believes the courses within UFred’s Innovation Leadership stream of the MBA program help her both personally and professionally to think differently about certain concepts and subjects. In addition, she feels it complements almost any background and that it’s made her a more effective dietitian with more to offer in her current job, and profession as a whole.

Craig Emblem

"The educational streams were attractive and appeared more logical to today’s global business world. Sometimes MBA programs are too methodological, and some are too caught up in the past. I wanted to make sure that my MBA education was current and poised for the future."

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Craig Emblem has worked in finance for the better part of 20 years. While he always had the goal of earning an MBA, working more than 40 hours a week was a challenge that felt unsurmountable. The time he thought he needed to invest was intimidating, so he procrastinated for the better part of a decade.

While doing some research about MBAs, Craig stumbled upon the University of Fredericton (UFred). He was immediately attracted to the online delivery method.

Craig, who was born and raised in Montreal, Que., decided to enrol at UFred partly because he liked that UFred is a Canadian institution, and because the program is relevant to today’s global business environments.

“The educational streams were attractive and appeared more logical to today’s global business world. Sometimes MBA programs are too methodological, and some are too caught up in the past. I wanted to make sure that my MBA education was current and poised for the future,” he said.

Craig is one of the students who participated in the International Field Study – an option available as part of the final integration project where students travel abroad to attend specialized workshops and speak with foreign business leaders.

“This was my biggest highlight and, in my opinion, the most relevant for solidifying my MBA education,” Craig said, adding that because the experience was at the end of the program, it forced students to apply the knowledge they accumulated throughout the program to the final project.

“For me, this style of learning was very impactful. I will also add that meeting many of my classmates in person in Amsterdam was enriching, and long-lasting friendships and professional connections were made,” he added.

Above all else, Craig’s experience at UFred taught him to think more critically and to challenge the status quo in business.

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Whitney Keyes

“I’m using what I learned every single day, and it’s absolutely enhanced my career."

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Whitney Keyes
Founder & CEO, WK Productions

Discovering her Passion for Social Enterprise

While at Microsoft during her late 20s/early 30s, Whitney Keyes often thought about getting her Master’s degree, but there never seemed to be enough time. She developed strong business acumen early on from her parents, who were artists and art professors. They owned a wholesale pottery business and a retail art gallery where Whitney was expected to help out. “I got entrepreneurialism in my blood at a young age,” she said. She focused her early education on the “science of trying to figure out how to communicate about a product or service; how to connect with customers.”

It wasn’t until Whitney left Microsoft and focused on her consulting company that she began to research MBA programs seriously. She found it challenging to choose the right one for her:

“I am very passionate about communication, journalism, and working with the media so, I looked into those types of advanced programs. I’m also very passionate about business, so, I also considered quite a few MBA programs.”

When she started her role with the United States Department of State, she began working with social entrepreneurs to explore the concept of bridging, which is using a business to do good in a community, in society, around the world, and how those two can fit together. “You do what a non-profit does but then apply a business framework,” she said. About seven years ago, she began to look for a program that had a social enterprise focus and “I just didn’t see much out there,” she said.

The UFred Impact

Whitney spent some time with a Canadian friend, and a student of the Sandermoen School of Business, who shared his UFred experience with her. It was then that she knew she had finally found the program for her:

“He was telling me how great of an experience he was having going to school at UFred and how much he valued the professors, his colleagues, and his cohorts; it was just full of incredible people doing amazing things, and he was learning so much. He told me the University was beginning to put together a new program focused on social enterprise. So, that really appealed to me, and that’s what led me to make the decision to continue my education.”

Whitney earned her MBA with a specialty stream in Social Enterprise Leadership in March 2016, and regularly uses the lessons she has learned:

“I’m using what I learned every single day, and it’s absolutely enhanced my career. I think there are practical aspects of pursuing your MBA, you can potentially leverage for a higher salary, and it gives you a certain amount of credibility in a different way that you didn’t have before.”

Though her UFred education was entirely online, Whitney found that she did not lack in personal connections made at other sorts of institutions; in fact, they may have been stronger:

“There’s just a different way of absorbing information when you are both feet in, day in day out within your classes with your colleagues as part of your larger cohort, associated with such a fantastic university and then getting access to these amazing professors with such diverse backgrounds and impressive CVs. I continue to keep in touch with many of my colleagues; I continued to learn from them and have them to go to; I’ve reached out to my professors as well on various occasions. It’s definitely been fantastic icing on my career cake, so to speak.”

A Different Sort of Education Online

In the US, Whitney is sometimes asked about the credibility of online education.

