Kristy Skwaruk, wife and mother of two wonderful boys, set out on her MBA journey as a means to secure a promotion.
Based in Alberta, Canada, Kristy had already achieved much success over the course of a 20-year career in HR and had worked her way to the Director of People and Culture at Dynaleo Inc. However, when discussing career progression with her manager, to take it to the next level, Kristy would need to gain knowledge and an understanding of other areas in the business and how they work together to gain a more holistic picture of business strategy. So, that’s exactly what Kristy did.
Completing her MBA at AIB with a specialisation in Human Resource Management not only did she successfully gain that promotion, but she also demonstrated her knowledge of different areas of the business allowing her to take on additional responsibilities, gaining her the new title of VP of People, Regulatory Affairs and Operations.
With such a successful experience, we jumped at the opportunity to speak with Kristy and learn more about her experience at AIB.
What your motivation to start an MBA?
I had been thinking about it before I really started for about six years, just kind of trying to find a program that worked for me and looking for what to do. And I got into a position where as the Director of People and Culture, and they wanted to promote me to VP and my boss who’s fantastic said, “look, I’d love for you to get skills in other areas. So, some more finance, a bit more understanding around the operational side of it, and really want to grow your career. So we’d love for you to do it.”
My struggle was the program and choice of being able to look to kids, how do I go to school and work and take care of my kids? Well, I thought I got go for it, because they want it, they want to give me that promotion, it’s time the kids are a bit older. And here we are. It’s fantastic.
Why did you choose AIB?
It suits my lifestyle. So, it’s online, the online webinars really gave me the flexibility for my life, you could pause them, record them go back and look at them – because my boys every time I was in a class, open the door, they slow opening of the door to find out what’s going on. Right. So being able to do that and being able to work with the times that worked with my work schedule was really important. As well as the practicality of it.
How practical did you find the course?
I love the fact that in a lot of the courses, we had guest speakers from different industries that were really able to talk to everything that we’re learning, and really put it together. So, I majored in human resources management. And we had courses that were, you know, talking through the world and recruitment throughout the world. And we had an individual come in and discuss it. So, we’re able to just kind of put A and B together. And even some of the professors had that industry experience, which was really great.
Have you had any success that you attribute to your studies?
I went from the director to the VP of people of culture, partway through the course. And then I actually got promoted to VP of People and Culture and Regulatory and Operations. So, as I started to take more of the courses, I was really working with the business strategy, and really some light bulb moments from the things that I was learning and was able to apply them because we work within food production. So, with the factory at some operational changes, and my boss noticed that and so I’ve seen a couple of promotions through the process. And with that comes pay raises, and with that comes the opportunity to mentor other people. So I’ve loved it.
Is there anything you would have done differently?
Started six years ago, you know, I did the program full time I did two courses a semester, it was a lot. It was very much a lot. But I found my way through it and had I started it and had I known that I would have the support system that I had with my family and with my work and with the folks at the school. I would have started way earlier.
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