Carla Jacobs, MMKG ’23, Canada
- Name: Carla Jacobs
- Program: Master of Marketing (MMKG ‘23)
- Nationality: Canadian
- Previous education background: Bachelor of Design from York University and Sheridan College (YSDN, 2022)
- Previous or current company and role: Recently started as a Junior Strategist on the McDonald’s team at Cossette
- Tell us about yourself.
My name is Carla Jacobs, and I just completed my Master of Marketing degree as in August of 2023 (MMKG). Before starting my master’s, I studied graphic design in the Bachelor of Design program offered between York University and Sheridan College (YSDN) in 2022. My family lives in Oakville, Ontario, however we immigrated to Canada from South Africa about 17 years ago. I am passionate about all things arts and culture and worked as a screen printing and embroidery artist at a studio in Oakville from the age of 17 up until the summer of last year. In my spare time, I love to make things with my hands and to be in nature, and I find myself being drawn to creative challenges in everything that I do. This is probably why I find myself being drawn to creative/brand strategy in my professional life, and how I established a trajectory to start my career as a Junior Strategist on the McDonald’s team at Cossette.
- Why did you decide to pursue an MBA/Master program at this point of your career?
As I was finishing up my undergraduate degree, I realized that I was more interested in the storytelling and ideation part of brand building than the visual/creative execution that my graphic design education prepared me for. I felt the MMKG program would provide the knowledge and experience that I needed to help me convince others of my skillset, establishing credibility that I was indeed capable of working in creative strategy.
- Why Schulich?
With my undergraduate program having partially been through York University, I already loved the campus and the associated amenities that came with attending York. These existing resources that I had access to would only be enhanced with Schulich’s own resources, events, and close ties to significant employers and organizations in Toronto and beyond, not to mention their impressive pool of alumni that are still actively involved in mentoring and enhancing the experiences of current Schulich students.
More narrowly, when it came down to comparing schools and programs, Schulich’s Master of Marketing program not only had an excellent reputation for post-graduate job success and satisfaction but was also the only degree of its kind in Canada. Coming from a non-business background, I was drawn to the opportunity to take a deep dive into Marketing and the well-rounded understanding that this would provide.
- What word or phrase describes your Schulich experience so far?
One word that I would use to describe my experience at Schulich would be ‘launchpad.’ I say this, as the last year has acted as a powerful foundation to support the growth and success of what comes after the program for me, far beyond what I would have been capable of a year ago. Notably, obtaining a degree from Schulich on its own won’t propel you and automatically result in success, but the resources, connections, and the education that the institution provides can act as a powerful fuel to feed your success and support the effort that you put in.
- What have you enjoyed the most about Schulich’s MBA/Master program?
One of the strongest assets and most memorable resources that I’ve obtained in my time here has been the relationships cultivated through shared stress, success, failure, and celebration. I’ve learned so much from peers and professors alike and will likely stay connected with them for hopefully many years to come. Some of the most memorable moments have come from simply hitting small milestones like submitting projects or finishing presentations, knowing that you’re one step closer to getting a master’s degree and having those moments of relief amidst the stress. Other key memorable moments have happened during this last semester and at the end of the Winter semester as my peers have gotten internships and jobs and seeing how all of our hard work and efforts have started to pay off.
- What is your plan after graduation and how has Schulich helped with that?
I have been incredibly fortunate to land a job right out of school that I am passionate about with trajectory for development within the company. My plan for the foreseeable future is to continue in my career as a Strategist, continuing to hone my skills and build my portfolio.
I was able to get to this point through participating in an external case competition in the Winter semester called the Canadian Marketing League, through which my work was noticed by a judge who happened to be a representative of the McDonald’s Strategy team. A key element of my success was being able to have MMKG professors and their connections act as mentors through the process, as well as my extremely talented peers for their feedback on my case deliverables. As the competition took place throughout the semester, I also felt very supported by my professors who graciously accommodated any conflicts.
- What would you like prospective students to know about Schulich’s Master program?
One thing that I wish I knew as I prepared to apply and then start this program is that it acts as a strength, not a weakness, to come from a non-business background in many cases. Although there’s naturally benefits to having a background in marketing and being familiar with business culture as you enter into Schulich, I found that there was power in bringing my past experiences and unique perspectives into classroom contexts as well as networking and interviewing settings. I was also far from the only one in my cohort in this position, with colleagues coming from engineering, hospitality, finance, theatre, and more.
8. What advice do you have for someone who considers pursuing a Master program at Schulich?
The past year that I have spent in this program has offered some of the most stressful yet rewarding moments of my life. Some of the advice that I would give based on my experience would include:
1). There are going to be moments where you can’t put 100% into every single thing. It’s going to be invaluable to learn to prioritize and consider what will be the most impactful to your journey and career, and not to stress too much over small projects.
2). The professors that you will have at Schulich can offer immense value beyond the 3-hours that you have them for lectures each week. I highly recommend building relationships with your favorite professors, as their knowledge and expertise are invaluable– ask questions, have conversations, pay attention to their advice and anecdotes.
3). I know that school on its own is stressful and overwhelming at times, but some of the most impactful and rewarding experiences for me have been from events and opportunities outside of regular class scheduling. Go to networking events, book coffee chats, and compete in case competitions! Everyone in your program is graduating with the same degree, and these are the things that will set you apart.