Sales executive Jose Chatelet navigates new fatherhood in the UBC Professional MBA
Jose Chatelet’s wife went into labour on the same day he was scheduled to take his final finance exam during his first year of the UBC Professional Master of Business Administration (UBC PMBA). It was the ultimate get out-of-school card and one that poetically captured the realities of balancing personal and professional ambitions.
After welcoming his daughter in July 2021, Chatelet was a new parent, a graduate student, and a full-time sales consultant. On top of everything else, he and his wife also owned two side businesses.
It was a jam-packed life that Chatelet hadn’t entirely anticipated. “When I applied and got accepted into the UBC PMBA, we weren’t yet expecting and I didn’t know that I was going to be a father,” recalls Chatelet.
He says he managed to juggle it all because of support from the program team, classmates, and professors.
“One of the best things about the UBC PMBA is that it brings together people who have similar lifestyles,” says Chatelet. “Many of us had kids and most of us were working full-time too, so everyone was incredibly understanding and supportive and it was natural for our schedules to align.”
Choosing the UBC PMBA
Originally from Argentina, Chatelet says one of the main reasons he was attracted to the UBC PMBA was the strong network it would open up for him in Vancouver.
“I was looking for a local network filled with professionals who were advanced in their careers,” says Chatelet. “I planned to stay in Canada so that resonated with me.”
He was also drawn to the fact that he could continue gaining momentum in his career without pausing to pursue a business education.
“One of the biggest selling points for me was the fact that I didn’t need to stop earning a salary. The UBC PMBA allowed me to maintain my lifestyle and saved that opportunity cost.”
An inside look at three professional residencies
In addition to weekend classes, Chatelet participated in three 8-day professional residencies throughout the UBC PMBA as key components of the program.
These immersive learning experiences welcomed guest speakers and offered exclusive events for students. The content was taught by a cross-disciplinary team and focused on a wide breadth of topics like leadership development, business strategy, ethics and sustainability, and managing change.
“Residency 1 was very foundational and everyone came into it with a lot of expectations and energy. It was very motivating and filled with enthusiasm,” describes Chatelet. “It was an amazing way to start the program because we all felt like we could conquer anything.”
Residency 2 took place half-way through the 24-month program and presented a perfect opportunity for students to strengthen the relationships they had formed with their classmates.
“It was great for teamwork and team building and our approach was to have a good time with it,” says Chatelet.
It was Residency 3, however, that Chatelet describes as a “beautiful moment and the cherry on top.” Culminating at the end of the program schedule, this residency stood out because of the comfort level among members of the cohort.
“There was safety in terms of sharing ideas and supporting and respecting each other,” says Chatelet. “We had breakfast, lunch, and coffee as a class. Our groups were very close and it was a good final coming together.”
Summing up an evolution with one word: ‘Poise’
When Chatelet considers how to describe his personal transformation over the course of the UBC PMBA, one main word comes to mind: poise.
“The UBC PMBA gave me a sense of grounding and fundamentals and structure that I can rely on,” says Chatelet. “It cemented that confidence in my own abilities and gave me the poise to go into high-level conversations, sit in board meetings, and talk one-on-one with CEOs. It was a maturing process.”
It also caused Chatelet to reimagine the potential role he could play in an organization. “I saw myself as an individual contributor when I started the UBC PMBA and I now see myself more as a business leader coming out of it.”
Landing the job he wanted, not the job that was posted
As he neared the end of the program, Chatelet came across a job posting for a junior sales position at online chartered accounting firm ConnectCPA LLP. He was interested in the company, but he was looking for a more senior-level role that would combine his operational background in sales with his expertise in corporate strategy.
Armed with newfound confidence from the UBC PMBA, Chatelet reached out to management via LinkedIn and pitched himself.
“My pitch was, ‘You don’t need a sales person, you need someone to lead your sales function where operational sales and strategy coexist,’” explains Chatelet. “The fact that I was close to finishing my PMBA emphasized my seniority and they ended up molding the role to fit my skill set.”
A lot has happened in Chatelet’s life since he first made the decision to apply to the UBC PMBA. He has added a member to his family, he has broadened his network, and he has advanced his career by joining a new company as a sales executive.
As he awaits graduation from the UBC PMBA this spring, he has one piece of advice for fellow parents who are considering pursuing a business education but might be wondering how they will balance it all.
“Talk to your partner and other members of your family who are part of your support system,” says Chatelet. “This is something you’re endeavouring to do as a family, so you need to make sure everyone knows what they’re signing up for. It’s doable but it requires good communication and lots of planning.”