Meet our MBA students and alumni


Zachary Roff, Daytime MBA '19

Country of Origin: Australia
Current Position: Owner, Valkyrian Canning


What were you doing before you joined the UVic MBA program?

I was working in oil and Gas, as a project manager. I was based in Singapore, and had previously worked in Norway and Australia within the same field.

What are you doing now, during/immediately after the program?

I started my own business – it’s a mobile beer canning company that can drive to microbreweries and can their beer for them. The machine is a very specialised piece of equipment, and its the only one that is based on the island.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

That’s a hard one to answer! I feel settled here in BC, but would be sad if I didn’t do at least another few stints abroad. South America looks nice – maybe there next?

Based on your experience in the program, how do you view sustainability//innovation? How does your understanding of this concept impact the work you do?

The program really emphasised the paradigm that sustainability isn’t something that you do in addition to your work, and that instead it should be integrated into every part. Before the program, I was unaware of this concept of “doing well by doing good”, which explains that companies that are doing “good” from a sustainability point of view are often the ones that are outperforming competitors. That, to me, makes it an extremely vital aspect of a business (as well as, you know, the right thing to do).

How has the UVic MBA program helped you make an impact? How has it helped you get to where you are now?

For me, the hard skills of the program were extremely useful – how to read balance sheets, how to establish pricing models, how to effectively engage with customers, that sort of thing. It was a very integral part of my business starting up and the program gave me the confidence in these arenas to actually give it a go!

What was your big “a-ha!” moment during your time in the program?

I was surprised to see and learn through the experiences that ideas are worth nothing! Seems like everyone has them, and many of them are absolutely fantastic – but it counts for nothing unless you actually ACT on it and make a business out of it!


Lise Matzke, MSc, CCRP, Weekend MBA '16

Country of Origin: Canada

Current Position: Business and Operations Lead for UBC Office of Biobank Education and Research, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine





What were you doing before you joined the UVic MBA program?

On any given day, I was working with research institutions, centres, networks and universities, to develop research capacity to support clinical and translational research. Additionally, I was leading the creation of tailored education for research and clinical stakeholders and designing innovative research program solutions to target changing needs for biobanks (collections of biospecimens and data). 

What are you doing now, during/immediately after the program?

Post MBA -I am now the Business and Operations Lead for UBC Office of Biobank Education and Research, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine with cross appointment to BC Cancer.  In addition to consulting on research operations and capacity building, I focus on the business development and management of the Biobanking and Biospecimen Research Services Platform (BBRS) within PHSA.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

Making a difference for pathology and laboratory medicine in BC. 

In the bench to bedside model, we take the discoveries made in research, and apply them to healthcare delivery so that all the public can benefit.  This is the under pinning of Precision Medicine - the ability to better treat individuals more specifically based on their characteristics.

I see myself 1) leading BC initiatives that harness innovation and apply them to the area of pathology and laboratory medicine so the public will continue to benefit from excellent service; 2) playing in a space with local experts in health care and research so that the great work happening in BC is valued on the World Stage; 3) living out the vision of Precision Medicine for the benefit of all persons in BC and beyond.

Based on your experience in the program, how do you view sustainability//innovation? How does your understanding of this concept impact the work you do?

Sustainability and innovation ultimately work together!  Being able to keep an enterprise moving forward in social, environmental and economic domains ultimately need innovative thinking and approaches to move forward. Put another way, this is evolution: to move forward, sustaining practice needs to grow, and innovation is a key vehicle to growth.  I hope to play a part in evolving health research so it grows and profoundly impacts all patients.

How has the UVic MBA program helped you make an impact? How has it helped you get to where you are now?

The UVic MBA helped me be a valuable asset to my organization.  The MBA helped me take key areas from the core curriculum and apply them to the broader system of health research.  For the BBRS, business development and management were identified as critical areas to employ in moving forward with new initiatives.  I was identified as having the key business skills needed to focus our group toward growth and evolution.  I happily accepted the request to put my business skills and my research and content expertise together and evolve our enterprise.

