Best of both worlds: Blended Learning Part-Time (PT) MBA candidates are poised for success

January 14, 2019 | Burlington
Contributed by Andrew Baulcomb, Communications Officer

“Initially, it was DeGroote’s career accelerating messaging that caught my attention,” says Blended Learning Part-Time (PT) MBA candidate Juliette Zhang. “That really resonated with me because it felt familiar and aligned with my career aspirations.”


DeGroote’s new Blended Learning Part-Time (PT) MBA was designed to get students where they want to be, and sooner.

Launched in September 2018, the program is taught online and in person during weekend residencies at Burlington’s Ron Joyce Centre. Students are required to attend class for three weekends each term, for a total of nine terms.

The inaugural cohort averages eight years of full-time work experience and includes professionals from a number of diverse fields, including healthcare, finance, biotechnology, and manufacturing. The aim is for candidates to collaborate and share ideas among a cohort rich with diverse skills, backgrounds, and values.

Below, get to know two Blended Learning Part-Time (PT) MBA candidates and learn what attracted them to the DeGroote School of Business. Responses have been edited for length:

Adam McKillop

Manager, Strategic Initiatives (Interim), the Hospital for Sick Children

Tell me about your background and career path. Why did you decide to pursue a part-time MBA?

I completed my undergraduate degree in Human Kinetics, Master’s degree in Exercise Science, and PhD in Medical Science. During my PhD at the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), I worked on a few non-academic projects that focused more on hospital operation and process improvement. This experience exposed me to the business side of the hospital, which ultimately shifted my attention from academia to project management and strategy. I was interested in learning more about these areas and acquiring business acumen, so I could bring real-world experiences to the program and also apply new knowledge at work almost immediately. Ultimately, my goal is to pursue a career in hospital administration at a senior level.

What attracted you to DeGroote’s new Blended Learning Part-Time (PT) MBA?

The main draw to the program was the online learning component that allowed for flexibility to balance family, work, and school. As a young professional and young father of three, it was important that I continue to work and build a career while pursuing more school. This format seemed to be the most accommodating. In addition, the in-person weekend residencies still facilitated important networking with classmates and faculty, compared to other online-only programs.

How would you describe the makeup of your cohort? Have you been able to engage with like-minded professionals?

The cohort includes a variety of educational and professional backgrounds with a common goal of learning while advancing our careers. While I have engaged with many like-minded individuals, perhaps more valuable is the opportunity to engage with classmates that challenge my way of thinking. Through group work, in-class residencies, and online discussions, the curriculum is supplemented by a strong cohort that brings unique perspectives and different knowledge to discussions and assignments.

What core lessons or takeaways have you been able to apply to your profession?

Understanding your values and learning more about what it takes to be an authentic leader have been two clear takeaways so far in this program. As a manager, these lessons reminded me about the importance of self-reflection, self-discovery, and self-improvement in order to work toward building emotional intelligence.

Would you recommend DeGroote’s Blended Learning Part-Time (PT) MBA? If so, why?

If you have personal drive and the ability to balance school, work, and life, then yes, the Blended Learning Part-Time (PT) MBA is a great option to advance your career. The program can be demanding at times, which requires determination and commitment to stay on top of course requirements. I recommend the program mainly for the ability to work while completing the program, and to allow some flexibility to complete program components online and independently.

Juliette Zhang

Manager, Business Transformation, Innomar Strategies

Tell me about your background and career path. Why did you decide to pursue a part-time MBA?

As an undergrad, I studied Bio-Medical Science and Marketing Management at the University of Guelph. I have worked in the healthcare industry for the past five years, focusing on specialty pharmaceuticals and patient support programs. For me, the pursuit of an MBA was never a matter of if, but when. I have always had a strong interest in entrepreneurship and aspire to become a leader in the health technology domain. In keeping with my goal, I believe that an MBA will help me master strategy and decision-making at an enterprise level, gain financial acumen, and establish my executive presence.

What attracted you to DeGroote’s new Blended Learning Part-Time (PT) MBA?

Initially, it was DeGroote’s career accelerating messaging that caught my attention. That really resonated with me because it felt familiar and aligned with my career aspirations. Having worked in five different roles in the past six years, I strongly believe that the core fundamentals and impactful interactions acquired through the BLPT MBA will propel my career to rise to its next level of breakthrough. Finally, it was my visit at the campus information session that convinced me it was the right cultural fit.

How would you describe the makeup of your cohort? Have you been able to engage with like-minded professionals?

The inaugural cohort is definitely made up of driven professionals with several years of work experience under their belt, and who have a clear idea of how this MBA program will help them achieve their personal and career goals. The cohort has a good representation from diverse industries. Despite our varied backgrounds, we are still able to relate to one another due to similar mindsets, goals, and attitudes.

What core lessons or takeaways have you been able to apply to your profession?

My learnings and experiences thus far have helped me to step back and to better see the bigger picture in the business landscape in which Innomar resides. This perspective gives me a much clearer vision of what strategies and innovations may best assist Innomar to be the market leader for the foreseeable future.

Would you recommend DeGroote’s Blended Learning Part-Time (PT) MBA? If so, why?

The program design demonstrates that DeGroote understands the needs and challenges of today’s business professionals. The blended learning model offers the best of both worlds: Students have the opportunity to engage in immersive learning with their peers on residency weekends, while also benefiting from the convenience of online learning. Another distinct advantage of the part-time program is being able to immediately apply classroom learnings to the workplace. I have very much enjoyed my MBA journey thus far, and look forward to even more valuable learnings.

Interested in applying to DeGroote’s Blended Learning Part-Time (PT) MBA? Applications are currently being accepted. Click here to learn more. 

2 thoughts on "Best of both worlds: Blended Learning Part-Time (PT) MBA candidates are poised for success"

  1. Kim Logan says:

    HI I am interested in applying to the Blended learning Part time MBA program and I would like more information on the curriculum, timelines and are there information sessions I can participate in before applying to Feb 1st.

  2. Jared Lenover says:

    Hi Kim.

    We’re really happy you’re thinking of applying. The MBA team will be able to help you directly. You can ask them questions or set up a phone or in-person appointment on their website. Here’s a link to their question form.

    Jared Lenover
    DeGroote School of Business

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