Why Give Back?

| Hamilton, Ontario
Contributed by John Zbarsky, MBA '74

The path to an MBA can be different for every individual. In 1972, I found my career as an engineer had reached a dead end. It should not have come as a surprise, considering I graduated last in my class four years earlier. I did not have a good foundation for a long lasting career.

When faced with a cross-road of what to do next, I recalled that my only success in my undergraduate was in a business course for engineers. The path became clear. I would do something that I both enjoyed and was good at. So, in preparation, I took some undergraduate level courses to help meet the criteria for admission to an MBA program.

Being passionate about my career switch, I excelled and several universities accepted my application. However, my choice of attending McMaster University was based on its teaching methodology.

I threw myself into the program, studied hard, put in the effort and three semesters later I graduated and was named to the Dean’s Honour List. This was a far cry from my undergraduate experience.

Upon graduation, I decided to pursue a career with a Canadian company with a global presence in the aluminium industry. I steadily progressed until I reached the position of Chief Financial Officer of its largest business group and after a thirty-two year career, I retired in 2006.

McMaster was a major contributor to my successes.

…my choice of attending McMaster University was based on its teaching methodology.

I encountered a very nurturing environment during my MBA. The faculty cared about us and challenged us. For example, a finance professor constantly challenged me to achieve my fullest potential. One of her courses was particularly demanding but she always pushed me by saying, “I know that you can do better, you have the ability.” That was all the motivation that I needed to succeed.

In appreciation of the quality education that I received at McMaster University, the Judith Sternthal Scholarships were established to help support students. I am honoured that my wife and I can give back to an institution that gave me so much. McMaster gave me the foundation that I needed. I owe so much to McMaster and this is my way of saying thank you.

One thought on "Why Give Back?"

  1. Jared Lenover says:

    If you’d like to get involved at DeGroote, whether by attending an event, spending time with students, or making a donation, please check out our alumni website. Thank you for supporting us!

    Jared Lenover
    DeGroote School of Business

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