When Christopher Uren went back to work after taking parental leave for his daughter’s birth, he knew something had to change.
After three years at the same workplace, he realized there wasn’t any opportunity for advancement. Applying for a job elsewhere likely would have landed him in a similar role – a change that would put him no further ahead.
Following a visit to MacEwan University’s Open House, he decided to apply to the university’s Business Management diploma. As a new parent who wanted to take a measured approach to advancing his career, he appreciated that the program offered the flexibility to balance his education and career aspirations.
“I knew if being back in school wasn’t working for me at the time, I could leave after a year with a certificate,” he says. “But if it worked out, I could earn my diploma and get back into the workplace after just two years. And then I also knew there was the possibility of specializing even further by doing a degree, which is what I ultimately ended up doing. So I looked at it as a series of contingencies, with options available depending on where I was at in my life at each step.”
MacEwan’s Business Management program, like several diploma programs in the university’s School of Business, ladders directly into the Bachelor of Commerce. For students who are concerned about the time and financial commitment of a degree, it’s a safe and practical option – they can decide to exit the program after two years with a university credential or continue seamlessly into the four-year degree. “Sometimes a student may decide to exit with the Business Management diploma because they want to go and get a job,” says Dr. Evandro Bocatto, an associate professor in MacEwan’s School of Business. “That’s okay because if they change their mind after working for a year or two, they can come back and complete the degree.”
Flexibility isn’t the only advantage that the Business Management diploma offers. According to Bocatto, business diploma graduates in other institutions often have some catching up to do if they begin a Bachelor of Commerce, but because MacEwan’s diploma programs focus on research and other academic skills, students are on an equal footing. “Our diploma students are taking classes with Bachelor of Commerce students, so they’re learning about things like research and citation,” he says. “I they come back and complete their degree, they’re prepared.”
Uren is one of those students who has taken advantage of the foundation the Business Management diploma provided. He is now completing his Bachelor of Commerce, with a major in supply chain management and using this chapter of his education to further refine his goals. “Prior to coming to MacEwan, there were jobs available to me, but they weren’t always the right fit,” he says. “Now that I have my diploma and will soon have a degree, I have so many more options to explore.”
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