Rachelle Hay parlays MBA journey into new career

Aug 16, 2012

For Beedie School of Business student Rachelle Hay, SFU’s MBA program has delivered everything that she hoped for and more. And as the end of the program approaches, she is looking forward to taking her career to the next level.

Hay recently learned that she has been successful in obtaining a role at Orbis Access (Canada) Limited, and will start the position immediately after the MBA program concludes later this year. Yet like many students, her new career was the last position she envisioned herself in when she started on the program.

Hay obtained her undergraduate degree in mass communications from the University of Delaware before moving on to work in television. Having moved from her home country Trinidad & Tobago to Vancouver with her family in 2011, she decided that the time was right to return to university.

“When I opted to pursue a post-graduate degree I originally began to look into an MSc in communications,” she says. “I soon realized though that I needed to diversify my skill set and develop the tools and knowledge to go into a different area after graduation if the opportunity arose. That was when I made the decision to pursue my MBA.”

Hay  has no doubt that her choice to study at SFU was the correct one. “The MBA at SFU’s Beedie School of Business program was an intense, fantastic experience,” she says. “With access to the downtown business core right outside our door, the location here at the Segal Graduate School of Business is ideal. I have grown to know many truly incredible people in the cohort over the last year. Many of us bonded from the word go and the friendships I have made mean the world to me.”

Throughout the program, Hay has been keen to take advantage of the rich experiences the Beedie School of Business has to offer. One notable highlight for her was competing at the Haskayne 24 Hour Case competition at the University of Calgary, where she and her team placed an impressive second out of a national field of 16 teams.

“The Haskayne competition was another intense, but memorable experience and was definitely a highlight of my student career,” says Hay. “Our team worked tirelessly for over 30 hours on our presentation and strategy, putting all of our MBA learning into practice. Representing SFU at the competition was an amazing experience and I am very proud we performed so well at a national competition.”

Hay has also excelled in the more creative side of the MBA throughout the program, and was on the winning team for the recent Opportunity Fest competition. “Projects like Opportunity Fest were demanding and exciting at the same time,” says Hay. “Our project allowed us to fuse key learning points from a spectrum of our MBA courses to arrive at our final concept and it was great practice in planning a business venture”

Hay has no doubt that her previous professional experience has been an asset throughout the program. “One of my previous roles involved hosting a lifestyle and travel television program which was aired throughout the Caribbean region,” she explains. “The experience, combined with public speaking training from the University of Delaware, has definitely provided a solid foundation for the high volume of class presentations and business competitions during the MBA.”

Having obtained her new role through attending a career trade show, Hay is living testament to the benefits of using the wealth of career resources available to SFU students. She first heard about the position after attending the Business Career Expo this spring and was then successful in obtaining an interview.

“The interview process I underwent with Orbis was the most rigorous I have endured in my career,” says Hay. “Had it not been for the skills I learned in the MBA I would not have stood a chance. One of the interviews in particular was very technical, and if not for the finance class in the MBA program I would not have been able to handle it.”

Despite the fact that a position in the finance sector is something that she had never envisioned for herself, Hay is enthusiastic about what the future holds. “I am both nervous and thrilled about the position,” she says. “Working for a finance company is completely new to me but I am confident the MBA has provided me with the tools I need to excel. When I first started the program, I thought I might ultimately return to a career in communications, but when the opportunity presented itself to work for Orbis, it was an offer I could not turn down.”

When asked what the highlight of the MBA program has been for her, Hay struggles to name just one. “The academic competitions were a tremendous experience, forcing me to learn pockets of information and apply them in a seamless way,” she says. “The professors I have studied under are another highlight and I am sad that I won’t be learning from them anymore. It is a little bitter-sweet to leave this environment but I am also excited to move on and utilize the learning and skills I have gained in my new role. The MBA has opened a lot of doors for me, and I intend to make the most of it.”