After stops in Montreal, Japan, the Asia Pacific — and UBC for her MBA — Sharon Matthews transformed her zeal for knowledge into a lifetime of learning as a consultant at Accenture.
Sharon Matthews (nee Franks) has a knack of combining her hunger for knowledge with her taste for adventure.
She took her business undergraduate degree in Montreal, moved to Japan for a year to teach English, and then set out on an education of a different sort with extensive travel in Southeast Asia..
A brand new experience
But it wasn’t until she settled back in her native Toronto that Sharon returned to the passion for marketing she had discovered in her undergraduate degree. She was hired by and eventually promoted to an account supervisor position at Ogilvy & Mather, one of the major players in the global advertising industry.
Here, Sharon fuelled her appetite for learning with a host of exciting projects. “Building brand strategy, and creative and social media campaigns was a great learning experience,” she notes. “I got a window into different types of careers, from client side to creative development.”
Getting out of the comfort zone
It would have been easy for Sharon to settle into her advertising career, but after four years, her inner drive to grow propelled her into her next learning undertaking: a move to Vancouver for a UBC MBA. “I knew I wanted a change but didn’t know what it was,” she notes.
As an outdoor enthusiast with an interest in the environment, Sharon’s MBA criteria included a focus on sustainability. With its emphasis on Ethics and Sustainability, and its ISIS Research Centre,“the school was the obvious choice,” she states. “Sustainability was baked into every subject.”
Finding the right fit
Sharon’s experience in her MBA internship at Accenture confirmed her newfound interest in consulting. “Consulting is different than other industries,” she elaborates. “There has to be a good cultural fit.” With her engaging style, there clearly was.
During her tenure, Sharon got to sit with project groups and get further corporate-sponsored training in Chicago. “My internship experience really gave me a good window into what the work might be like,” she says, noting it also gave her the chance to try out a new career and industry.
Unsurprisingly, Sharon made the most of her internship opportunity. So much so that Accenture offered her a full-time position as a consultant in Toronto after she finished her UBC MBA in 2012.
Learning never stops
Today, Sharon relishes the challenges of the fast-paced world of consulting. Her career has her working in the products group aligned to the retail industry. “There’s a lot of learning,” she remarks. “Every project is different, so it never gets boring.”
Working with people in different cities and with a variety of clients, she is satisfying her appetite for knowledge. “I’m treating it as a second education,” she says.