Nov. 29, 2021

Master of Management students gain invaluable hands-on experience

Propel Business Project taps Haskayne’s extensive network so students can try their hand at business
From left: Amal Asiff, Quinn Fitzgerald, Alexander Kennedy, Samuel Goldberg.
From left: Amal Asiff, Quinn Fitzgerald, Alexander Kennedy, Samuel Goldberg. Mariah Lee Photography

Are you trying to figure out your next big step? Every student has been there.

The Propel Business Project, offered through the Master of Management program at the Haskayne School of Business, and designed for students with diverse backgrounds, offers incredible real-life experience that may be the answer to that big question.

Propel pairs MMgmt students with small businesses, new ventures, social enterprises, and non-profits to provide business project support. Students gain first-hand business experience while applying their classroom knowledge to real-world projects. Students are compensated for their work with a $1,500 grant offered by the Haskayne School. Project examples include market research, end-user testing, online marketing strategy and more.

We caught up with four MMgmt grads from earlier this year for their thoughts on the Propel experience.

Amal Asiff

Prior to beginning her Master of Management, Amal Asiff completed her Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies at UCalgary in 2020. Asiff chose to pursue the MMgmt program to enrich her career with an understanding of business fundamentals. 

Through Propel, Asiff worked with Calgary-based Conscious Brands, which creates tools to help companies intentionally elevate their contribution to people, prosperity, and the planet. Asiff worked to develop a ranking system of cryptocurrencies based on sustainability factors, and she also completed a white paper.

“I'm really interested in looking at sustainability and how we can make the world a better place, and I thought that this opportunity provided an interesting intersection,” says Asiff. “There are thousands of digital assets and cryptocurrencies in the world, and education on the space is very limited … the project was great; it taught me to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

Asiff is currently working with Intelligent Futures, a planning firm based in Calgary. 

“I think that what makes Propel special is that it gives you a taste of what working in the real world is like while you're still a student,” she says.

Quinn Fitzgerald

Quinn Fitzgerald completed her Bachelor of Science in microbiology at the University of Victoria and decided to join UCalgary’s MMgmt program to learn the basics of business. She is now working with Innovate Calgary on its medical and life sciences team in the technology transfer office, which has provided the perfect opportunity for her to combine her background in science with business.

Through Propel, Fitzgerald worked with Nimble Science, a life sciences startup that is revolutionizing the way samples of the gut microbiome are collected for study. Fitzgerald developed and distributed surveys that evaluated the marketability of Nimble Science’s primary product, the SIMBA capsule, and created data visualizations for pitch decks.

“We learn the content and theory in our classes and through the completion of assignments and projects, but there's nothing like being able to apply that knowledge in a real-world setting,” says Fitzgerald. “Supporting the company with some of their business strategies was really interesting to me and the most valuable part of my Propel experience.” 

Alexander Kennedy

Alexander Kennedy, BSc’20, completed his chemistry degree at UCalgary prior to beginning the MMgmt program.

Through Propel, Kennedy worked with Bessie Box, a meal-based subscription-box service that connects producers in the farming and fishing industries with their local communities. Kennedy’s role at Bessie focused on usability testing, such as the creation of survey questions following the use of the Bessie Box app to assess if any changes or improvements needed to be made.

“Once I started the program, I became interested in the tech space in general and, because I didn't have any experience in software, I wanted to gain some hands-on experience and I think that the Propel Project was very helpful and unique for me in that way,” says Kennedy.

Kennedy is now working for Avanti Software as an implementation project co-ordinator.

Samuel Goldberg

Prior to joining the MMgmt program, Samuel Goldberg completed his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology at the University of Lethbridge.

Through Propel, Goldberg worked with the Impact Society, a Calgary non-profit that helps youth discover their gifts and abilities, develop resilience, and equip them with the tools they need to flourish. Goldberg helped build the framework of its Heroes II program, which encourages kids who have worked with the Impact Society to lead from their strengths and give back to their communities.

“Learning the business side of things gave me the ability to pursue the things that I want to pursue and gave me the confidence to pursue my own ideas,” says Goldberg, “I found that being given the opportunity to dive into my creativity and explore my ideas enabled me to grow in my ability to share those ideas with others.” 

Goldberg is the founder of Playticity, which aims to help adults rediscover the power of play. Find the Playticity podcast on Apple podcasts or Spotify.

The Propel Business Project is generously supported by RBC.

For more information about Propel, email Gillian Robertson, Haskayne graduate career and engagement consultant.

Learn more about the Haskayne Master of Management.