Mergers, a Mini-MBA and Moving up


Nadine Plett, AVP Organizational Development, G&F Financial Group
Mini-MBA Participant

Posted 2022-03-14
The last few months of 2021 were busy for Nadine Plett. Her company was undergoing three mergers, two of which took place in the same month. Due to her work in organizational development, she played a pivotal role in a transformative time.

Though Plett needed to be on hand to help her employer, G&F Financial Group, navigate the changes, she actively wanted to build her business acumen at the same time. She pursued an educational opportunity that allowed her to do both and enrolled in the Mini-MBA: Essential Business Skills at the UBC Sauder School of Business.

Plett says the structure of the five-week program, a hybrid model of self-paced learning and online class interaction, was perfectly suited to her busy schedule and desire to collaborate with other professionals.

“The self-study afforded me a lot of flexibility, but the classroom component allowed me to witness other people’s responses in the moment, their thought patterns and perspectives,” says Plett. “The instructor could then respond, ask questions, and engage the whole cohort.”

Case studies, a tight-knit cohort and a focus on strategy

Plett was particularly fond of the Mini-MBA’s use of case studies throughout the curriculum, which she says helped her form deeper relationships with her classmates and encouraged teamwork.

“I loved the case study piece because it touched on all pillars of our coursework and really cemented the learning,” says Plett. “When you bring together five or six people from different backgrounds, no perspective is exactly the same, and we had to work together to create a presentation, stick to a timeframe, and pull in pieces from throughout the program.”

Having worked for G&F Financial Group since the early 2000s, Plett was already familiar with virtually every aspect of the organization and had a strong understanding of its centres of influence. Even with this institutional knowledge, Plett says the most valuable takeaway from the Mini-MBA was how to align strategy across business functions and operational areas.

“I thought I understood strategy, but I really didn’t,” says Plett. “I use that learning from the Mini-MBA every single day in my thought processes at work. I frame everything as, ‘What else do I need to know? Who else do I need to involve? What is our ultimate goal? And who are the stakeholders?’”

Advancing into a new role

Plett’s ambition and desire for professional improvement did not go unnoticed. She was offered a promotion to the role of Associate Vice President (AVP) of Organizational Development right around the time she was finishing up the Mini-MBA in December 2021.

“The Mini-MBA definitely played a role in my promotion,” says Plett. “It enabled me to speak to organizational strategy at a macro level that I don’t think I could have expressed previously.”

The AVP position is brand new within the organization, and Plett looks forward to defining the role in the months to come. She says she’ll rely on the “depth of knowledge” she acquired in the Mini-MBA to carve out a path and build her portfolio of responsibilities.

Navigating mergers with newfound knowledge

With the three mergers that took place late last year, Plett also has a significant amount of integration work ahead of her.

“We’re integrating all of the employees, harmonizing policies and procedures, looking at transition planning, rolling out a brand and culture plan, and budgeting,” says Plett. “The deep learning that I gained from the Mini-MBA will be immensely valuable every step of the way.”

Though she only recently completed the program, Plett already has plans to take more courses in the future as part of her commitment to lifelong learning.

“The Mini-MBA ignited my passion for learning again. I had forgotten how much I loved it, and the program stimulated my brain and made me want to invest in myself more and more,” says Plett.

As for anyone who may be considering if the Mini-MBA is right for them, Plett speaks from experience when she says there’s no better time than the now.

“The true value of the Mini-MBA is its focus on all the different pillars – strategy, finance, operations, HR, and marketing,” says Plett. “It offers a high-level strategic outlook, which can be applied to any organization, in any industry, no matter what stage of career you’re in.”

Mini-MBA: Essential Business Skills

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Mini-MBA: Essential Business Skills

Designed to fit your busy schedule, the fast-paced program format features a unique integration of self-paced learning and online class interaction.