The Way They Were

Marketing Instructor Marian Magrane is quick to admit in an email chain with me that it was easy for her to list her failures, but that successes were a little scarcer. A situation which I feel many of us have become acquainted with through interviews or personal conversations. In any case, as uncomfortable as it may be, looking “down memory lane” on our triumphs and trials helps us understand the people we’ve become or the people we wish to be.

Below, three women, all unique in their own way, share the ups and downs of their careers or individual educational paths at Schulich.  

Severina Lutaj, Graduating iBBA 2017, Boutique Investment Banker  

Failure: My greatest misstep at Schulich was not keeping up with all the extracurricular activities that I had grown up doing. When you have a demanding school/work schedule, it’s sometimes easy to prioritize your immediate tasks, and forget about the rest. In the long run, taking the time to do the things you love is critical to both your happiness and success.

Success: My biggest accomplishment at Schulich was learning to always take the path less beaten; searching and pursuing opportunities that are less popular and thinking primarily about developing your skill set as opposed to title or name has proved an invaluable lesson for me. It’s important to work on your weaknesses, but the goal should always be to focus on your strengths – that’s what’s going to set you apart in the long run.

Marian Magrane, Marketing Instructor at the Schulich School of Business

Failure: Early in my career I had a tendency to micro-manage direct reports. Needless to say, this led to unmotivated employees and frustration on everyone’s part. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for me to realize that it was far better to show people how to spread their wings, enable them to fly, and just stand in the wings with a safety net to catch them if they fell.

Success: I had the opportunity, as a junior in the advertising industry, to experience the benefits of establishing client relationships based on total transparency. “I don’t actually know the answer to that – but will investigate and get back to you shortly” were incredibly important words – and led to much success for me. The key, of course, was always getting back to the client with an appropriate response in the shortest possible time.

Sajal Nazir, BBA 2017 Graduate, Digital Marketing at Lant Insurance Brokers

I had realized very early on at my time in Schulich that I wasn’t going to easily find my place there. I was constantly worried about what I would do after I graduated because I genuinely did not think there was a career out there for me. Schulich, in all fairness, does an amazing job at providing students with opportunities in “standard” business careers at big companies. And that’s not to say that those are not great careers because they totally are! But for someone who was looking to do something along the lines of writing, marketing and working for a small start-up, there were very limited options. I basically had to discover the world of content, copywriting and content marketing all by myself at the end of third year. I don’t know if this was a failure or success on my part, but I wish I had known that it was completely okay to go against the grain and find something niche to do. And if you’re going to have to do it all by yourself, then you’re all the better for it.

I stumbled upon this Winston Churchill quote years ago after failing a math test and thinking that my world was crumbling before me. I leave you with what I think is the most refreshing definition of victory, “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

A special thank you to Severina Lutaj, Marian Magrane, and Sajal Nazir for your transparent responses and open minds.