Vasiliki Charitsis

Vaso, our April 2023 valedictorian and now Senior Director of Communications at the Canadian Mental Health Association York Region and South Simcoe, chose AIB’s flexible MBA program to balance her career, business and family.

  • Location:
  • Industry:
    Heathcare & Medical
  • Job Function:
    Executive, Owner & Board
  • Programme:
  • Motivation:
    Broader Business Knowledge
  • Challenges:
    Balance and Time Management
  • Year of Graduation:

Vasiliki Charitsis is currently the Senior Director of Communications at Canadian Mental Health Association York Region and South Simcoe. She always aspired to earn an MBA and chose AIB for its flexibility, which allowed her to balance her career, run her own business and be present for her family. With her strong dedication, Vaso has gained the credibility and skills to open new doors and transform her leadership approach. Her experience at AIB challenged her to think critically and solve problems effectively, ultimately inspiring those around her. 

In the interview below, we talk to Vaso about her decision to study at AIB, her motivations for pursuing an MBA and how the program has impacted her career and leadership style. 

What was your motivation to study the MBA?

I have an undergrad in business from one of the top tier institutions in Canada and I always wanted to go back and do an MBA, but life got in the way. When I was ready and started to debate which program and institution would work for me, AIB was in the top three. AIB stood out because it provided the flexibility to balance my career, family, and personal commitments. I could study at my own pace and still be present in my child’s life, run my own business, and fulfil my role at work.

Why did you choose AIB?   

I chose AIB because it permitted me to still be a mum, run my own business, be a team member within my current employer’s environment and have the flexibility to study at my own pace at any given time. I didn’t have to pause my child’s life or mine. We could continue to travel and be present in her life as well.

Do you feel investing in yourself and your learning has led to success?

I believe women especially should consider investing in themselves. Often we have to pause our careers for getting married, having a child or taking care of loved ones. It’s important that we invest in ourselves and back ourselves because it changes the trajectory of your career path. Having an MBA creates a level of credibility automatically. It opens more doors and you’re invited to the table with the ability to make recommendations that people start to accept and believe without challenging you.

What is one aspect of study at AIB that has stood out to you?  

For me, it was the breadth of faculty. They had lived experience and were from all over the world. Learning from individuals who had a different lens and sharing their experiences challenges us to think more critically and not take every situation at face value. 

It’s like the butterfly effect. When a butterfly flaps its wings in one part of the world, how does that impact another part? Supply chain, policies, currency changes in economics in one country versus another. Having faculty who come from different places and share that information really changes your view on how to solve problems. 

How would you summarise your experience with the MBA process at AIB? Do you have any words to share with your graduating class?  

Show up every day, whatever that might look like for you. The grades don’t matter. At the end of the day, we’re all going to get the same three letters and you’re going to have that credibility to have a seat at the table, make recommendations to your colleagues, your employer, or whoever that might be. 

It’s about applying yourself and saying, “I have this, and I have the ability to make sound decisions that are valued and accepted.” AIB forces you to think critically, learn something on a Monday, and apply it the next day, whatever environment that might be. It was practical and not just theory. 

At the end of the day, you have these skills and knowledge that you can apply to solve business problems. From the start, I was looking for something that understood people, profit, and planet, not just in the pursuit of more money. For me, having a program that understood that these three things could live in harmony and that we could do better for humanity was crucial. 

I appreciated that this was in the fabric of all our courses. If you embraced it, you could look at business problems and find solutions without compromising one for the other. 

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