What was your big “a-ha!” moment during your time in the program?

That I don’t have to be an expert in all areas of business to be an effective leader!  It’s easy to be daunted by the topics of an MBA (e.g. strategy, marketing, accounting, finance etc.). Some folks have a greater expertise and natural ability than others.  In the real-world of ‘teams’, content experts and natural interests - exist.  Being a leader, in my view, is working with the experts of these areas to achieve a set of business goals. 


Matt Erickson, MBA '18

Country of Origin: Canada

Current Position: Director of Acute Flow and Utilization, Victoria General Hospital





What were you doing before you joined the UVic MBA program?

Before my journey through the UVic MBA, I was a manager of two amazing medical units at a tertiary hospital in Victoria.

What are you doing now, during/immediately after the program?

Now 2 years and a bit on, I manage the Emergency Room at Victoria General Hospital and feel poised and ready to take on new opportunities that come my way.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

In the future I see a few possibilities which include internal promotion to director or higher in Island Health and possibly exploring entrepreneurship on the side with my oldest daughter combining art and craftsmanship.

Based on your experience in the program, how do you view sustainability//innovation? How does your understanding of this concept impact the work you do?

In my work, the MBA served to help me understand the how the power of innovation and sustainability can be harnessed. Innovation is both something that can occur spontaneously, but more often something that comes with loads of organized effort and pursuit. Sustainability, being a process of maintenance but more as a culture or a mindset. In classes about sustainability we also explored topics linked to indigenous specific racism among others, and I was able to translate this to my work and life.

How has the UVic MBA program helped you make an impact? How has it helped you get to where you are now?

This translation has been one of the most profound personal journeys since starting MBA. My personal exploration of how racism and white privilege collide in a place like the ED has been very profound, and it has allowed me to explore these concepts with others in the ER, to move towards doing and being better in our communities.

What was your big “a-ha!” moment during your time in the program?

I think the biggest “ah-ha” moment in the program came for me in the end, when I realized, while I may have gone into the program to get a promotion or to become a better professional, what I truly came out valuing was a new perspective. Being allowed to see that “up” may not always be better and that life has a lot more to offer than what is found between 9 and 5.

Christina Hernandez, Daytime Class of 2011, discusses her MBA experience.
Siddharth Jain

Siddharth Jain, MBA '19

Siddharth Jain

Country of Origin: India

MBA: Daytime Class of 2019

The first day of the program, you meet people from 14 different countries with a myriad of experiences. A small cohort with such diversity is what puts Gustavson at the epitome of MBA programs in Canada. If you ask any of my colleagues from the program, they would clearly state that doing an MBA from Gustavson was never an option for them, but a choice.

Pursuing my MBA from the University of Victoria has made me committed to continuous personal and professional development. It has helped me in achieving and maintaining a global network of future leaders. Not only does the school create an environment where you feel confident, positive and safe to achieve your professional goals, but also provide a platform to launch yourself globally, challenging the brightest business minds out there.

The program is designed in such a way that you start sensing every problem as an opportunity. Hands on experience with the learned concepts in a diversified team of international students constantly provides us with the business acumen which every prospective business graduate would want to acquire. The focus on the practicality of the situation more than the theoretical aspects is what drives and motivates all of us at Gustavson. If you come with a dream, I am positive the program team will ensure that you find a way to fulfill it. They did help me achieve mine.

Definitely “the world looks different from here”, but halfway into the program I know how to convince the world to see things differently.

Do you have questions for Siddharth? Send an email to with the subject line "Siddharth Jain" and we will put you in touch.