“Online education is still evolving, but sometimes it’s still questioned. What I always tell people is what was so beneficial for me, and what I think is pretty unique, was the phone classes (live vclasses). This isn’t just completing some easy exams online, or reading some information online, the fact that the university requires that students participate in phone classes (vclasses) is terrific. The professors are very engaging, making sure that you were not tuning out, playing video games, but really engaged in the lectures, and participating and calling on you. I mean it felt that I was in an actual classroom.”

Whitney enjoyed the challenging classes and the diversity of experience within the student body. “I had people that were in the oil industry, and working in the Prime Minister’s office, and social entrepreneurs running their own businesses,” she said, and added, “All different genders, and, because Canada is such an inclusive country, many different people from all around the world.” To suit her objectives, she needed this sort of distinct learning environment.

Whitney is the author of Propel: Five Ways to Amp Up Your Marketing & Accelerate Business and regularly writes for business publications and blogs including Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Biz Bite Blog. Regarding the future, she said she is “academically inspired,” and may one day want to pursue her Ph.D.

Please note: Whitney’s testimonial is part of the larger campaign ‘UFred10’. To learn more about UFred10, click here.

Firoze Khan

"The MBA program at UFred is excellent, and the courses are taught by experienced professors who are very helpful.

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Firoze Khan
Combat System Engineer, Department of National Defense (DND)

An Electronics Engineering graduate from Split University in Croatia, Firoze Khan, served in the Bangladesh Navy as a Weapon Electrical Engineer for 25-years. He immigrated to Canada in 2005 with his family and began his career as a Combat Systems Engineer with the Department of National Defense (DND) in May 2010. Well-travelled, owing to his career as a naval officer, Firoze is multilingual – Fluent in English, Bengali, Urdu, Hindi, Serbo-Croatian, with a little French and Arabic.

Apart from his technical and project management experience, Firoze is particularly interested in entrepreneurship. He chose UFred’s MBA with a specialty stream in Global Leadership for its online delivery program, quality staff, and faculty, and cost savings:

The MBA program at UFred is excellent, and the courses are taught by experienced professors who are very helpful.

It has been a unique experience, studying at UFred. I have gained a great deal of academic knowledge and experience by interacting with my peers and professors. It gave me great insight into how to write an effective research paper, critical analysis, presentation skills, effective team interactions … all these activities have been instrumental in polishing up my career development in the CAF.”

Some may think it’s hard to connect in an online learning environment; Firoze shared: “I interacted with students through e-mail, teleconference, telephones, etc.” He was impressed with the 24/7 availability of support: “The tech staff at UFred are always ready to help. So far there have been no technical issues, and we have been able to connect with the UFred website easily.”

Firoze is confident to share his UFred education experience with others:

“I am quite confident in recommending students to take advantage of the friendly environment available virtually at UFred. So far I have recommended five students who are taking courses at UFred, and they are all enjoying the course to the fullest extent.”

Firoze Khan
Current Student, Sandermoen School of Business
MBA with a specialty stream in Global Leadership

Chris Stone

Engineers are great problem solvers but often are not great leaders. I knew this about myself and decided to seek leadership training so that I could take the next step in the evolution of my career and move to a leadership role.

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Chris Stone
Software Development Manager

Chris Stone, a Software Development Manager for a large high-tech company in Ottawa, Ontario, has amassed 31-years of experience in embedded software design and development experience. He is an expert in Linux Kernel and has written some of the software and helped to build the devices used to help us network as a global community. He achieved his MBA from the University of Fredericton (UFred) in June, 2016, and looks forward to leading the teams of software engineers that will bring to life the Internet of Things.

Self-examination and a desire to move into leadership roles drew Chris to seek out his MBA at UFred:

Engineers are great problem solvers but often are not great leaders. I knew this about myself and decided to seek leadership training so that I could take the next step in the evolution of my career and move to a leadership role.

The specialty stream in Innovation Leadership worked well with his experience. He found it best suited his style with a perfect combination of innovative tech mingled with leadership studies.

When he realized the time savings, Chris knew UFred was the best choice to study:

The fully online format saved time that I would have otherwise spent commuting to class or team meetings. Time is a scarce resource for me, so anything that saves time, and allows me to work more efficiently is valuable.

Considering the benefits of study with UFred, Chris researched cost and found that his degree would cost him much less than he expected and would leave him in a better financial position upon completion. “I could not justify spending $80,000 – $120,000 on a bricks and mortar MBA”, he said, “from a cost perspective, the UFred MBA is practical and it is easy to complete the degree without taking on debt risks.”

