June 24, 2020

Class of 2020: First Haskayne Master of Management class equipped to face the steep demands of running a company

Michael Osachoff, president of the inaugural Master of Management Society, reflects on experiences of first cohort

Learning the leadership challenges involved in an energy transition was one of the many highlights Michael Osachoff counted during his 10-month program at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business.

The Newtonian Shift exercise in energy transition, which took place in February 2020, was just one of the experiential activities that exposed Master of Management (MMgmt) students to business challenges, requiring them to use the knowledge from their undergraduate degrees together with their newly developed leadership and decision-making skills developed in the program. Osachoff found it to be an eye-opening experience.

It was super difficult. I couldn’t believe the constraints that companies are under to have a fiduciary duty to whoever, and also manage demands for what is best for society and also themselves to stay solvent.

His team, a coal company, was faced with providing electricity needs to the community while also going through an energy transition themselves.

  • Photo above, Michael Osachoff visits the Benevity offices in Calgary. Photo by Kelly Hofer, for the Haskayne School of Business
Osachoff, first from left, during the Newtonian Shift exercise.

Michael Osachoff, left, facing camera, rises to the challenge during the Newtonian Shift exercise in energy transition.

Kelly Hofer, for the Haskayne School of Business

Leadership skills put into practice

As president of the first Master of Management Society (MMS), Osachoff put into practice many of the leadership skills he learned in class. A large, supportive group forms the society, working together to build a social culture among the cohort, fundraising for the society and to provide an avenue to connect the students to supports at the university.

“I think we did get a lot of the groundwork laid for the incoming cohorts in the future,” says Osachoff. “The bylaws are written, the bank account is established, all the accounts are in order, there is a logo, and we are represented by and accepted by the Graduate Students' Association (GSA).”

The society also organized a year-end gala held on Feb. 28, 2020. Bringing together faculty in the program and all the students in the cohort, the event celebrated the end of the first program and the achievements of the graduating students.

CP executives meet with MMgmt students, including Michael Osachoff, third from left

CP executives meet with Master of Management students, including Michael Osachoff, third from left.

Kelly Hofer, for the Haskayne School of Business

Student takes on challenge

An intensive week-long capstone experience in January 2020 with either WestJet or in Banff was a requirement for all MMgmt students. Osachoff took on the challenge at WestJet that covered onboarding, network connections, labour relations and strategy, with ethics literature for each. “We were studying about Kantian morality, and we were talking about networks and where the airline flies, and merged those together,” says Osachoff.

Three students from the program, including Osachoff, attended the Energy Disruptors Conference. More than 60 international thought leaders presented on topics such as the potential of small nuclear reactors and how agriculture contributes to our energy needs.

Osachoff and his peers benefited from weekly sessions with the dedicated career adviser for the Master of Management program. Benevity and CP opened their offices to the students to provide exposure to career opportunities and to network with leaders in their organizations.

Program was right fit for student

Born in Canada, Osachoff traveled extensively because of his father’s work in the mining industry, living in Papua New Guinea, Chile and the Netherlands. He was in Singapore for high school and then returned to Canada. For his undergraduate degree, he stayed close to his family in Vancouver, completing a Bachelor of Arts in history at the University of British Columbia.

When I completed my undergrad, it certainly equipped me to think comprehensively, taught me how to write, and make arguments. I think those are fundamental to a liberal arts education, especially in history. I had professional work experience, but I would say it was more limited and precluded me from what is required for an MBA.

Osachoff was drawn to the Master of Management program at the Haskayne School of Business because it was a right fit for his career development, the accelerated pace appealed to him, and he wanted to come to Calgary. Through the experiences he was exposed to in the program, he has focused his career interests to government relations, environmental social governance and consulting, capitalizing on his unique blend of knowledge and skills from his two degrees.