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Ashna Haji, AMBA '21, Director of Marketing at Swidget, on stepping outside your comfort zone and taking on new challenges

Three major events happened for Ashna Haji, AMBA '21, in the span of a few short months: She completed her Accelerated MBA at Ivey, she found out her whole department at Panasonic was being downsized, and she got a promotion at that same company.

It was three months of ups and downs in what had been a rollercoaster year worldwide, but for Haji, having the Ivey MBA under her belt meant having the confidence to push ahead. When COVID caused her department to shut down, she decided to apply to another job within her company, even though it was a much more challenging role than the one she’d been in.

“It looked like the next step in my career progression at Panasonic, but before the MBA I would have been hesitant and wondered if I was really ready for that,” says Haji, now Director of Marketing at Swidget.

“But I discovered that you learn the best when you’re pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. I felt like I was performing really well in my previous role, I had a handle on things, and this was just the natural next step.”

Her Ivey credentials, her marketing acumen and the reputation she’d developed at Panasonic for hard work landed her the job. 

Once there, Haji was able to draw on her experience working with the Case Method at Ivey to quickly adapt to her challenging new role. 

“When you’re reading a case, you have to take in a lot of new information all at once and very quickly decide on a strategy and execution plan,” she says.

“I learned that I have to make the most informed decision that I can and be confident in it.”

For Haji, the move also served as recognition of her talents – a validation she also experienced while working with her classmates at Ivey.

“I know a lot of business programs are really competitive, but here it was very much an atmosphere of everybody learning together and being willing to help each other. The supportive and collaborative environment at Ivey was amazing,” says Haji. 

And when she shared the news that she was losing her job with her classmates, they were quick to rally behind her.

“Just having that group of people that will continue to support each other after the program ends is invaluable; you can’t put a price on that,” she says.

Since starting in her position as Marketing Lead, Haji was also promoted to Co-Chair of Panasonic’s volunteer committee, Panasonic Cares.

“My new roles and having my MBA – especially an Ivey MBA – under my belt, have really changed how people see me and how I see myself.”

AMBA '21

Ivey Business School

Ashna Haji

Ashna Haji

Director of Marketing, Swidget

Markham, Canada

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