Nasim Shahi (MSc (Mgt) '23) a recent graduate of the Master of Science in Management, Business Analytics concentration says she is eager to share about her University of Lethbridge experience in what she calls a "unique, blended education program". The Dhillon School of Business graduate who calls both Iran and Canada home says that participating in work-integrated learning experiences that the program included, bridged the gap between academic learning and practical application. It was also instrumental in her transition into the workforce by providing her with invaluable real-world insights, practical skills and confidence.

Why did you choose the Dhillon School of Business?

The MSc (Mgt), complemented by a Business Analytics concentration, offers a dynamic blend of hands-on learning and traditional coursework to help students grasp analytics principles. This unique setup equipped me with practical skills and prepared me to face real job challenges in the business world confidently. Thanks to this comprehensive approach, I feel prepared for various challenges and opportunities in the realm of business analytics. Another bonus is that it is pretty affordable compared to similar programs at other universities.

Experience ULethbridge Graduate Studies:

- meaningful, real-world research and practice opportunities
- flexible, future-focused, career-relevant programs
- supportive campus communities
- generous student funding

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How would you describe the Dhillon School of Business?

The Dhillon School of Business creates a friendly and supportive environment for its students where professors offer guidance and care throughout the educational journey. It stands out for providing free access to LinkedIn Learning and assisting students to succeed in their academic and professional endeavours. Moreover, it offers flexible delivery methods, combining in-person and online learning to accommodate diverse schedules and preferences.

Can you give us some examples of work-integrated learning (WIL) experiences you participate in throughout your graduate degree?

In my academic journey, I actively engaged in work-integrated learning (WIL) experiences that provided me with invaluable real-world insights and practical skills.

One of the great WIL experiences occurred when we engaged in an experiential project that was instrumental to our graduation. This project involved contributing to a market analysis project within the telecommunications industry over a three-month period. As a team effort, we conducted a thorough market analysis, collecting, organizing and analyzing data from diverse sources. Collaborating closely with team members, we developed successful strategies to drive our analysis forward. We also applied our analytical skills to help the company discover potential leads geographically and demographically, providing valuable insights for their marketing strategy.

Another notable instance occurred in the course Introduction to Consulting where we collaborated with a cryptocurrency entrepreneur to enhance their customer acquisition strategies and differentiate their innovative services in the competitive market. We conducted a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis and interviewed key stakeholders, including the founder, to gain insights into the company's business model and challenges. Studying real case studies from Databricks in the class also helped us gain valuable insights about migrating businesses online. Through market research, we recommended targeted marketing strategies to reach specific audiences effectively, as well as innovative solutions to address their real challenges.

These experiences underscore the importance of WIL in bridging academic learning with practical application, getting me prepared for the challenges of the professional world by honing my consulting and problem-solving skills to contribute to their strategic decision-making process and overall growth. It is worth mentioning that supportive guidance from experienced instructors and clear course outlines paved the way for our success in applying theoretical knowledge to real-world context.

Did these work-integrated learning experiences help you land the job you have now?

Yes, these experiences played a significant role in my professional development and contributed to my success in securing my current position. The practical skills and insights gained through WIL experiences were instrumental during the job application and interview process. For instance, contributing to a telecommunication market analysis project and collaborating with a cryptocurrency entrepreneur showcased my ability to conduct thorough market analysis, devise effective strategies and proficiently utilize collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams. These hands-on projects also highlighted my problem-solving skills, strategic thinking and adaptability in diverse business environments. Employers value these as they demonstrate concrete examples of a new graduate's readiness to contribute effectively to their businesses.

Would you recommend the Dhillon School of Business to other prospective students?

I would recommend the Dhillon School of Business to other prospective students for three reasons:

  1. The program's unique blend of applied learning and traditional coursework equips students with practical skills for dealing with real business challenges.
  2. The program's affordability compared to similar programs at other universities makes it accessible to a broader range of students, particularly amidst the current economic uncertainties.
  3. The school's supportive environment, including helpful professors and access to resources like LinkedIn Learning ensure students are ready to navigate the rapidly changing job market.

Overall, the Dhillon School of Business offers an excellent balance of quality education, affordability and support, making it an ideal choice for aspiring business professionals.

What advice would you give future graduate students?

I advise future students to take full advantage of the school's opportunities: Make the most of the hands-on learning experiences combined with traditional coursework; use resources like LinkedIn Learning, which the school offers students for free to enhance their skills and knowledge; create networks with professors and peers to expand your connections and obtain valuable insights into the business world; stay proactive in seeking co-ops, internships and practical experiences to complement your academic learning; and lastly, always manage your budget wisely, considering the program's affordability and cost of living.