Interview with John Pigeon - Admissions Advisor at the Beedie School of Business

SFU MBA ResearchF1GMAT: SFU Beedie Full-time MBA program has put emphasis on building a foundation in business management. How is the program designed to help MBA candidates get real world Business Experience?  

John Pigeon(SFU Beedie): The Full-time MBA program is focused on both strategic management and working within groups, as a leader and a contributor.  We focus the program on the many disciplines that are important to business leaders; however we are always encouraging the students to consider the broader strategic implications of their decisions.  The program is also focused on the importance of strategic, long-term decision making coupled with making current, day-to-day operational decisions brought on by dynamic environments and unforeseen circumstances.

There are a number of ways that we engage our students with the business community.  The Segal Graduate Studies campus building is a regular venue for a number of business and scholarly events and hosts numerous organizations including the Vancouver Board of Trade and numerous industry organizations.  We encourage our students to attend these events when applicable.  We also encourage students to take advantage of our ongoing relationship with the Vancouver Board of Trade and industry organizations in Vancouver, Canada and beyond. 

Our students also work closely with our Career Management Center (CMC) as part of their curriculum calendar.  The CMC is designed to train students in networking, etiquette and attire.  Although there is a lecture focus, students also meet periodically with their CMC coach throughout the year to discuss networking strategy and opportunities while also practicing their interview and engagement skills.

As students complete their coursework they are encouraged by professors and CMC staff to engage members of the business community for input and resources.  During the Group Dynamics and Leadership class students engage business leaders to discuss group dynamics and leadership strategies that have worked for the leader.  Throughout the year a number of guest lecturers, speakers and panelists are brought onto the campus to speak with students about business issues and their views on success.  In 2010-2011, the full-time MBA hosted renowned businessperson George Cohon, who launched the first McDonalds in Russia as well as Canada amongst a number of other distinguished individuals.

At the completion of their coursework, students work with the CMC to find work placement.  This service is available for students well after they have graduated.  For students to graduate the program, they must first complete a minimum four-month internship.

SFU Beedie CampusF1GMAT: What is the biggest misconception about SFU Beedie Full-time MBA program?

John Pigeon(SFU Beedie): Because this program is relatively new, I don’t think people understand that our program as a leading edge MBA program.  Our students are trained to work within a team setting, to play to each member’s strengths, to continually think strategically and to adapt to ever-changing conditions.  We have a healthy mix of local, national and international students.  We also have a large number of female students and our entire student body is encouraged to embrace diversity, focus on individual strengths and to work in cohesive groups.  Our faculty is among the best in the world, our program is uniquely relevant and although our Full Time MBA is still young, our value creation is enormous for the students that we train.

F1GMAT: How is the student life in Beedie School of Management?

John Pigeon(SFU Beedie): Student life at Beedie School of Business is challenging but extremely rewarding.  Because students work together for 12 intensive months, they exit the program having forged relationships that will last them for their entire lives.  We often hear the business term “our most valuable asset could walk out of the front door at any time,” at Beedie School of Business or greatest assets walk out of the door every 12 months.  While attending Beedie School of Business students are encouraged to attend our international trip (this year to Chile and Argentina), to engage in the Canadian MBA Games (placed 4th out of 30 teams) and to attend numerous student, program and business community led events throughout the year.  In addition, Beedie has a strong Net Impact Chapter, which is run by our students, and serves to make a positive change to environmental and social sustainability.

While attending Beedie School of Business, students are also situated right in the heart of downtown Vancouver.  Vancouver has always ranked very high amongst the world’s most livable cities.  Because of our location, students are well situated to engage with the Vancouver business community within a short (20 minute) walk of the beach and a short ferry ride away from the mountains on the North Shore.

Our campus is located at the Segal Building on 500 Granville Street.  This building was originally built as a Bank of Montreal in 1916, however it was restored by Joseph Segal and the Segal family in 2005 for Simon Fraser University.  The designers preserved the original interior and there are student-meeting areas in the bank’s original vault.  

F1GMAT: Does the SFU Beedie MBA program put emphasis on Entrepreneurship?

John Pigeon(SFU Beedie): Yes.  Students are encouraged to always assess and implement new business endeavors.  Beedie School of Business implements a mentorship program designed to put students in contact with leading entrepreneurial figures. 

Students also attend a New Ventures class where they focus on one undeveloped business concept and determine what it takes to bring an idea to fruition.  As any entrepreneur will tell you, this is a long, difficult and exciting process.  The goal of the New Ventures class is to take students through this process so that they can recognize the rewards, frustrations and cyclical nature of entrepreneurship.  In the 2010-2011 programs, students looked at the Natural Gas economy in British Columbia and Canada.  Students were encouraged to find an unfulfilled need and to determine what the steps were to bring their proposed product to the market place.  While developing their concept, students were also responsible for developing forecasts and business plans while presenting their concepts in real pitch sessions with professionals from the Natural Gas and Energy industry.

F1GMAT: Can you give our readers a demographic snapshot of the Full-time MBA program?

John Pigeon(SFU Beedie): Our program truly embraces diversity.  We attract international student from South America, Asia, the United States and Canada.  We also have a fairly high percentage of female students compared to most business schools. 

International: 40%
Female: 35%
Average age: 26.5
Average Work Experience: 4.3 years work experience

SFU Classroom DiscussionsF1GMAT: What are some of the unique courses offered in SFU Beedie Full-time MBA program? How will these courses help MBA students?

John Pigeon(SFU Beedie): All of our programs are unique and offer diverse, leading edge perspectives on the issues and disciplines that are emerging as well as those issues that manager currently face.  

