A lot can change in a year — that’s the unanimous message from recent graduates of the One-Year Executive MBA program at the Rotman School.
After completing the fast-tracked MBA program tailored to senior and executive professionals, Sushma Narisetty, Christophe Bernard and Scarlett Zhang say the experience gave them new leadership tools and insights to deepen their impact at work.
In the second story of this three-part series, Christophe Bernard shares how he made a career switch in a new country, 20 years into his career.
Read Sushma Narisetty’s story here.
Christophe Bernard (Executive MBA ’23), Executive Director, KMPG Canada
Following the Executive MBA program, Bernard entered the second act of his career in October 2022 as an executive director at KPMG Canada — but the journey to that point was far from typical.
Born and raised in France, he found a passion for travelling and living in new places through his studies and work, which took him to England, Romania and Belgium. After joining the Bar Association in Brussels, he worked there as a lawyer for nearly 20 years.
In 2017, he founded his own boutique law firm specializing in data privacy and technology, providing legal advice to organizations across industries. It was that same year when he met the woman who would later become his wife — in Toronto, of all places — while he was visiting a friend in Canada.
They got married the next year, and he left Brussels for Toronto in 2019.
“I wanted to transition my career to Canada, and in order to do that I needed to gain the confidence to approach a completely new environment,” says Bernard. “I thought the Executive MBA would help speed this process up — and it did.”
He considered continuing his law career in Toronto, however getting licensed as a lawyer in Ontario meant going back to university and starting from scratch. So, he came into the Rotman program with an open mind to new paths for his career.
“I wanted to transition my career to Canada, and in order to do that I needed to gain the confidence to approach a completely new environment. I thought the Executive MBA would help speed this process up — and it did.”
—Christophe Bernard, Executive MBA ’23
“I’ve always been interested in many different things,” says Bernard. “I considered a few routes and decided on the consulting space because it seemed like a natural progression from my experience as a lawyer — it’s also a client-facing role in the professional service industry.”
Through networking and coaching sessions, he successfully positioned himself to continue his career at a Big 4 accounting firm, something he says he’s extremely proud of.
“I feel my success was bolstered by the Executive MBA program,” he says. “The emphasis on leadership, strategy and diversity, equity and inclusion; learning how to leverage power and influence; and how to network within your own organization are immensely helpful as I start this new role at a large firm."
“For someone like me — transitioning geographies and careers — it was super helpful in helping me to get acquainted with a new country, a new culture and an entirely new reality,” says Bernard.
“It will connect you with people in a massive network in Toronto and beyond — it’s life-changing and beyond just education. It’s an opportunity to grow and expand your horizons.”
Written by Jessie Park | More Student Stories »