Top Executives from Canada's Prestigious MBA Programs
Canada’s top executives obviously have the knowledge to back their position. To get to the top most chose to further their education by acquiring an MBA. So where did Canada’s top executives attend? Which schools have famous executives amongst their alumni? This month, Business Review Canada has analyzed which MBA programs produce the best executives that rank at the top of the Canadian business world.
Queens School of Business
Ranking at number one on Business Review Canada’s Top Ten Canadian Business Schools, Queens School of Business is widely recognized as one of the top educators. The school’s Executive MBA program lasts for 16 months and admission is highly competitive as it depends on applicants’ management experience, references, previous academic experience, QMAT/GMAT scores and a personal interview. Even more, applicants are required to have a minimum of 13 years’ working experience. Most students that participate in this program are at an average of 35 years and range up to 50 years old. Prominent alumni of Queens School of Business are well-known, including Don Carty—Chairman of Porter Airlines and Virgin America, Gordon Nixon—President and CEO of the Royal Bank of Canada, Kimbal Musk—Co-owner of Tesla Motors, Chris Viehbacher--CEO of Sanofi-Aventis and Melvin Goodes—Former Chairman and CEO of Warner Lambert.
Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario
Coming in at number two on Business Review Canada’s June issue Top Ten, the Richard Ivey School of Business hosts a well-known MBA program. Ivey’s Executive MBA Program, founded in 1991, is designed to provide a part-time MBA program for working managers. Requiring at least seven years of working experience, the program’s schedule is comprised of four in-class days once per month. The program lasts five months and graduation is after three consecutive terms. Richard Ivey School of Business has many prestigious alumni including, Thomas H. Baily—Founder of Janus Capital, George Cope—President and CEO of Bell Canada Enterprises, Michael McCain—President and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods, Richard Nesbitt—President and CEO of CIBC World Markets and David Furnish—former executive and board member of Ogilvy & Mather UK.
Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
Ranked third on the list of Business Review Canada’s June issue Top Ten Business Schools, Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto provides students with the Rotman Executive MBA. The program, aimed for professionals, lasts an intensive 13 months. Alternatively at Rotman, students may choose to take a 16 month program, the Omnium Global Executive MBA, to visit key centres of international business on four continents. The Omnium MBA involves a two-week foundation module, five short term international residences, online learning and a number of intensive virtual team projects. Notable alumni of the Rotman School of Management include Kevin Dougherty—President of Sun Life Global Investments, Bill Downe—President and CEO of BMO Financial Group, Chris Cahill—President and COO of Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Simon Cooper—President and COO of Ritz Carlton Hotel Company, and Don Morrison—COO of Blackberry at Research in Motion.
As you can see, these institutions provide phenomenal educations to their students. With some of Canada’s top executives named as alumni, it’s clear these three universities are some of the best in the nation. With Canada’s top corporations like Porter Airlines, Research in Motion, Fairmont Hotels, Tesla Motors, CIBC World Markets, and Bell Canada employing graduates, it’s hard not to recognize the prestige of these Executive MBAs.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.