Our Strategy course is focused on understanding industry, strategic fit, blue ocean thinking and making decisions under dynamic and changing circumstances.  The course is intensive and designed to get students thinking about long-term planning, incorporating all business disciplines, conducting extensive analysis and remaining adaptive to changing circumstances.  Students are also encouraged to constantly be aware of rising challenges and opportunities.  To complete the program students take part in the Capsim and Capstone simulation and exam, which are both used by the top business schools in the world.

Our New Ventures and Sustainability courses are intertwined to engage students in new business opportunities in the sustainable space while also gaining full understanding of the process behind developing new ventures. 

In Leadership and Group Dynamics, students are challenged to think about how they utilize the skill-sets of each individual group member.  The focus is on being honest in approach with group members but also recognizing individual strengths and working as a cohesive unit.  During a one-day simulation, students are given organizational roles (top, middle, bottom, and client).  They are provided with limited information based on their role and they are then engaged in working as a business with reward and fallout systems in place.  The students then cycle through positions to gain understanding of organizational dynamics.  At the end of the simulation, students share their thoughts and impressions to determine what is important to various roles in an organization.

All of the faculties at the Beedie School of Business are extremely talented and the programs we offer are reflective of their care, insight and evolutionary development.  Each course has a unique offering that will not be found at any other school.

F1GMAT: What are the entry criteria in terms of the number of years of experience/GMAT/GPA for SFU Full-time MBA program?

Minimum Experience: 2-3 years is the minimum
Minimum GMAT: 550; average GMAT for 2011/12- 628
Minimum GPA: 3.0

F1GMAT: What are the post-MBA opportunities available for SFU Beedie Full-time MBA Grads?

SFU MBA Post-MBAJohn Pigeon(SFU Beedie): Throughout the Full-Time MBA Program students are encouraged to think about what industry they want to enter and what they want their focus to be.  Students are encouraged to look at their individual Key Success Factors to determine what their best career steps are upon exiting the program.  During their time at Beedie, students also take a number of adaptive tests including the Strengths Finder test, which is designed to help them understand their own skill-sets.

We have had students hired by Deloitte, Accenture, Institute B (Angel Investors), BC Hydro, The Vancouver Board of Trade, RBC Financial, London Drugs, Fortis and Wind Energy.  Our students are hired into management and consulting roles all over the world, although a large number do choose to stay in Vancouver.  The most recent MBA Candidates have been hired at consulting firms, private organizations, and medical organizations.  Some students have also continued on with their own entrepreneurial endeavors.

F1GMAT: What makes SFU Beedie MBA Programs stand out from the competition?

John Pigeon(SFU Beedie): One of our primary focuses is on working within groups and understanding group dynamics.  Our cohorts work together for one full 12-month period.  Through this time students are encouraged to think about successful group dynamics while also focusing on the importance of relationship maintenance inside the program and in the greater business community.

Our strategic component is all encompassing.  We stand apart in this realm because students are always encouraged to focus on long-term planning and responding to dynamic scenarios.  While studying each discipline, students are always encouraged to remember the greater strategic implications.  

Beedie School of Business does award a number of scholarships both from the school and from private businesses that Beedie has partnered with. The Full-Time MBA Program at Beedie School of Business is very diverse.  In the 2010 program we accepted a number of students from all over the world including India, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Italy, Greece, Ecuador, Puru, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the United States.  We celebrate diversity and because the cohort works closely as a group we encourage students to work from their personal experience, share with the group and learn from the differences that each student brings to the group.

Our teaching methodologies vary from course to course. Our faculty use a variety of group simulations, lectures, case studies and real life industry examples which incorporate businesspeople from local and international businesses.  Our students have the option of going to Chile and Argentina where they meet with businesspeople in those countries to learn more about international business and emerging markets.

F1GMAT: Apart from the Full-time MBA program, what are some of the other MBA Programs offered by Beedie School of Management?

John Pigeon(SFU Beedie): We offer four products besides the Full-time MBA:

MFRM (Management in Financial Risk Management): This is one of the only courses offered in Financial Risk Management in North American.  With recent economic conditions, this is a field that is becoming more predominant in our business climate.  MFRM students are trained in all aspects of measuring financial risk, while working with industry in managing a $10 million Student Investment Advisory Service Fund.

Executive MBA: Our Executive MBA program is for current business persons looking to excel in their current organization or to gain better management insights for the position they currently hold.  The Executive MBA program is group oriented and designed as a part time program to accommodate the students’ working schedules.

MOT MBA: The MOT MBA program is also a part time program focused on the technology and biotechnology sectors.  As students go through the MBA they have similar course work to the other MBA programs offered at Beedie School of Business, however each course has a sector specific focus.  Students in this program are also engaged with local technology business leaders and as a program specific benefit students also spend time looking at innovation as a stand-alone course.

GDBA: The General Diploma in Business Administration is a satellite program taught through the Web-Ct online system.  Students who enter this program could be looking for more of a general understanding of business, they could be testing the waters for an MBA or they could be preparing to enter the MBA program.  IF GDBA students are successful, Beedie School of Business will exempt them from some of the MBA courses where applicable.  If students achieve a 3.5 or higher they are also eligible to wave the GMAT requirements.

SFU John PigeonAbout John Pigeon
John Pigeon is the current Admissions Advisor at the Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University.  Before joining the Beedie team, John was an MBA student in the program.  John’s history is in communications advising, marketing, public relations and journalism.  To learn more about Beedie School of Business and the programs that we offer you can contact John or you can visit our website

About The Beedie School of Business

SFU BeedieThe Beedie School of Business is the Faculty of Business Administration at Simon Fraser University in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Founded in 1965, SFU is home to the oldest Executive MBA (EMBA) program in Canada. The business school has achieved international accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS). Less than 1% of business schools worldwide have earned both of these international accreditations

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