For those apprehensive to start, unsure with what life may bring, Chris shares details from his courageous battle with cancer, and how he was able to overcome it and resume his studies:

“During my cancer treatment, I always had the goal of resuming my studies to work towards, and Student Services made it clear it was possible. Finishing my MBA was the final accomplishment that proved that cancer could not beat me. UFred was there for it all, and I hold a great deal of gratitude towards all of the Students Services staff for helping me achieve that goal.”

Chris credits UFred with transforming him into the leader his team needed, “My whole team is more effective as I am able to navigate the ambiguities of a large organization and lead us all towards positive outcomes.” He is happy to recommend UFred as the alternative for busy, professionals.

Chris Stone
Alumnus, Sandermoen School of Business
MBA with a specialty stream Innovation Leadership

Ryan Topp

"The online approach at UFred has been excellent due to the fact that there are scheduled"

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Ryan Topp
Senior Financial Analyst and Lead Quality Controls, Otis Canada Inc.

Ryan Topp completed his undergraduate degrees at McMaster University and the University of Toronto and over the last 6-years has held a variety of positions related to finance. Currently, he is a Senior Financial Analyst and the lead of Quality Controls Otis Canada Inc. Also, he runs a music/piano teaching business in Halton, Southern Ontario, consisting of four teachers and approximately 65 students.

His long-term goal is to move into a Chief Financial Officer position, and for this, he knew he would need an MBA. He chose to study at the University of Fredericton after receiving recommendations and completing careful online analysis:

“I was drawn to the University of Fredericton through verbal recommendations from a couple of current students, in addition to a significant amount of online comparative analysis on varying institutions, and all of the key factors directed me to apply to UFred.”

He has enjoyed the networking aspect of his online courses with UFred, saying “I have been exposed to a vast number of professional establishments through my peers in discussions, debates, and projects.” Ryan appreciates the combination of flexibility and interaction he has experienced in his classes:

The online approach at UFred has been excellent due to the fact that there are scheduled classes that foster a great amount of interaction with faculty and other students, while at the same time the structure of the program allows for a lot of flexibility to complete assignments, readings, and other tasks.

Ryan Topp
Current Student, Sandermoen School of Business
MBA with a specialty stream in Business Analytics Leadership

Rosette Okala

"I chose the Global Leadership program because I wanted to be well prepared to tackle the challenges that I encounter in the workplace."

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Rosette Okala
Consultant

Rosette Okala is a “citizen of the world.” She was born in Cameroon, raised in Belgium, and , has called Canada home for over 10-years where she now lives with her husband and two boys, aged 8-years and 6-months. Rosette has worked in a variety of sectors including healthcare, pharmaceutical, and most recently in consulting.

When she began to look for Master’s level education, Rosette knew she needed a program flexible enough to allow her to work full-time and provide for her family. Online education seemed to be the best fit for her, but she was concerned with the quality of the education offered by an online institution:

“I loved the fact that we had weekly classes with our professors where we could ask questions live and talk to one another. I had been very worried about the online format as I know often, students are left alone to read books and complete exams without much interaction with the professors and peers. While I am quite disciplined, I could not study that way, and this aspect alone was enough to convince me that the University of Fredericton (UFred) was it for me.”

Rosette was pleased with the affordability of the program and that she made diverse connections with students around the world:

“The tuition was reasonable and (the program) strengthened my ability to better collaborate with people near and far as we so did in many of my classes during my time there. My favorite part of the experience was the weekly live classes with people as far as from Nigeria. Having the opportunity to hear different perspectives from students all over the world was enriching.”

She started her MBA with the Sandermoen School of Business at UFred; Rosette selected the specialty stream in Global Leadership to help provide her the basis she needed for working in a global market:

I chose the Global Leadership program because I wanted to be well prepared to tackle the challenges that I encounter in the workplace. With a marketplace like Toronto that is so diverse, it is important to have the tools to navigate the issues that can rise.

Rosette credits her MBA from UFred for her professional growth, “I was able to get a good job with one of the “big 4″ before I even finished the program. I truly believe that having it on my resume made all the difference,” she said. Personally, she provided a living example of success to her kids:

“It is paramount for me to teach my kids by example and to juggle both work and school as I did hopefully will mark my sons in a way where they can say, anything truly is possible and if mom did it, so can we.”

Rosette chose the MBA program at UFred for the flexibility, quality program, and cost effectiveness. When asked if she was confident in recommending UFred to others, she said, “I am beyond confident in doing so.”

Rosette Okala, MBA
Alumna, Sandermoen School of Business
MBA with a specialty stream in Global Leadership

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