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【Interview】IBMBA Alumni Todd Lajeunesse(Class of 2013)

“I am applying the knowledge and experience that I gained at NSYSU every day in my business life. First and foremost, the nature of my job means that I am engaging with business owners from around the globe- and just like class, everyone approaches those interactions differently from a cultural perspective”, said Todd Lajeunesse, our alumni from IBMBA.  
 
1.Hi Todd. Could you briefly introduce yourself?
 
Hello, my name is Todd. I was a student of the IBMBA program and graduated in 2013.
I am from Vancouver, Canada. Before taking the IBMBA program, I was graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2004 with a major in Statistics and concentration in Economics. 
 
2.When and why did you decide to join the IBMBA program?
 
I worked for four years in Seattle, USA, as an Actuarial Analyst. Being an actuary is an excellent career path, but it did not offer the creativity and impact I was seeking. It was after leaving Seattle that I found myself on a plane to Taiwan.
I found out about the IBMBA Program at NSYSU while I was visiting a friend in Taiwan. To me, taking this program is not only an excellent way to pursue advanced education but also an awesome opportunity to extend my travels. 
 
3.How did you feel about your career opportunities after obtaining the NSYSU Diploma?
 
Excellent. I felt that my experience attaining my MBA in Taiwan, with an international group of classmates, put me at unique advantages that I would not have had otherwise.
One of the critical advantages of IBMBA is that it enhances your theoretical and practical knowledge of how companies operate. Having a compliment of "soft skills," such as communication, teamwork, and leadership, is a crucial component of business success or any endeavor in that respect. Today's labor market is more turbulent than ever before and fills many with uncertainty and fears of being left out. A more marketable skillset and greater job security are amongst the many benefits of taking this program.
Moreover, a strong network of professionals is also an asset you can have in NSYSU. This type of network allows you to gain access to new employment opportunities and can be useful if you decide to set up your own business.
I am applying the knowledge and experience that I gained at NSYSU every day in my business life. First and foremost, the nature of my job means that I am engaging with business owners from around the globe- and just like class, everyone approaches those interactions differently from a cultural perspective. In the Financial Management course with Professor Yih Jeng, I was responsible for auditing financial statements of businesses we would like to buy, to determine the valuation. We will also eventually be looking at expanding the markets are solutions are sold in and intend to tap my NSYSU network for new team members who can help us enter them.
 
4.Could you share with us some of your working experience after your graduation at NSYSU?
 
I am the Chief Investment Officer for Univerus- a Vancouver-based software company focused on building and acquiring solutions for the Utility, Local Government, and Construction Industries. Since we founded the company in July '19, we have acquired seven software companies located in New Zealand, Australia, the US, and Canada. We are working to integrate their best of breed solutions into a single interface with multiple product offerings.
The first "job" I tried to land was the one that I was trying to create for myself- I wanted to pursue entrepreneurship. I had built my graduate thesis around a business concept in the sharing economy that I hoped would allow people to buy home-cooked meals from their neighbors. Some partners and I built the website, launched it at a large food festival, gained a fair amount of media attention, but then got hit with the reality that local health authorities in Canada frown upon people selling food from their home. With not enough traction to justify fighting government regulations, and running out of savings, I chalked it up to a great learning experience and decided to find a job that paid a salary.
 
5.What are the difficulties you faced when started the studies? What/who helped you to overcome these difficulties?
 
Chinese Class! I wanted to learn as much as possible but quickly realized the limitations of my language learning ability. I was a long way from discussing anything of substance in a second language, so I set the bar at learning some getting around town. My Chinese teacher at the Chinese Language Center also helped me improve my Chinese vocabulary and grammar.
 
6.Do you have any recommendations or advice for current students?
 
Figure out what your dream job is, and then go about building the qualifications and experience required to get it. The jobs you work need to provide more than a paycheck- if it is not getting you a step closer to your goals, it's time to move onto one that does. 
 
Respondent: Todd Lajeunesse (NSYSU, IBMBA Alumni, Class of 2013)
Interviewer: Dang Phuong Thao (Alex), Vice President of the 5th Students Association.
 
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