A place to innovate

For Tessa MacDougall Sauder is not a final destination, it’s a turning point, a place where she can switch careers from working in finance to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Tessa doubled majored in Finance and Supply Chain Management at Syracuse University in New York on a full soccer scholarship. After getting her BSc and playing college sports for four years, she came home to British Columbia and worked in the finance industry, most recently at RBC Dominion Securities.

“I worked for about three years but I came to realize that the professional path I was on, and finance in general, wasn’t for me,” she says. “I was looking for a boost while I planned out my career transition. I settled on an MBA because I knew I wanted a career in business but I wasn’t exactly sure in what capacity.”

Vibrant community

The process Tessa went through to decide which business school would be the best fit for her was rigorous and involved a lot of detailed research, including talking with former UBC MBA students that the staff at Sauder helped her to connect with.

Even before she joined the program, she was impressed with the content of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship career track. “It made a lot of sense to me, especially in a city like Vancouver that has such a vibrant startup community,” she says. “I love the program so far. The professors have a really good mix of academic and industry experience and I’ve also found that the networking opportunities are excellent here. There’s no shortage of things going on and people are really willing to help you out, especially if they know that you’re a student looking to change your career.”

Tessa wants to be an entrepreneur and expects to set up her own company in the next few years, but has yet to settle on a business idea. For now she’s immersing herself in Vancouver’s dynamic startup community as much as she can. Her summer internship is with Fundrazr, an online crowd funding platform based in the city.

Business development

“It’s definitely the type of environment I want to be in when I graduate,” she says. “Right now I’m doing marketing and business development for them. It’s a four year-old company but they’re branching into a number of new markets which I’ve been asked to research.”

Outside of her work and MBA studies Tessa says that the Sauder community and Vancouver in general offers all kinds of extra-curricular activities. She’s on the executive team of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Club at Sauder and, after recovering from knee surgery, she has even found the time to play soccer again, this time in the women’s premier league in Vancouver.

“There are a ton of really cool clubs and societies to choose from here,” she says. “Whatever you’re interested in you can just jump right in and get involved.”

If you’re looking for an outstanding MBA program in an exciting and diverse community, find out more about why Sauder is such a great place to be.


Name: Tessa MacDougall
Title: MBA candidate 2015
Track: Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Nationality: Canadian (South Surrey, BC)