Graduating from DeGroote is a family affair
On June 8th, 2015 Mirna Matulovic walked across the stage at the Hamilton Convention Centre, graduating with an MBA after six years of part-time study. She followed in the footsteps of her two daughters, Vera and Lea. Vera graduated from the biochemistry program at McMaster in 2004 and the DeGroote School of Business with an MBA in 2009, while Lea completed a commerce degree in 2012.
Even though Mirna is following her daughters’ lead, they have spent their lives looking up to her.
“She is an inspiration to us both,” the sisters share. She’s an inspiration with quite a story.
Mirna and her husband immigrated to Canada from Croatia in late 1993, when Vera and Lea were eleven and three, respectively. They moved to Hamilton from Zagreb, Croatia, leaving their jobs, their family and friends behind.
As a professional in Croatia, Mirna graduated with a degree in economics from the University of Zagreb. She held positions in financial institutions and at a hotel. But she knew moving to a new country with a new language meant starting all over.
“Moving to Canada meant starting from the beginning. I had built a career for myself, and was facing starting from scratch and having to rebuild my career,” shares Mirna, who looked for any work that she could find. She was employed at an Avondale mini-mart, the jewellery counter at Hudson’s Bay and at RBC. Mirna often worked two jobs; working a full-time job in the day and then a part-time job in the evenings and weekends to help her and her husband make ends meet for their family.
“I was prepared when entering Canada that I would need to take courses to be hire-able. I enrolled in ESL courses at Mohawk College and started looking for ways that I could advance myself.” In 2008, 15 years after immigrating, she enrolled in DeGroote’s MBA program. Over the course of the next six years she studied, worked part-time and then full-time and continued to expand her career.
Vera, who is a diagnostic services manager at St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Hamilton and Hamilton Health Sciences expresses her pride when her mom enrolled in the MBA program. “My mom is such a powerhouse. I am so fortunate to have all of the opportunities I have had because of her. She taught me to keep moving forward. Keep going. I am so proud of her and can’t wait to toast her hard work.” Vera came to DeGroote after her undergraduate degree in biochemistry. She enrolled in the co-op program and secured a job with St. Joseph’s where she continues to build her career in the healthcare industry.
Mirna, who currently works at Mohawk College as a financial planning and controls officer in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, is proud of her academic accomplishments. She recalls her decision to continue her education, “I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t taking courses. I wanted to receive a really strong, Canadian education and degree and the DeGroote School of Business and their MBA program gave me that opportunity.” She also shares that she isn’t sure how she will feel as she takes those steps across the stage on June 8th; all she knows is that she is happy with her journey.
Her career came full circle when she was hired by Mohawk College in 2001 in a part-time capacity in the office that provides funding for the ESL programming that she used as a new immigrant to Canada. Still a full-time employee with Mohawk she was recognized in 2012 for her outstanding work. One thing is for sure, Mirna has always worked hard to propel herself forward.
The legacy of working hard, taking control over your destiny and continually pushing yourself academically runs in the family, and now Lea is next in line. She wrote her GMAT at the end of May and is looking to start her MBA at DeGroote in the next year. “I am so proud of my mom. She is inspiring. As I get older I see what she sacrificed to establish herself in Canada. It makes me realize that you have control over where your life goes. She is one of the reasons why I want to pursue my MBA.”
So as Mirna Matulovic walked across the stage yesterday, she carried the pride and love of her daughters with her.
Vera Matulovic, MBA ’09. Lea Matulovic, BCom. ’12. Mirna Matulovic, MBA ’15.Other stories tagged: convocation, mba