How Nastassia Bukina juggles work and the Evening MBA

Nastassia Bukina is an accomplished professional living and working downtown Toronto. This year, she made the decision to apply for Rotman’s Evening MBA program in order to earn her degree part-time while continuing to work. During the application process, all of our applicants are automatically considered for entrance awards, and Natassia’s application was particularly outstanding. She is one of four winners of a Forte Fellowship Award, part of one million dollars in entrance awards available to Rotman Morning & Evening MBA students. We sat down to talk to her about the experience so far.

People decide to earn an MBA for a variety of reasons. With Nastassia’s background in engineering and business, she already had experience with problem solving and analytical challenges, but she needed something more. “I felt like I had a gap in strategic thinking and leadership. I thought I could either learn these skills organically on the job or I could fast-track and learn through an MBA program.”

Nastassia Bukina, Rotman Evening MBA student

Nastassia Bukina, Rotman Evening MBA student

Classes in the Morning & Evening MBAs take place two days a week, either before work from 7-8:59 am or after work in the evening from 6:30-8:30 pm in downtown Toronto. That format was very appealing to Nastassia. “One major benefit of this program is that you are able to continue working and study during your mornings or evenings. That way everything you learn in the classroom can be taken back to work the next day. Or vice versa!”

It’s not just the timing of the classes that appealed, though. Each MBA class is made up of talented, accomplished professionals from a wide range of industries. When asked about the most rewarding part of the program so far, she was quick to point to her exceptional classmates. “We have an amazing group. We’re very social and there is true camaraderie in our group. When things go well we all celebrate together. On the flip side, if we’re in the middle of exams everyone is very helpful –  a classmate actually hosted a tutorial session for the group once. Everyone is very supportive and that makes it a lot easier.”  Her new network of professionals from different backgrounds helps Nastassia get the most out of her degree, but they’re also helpful back at work, too. “If you’re having trouble at work you have tremendous resources at school that you can use to bounce ideas off of; people who might have more insights into an area you’re not familiar with.”

Earning an MBA while you work is relevant and rewarding, but it’s also a lot of hard work. “It is what you make of it,” Nastassia said. “I think to get the most benefit out of the program you have to be involved. Make connections with your classmates and participate in class. There are a lot of clubs and case competitions that are offered at Rotman.” Case competitions allow students to test their skills and knowledge in real-time. “I’m working on a few case competitions at the moment. It’s an interesting contrast to things we learn in class and is a great opportunity to work with your classmates to apply theoretical concepts to real life scenarios.”

If you’ve been considering applying for Rotman’s Morning MBA or Evening MBA programs, Nastassia has some parting wisdom. “What I found to be most helpful was coming to Rotman and seeing what it’s like for myself. Talk to admissions, go to coffee chats, attend an actual class, and talk to current students and alumni.”

You can learn more about Rotman’s Morning & Evening MBAs here.

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