We’re thrilled Cape Breton University is offering its MBA in Community Economic Development in Calgary starting January 2018.
Fellow YYC changemaker and CBU alumni Roman Katsnelson (KRD Consulting Group) shares how it all went down, for him. We hope his journey in pursuing a post-secondary calling while juggling work and life might be of inspiration to you.
I could have saved so much time and gas money… If only Cape Breton had offered its MBA in CED program in Calgary five years ago. But I don’t regret driving to Edmonton on alternative weekends for two years.
The program was, for me, a life changing experience. I had been wanting for ages to go back to school for a graduate degree and was always on the lookout for the right fit. From a practical perspective, I needed something I could pursue while continuing to work a full-time job and could emerge from without a lifetime’s worth of debt. From an ethical perspective, I needed something that would be worth sacrificing many (many!) family hours. And from a values perspective, I needed something that would fit me, that would challenge me to grow and enable me to give meaningfully.
I never envisioned myself pursuing an MBA. I was (and remain) a committed communitarian, and I saw much power in Community Development work. Community Economic Development was a mysterious and suspicious beast. I was not at all certain that the program was for me. But reviewing the course literature, I found that I was nodding my head more vigorously with each new entry. I talked with my family and took the plunge.
My doubts and uncertainties were as welcome as my passions and curiosities. Pretty soon I was learning to unpack the social economy from a theoretical and practical perspective. Course readings included J.K. Gibson-Graham, Dewey, Marx, Freire, and Maslow. We learned about worker-reclaimed enterprises in Argentina and their differences from worker-owned cooperatives in Spain and Canada. We learned enough Accounting to understand how “externalities” came to be, and enough ethics to understand why they’re problematic. We examined the tumult that is Social Enterprise and learned how to fit a variety of traditional venture analysis techniques to its unique context. We were invited to initiate change processes in our organizations to understand first-hand that all innovation is social.
And we were invited – required – supported – to conduct an original research project. The breadth of topics in my cohort was astounding – from Rural CED to Sports as Social Capital to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to Cryptocurrency and Community. My research focused on workplace communities – I wanted to learn from deeply human workplaces, understand how they engendered belonging, and understand their effects on non-work lives and communities.
Thanks to my degree, I know how to operationalize my ethics… And have the good fortune to do so via a rewarding consulting practice.