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Open to experience: How a former engineer switched gears into management consulting

December 13, 2023

Dylan Young (MBA ‘22) came to The Rotman School’s Morning/Evening MBA program with a very open mind.

Dylan Young

Dylan Young (MBA ‘22)

“I didn't have a super specific plan for what would happen, and that was deliberate. I just knew I wanted to develop my business knowledge as much as possible.”

Young says he wanted to use the program as a chance to see what was ‘out there’, outside of his experience. “I embraced the opportunity to explore roles and industries that were a significant departure from my work.”

He already had an undergraduate degree from Queen’s University in mechanical engineering and some significant technical work experience under his belt, mostly at Enbridge Gas. But as he spent more time in his career, he realized that he wanted the opportunity to broaden the scope of his impact, and focus on larger-scale, organizational-level problems. “I loved my job, but the longer I was there, the more I began to gravitate toward the people and project management side of engineering, as opposed to the purely technical side.” As a result, he eventually transitioned to a role as a Project Manager on the organization’s Major Projects team.

In order to complement his technical foundation with advanced business skills, Young ended up turning to Rotman. He also wanted to stay in his engineering role throughout the program, one reason Rotman’s Morning/Evening MBA worked well for him.

Young says putting what he learned at Rotman into immediate practice on the job was one of his favourite things about the program. “In any given week, I might have been learning about, let’s say, how a business should approach evaluating a capital investment opportunity,” he explains. “I could immediately apply that knowledge the very next week when discussing potential capital investment, in my projects with my company’s asset management team.”

“I joined Rotman looking for the opportunity to solve bigger and more complex problems – which is exactly what it allowed me to do.”

–Dylan Young (MBA ‘22)

Cara McCreery is the associate director of career curriculum and consulting for Rotman’s MBA programs. She agrees that one of the greatest advantages of the Morning/Evening MBA - aside from the obvious flexibility - is that students can continue to leverage their network and make ongoing progress in their careers.

“Morning/Evening MBA students are making connections, building on their experience, and continuing their trajectory, all while learning so much,” she says. “They can apply what they are learning to their work immediately.”

Morning/Evening MBA students master business essentials, while leveraging their network and taking full advantage of extracurricular activities - like business clubs or industry talks. In class two times a week, students can tailor the experience to their own schedule needs – attending either before (Morning MBA) or after (Evening MBA) work hours.

Students in the program come to Rotman with varying academic backgrounds: from engineering - like Young, to business, math, computer science, social sciences, and even law. These students also work in a wide range of industries. Young loved this diversity, and says it was a benefit. “We had a classroom of students from different kinds of workplaces, who were able to bring the rest of us cutting-edge, up-to-the-minute perspectives on their respective industries.”

Young kept an open mind throughout the program, trying as many different experiences as he could. He highlights Rotman’s case competitions as a key ingredient in this process. He participated in several, focusing on business strategy, entrepreneurship, venture capital, and more. Rotman case competitions are essentially a sprint to develop the optimal solution to a business challenge, where students work together to put together business plans to present to external judges. Participants develop skills in teamwork, problem-solving, presentation and more.

It was Young’s experience working on - and ultimately winning - both the A. T. Kearney Rotman Prize Case Competition and the Venture Capital Investment Competition that inspired him to pursue management consulting. He realized then how much he enjoyed the process of solving problems in real-time. He did a summer internship at McKinsey & Company, and then stayed for a full-time role.

As an associate at this international consulting firm, Young describes his job as ‘professional problem solving.’ “We partner with clients to tackle some of their toughest problems, working together to structure a solution that is tailored to their individual context.” Honing the skills he needed for management consulting, Young says Rotman gave him the experience that he’d hoped for.

“I joined Rotman looking for the opportunity to solve bigger and more complex problems – which is exactly what it allowed me to do.”

Written by Meaghan MacSween | More Student Stories »

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