Darcy Drury, MGA/MBA Class of 2018

 

Who are you?

I am halfway through my joint-MGA/MBA degree at both the Munk School and the Rotman School of Management. My academic interests centre around policy that induces multinational corporations to pay their fair share of taxes, as well as introducing non-financial measurements to value companies (I.E. human and environmental sustainability). I consider my MBA education the toolkit, or “means”, to how I wish to tackle problems, but my real competitive advantage in the job market is my MGA education, or my “ends”.

Why an MGA?

To me the world is run by governments, international organizations, and multi-national corporations. Each of these entities develop, co-ordinate, and implement policies that affect the lives of everyone. Traditional education streams the study of these major actors into silos: Political Science, Law, and Business Administration. The Munk School attacks this issue head-on by basing its curriculum on understanding how these players interact. Not only are you prepared to work in the private, public, and not for profit sectors, you see how your work fits within the big picture.

Highlight of the MGA degree so far?

Working with the Global Ideas Institute helped me recognize how much I’d learned over the course of my first year at Munk. This program has Munk students facilitate seven two-hour workshops with local high school students to help them tackle a global issue. My team focussed on the issue of Birth Registration in rural Indonesia. At Munk, there’s much talk about a “global mindset”, but putting this into practice and teaching others about perceiving the world holistically is much more difficult than I expected. Bearing witness to the group discussions and final presentation was an incredibly fulfilling experience.

What was your MGA internship?

The relationships between our school and governmental organizations are incredible and a major reason I chose the Munk School. I had the coolest internship: working as a junior trade commissioner at the Canadian Embassy to Thailand in Bangkok. Within my first week I was client-facing with Thai business leaders and politicians, probing them on what their core business needs were while representing my country. My favourite achievement was writing a 20-minute speech for the Ambassador to deliver in front of sixty leaders of the Thai and foreign business community on “The Canadian Brand”. My favourite memory was serving as Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion’s photographer at the ASEAN Summit in Laos for three days.

How does the MGA differ from an MBA?

When I walk into job interviews, and say that I am an MGA/MBA, the first questions is always “What’s an MGA?” To which I respond something like “I study intergovernmental relations and, in particular, the nexus between the private, public, and not-for profit sectors.” No MBA can say that, and the interviewer always stares at me blankly. Its true that employers are more familiar with an MBA education and can expect certain skills from these graduates, such as how to create and interpret financial statements, decipher financial jargon, and articulate corporate strategy. But overall, an MBA is just that: a toolkit. An MGA thinks critically about WHY the world is as it is, and questions assumptions more readily. My MGA education prepares me to think like an executive or political leader, while an MBA teaches me how to work for one.

Where are you working now?

As part of my MBA internship, I am working at CIBC in its Technology & Operations department. I work on an innovation team that is bringing Robotic Process Automation to the bank. RPA is a software that lets you automate menial or repetitive work so that people can spend their time on more human tasks. I leverage both my MGA and MBA educations in this role as I am responsible for developing a business strategy for my team of seven engineers, while I also articulate their work for senior executives. Concurrently, I am on a research team that is seeking to understand the pre- and post-retirement segments of the population for a design thinking sprint.