Siddharth Jain

Zachary Roff, MBA '19

Zachary Roff

Country of Origin: Australia

MBA: Daytime Class of 2019

There are a lot of MBA programs out there, and it can be very difficult to select the one that is best for you. When I was researching different programs, applying to UVic, departing to Canada and even up until I arrived I still had doubts if this program was the best fit for me! I can honestly say, though, that as soon as I started, I knew it was a fantastic program and that I was going to be put into a position where I could learn a ton and it could give me the skills that I wanted. The warm welcome that I received upon moving to Canada by the program staff and the initial EBL (Essentials of Business and Leadership) adventure was more than enough proof that I had made the right call!

Firstly, the program is designed to be smaller than others – this is a huge advantage as a student, as the professors know who you are, what your goals are, and are always more than willing to help out, allowing you access to an enormous knowledge base to draw on. You are not just “a number” and I didn’t place a lot of value on this until I was already at UVic, and saw the dedication that the faculty have to passing on their knowledge.

Another advantage of the small cohort is that you truly get to know all your classmates – across the last year and half I think I have worked with everyone on at least one project, and this strong network is an integral component of the program - after all, these are the future leaders of businesses that you are mixing with!

This program has given me the skills I wanted to pivot away from my old career and hopefully launch my own business, as well as the incredible network of people that I have met along the way. I had doubts, sure, but I know now that this truly was worth the investment both in terms of time and money, and I wouldn’t have wanted to complete this program anywhere else, or with any other group of people.

Do you have questions for Zac? Send an email to with the subject line "Zac Roff" and we will put you in touch.

Jihane Bousfiha

Jihane Bousfiha, MBA '17

Jihane Bousfiha

Country of Origin: Morocco

MBA: Daytime Class of 2017

International Student Representative, Student Council

“Families are the compass that guides us. They are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter.” Brad Henry

As an international student, the first thing we consider when travelling to a foreign country is the people we leave behind. It is a daunting experience that takes character, perseverance, and hope that the results will outweigh the sacrifices. I never really imagined that when I left my family I would be getting another one in the members of my cohort to guide me through this wonderful MBA experience. They have been there to push me to do my best, to comfort me in times of sorrow, and to make me laugh and smile when I forget to.

We are taught to look at things from all angles, to put ourselves in the shoes of others, to think of the world and sustainability, and to span boundaries. The support from the administrative staff and faculty has no measure as they want us to succeed and are there when we just need to talk and decompress. When they said, “the world looks different from here” they really did mean it. I feel blessed being here at the University of Victoria because not only am I receiving an excellent and rewarding education, but I am getting to do so with students I expect will be part of my life forever.

Do you have questions for Jihane? Send an email to  with the subject line "Jihane Bousfiha" and we will put you in touch.

Hazen Fowler

Hazen Fowler, MBA '17

Hazen Fowler

Country of Origin: Canada

MBA: Daytime Class of 2017

Current Position: Client Success Manager, FreshWorks Studio

To take this program I stepped out of a position in management that I loved, with the intention to return to as a polished, well rounded professional – I’ll admit the leap made me nervous. The professionalism, intellect and kindness of the cohort, the staff and faculty, and the extended network of amazing people that I met in the first few weeks quickly eased my apprehension. In addition, the program also feels more like work than school, based on the well-rounded and practical activity based learning.

The UVic MBA also challenges you to open doors, and in return it rewards you with a myriad of opportunities. From case competitions in sustainability, marketing, finance, and design thinking to the networking events, volunteering opportunities, academic clubs and sports teams, the extra curricular opportunities to build a well-rounded network and resume are limitless. I just returned from a program put on by the Japanese government that was an all-expenses paid trip to experience Japanese foreign policy from within the country.

Why Gustavson: before I chose Gustavson I remember the Dean said, “We don’t want to be ‘world class” because that insinuates we’re like everyone else; we want to be world leading.” The Gustavson School of Business is pushing the boundaries on the Business Case for Sustainability, holding itself to the same values it espouses for the business community through research, consulting services, emissions improvements, and by making cooperative links for students, faculty and staff. Come join us at Gustavson, it will be the best decision you make for your business future.

