By Gabi Champagne.
Brad Fossen will graduate from the Sauder School of Business’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School at the University of British Columbia in 2015 and hopes to evolve his consulting career.
He began working life as an engineer at an energy company before moving into project management at a Canadian construction firm. In 2011, he moved into a consulting position at an oil and energy business based in Calgary, and launched his own consulting firm – BE Group Ltd. – which works in a variety of industries.
In this interview, Brad explains why he chose a Canadian business school for his MBA degree, and what it’s like to intern at a private equity firm.
You began your career as a qualified engineer but recently changed to consulting – what were your reasons for switching paths?
My background in mechanical engineering has offered great career potential, especially in Western Canada. Within capital projects, I’ve been exposed to some incredible people and organizations. And while I’ve done well with that type of work, I’ve realized for some time that my interests don’t really fit the corporate mould.
I think my passions lie on a path a bit less institutional. Consulting [for] the last few years has allowed for some of that freedom, and some interesting assignments.
Why did you decide to begin an MBA program?
An MBA has been on my mind since I finished my engineering degree, nearly ten years ago now. Since 2009, I’ve been leaning towards entrepreneurial efforts, and in early 2013 I finally took the plunge.
My consulting experience has helped open my eyes up to the interesting opportunities out there that a person can fill, while not necessarily becoming another number in a large organization.
Why did you pick Sauder, and were you sure that you wanted to stay in Canada?
With a young family, we narrowed our shortlist to Western Canada, mostly for [my] family’s sake. I entertained the idea of returning to the UofA [the University of Alberta], but thought it would be nice to switch things up.
We considered several British Columbia-based schools, but chose Sauder due to its reputation for innovative teaching, and flexibility of the MBA course career tracks.
What are benefits of studying for an MBA in Canada?
Besides being an amazing place to live, Canada seems to be in a nice transition away from resource development. There’s a lot of opportunity out here, and anyone taking an MBA would have some doors open for them.
What do you plan to do when you finish your MBA?
My internship has been with a private equity company, on VC [venture capital] endeavours. I can do this from basically anywhere and get to work with a variety of interesting characters, and business cases.
I think evolving my consulting out of this is very near an alignment of my passions, interests, and career objectives – what I’ve been hoping for.