As this is my first blog entry, I will take the opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Salomé Thériault, and I am a 22-year-old MBA student at Laval University in Quebec City. This is my second semester and I'm specializing in marketing.
I graduated last May from Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B., with a bachelor of arts, with distinction (major in commerce, minor in music), of which I am extremely proud. I am an Acadian from Moncton who decided to study in English at Mount Allison to learn to be fluent in the language.
As for my MBA, there were a few reasons why I applied to Laval to pursue my graduate studies. First, in complete honesty, I had lost a bit of my French while studying at Mount Allison for three years so I wanted to return to my native tongue at a school within a strong French community. My French has improved; I articulate better and have more facility when writing papers.
The second reason was the university's opportunities to study abroad. I am strongly considering doing a double diploma in France next year as well as an internship overseas. This is great, especially when having an interest in international business and wanting to work abroad in the future.
The third, and most important, reason why I applied to Laval was because of a program called Les Missions commerciales de l'Université Laval (Laval University's Trade Missions). A friend always used to talk to me about it while he was doing his MBA in marketing and it appealed to me.
Trade Missions is a non-for-profit organization that gives companies across Quebec an opportunity to develop their businesses in an international setting.
I have joined Missions and am working voluntarily as a trade agent, as well as being a full-time MBA student. The great thing about being a trade agent is that I am gaining real work experience, which will be credited as two courses in my MBA program. I will be supporting a Quebec company's business development efforts in Turkey in May as part of the Missions program. I'll have more to say on this in future blog posts.
It sometimes can be challenging being a full-time student as well as a trade agent. It is time-consuming, sometimes disappointing and even frustrating. However, the pros outweigh the cons. I was not expecting this MBA-trade agent combination to be this exciting, fun, demanding, rewarding and motivational.
My tasks inspire me to become the best of the best by learning from the finest businessmen and women across the province of Quebec. The networking is unbelievable. Learning from professionals allows me to be better applied in my MBA through some concrete experiences. When people say that an MBA is nothing without work experience, it is very true and I am grateful that I can do both at Laval at such a young age. To go through even a week as an MBA student and as a trade agent, you need guts and perseverance – two major elements of successful business people's DNA.