To most MBAs, running your own communications empire would be considered a remarkable feat. But to Candice Bromfield, it is just the beginning. The former Miss Jamaica Pageant finalist is hoping her MBA from Henley Business School has given her the skills to make a successful career as public servant in Canada. She is certainly not lacking in ambition.
Speaking to Candice now, she is focused, assertive and highly motivated. She tells me that one of the women she draws inspiration from is Canada's former Governor General, Michaelle Jean, who held a position even higher than that of the Prime ministerial office. "Our previous Governor General was from the Caribbean like me. She is also a woman and a visible minority too," she says.
Candice is originally from Jamaica and moved to Canada nine years ago to study at one of Canada’s top universities, McMaster University. She graduated with a BA Hons in Communications Studies, and went on to study a postgraduate degree in Corporate Communications at Sheridan College. In the same year of graduation, Candice had established her own communications company, named Bromfield Communications, and was running the business as CEO from Toronto.
The company provides communications solutions and consultancy services to organizations and individuals in various industries. She has also worked with several clients in the sports industry. Candice considers herself a "communicator at heart" and had always wanted to establish a communications company.
Keen to take advantage of business opportunities, Candice took up an offer to work at a local radio station, leading to the creation of her own radio show in Canada. Candice had always wanted to study an MBA, and she found time to study a "rollercoaster pace", full-time program at Henley in the UK, while still running Bromfield Communications remotely.
But she says it was easy. "Though challenging, I did what I could when time permitted,” she says. “I can function on just a bit of sleep. I have goals and I worked on my business whenever time allowed me; however, at that time the focus was my MBA.”
Candice says that to succeed in the business world, she needed to be "relentless" in her pursuit for success. "No one accomplishes anything just by doing nothing; you have to go after it and be steadfast regardless of the obstacles that may come your way. Forces of darkness cannot deter you from your destiny," she says in a burst of passion.
MBA programs in Canada are popular. Six Canadian b-schools are featured in both the current Financial Times and The Economist's top 100 MBA Rankings, and as many as 80 per cent of students who completed MBAs at the University of New Brunswick last year stayed in Canada to pursue careers after graduation. But Candice wanted a change of scenery and flew to England in 2012 to study an MBA at Henley. "I wanted to essentially spread my wings and fly," she says.
"For me, business schools can't be formal, stiff or uptight institutions. They have to be personable, professional and it has to have that human element, and Henley provided that, and so much more. The MBA was very challenging to say the least. Being away from your family, your loved ones, in a new environment (is tough). Some of the subjects were new to me: I had never done finance before, but I excelled in it.
"I strive to be a leader and Henley gave me the opportunity to enhance my leadership skills. It also developed me personally and you get to learn HR, marketing, finance, operations, leadership, strategy, sustainability, and so much more! You learn all the subjects at an intense rate, but I loved it.”
There are many MBA Scholarships for women, and Candice received the Queen's Diamond Jubilee full academic scholarship to pursue an MBA at Henley, an achievement she holds in the highest regard.
But honors and awards are nothing new to Candice; when she initially moved to Canada she was award an entrance scholarship into McMaster University; she won the Most Influential Writer Award for a local magazine in Canada; The Canadian Public Relations Society Pinnacle Award, and was a Miss Jamaica World Pageant finalist, to name a few.
Using the skills she learned from the MBA program at Henley, Candice now continues to grow her business. She is excited about entering the next phase of her life now that the MBA is officially finished: “Why not? Not even the sky's the limit,” she added.
Upon her return to Canada, Candice received an award from the House of Commons, Parliament of Canada, for successfully completing her MBA and for outstanding community work in Canada. She is the head judge of various beauty pageants across the country, and has a passion for mentoring young women. "I love the pageant world and not for the physical aspect, but for the enhanced skills and confidence levels it gives to women,” she says.
“It also allows them to find a cause they are passionate about, and work to bring about change. That's one of the ways I‘m involved in my community. I always feel you can give back. I'm very keen on empowering young women so they can be their best, because the best is in them."
Now that her time at Henley Business School is finished, Candice is excited to use the skills gained from her MBA program to continue growing her communications company. She is hoping to bring about the most change as a public servant in Canada.
But after studying at Henley, Candice has the confidence to take on any challenge. Her ambition to succeed is seemingly relentless.