Stephanie Doyon, MBA'18, is a new full-time MBA student who hails from Canada where she recently completed her undergraduate degree in engineering. She shared with us why she chose to come to D'Amore-McKim, what it's like to compete in an Ironman race, and how she balances life as a student athlete.
Q:Why did you choose D'Amore-McKim?
The only things I knew were that I loved Boston, I wanted to go into business, and I was ready to work for it! I researched a lot of schools around the New England area, New York, and some in Canada, where I'm from. Northeastern fit that criteria and it was well ranked… it was my first choice. What solidified it for me was my class visit back in October 2015. I met with some students, talked with Lauren, our Academic advisor, and I was overwhelmed by how nice everyone was and by how family-oriented it felt. The other thing was corporate residency. Since I don't have a lot of work experience, the corporate residency is the perfect opportunity to get some hands-on, high-level business experience.
Q:How have you found your first few months in the program?
I think the most challenging part was getting used to how engaged you need to be in every class. It takes a lot of energy to always be active and mentally present in class. I was definitely not prepared for that. Classes go at a very fast pace, and I've already learned so much. It's a little overwhelming! When I have enough energy after school, I usually go to the gym and try to maintain my training. I love living in Boston, and being able to run along the Charles River is very nice. In terms of extracurricular activities, between my training, school, and going out with my classmates, I don't have much time left… I like how busy I am, because I don't see the days and weeks go by.
Q:What are you hoping to get out of the program?
I have two dream jobs: a brand manager for a lifestyle company with values that align with mine, or to launch my own triathlon-oriented business. I do want to work for a different company at first, maybe in consulting so that I can gain as much experience as possible before heading to a smaller company or starting my own.
Q:What's the most interesting thing you've learned so far?
It's the way we learn. Most of our classes are case-based, so we prepare a case before class and we discuss it in class, often for the entire length of the class. At the end the professor will talk a little more about the theory behind it, but most of the important concepts are incorporated in the case discussion. It makes learning much more interesting and dynamic. What I didn't like about my engineering degree was the lack of hands-on project and concrete cases. D'Amore-McKim is the complete opposite, and I really like it.
Q:You recently competed in your first Ironman. Can you describe what that was like and major lessons learned?
I actually didn't finish my first Ironman. I've been doing triathlons for four years, and last year I had this idea that I would do my first full Ironman, which is 2.1 miles of swim, 112 miles of biking and 26.2 miles (a marathon) of running. I had done a few half Ironmans, competed in two world championships at that distance (2014 at Mont-Tremblant, Canada and 2015 in Zell am See, Austria) so I felt ready to take on a new challenge. Unfortunately, life had other plans in mind, and I got really sick a week before the race. I tried my best to get better, but I couldn't eat anything and I wasn't able to train. The day before my parents arrived, and my dad told me to start or I would regret it. So I started the race and finished the swim, but halfway through the bike I couldn't do it anymore. I was cold and almost fell of my bike. An ambulance carried me to the medial area and I was told I was in a slight hypothermic state.
For a few weeks after, I kept going over my decision to stop. I pushed my physical and mental limits, and even if it was very painful at times, I loved every minute of it. I'm passionate about this sport, and for me it's a lifestyle. Being a student athlete involves balancing school, training, and a a social life, especially in an MBA program where networking is really important.
Would I rather stay in bed on a Monday morning instead of getting a run down before class? Yes, but I wouldn't trade my experience and my sport for anything.
Q:Any advice to those considering applying to an MBA program?
The advice I would give is, if you can, go visit the school in person. It's important that you feel at ease. Also, get in contact with a current student and the academic advisor; these people will be able to answer all your questions. Once your program starts, go out, have fun, and get to know everyone. They are people you will spend a lot of time with, and you might be friends with them for a long time.