Nabhya Harjai
Nabhya Harjai. Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

May 28, 2021

Haskayne Master of Management opens up next chapter for science grad

After research and volunteering, Nabhya Harjai adds business fundamentals to his skill set

Nabhya Harjai loves biomedical sciences research, teaching swimming to children with disabilities and volunteering in the not-for-profit sector. As he finished his undergrad he wanted to know how to turn these passions into a career, and thought more business skills would help.

“Sometimes a sciences background isn't enough,” he says. “When this Master of Management came up, I thought that would be the perfect way to get a little bit of business background and improve my candidature for different types of jobs.”

Harjai jumped at the chance to sign up for the MMgmt at the Haskayne School of Business — the first program of its kind in Alberta. Unlike an MBA which is designed for professionals who have been in the workforce for some time, the MMgmt is aimed at recent non-business graduates, like Harjai.

He’s just finishing the 10-month program (which was held online). “The classes gave a really great general overview of the main and core principles of business, whether that's accounting, or entrepreneurship, or technology, which sets you on the right path to employ some of those models in the real world,” he says.

The real world is a big part of the program. In the last 10 weeks of a MMgmt, students can dive into a Propel Project, a 60-hour business endeavour with a community partner. Harjai is working with Children’s Link Society, a not-for-profit with a database of services and supports for families with children with special needs and professionals who work with them. The organization wants to become a social enterprise and start charging fees.

“My project is marketing research,” says Harjai. “As the Children's Link transitions to a social enterprise model, they need to determine what services they can offer on a pay-per-service basis. My project is looking at target markets. If they want to add a new service, such as a disability workshop, who would be the intended target, and what are current competitors offering? How would this type of service be priced? How would it be premised given their overall organization's goals and mission?”

Not only does this project have special meaning for Harjai, who used to coach children with disabilities in the pool, it’s also giving him plenty of opportunity to meet leaders in the not-for-profit sector and explore potential career opportunities. “It’s exactly what I wanted,” he says.

It’s giving me some real hands-on experience on tackling business problems and applying some of those models and skills that I've just recently learned in a real-life situation.

The Propel Project, which is independent of classwork, has students meet (virtually) with their supervisors every week to check progress and ensure everything is on track. “Haskayne has regular checkpoints to make sure you're upholding your responsibilities, and that the project sponsors are also upholding their responsibilities,” he says. “They’re not leaving you in the dark without giving you guidance when you need it.”

Throughout his MMgmt Harjai also worked with the Creative Destruction Lab-Rockies helping run meetings and hearing world-renowned CDL mentors advise startups about real-world business problems. Through that experience, Harjai landed a summer internship as a venture analyst at CDL. “The startup field is where I can combine both my sciences background and business acumen to tackle these problems head-on,” he says.

As he nears the end of MMgmt, Harjai is pleased he embraced so many opportunities to meet people. “Everyone goes through a semester of classes and get grades, but I really wanted to make the most out of this program. I’ve been able to expand my network exponentially, hone my analytical problem-solving and work toward building my career.”