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Celebrate leaps made and chances taken at Asper Spring Convocation 2024

MBA grad Pinaz Mehta on an unexpected (and expected) path to leadership

June 6, 2024 — 

Pinaz Mehta [MBA/24] was prepared to climb the ladder from the laboratory to the boardroom, working as a criminalist assisting in the validation of AI software for the City of Tucson, Arizona. With graduate training in forensic science and technology, Mehta excelled in research and began to detect the possibility of more.

“When I saw opportunities to make changes—to improve efficiencies or outcomes—I really enjoyed it. I quickly realized that I wanted to move into a managerial role because I saw the potential to bring broader change and make an impact. I was ready to work up that ladder, but within six months of working there, COVID hit.”

Suddenly, feeling even farther away from her family in Toronto amid lockdowns, Mehta realized that she needed a leap, not a ladder, to move forward. She began looking into MBA programs, seeking to develop her leadership skills closer to home.

This June, she graduates with an MBA from the Asper School of Business despite never before imagining this outcome for herself. She will take what she has learned to the RBC Leadership Development Program in July.

During her MBA, Mehta found her focus shifting from forensic science research to risk management in finance, a track she will continue to pursue with RBC.

“The way I define that shift is going from reactive to proactive work. With financial risk management, you’re trying to anticipate challenges, avoid crises, identify opportunities and plan for outcomes based on your analysis,” she explains.

Perhaps her knack for risk management began sooner than she thought, as Mehta bet big on the MBA. When she was admitted to the program, she was still in the final interview stage for a job in Winnipeg and even moved here before getting an offer, leaving full-time work to return to school. Taking the leap seems to have paid off, given her current path to leadership and her MBA experience (and, she did get that job after all).

A skilled risk management expert, Mehta knows that even the best analysis leaves variables and uncertainties. Fortunately, the unexpected opportunities she found at the Asper School of Business were pleasant surprises.

She describes joining business case competitions and student leadership at Asper thanks to colleagues who took a moment to tap her on the shoulder and make a recommendation. She graduated from the fifth cohort of the President’s Student Leadership Program (PSLP) this April thanks to one such recommendation.

“Each experience taught me so much and really revealed that value of staying curious, saying ‘yes’ to opportunities as they come and allowing myself to be inspired by people who have done it before. If not for those colleagues reaching out, I might not have had the confidence to go for it.”

Through PSLP, Mehta learned more about the business landscape of Manitoba, understanding its challenges while also being inspired by the diversity of leaders she engaged with.

“We met youth leaders, Indigenous leaders, female leaders—that was so inspiring for me because I come from a visible minority background. Seeing what they have achieved, what they are achieving and their resilience was inspiring.”

These moments of inspiration, whether from colleagues, leaders or mentors, set Mehta on new and unexpected paths each time, ultimately empowering her to complete the degree, to secure a promising career path and to refine her understanding of how organizations and communities themselves work.

“The most important thing I learned through the MBA was systems thinking, which is so significant because it provides you with an understanding of the interconnected nature of organizations, how one action impacts another,” she says.

This sentiment rings true even as Mehta plans her convocation celebrations. “I’ll celebrate with my family and my husband, as they have been the backbone through this process,” she says.

Whether her next step is a leap or a ladder, Mehta is proud to celebrate convocation, the small moves that make a big impact and the community of support behind every degree conferred.

The Asper School of Business experience doesn’t end after graduation. From building your network and giving back, to coaching, mentoring and advising, learn more about getting involved at Asper as an alum here.

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