Do you have questions for Hazen? Send an email to  with the subject line "Hazen Fowler" and we will put you in touch.

Amir Khan

Amir Khan, MBA '17

Amir Khan

Country of Origin: Canada

MBA: Daytime Class of 2017

Current Position: Territory Sales Representative, Sage Medical Products

Finding something that I was truly passionate about used to be a challenge for me. While I consider myself an ambitious and capable person, I struggled to find a path that would interest me and make use of my strengths. Since enrolling in the MBA Program at UVic, passion is no longer an issue. The energy that pervades UVic is unlike that of any institution I have attended; all are welcome, and any can find their niche. My own experience exemplifies the value of this: through my diverse, motivated, and intellectually stimulating cohort I’ve been able to discover things about myself that I had long wished to know.

Professional development is enhanced through a constant focus on self-reflection, which encourages personal growth and the ability to see the world in a different way. UVic's dedication to sustainability, integration, and leadership, for example, has contributed to a global mindset that I can take forward for the rest of my career. Halfway through this program, I've not only acquired a host of new skills, but I feel like I've been given the tools to leverage my talents in the real world.

The MBA program here provides so many opportunities to enjoy the present in anticipation of your future. This is not a journey that you embark on alone, but with the tremendous support of your classmates, faculty, and staff. Come prepared to be challenged—and trust me, it will be worth it.

Do you have questions for Amir? Send an email to  with the subject line "Amir Khan" and we will put you in touch.

Blake Mansbridge

Blake Mansbridge, MBA '17

Blake Mansbridge

Country of Origin: Canada

MBA: Daytime Class of 2017

Current Position: Community Relations Manager, FortisBC

MBA programs are not your automatic ticket to success. There is no guarantee that once you graduate you instantly become more employable. In fact, if you simply go through the motions, you probably won’t. How much you put into it determines how much you get out of it.

Prior to beginning the UVic MBA program, I was told, “working as part of a team will be the most challenging part of the program.” When I first heard this I thought if that was the toughest part of the program, the year and a half would be easy. Being part of high-performing teams in work, school and athletics was always something I enjoyed and excelled at. However, I stress those early words of wisdom, because they are true.

In the UVic MBA program, your expectations, values, perspectives and work ethics will differ from those of your colleagues. While these differences can certainly add value and contribute to an enhanced learning process and final product, they do not come without their frustrations. Although it is challenging, it is the real world, and this program this will not be the last time you experience those feelings.

Remember why you committed to the program: what was your why? Why are you considering the program right now? Remember that reason. While collaboration will be at times be difficult, ultimately, it was the people - colleagues and teammates alike - that contributed to my success and growth in the program. Stick with those who push you and are there until the end. Those who teach you and contribute to your personal growth. The MBA is a platform to introduce those people, and many will become lifelong friends and contribute towards your future success.

Do you have questions for Blake? Send an email to  with the subject line "Blake Mansbridge" and we will put you in touch.

Srividya Sharma

Srividya Sharma, MBA '17

Srividya Sharma

Country of Origin: India

MBA: Daytime Class of 2017

Current Position: Service Manager, BC Public Service

It is said that not through books but through experience is when one learns the most. True to that, the UVic MBA program has offered myriad experiences, and each one of those has aided me in my professional and personal development. In addition to the course structure that encourages a global perspective with a sustainable outlook, this business program sets the stage to pursue different areas of interest, by furnishing opportunities, such as national level MBA Games, international case competitions, volunteering opportunities, clubs and many more. This integrated and practical learning offered at UVic is what made me choose the program.

The business education here at UVic is experiential and has aided me in pushing my boundaries and setting higher milestones. This would not have been possible without the help and support of the friendly and accomplished academic staff, cohort of like-minded individuals from a wide variety of cultural, educational and work backgrounds, and a diligent admin staff.

