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mba diary

Parpalea Catalin

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 third blog post in a series.

March. Every student's "favourite" month. The other day, I was sitting down in front of my agenda slowly flipping through the pages when everything sunk in. The next few weeks will be hectic. I definitely will be sporting the "zombie look" in the days ahead.

Even though very demanding, the great thing about the MBA program is that it tests your abilities. You develop and gain additional knowledge, refine your critical and analytical abilities and test your organization and teamwork skills. What I like most is the chance to work with hard-working and clever students. Most of our semester projects are completed in groups so we definitely need to show leadership, share our ideas and be supportive of one another, which is the same scenario as in an organization.

In addition to our multiple semester reports, presentations, online simulation and so on, we need to prepare for exams. We also need to take the initiative to find a professor to supervise our thesis, find a subject that corresponds to our interest as well as the interest of the professor (which can sometimes be difficult).

To juggle all of it requires time and discipline in order for a student to complete his or her MBA. As well as many hours spent at the library.

It is also a very critical time in my co-op program as an agent with Laval's Trade Missions. There are just two months left before we fly to Turkey, Brazil and Chile. Of our 50 trade agents, 12 have yet to secure contracts with Quebec companies, including myself. I haven't been really stressed over my courses, my co-op program and my grades since I began my MBA (I learned to managed stress while doing my bachelor degree). However, these past few days, I won't lie: This feeling of pressure is growing more and more. I am thinking to myself: What if I don't find a company to work with and can't contribute to its development in Turkey after months of perseverance and hard work? I need to remain positive, though. Business is hard and revolves greatly around the right timing. I know I will find my company. I have to.

Even if this period of the year is stressful, I am so grateful to have amazing colleagues to help me through it all. Teamwork is essential in an organization. We are only as strong as our weakest link. Many agents dedicate so much of their time in order that we, as a team, achieve our project, our objectives.

We have two weeks to triple our number of cold calls and meetings in order to find the 12 remaining contracts with Quebec companies. We are fighters and achievers and we will not leave any of us behind.

We are also lucky to have a great management team, which is crucial in any organization. Last Friday, our boss and one of our agents made a great speech. Afterward, I wanted to make as many cold calls as possible (and I'll be the first one to admit, I hate making cold calls).

Salomé can be reached through her LinkedIn profile or