Saint Mary’s University Sobey School of Business: The Power of Yes

Stuart Clow takes any opportunity that comes his way, and it works in his favour


Stuart Clow will say yes to any opportunity at school. His mentality is to take advantage of everything that his Master of Business Administration at the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary's University offers.

"As busy as it seems, taking an hour to attend a talk or a networking event is almost always worthwhile in my opinion," says Clow about the wide range of events offered to students at SMU.

The MBA program at the Sobey School is built to prepare students for real-life business scenarios. The first half teaches business fundamentals. Students may concentrate on specific disciplines—such as marketing, entrepreneurship, finance or consulting—in the second half.

True to his open-minded approach, Clow has chosen not to pursue a designated concentration, but to take courses in negotiation, corporate finance and venture capital.

A lot of his MBA experience has been based around group work and group experiences such as case competitions, corporate tours, MBA Society events and the MBA Games. "In the Sobey School there are many sources of unique opportunities," he says. Whenever Clow sees one arrive in his mailbox, he prefers to go knock on its door.

In the spring, for example, Clow received an email from the head of the Venture Grade Program, Ellen A. Farrell, and wound up travelling to Boston for two days for the Venture Capital Investment Competition as a first-year shadow.

As he sat in on the sessions, he was able to see presentations from such schools as Yale, Babson and Dartmouth. SMU did extremely well in this tough competition, finishing a close second. This was an amazing learning experience for Clow, but for him arguably the most valuable was the HEC Competition in Montreal.

"This is a week-long competition where each person on your team must choose a different function, and you work with the other teams' members in your function. I was in business strategy, and for the first eight hours, we couldn't talk to our own teams. After that, you put together a report and presentation," Clow explains the intense situation. In it, he was able to meet students from Spain, Australia, Taiwan and other Canadian universities.

Through another opportunity, Clow was introduced to the CEO of Unilever, a transnational consumer goods company.

When asked, Clow says the professor who's been most influential on him is Ethan Pancer in Marketing Management. "His emphasis on evidence-based management and justifying recommendations has been extremely helpful in my case competition experience. From him, I've learned that you can have a great point or argument, but without a strong case you're not going to convince anyone," he says.

The MBA program at SMU helped Clow to improve his communication and problem-solving skills in diverse groups. He feels that the program has taught him skills that will be useful in most of the firms around the world, and that it's introduced him to some amazing people, companies and industries that he could work with. It has also helped him understand his passions in life and business, which has helped him narrow down a list of companies and roles that he wants to work in.

He is ready to dive in and provide value to those organizations, and say yes to the many opportunities that will stem from the Sobey MBA.

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