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Laval MBA gives herself a midway report card

Salomé Thériault has completed one year of her MBA course at Laval.

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Salomé Thériault is an MBA student at Laval University in Quebec City, specializing in marketing. The 22-year-old Acadian from New Brunswick did her undergraduate studies at Mount Allison University in English but opted to take her MBA at Laval partly to return to her mother tongue. Along with her full-time studies, Salomé is volunteering as an agent with the university's Trade Missions, a not-for-profit organization that gives companies across Quebec an opportunity to develop their businesses in an international setting. This is her fourth blog post in a series.

I have completed the first year of my MBA course and, let me tell you, what a great feeling. This year truly tested my abilities, as I was a full-time student with an almost full-time job as a trade agent. There have been many ups and downs but I managed it all and am proud of my performance.

One thing for sure, every experience I gained this year made me think a lot. I've reached mixed conclusions.

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On one hand, I think I should have gained some work experience before starting off an MBA because, to me, it is easier to make links with classroom theory when you have references from the workplace. I also realize I underestimated my bachelor's degree, thinking it would not get me a great job out of university.

Within the MBA program itself, I'm a little disappointed by the amount of theory. I feel that at an MBA level, concrete and real work issues should be applied in class. In my opinion, students learn much better and retain information easiest this way.

But over all, I do not regret my decision to pursue an MBA. I wanted to have an MBA and still do, so I will finish what I have started.

This entire business education process has pushed me to the limit. It helped me gain confidence; it showed me that it is okay not being a Type-A personality in the workplace; it stirred my drive and willingness to give my 200 per cent in every situation. It made me realize that it is not from which school you graduate that will lead you to a better job. It is all about your attitude. It is about persevering, having dedication and motivation, bringing new ideas to the table.

I am an Acadian from a small town who has ambitions and dreams to have a career in marketing and fashion, industries which many people believed it would be impossible for me to get into. There are no guarantees but I will try my very best. And maybe this is my competitive edge – the little guy surprising the big man, just like in the David and Goliath story.

One needs to encounter rejection and obstacles to strengthen the personality and validate perseverance. I've always been a hard worker, and I will continue to have this work ethic. I strongly believe that hard work does pay off.

With all of this said, I still owe Laval a big thank you. Apart from the education, Laval led me to Trade Missions, one of the most incredible experiences of my life.

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Every school should have this sort of program for its students. I enjoyed every single minute of the experience and would repeat the entire thing all over again. It is truly amazing the skills I gained through an experience like this one.

And once again, I owe more than a big thank you to my Trade Mission colleagues. Thanks to our team effort, we were able to achieve our objective of finding and assisting Quebec companies that want to expand their operations outside the country. Fifty companies will be represented by our agents this May in Chile, Brazil and Turkey.

And I can finally say that I signed up one of those companies, a school (exactly two weeks before the departure date). My mandate is to do some student recruitment in Turkish high schools and promote Quebec and Canada. Hard work does pay off.

Salomé can be reached through her LinkedIn profile or salome.noel-theriault.1@ulaval.ca

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