Smith School Of Business | MBA Student Q&A

Considering the Smith School of Business MBA? Former MBA student, Sam Tyrrell, explains what it’s really like to study the program, how to ace the application, and why he chose Smith's

Since its establishment in 1841, Smith School of Business has been a leader in Canadian education. The MBA program at Queen's is ranked second-best in Canada, according to the QS 2022 rankings, and among the top global business schools by Bloomberg Businessweek. 

The school is based in Kingston, Ontario, but its extensive alumni network spans 154 countries. 

Sam Tyrrell (pictured below) spent nearly six years in investment management and finance, working at Vanguard, one of the world’s largest investment management Firms, for four years before relocating from Australia to Canada to study his MBA at Queen’s University.  

For Sam, doing an MBA was the next logical step to really invest in his own professional development, accelerate his career, and fulfil his long-term goal of becoming a global leader. This investment led to him landing a role at the Royal Bank of Canada, which is set to begin in July. 

We got in touch with Sam to understand what made his time at Smith School of Business so special, and how doing an MBA helped support his career developments. 


Why did you choose the Queen's MBA program?

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The main reason I chose this MBA program was for their team-based learning approach, and the experiential learning opportunities that they offer, which mirrors the real world and helps position students really well for their post-MBA career. 

I was heavily involved in Queen’s University Alternative Assets Fund (QUAAF) as a Thematic Investment Portfolio Manager, along with the Tri-Colour Venture Fund as an analyst. 

In this way, I have found that I could really get involved and have a strong impact, learn a variety of skills that would be useful for my next role. 


Why did you think the Queen's MBA would help you in your next steps?

A mix of factors, for example, the ability to really invest in my own education again and refine some of the skills that I learned throughout my professional and sporting career. Queen’s University has different experiential learning opportunities, building further that capital markets and finance knowledge as well, through QUAAF and the Tri Colour Venture Fund.

I saw it as a great opportunity to further enhance my strategic mindset and develop those skills to position me for that post-MBA career. 

Queen’s University also has a strong alumni network. Some of the opportunities that I was able to interview for were as a result of learning about businesses through the network that I developed. I am looking forward to being a resource for prospective students as they embark on their own MBA journey. 


What have been the highlights of studying at the Smith School of Business?

All in all, when I look back, there are several highlights. Especially when I think of my involvement with QUAAF, presenting pitches and getting investments there, as project manager, and securing investment in an early stage start-up at the Tri Color Venture Fund.

All the people you meet from the professors you work with, the students, and all those you encounter throughout the journey really make an impact.


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What’s one thing about Queen’s people might not know?

The small class size of the MBA program really adds to the personal feel and helps you develop strong relationships with your classmates, the admin team, and different professors. 


How has the Queen’s MBA supported your career developments?

The careers department at Queen’s is exceptional. I worked  closely with my career coach to  learn more about different industries and companies. All this preparation really helped, such as the mock interviews and CV preparation. 

I was really thankful to have been put in touch with people working at the Royal Bank of Canada, which helped me secure a role there to start in July. I was able to learn about the business, the streams, and different paths within the company so that I could understand whether it was a good next step for me.


Would you recommend the Smith Business School MBA to others?

It is critical with any MBA to weigh up what you want to get out of it, what opportunities you want to obtain, and what different schools offer. With the Queen’s MBA it is clear that their team-based style of teaching is why they have been so successful. All in all, I would definitely recommend it!


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Answering MBA Interview Questions: 4 Mistakes To Avoid

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