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emba diary

Jill Javier of Capital One has embarked on an executive MBA program at Rotman School of Management in Toronto.

Jill Javier works in the partnerships business of financial services company Capital One and is pursuing her global executive MBA through University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management and the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland, with expected completion in 2016. Passionate about people development and enriching the project management profession, Jill has 14 years of global experience in Fortune 500 companies and has lived and worked in the Philippines, Singapore and currently Toronto. Outside work, Jill is an avid scuba diver and fearless adventure seeker.

When I was in my early 20s, living in Manila and making the equivalent of $500 (U.S.) a month, I sat down to write a bucket list of adventures and dreams. One of those dreams was to do my MBA. I'm sure that sounds nerdy, but I happen to love learning and pushing my boundaries. I also love the feeling of checking off lists.

Over the past decade, I moved from Manila to Singapore and then to Toronto, each time to take on bigger career opportunities, working for Procter & Gamble, Hewlett-Packard and now Capital One. I also pursued other adventures on the side – logging more than 100 dives and 208 hours of yoga teacher training.

As for the MBA, that particular goal remained unchecked. There were certain trade-offs I was unwilling to make just yet – such as taking time off work, taking on a school loan, or doing the MBA online.

Then, a friend who was doing her Rotman MBA part-time started sharing her experiences with me during regular catch-ups. Naturally, I asked myself if this was something I still really wanted to pursue – was it worth it?

I sought perspectives from leaders I admired – a mix of some who had their MBA and others who didn't. One of these conversations was with the executive sponsor of Capital One's women's network. She asked a simple question: "If you look back five years from now, would you regret not investing the time and money to do it?"

The answer to me was a resounding yes.

Discovery of the Omnium Global Executive MBA, which is now delivered jointly by the University of Toronto (Rotman) and the University of St. Gallen (but will be administered by Rotman alone in the next cohort), ended my months of research.

The program is structured into six intense two-week modules spread over 1 1/2 years. This appealed to me more than a year of weekend classes, which I found to be typical of other EMBAs. It doesn't hurt that the locations where we'll be travelling for these modules are bucket-list worthy places themselves: North America, South Asia, East Asia, South America, Europe and the Middle East including three of the BRIC countries. I'm fortunate to be working for a company that provides the financial and moral support to be successful – the stars have finally lined up for me to begin to check this off my list.

I joined the Omnium class last August, and the advice many others have shared has become crystal clear: Support from your loved ones, your manager and your teammates will be critical while you're doing an MBA. I personally continue to feel incredibly humbled and blessed by the support I'm receiving to pursue this goal.

In future posts, I'll share how my nerdy global adventures are turning out – I'll have to write quicker since we've already had two of our six modules, with one coming up in March. Join me as I check the MBA item (perhaps more?) off my bucket list.

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