William Stephenson says he was drawn to McMaster’s Integrated Business and Humanities (IBH) program because he wanted to learn the skills to become a leader and good citizen. From his first year as an undergraduate student, he jumped in with both feet.
Will was part of the first cohort to enter the new interdisciplinary IBH program jointly offered by McMaster’s DeGroote School of Business and Faculty of Humanities. It’s designed to expose students to a variety of learning opportunities via coursework, co-curricular activities and community engagement, with an emphasis on responsible leadership and management tactics for our changing global economy.
Will says the experience far exceeded his expectations.
“The program was amazing and helped me become more than the sum of my parts. It’s such a supportive community. My professors and fellow students have encouraged me the whole way and that’s led to personal growth and stepping into leadership roles in both campus and community projects. There’s a synergy here that’s incredibly valuable.”
As a first-year student, Will mobilized a team of 25 student ambassadors to support the program’s recruitment initiatives. As co-founder, he ran training sessions, coordinated presentations and guided other students. He also served on the program operating committee, participated in the business school’s debate club, directed the sustainability club and managed a minor hockey team.
“I felt a draw toward being a leader and helping my teams, whether in sports or through recruitment or in workshops. I’ve been able to constantly improve my leadership style. It’s been wonderful to be part of such a tight group.”
Throughout his program, Will also undertook independent study courses working with both non-profits and businesses, and completed a corporate internship. He says he felt he could always turn to professors on both the business strategy side and the humanities social side who supported his progress.
After spending time on projects within the community, Will decided to lean in to a career in the non-profit sector.
“Seeing the demand in our communities for integrational and interconnected ideas set me on a track to work towards adapting business tools for non-profits. The IBH program has instilled in me the desire to not only be a good business person, but a good citizen as well.”
He’ll have the chance to hone those skills and grow his network at McGill University, where he’s planning to pursue a graduate degree in analytics or public policy next year. He’s one of the top 50 finalists chosen across the country to compete in final interviews for the coveted McCall MacBain Scholarships – comprehensive leadership-based awards for master’s and professional studies programs at McGill. Recipients are not only fully funded but are matched with mentors and coaches and participate in an intensive leadership development program.
“It’s an incredible opportunity, and I’ve already gotten to meet so many interesting people through the process. I’m very excited to be exposed to such an interesting and diverse community. I’ve gained a really solid foundation and I’m looking forward to learning even more skills that will help me address the serious issues our society faces.”
Dr. Emad Mohammad, Director, Integrated Business and Humanities says Will’s experience at DeGroote embodies what we aspire for in our students.
“Since I met Will in 2017, I have seen him grow as a student, as a student leader, and as a young professional throughout the duration of his undergraduate years at the DeGroote School of Business. Further, I have seen him embrace DeGroote’s values and behaviours of innovation, collaboration, and generosity in his schoolwork, extracurriculars, and community engagement.”