To say serial entrepreneur, Carmen Wannop likes to keep busy, is an understatement. As a serial enrepreneur, you would have thought one MBA would have been enough for Carmen. However, after completing her General MBA, she is currently in the midst of another, this time, specialising in Finance.
This sense of ambition clearly runs in the family. She completed her first MBA with her daughter Courtney and husband Dylen studying by her side. Dylen is also joining Carmen for round two with a specialisation in finance. Carmen is so passionate about continuously learning and the confidence it has given her, she has also inspired her other daughter Samantha and son-in-law, James to start their MBA journey at AIB as well. Talk about a family affair!
We interviewed Carmen to find out more about her MBA experience as part of our growing Canadian community.
What were you doing when you decided to study for your MBA?
I have been told I wasn’t smart enough to know anything because we didn’t have an MBA. So, at first, it was about getting even and proving them wrong. If I am ever told I am incapable of something, I will prove you wrong!
Why did you choose to study at AIB?
AIB is practical over just knowledge. I found writing papers much more practical than just doing tests – you can study for a test, but it doesn’t mean you necessarily learnt anything. However, allowing us to do the papers on a company we were involved with was a no-brainer for me.
Had you studied before and how were you feeling about studying?
I had completed a certification in medical transcription, and started a bachelor’s in Commerce that I didn’t complete. At first, I was worried about the thought of studying – am I going to be able to complete it? The fact I’m getting up there in age – by the end of the leadership course I would be 48 and my husband 49. But together with our daughter who was 25 at the time, it really helped to have each other to pump each other up.
What would you say to others that are having second guesses about starting their MBA?
Don’t let anything stop you, don’t let your previous education stop you. You’re never too old to learn, and you might learn something about yourself doing it.
What goals did you achieve through studying both your MBAs?
The main highlight was being able to prove to those who said we weren’t smart enough, wrong. And whilst that is why we started this journey, I also learned some things I didn’t know before.
Finance has never been either my partner’s or my strength. As business owners, we recognise we aren’t experts in everything, so we bring experts in. So, we brought in experts in finance and it’s ultimately what cost us one of our companies, unfortunately. I am definitely more at ease now because I have an understanding of these aspects of the business, but I also have the piece of paper and credibility to prove it now.
Having the MBA letters after your name also makes you more credible when you are going out to raise funds. With the last company, it took us 5 years to raise 20 million dollars, and whilst this time around, the pandemic has been an additional challenge when raising funds, we are finding having an MBA is making investors far more interested.
How did you find the support at AIB?
My husband’s computer had gone down and a paper was due at midnight. As he was super stressed, I sent an email to Student Central, and this goes for every department at AIB, but they went above and beyond to help us out.
Also, special mention, Arlen is my Enrolment Advisor, and he is incredible. I email him a question, and within a couple of hours or the next business day, I have an answer, or at the very least a follow-up that he is looking into the answer – I always get an answer from him.
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