Within two months of graduating from the MBA at UBC’s Sauder School of Business in Vancouver, Karl Krochmal was working as a senior consultant at EY.
He believes the degree helped him build initial rapport and create a connection with recruiters at the leading professional services firm.
During the MBA he worked an internship as a business development consultant at Lantern Global Services, a Vancouver-based business services firm focusing on technology. He also served as the president of the MBA Society at UBC Sauder.
Previously, Karl spent six years working as a change management consultant at Tata Consultancy Services, in India, Germany, the UK and the US.
The former computer science student also founded two start-up businesses — Emolution, a Polish music information platform, and Paris-based Spicy Elephant, which offered adventurous traveling opportunities in the Indian Himalayas.
Why did you decide to begin an MBA at UBC Sauder?
Completing an MBA program has been on my list for a long time. I shortlisted Vancouver’s best school and, when it came to making the decision, expected ROI (return on investment) and value of education were key factors in my decision making process.
The prospect of living in the greatest and most liveable city on Earth was definitely something that also had an impact on my final decision.
You work as a senior consultant at EY. How beneficial was an MBA in securing this job?
The fact that I completed my MBA from one of world’s top universities cannot be overestimated — almost all of my colleagues have MBAs from respected institutions and the senior manager whom I interviewed with was class president during her MBA. It certainly helped to build initial rapport and create a connection, without which I might not have even cleared the first step of the recruitment process.
How did your MBA prepare you for leading organizational change?
From day one of my studies, I was focused on business transformation, performance improvement and organizational change.
One of the strongest elements of the program is the faculty. Successful professionals and former partners at leading consulting firms bring phenomenal industry insights into the classroom, set the right expectations, and are able to paint a true picture of the job.
Looking at the number of classmates who ended up working in the industry for businesses such as Deloitte, Bain & Company, EY and KPMG, I can see that the UBC MBA provides students with the potential to manage the complex business transformation challenges of the future.
What lessons can you take from Spicy Elephant?
Spicy Elephant started off as a side project to keep me busy over the 10 months between my past consulting experience and the start of the MBA.
With my friend and business partner, we replicated the best traveling experience we’ve ever had and turned it into a viable entrepreneurial project.
After months of preparation and marketing, we delivered two motorcycle trips across the Indian Himalayas to 23 travellers from across the world. The days of the trip were surely the most busy and nerve-wracking days of my life, but also became the most exciting and fulfilling ones.
I learned how important motivation and dedication is to succeed, and how much of a trigger positive spirit can be. From that summer onwards I’ve known I would never be able to do a job that I don’t feel excited about.
What achievements did you have leading the MBA Society?
I tried to restructure our revenue model to enable additional external funding which, along with higher internal fees, increased our budget by 80% year-over-year. I also successfully introduced a project-based approach to delivery.
The executive team also put a lot of effort into managing day-to-day academic and social activities — from weekly social meetings to organizing large scale events and ceremonies to coordinating sending Sauder representatives to national and international events.
The ultimate achievement, from my perspective, was to have provided students with a variety of opportunities to realize their potential, and present opportunities to turn their MBA into something more than just an academic endeavour.
What are your future career plans?
Working for one of the big consulting firms poses serious issues; one of which is that my career progress timeframe is fairly structured and dependent on factors which are beyond an employee’s control.
In the short-term I’m looking to establish myself internally as a capable senior consultant and strong team player. I’m eager to learn from my bright colleagues and from the world’s leading organizations that I work with.
With time, I hope to move towards client relationship and business development consulting roles. And, ultimately one day I hope to take full ownership of the engagements I deliver, either as a partner in a professional services firm or as a freelance consultant.