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Pamela Schott

EMBA 2014, Ivey Business School

Profile

Vice President, Enterprise Sourcing and Productivity
BMO Financial Group

Why did you decide to do an Executive MBA?

I have been fortunate in my professional journey to gain experience and exposure in many areas of a large organization; however, I always knew that I wanted to complete a higher level of education to refine my thinking and further develop my financial acumen. The EMBA provided the perfect opportunity to hone core skills while building a network of like-minded professionals.

What benefits have you seen so far in your career?

Countless benefits. My approach at work is completely different. My role requires me to constantly navigate between thinking strategically and broadly and then narrowing in on execution. Having the insight to look at every process for efficiency, be inclusive of alternate viewpoints, and always focus on the ROI has made a significant difference in how I engage with others and the outcomes I seek to achieve.

How did you achieve balance along with your work/home life?

It is tough! Being a single mom in a big job with the added demands of school work and learning team calls, etc., is a monumental task. The first thing to do is ensure that everyone around you supports you in the journey you are about to take and that they are aware of the impact it will have on them. This is not just about you as the student; it is about everyone who is in your life.

I approached it like I would any project. I set out a plan on how I would manage my days, the amount of time I could allocate to each activity and stuck to it. I even went as far as to create a calendar and share it with my kids so that they knew when it was their time and we could maximize on those moments. I also created an employee contract so that we both understood the investment and constraints that it would create. The biggest change is that you have to ensure you are fully present in everything that you do —when it is kid time, it’s kid time. When it is school time, it is school time. And now that I am done, I am doing everything in my power to take the time that is freed up and using it to focus on personal relationships and giving back.

Please tell us about your network and the connections you made throughout the program (i.e. classmates, alumni network etc.).

The relationships you create during this journey are indescribable. Your classmates become your family, your confidantes, and your support group. To be placed in a situation where for fifteen months you rely on each other to be successful, to balance the workload, to confide in, it changes you in so many ways. You are able to break through barriers and have conversations with a level of transparency and honesty that is unparalleled. Travelling to a foreign country as a class is amazing. To explore a new culture with fifty-plus classmates that you trust implicitly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Now that the journey has come to a close, I miss it! I know with certainty that some of my classmates will be amongst my closest friends for the rest of my life and I am so grateful for each and every one of them.