Group of MScSM Graduates

“I loved how I changed throughout the program”: celebrating the June 2023 IMI graduates

Joël Ndongmi

This past June, the Institute for Management & Innovation (IMI) celebrated the graduation of students in three graduate programs: the Master of Science Sustainability Management (MScSM), the Master of Urban Innovation (MUI), and the Master of Biotechnology (MBiotech).

IMI’s graduate programs welcome students with an array of unique backgrounds, stemming from a diverse range of disciplines including communications, architecture, science, business, engineering and beyond. They come from all over the world bringing creativity, innovation and enthusiasm to their studies. Students in all three programs came to IMI to embark on their individual journeys, choosing programs that were able to cater to their educational and professional goals.

MBiotech Students at Graduation

This was the case for MScSM graduate Michele Kim, whose goal is to work in sustainable supply chain management within the fashion industry. Her goal was “to study fashion supply chains, learn where the problems were, and how it could be improved both from an environmental and a social perspective.” During her time in the MScSM program, which brings together natural science, social science, and business management, Kim says she was able to “take those projects and turn them into learning opportunities.”

Shaba Taskin (MUI 2023) describes a similar experience during her time as a student in the MUI program. The curriculum focuses on the role of cities in “sustaining the quality of life and economic well-being of Canadians”. Taskin speaks to having the option to “customize [the degree] to [her] interests and then explore those interests as well.”  She is keen on designing inclusive and accessible city spaces and, through her capstone project with the City of Mississauga, she was able to tap into that passion  and gain relevant experience that will help her ump-start her career post-graduation.

IMI’s programs are designed to build leaders equipped with both the knowledge and skills to harness innovation. When admitted to the Master of Biotechnology program (which merges science and business), Nicolas Sardella (MBiotech 2023) had reservations about the group work component of the program, due to some negative experiences he had in his undergraduate years.  Upon gaining industry experience, he realized that the program was teamwork-heavy because "that’s how it is in the industry... in the real world.” He credits his time in the program with helping him engage in “teamwork [in the office] to ensure everybody is on the same page and having open communication.” MBiotech’s emphasis on developing soft skills is also an element that resonated with Andrew Quirke (MBiotech 2023), who enjoyed how the program “really drove home the points that communication and soft skills are essential to moving up in the working world.”

MUI Graduating Class outside convocation hall

Beyond the course design, the opportunity to study abroad has proven to be invaluable for those who have had the chance. Nya Lazarus-Munnick (MScSM 2023) describes her semester abroad at the University of Copenhagen as an eye-opening experience. "The staff did a really good job at selecting universities that really aligned with the goals and the values of MScSM”, she says, and seeing “first hand how the city came to have this reputation of being so sustainable was just amazing.”

Alena Blanes (MScSM 2023) also cites the experiential learning embedded in her program as instrumental in discovering her professional aspirations. She says "I loved how I changed throughout the program...I just love that transformative aspect of the program. You can go in thinking you’re headed in one direction and after being exposed to so many different things, it sends you in a completely different direction that you may not have ever considered.” With her master’s degree now in-hand, she is set on becoming a chief sustainability officer in the energy industry after initially starting out her career in the field of public relations.

What made the practical learning so enjoyable for these grads was the supportive academic community prevalent in all IMI programs. Speaking about her professors, Rachel Bregman (MUI 2023) says they “made sure that everyone [was] moving along at the same pace. We didn’t move on until everyone felt comfortable...we were all learning this new stuff together. Even though it was a challenge learning the new information, it didn’t come across as that. It felt more like a welcoming challenge.”

Everyone at IMI is thrilled to congratulate all of its recent graduates, and excited to see the impact that these alumni will have throughout their careers.