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Helen Zhang, AMBA ’21, Category Marketing Manager at Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee, on refocusing priorities and moving into a more strategic function

As her company began restructuring during the COVID-19 pandemic, Helen Zhang, AMBA ’21, realized she needed to do some refocusing of her own and look at transitioning into a more strategic role.

“I wanted to find what my interests were for that next step, and the Accelerated MBA re-ignited my passion for business and for solving business problems,” says Zhang, now a Category Marketing Manager at Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee.

“It has helped me re-evaluate my career, re-align my values and priorities and direct me to a new career path.”

The program’s focus on discussing real-life cases with classmates from different business backgrounds – from finance, to supply chain and operations – provided Zhang with a variety of perspectives to approach problems and gave her a broader appreciation for the all the functions that come together within a company.

“All those opinions were really interesting for me to understand because I would be just thinking what marketing people would think but listening to my classmates taught me how to think strategically from different functions,” says Zhang, previously Consumer Brand Development Manager with Weston Foods.

While in her pre-Ivey life Zhang may have shied away from operational issues, at Mother Parkers she’s now part of an initiative to improve the company’s inventory management process.

“Before, I would only think of it as an operational issue I couldn’t help with, but now I can really see the systemic planning issue behind the excess inventory and bring my business lens to analyze and influence the situation,” she says.

“Ivey has helped me to make better decisions at work. Now that my approach or mindset switched from solving surface-level problems to thinking about the root cause and leveraging the strong business fundamentals, I can analyze the problem in the right framework.”

And while completing AMBA and navigating the challenges of a worldwide pandemic may not have been the experience Zhang initially envisioned, she feels it has made her more adaptable to the new world of work.

“I’m more efficient in terms of conducting meetings virtually and it was also a huge help when I was looking for a job, since I’ve learned and practiced all the virtual communication techniques during my AMBA days,” she says.

“I’m able to present more efficiently and in a more impactful way. I’ve learned to become more adaptable and adjust my working style to the new world requirements, I feel more confident in my skillset, and I feel quite accomplished having been able to complete my MBA during challenging times.”

AMBA '21

Ivey Business School

Helen Zhang

Helen Zhang

Category Marketing Manager, Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee

Toronto, Canada

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