Growing professionally and personally: Meet DeGroote valedictorian Britney Hawkins

June 11, 2019 | Hamilton
Contributed by Sarah Janes, Communications Coordinator

“Success is many things to me. Most prominently, success is defined by the difference I am able to make for others.” Meet Britney Hawkins, the valedictorian at the June 11 afternoon convocation for the DeGroote School of Business. She’s working in sales and category management in the agriculture industry.

Britney Hawkins.

Windsor, Ontario.

What is the degree and subject you pursued?
Masters of Business Administration (MBA) with Co-op, General

What made you choose McMaster for your higher education career?
I chose McMaster primarily because of its co-op opportunities. Pursuing my MBA immediately following my undergraduate degree, work experience was invaluable. Additionally, the innovative and collaborative environment created by the students at DeGroote best suited the environment I felt would foster my own professional growth while creating sustainable friendships and an irreplaceable experience.

What will you be doing/see yourself doing after graduation?
I am currently working in sales and category management in the agriculture industry. I see myself moving forward in sales and strategy across industries.

What would you say to your first-year self?
It is important to take your work seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously. Enjoy your time at DeGroote, make the most of the opportunities you’re given and don’t take your experiences for granted.

Do you have any advice for current and future students? 
Who you are when you get to DeGroote is not who you will be when you leave. Take every opportunity to grow and develop both personally and professionally. Your time at McMaster will come and go, make sure you develop friendships that will last long beyond graduation.

How has McMaster shaped the person you are today?
When I came to McMaster, I believed that independence was the greatest display of competence and that success was defined by individual success. McMaster/DeGroote has taught me that collaboration and communication are two key pillars for success and changed the way in which I work. I was afforded many unique opportunities at DeGroote that have helped me to grow both professionally and personally. I leave the MBA program with a newfound appreciation for friendship, education, and growth.

What events did you enjoy the most at McMaster/in Hamilton?
The events I enjoyed most were the student-run events. Specifically, I attended the Moose Hide Campaign event. Our MBA Games team was awarded a grant to raise awareness of the campaign to stand up to violence. A team of DeGroote MBA students put together this event where there was spoken word, slam poetry and education on aboriginal rights and violence in Canada. This was an incredible learning experience for me. It showed me and my classmates the power we have to make a difference both on and off campus. I highly recommend students attend as many events as they can to fully immerse themselves in the student life, you never know what you might learn.

What is your definition of success?
Success is many things to me. Most prominently, success is defined by the difference I am able to make for others. I am driven by change, the changing landscape of business, the world, and personal change. If I am able to lead another to navigate the change in their life and help them reach their goals I consider that a success. The same goes in the workplace, if I am able to create positive change and development within an organization/business I consider that a success.

How has McMaster helped you create a brighter world?
Through my time at McMaster, I have become much more informed of what is going on in many industries in Canada and across the world. The more informed one is, the more capable they are of creating a brighter world. The information I have gained, and the opportunities McMaster has given me have helped me to create a Brighter World for myself and those around me.

What motivates you to work hard?
My passion for learning and growth motivate me to work hard. Self-motivation is the strongest form of motivation in my opinion. If you rely on others to motivate you, you must also rely on them to validate your results. Self-motivation and self-validation are the key to happiness for me.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Teleportation, no question. Not only would this save a lot of time commuting and allow me to work anywhere in the world while still being able to come home at the end of the day, it would also increase cultural awareness. I believe that international relations and international communication is key in improving business practices. In order to better understand other cultures and people one needs to immerse themselves in that culture. Being able to teleport somewhere and experience different cultures increases emotional intelligence and one’s ability to effectively relate to and communicate with others. Teleportation would definitely be my superpower of choice.

Who is your favourite professor?
This is such a hard question. I have had many wonderful experiences with the professors at DeGroote. However, my experience in D700 with Milena Head was the most memorable of my MBA. Milena dedicates so much of herself and her time to her students. I was fortunate enough to spend a week in Montreal at the John Molson International Case Competition with Milena at the end of my degree and it was the most wonderful way to wrap up my DeGroote experience. Milena shows her students what it is to love what you do and be passionate about your career. It is certainly something I strive for.

What book are you currently reading?
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. So far, it’s incredible.

While at Mac, did you receive donor-funded financial assistance (e.g., a scholarship, award, bursary)? Any thoughts on the importance of giving back to your alma mater to support future generations?
I did not receive any financial aid during my time at McMaster. I believe that giving back to your alma matter is extremely important. Whether that be by monetary donation or through a transfer of knowledge by way of panels, lecture or networking events. McMaster/DeGroote did so much for me, I hope to enhance the experience of future students as I grow in my career.

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