Do you have questions for Srividya? Send an email to  with the subject line "Srividya Sharma" and we will put you in touch.


Jay Harolikar, MBA '15

Jay Harolikar

Country of Origin: India

MBA: Daytime Class of 2015

Current Position: Commerical Account Manager, (BMO)

This MBA Program has transformed me from a local candidate to an international professional. The focus on developing soft skills and networking with the industry experts has helped me become a more outgoing and open-minded individual from an introvert. The program not only teaches you theoretical concepts but challenges you to apply these concepts to the real life problems faced by organizations today. The UVic MBA program is truly international in nature. With students from more than 10 countries participating in my class alone, one would experience the cultural diversity from the classroom itself. I would highly recommend the UVic MBA program to the prospective candidates as it offers the utmost value for your investment.

Do you have questions for Jay? Send an email to  with the subject line "Jay Harolikar" and we will put you in touch.

Anthony Njoroge

Anthony Njoroge, MBA '16

Anthony Njoroge

Country of Origin: Kenya

MBA: Daytime Class of 2016

The MBA program at the University of Victoria is a life transforming experience. You get to work with a host of international students with varied professional backgrounds in an intimate setting with world class professors and instructors. Through the MBA program, you are able to work with mentors who are behind Canada's corporate success story to help you refine your own success story.

I came to the UVic MBA program to broaden my professional horizon. The integrated nature of the MBA program allows you to integrate different disciplines in business. The MBA program has helped me build a solid professional toolkit that I use to: challenge my world view, span my cross cultural thinking, build sustainable business models, think globally and execute locally. I can confidently say that through the UVic MBA program, I am world ready.

Do you have questions for Anthony? Send an email to ; with the subject line "Anthony Njoroge" and we will put you in touch.

Learn how the Evening MBA Class of 2017 gave Jonna Richards "a whole new tool belt."

Juan Camilo Arias, MBA '18

Juan Camilo Arias

Country of Origin: Colombia

MBA: Weekend Class of 2018

Current Position: Global Offer Manager with Schneider Electric Global

My Bachelor’s is in electronics engineering, and I started in the industrial automation world, programming and installing machinery for an OEM in Colombia. And then around eight years ago I switched to Schneider Electric and the power and energy management sector and transitioned into a training and then a global marketing role.

I came to the MBA program to find the hard business knowledge, the hard business skills. I have mainly a technical background so I’m looking for coursework in management, economics, finance, all of those topics that I know because of my everyday job but that I wasn’t formally trained on. That’s one of the things I’m looking for. The sustainability element of the program was also appealing, as one of the main objectives of Schneider Electric is being green, and being part of one of the most sustainable companies in the world, it’s important to me to be an active participant in these initiatives. 


Collette Christney, MBA '18

Collette Christney

Country of Origin: UK

MBA: Weekend Class of 2018

Current Position: Director, Surgical Services, BC Ministry of Health

I’ve been in healthcare my entire adult life, starting as a nurse, and working my way through various management positions. I have spent the past 15 years at the Ministry of Health in BC in the strategic-level development of health policy.

Several factors ultimately made me choose the Weekend MBA, among which were the accessibility of hours and location, and the breadth of knowledge I felt it would give me. I looked at Master’s programs more focused on health but in the end the exposure to management, strategy and problem solving across industries was very appealing. In a room full of MBA students, I could be next to someone who’s managing a dairy plant, you know? It’s just so far away from my own domain, I honestly think that’s where some of the greatest benefit is going to be.

The induction and start of the program has been fabulous. The pace has been high, and the courses interesting, challenging and invigorating all at the same time! Big shout out to the ever-present support from the MBA program team. No matter how ready you think you are for the challenge of balancing an academic schedule with a busy work life and a full home life, it’s still been a big adjustment. 


