New MBA student Rick Simm shares how DeGroote’s co-op MBA program drew him from his acting career to a business degree.
My name is Rick Simm and I was born and raised on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. In 2006, I graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland with a bachelor of fine arts in theatre, majoring in acting. I began my career, first, as an actor, and before long my passion for creativity extended to directing and management. I have been an active production manager and live-entertainment consultant for the past six years. Throughout my career, I have taken the lead on many projects across Canada and the United States; I have worked in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors, for such clients as Mad Science Productions, the Responsible Gambling Council, and the Kennedy Space Center.
As my career path took shape, I grew increasingly interested in the business side of my work. It fascinated me, and after some time, I began to seriously consider a career change to a more formal job in the business world. Upon some research, I decided that the best way to gain the business skills I would require and to lend credibility to my current skill set was to pursue my masters in business administration. As I investigated my options I was immediately drawn to DeGroote School of Business. First, the co-op option for ‘career-changers’ really spoke to me; the three co-op placements will be invaluable to me in my transition from the arts into business. Another reason I was inclined toward DeGroote was the high quantitative focus of the program; as a fine arts graduate, this is where I will benefit most. It also helped that the recruitment team was so welcoming, upbeat, and informative during the application and interview process. By the time I received the great news that I had been accepted, my mind was more than made up that DeGroote was the right choice for me.
As the start-date neared, I was delighted to discover I had been invited to compete in the Adam Felesky MBA Scholarship Competition—an opportunity that allows selected students to create a five-minute video that answers a predetermined question about business and management. It was encouraging that the subject matter of the question was kept broad to ensure a level playing field for students of all backgrounds. The chance to apply the skills gained from my arts background to my studies in business so early in the game was amazing, and I was ecstatic when I won first place, a full-tuition scholarship. I will be forever grateful for alumni like Mr. Felesky that make these types of donations as it is truly life-changing for the recipient; not only was my financial burden lightened significantly, but I was provided with a valuable learning experience.
Growing up in a small town with a population of only 1,500, I had never imagined that today I would be pursuing a graduate degree in business at McMaster University; I expect to be challenged throughout the program, but I am excited at the prospect of the new skills I will gain. I encourage other ‘career-changers’ to take action and take some time to look into the co-op MBA program. I am thrilled to begin this new chapter of my life and couldn’t be happier to be doing it with DeGroote.