Chantale Callingham

Reaching a point in her career, Chantale realised that she needed to formalise her experience if she wanted to achieve her ambitions.

  • Location:
    Canada United States
  • Industry:
    Information Services & Technology
  • Job Function:
    Client & Customer Services
  • Programme:
  • Motivation:
    Formalise experience
  • Challenges:
    Limited previous study experience
  • Year of Graduation:

Chantale has spent the last 13 years of her professional career in the client success industry, committed to growth, learning, and development as demonstrated by her progression from a call center agent to her current role as Director, Client Success.

Chantale, a born and raised Canadian, together with her supportive husband and three young children, recently moved from Ancaster, Ontario to Salt Lake City, Utah in pursuit of her current role with her company O.C. Tanner Recognition, a SaaS based recognition company informed by industry leading culture research and complimented by their unique and creative manufacturing capabilities.

Back in 2021, Chantale had reached a point in her career where she had the ambition to take her career to the next level but feared that without formal qualifications it could be a challenge to realise her goals. Now, with an expected completion date of mid-2023 and well on her way into her MBA studies, we thought it was an opportune time to check in with Chantale and learn more about her motivations, and how she is finding the program so far.

What was your motivation to start an MBA?

Candidly, I have a diploma and a PMP certification, but various life circumstances stood in the way of me earning a degree. I knew that my ambition and career trajectory would stall if I didn’t pursue some formal education. I enrolled for a Bachelor of Business Administration program a few years ago but ultimately stopped that process, because I found that I wasn’t being challenged and wasn’t really learning anything new.I had a wealth of business knowledge by that time, and the BBA program felt targeted to students and folks with very little real world business experience.

When I found the MBA program that acknowledged leadership experience and did not have the prerequisite for a bachelor’s degree, paired with the flexibility to conduct all of the courses through an online forum it was a no brainer for me. It was everything I was looking for and knew this was the next chapter in my education career.

Why did you choose AIB? And, why AIB over a Canadian provider?

Most Canadian programs have the prerequisite of a Bachelor’s degree and in the absence of having one, this became a non-starter. For the few Canadian MBA programs that do consider leadership experience as an entry credential, the programs are structured in a way that is not feasible for the average person – ex. In person each Friday, paired with astronomical tuition didn’t feel attainable or conducive to maintaining a Monday to Friday work schedule and upholding family commitments.

What were your apprehensions before studying and what would you say to others feeling the same?

Being completely vulnerable, I suffer from imposter syndrome; while I have had success and have grown my career, I was afraid that not having a Bachelor’s degree would put me behind in terms of academic requirements. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to keep pace with my peers, but that could not be farther from the truth, which is great.

There are so many challenges that occur naturally every day, don’t become your own obstacle. Get out of your own way and trust yourself to rise to the occasion.

How did you find the structure of the course?

100% online is really practical and conducive to being a working professional and a Mom to three young children. I also like the format of no exams – I feel like exams force cramming and memorization which you lose over time, whereas the assignments, papers and presentations deepen the understanding of the concepts and force you to find their real-world application, which I think aids in long-term retention of the material.

Have you felt supported at AIB? 

From the student central to the facilitators and OLFs, everyone is responsive, informative, and willing to help in a genuine way that makes you feel that they’re in your corner and want to see you succeed.

Although you haven’t yet completed your MBA, what successes, if any, do you attribute to your studies so far?

I am not completely done my MBA, I have 5 courses remaining, however I do think that indicating that I am an MBA candidate on my resume, on LinkedIn and letting my peers, teams, and leaders know that this is something I am striving towards has created new opportunities and has been a catalyst for some interesting conversations. I also feel more confident, I think there is a ton of application of the theories, models, and frameworks that we learn, and I love to bring some of that thinking to my role as Director.

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