Maggie Sewagudde-Peden, MBA '18

Maggie Sewagudde-Peden

Country of Origina: Uganda

MBA: Weekend Class of 2018

Current Position: Financial Service Associate at CIBC

I have 15 years of experience in financial services and wholesale banking. I am currently employed by CIBC Imperial Service, where we offer personalized banking solutions to manage high-net-worth clients.

I enjoy critical thinking, analysis and challenging pre-concluded assumptions. I love to learn and improve on process and efficiency. Discipline mastery and becoming an expert in a specific field of knowledge motivates me.  My passions include travelling, debating and most importantly spending time with my family. I enjoy volunteer work and I am currently committed to many causes.

An MBA will give me the tools and platform to launch a career change. My expertise and background in financial services and wholesale banking will play a critical part in my success in the MBA program. I am ready to learn, adapt and share. Even though I have not chosen a specialty yet, gaining a better understanding in managerial finance, financial management accounting and strategic analysis fascinates me. I want an environment/team where I can challenge myself and thrive. The UVic Weekend MBA offers flexibility for full-time working students like me and innovative courses that resonate with me.

It’s exciting to see how the knowledge that I will acquire in the MBA program will be successfully applied into real business applications and solutions; my MBA journey is my next step towards an advanced, successful career.


Sunjit Mark, MBA '17

Sunjit Mark

Country of Origin: Canada

MBA: Evening Class of 2017

Current Position: Business Information Manager at Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

The Gustavson School of Business MBA program is a rich learning environment, from the professors, to cohort members, to the courses. The program is structured to build strong leaders with a depth and breadth of business knowledge. While balancing full-time work and attending classes is challenging, it is well worth the commitment. Class discussions are thought-provoking and offer a variety of perspectives which contribute significantly to the learning experience. I have no doubt that my learnings and experience in this program will position me well for a variety of rewarding career possibilities.

Do you have questions for Sunjit? Send an email to  with the subject line "Sunjit Mark" and we will put you in touch.

L. Schwertfeger

Laura Schwertfeger, MBA '14

Laura Schwertfeger

Country of Origin: Canada

MBA: Evening Class of 2014

Specialization: Self-directed

Current Position: District Principal, International Student Program at School District 62 (Sooke)

What I really enjoyed about the MBA program at Gustavson was the opportunity to have face-to-face classes as an evening student. There are a variety of options for online MBA programs, but the value of in-person lectures and contact with professors and cohort members cannot be overstated. The professors were incredibly approachable and supportive, as were the MBA directors and support staff.

Do you have questions for Laura? Send an email to  with the subject line "Laura Schwertfeger" and we will put you in touch.


Jesal Shah, MBA '15

Jesal Shah

Country of Origin: USA

MBA: Evening Class of 2015

Current Position: Flood Safety Engineer at Ministry of Forests, Lands, & Natural Resource Operations

What most impresses me about the Gustavson School of Business, is the amount of time professors are willing to give to improve your learning and business skills. For example, when our team was preparing for the finals of the Nespresso MBA Challenge case competition, almost every single professor in the business school provided us with important feedback and advice on our proposal and presentation. I found this level of commitment from professors unprecedented in my educational background.

Do you have questions for Jesal? Send an email to  with the subject line "Jesal Shah" and we will put you in touch.


Gary Ward, MBA '16

Gary Ward

Country of Origin: Canada

MBA: Evening Class of 2016

Current Position: Vice President, Coastal Bliss Adventures Inc.

Right from the beginning in the Essentials of Business and Leadership course, I was impressed with the care and attention paid to the students. The professors are keenly interested in each of us and in our success, often going out of their way to help when needed. The focus on developing well-rounded individuals is apparent in how the program and courses are structured. We have challenging assignments, pushing us to be better individuals and better team members. The Gustavson School of Business star is rising, moving higher in North American MBA program rankings. I am very happy with my choice to be a part of this great university and program.

Do you have questions for Gary? Send an email to  with the subject line "Gary Ward" and we will put you in touch.