Econ grad hired by top global consulting firm

Social Sciences

- Anne MacLaurin

Honours economics grad Maxwell Nicholson.

Honours economics grad Maxwell Nicholson grew up in a small Kootenay town where he started his own cake-making business while still in high school.

“I was thinking of going to school to become a pastry chef, but my parents convinced me to apply to at least one university,” says Nicholson.

“I applied to UVic since my brother was already enrolled in the school,” he adds.

As a self-starter entrepreneur, Nicholson says his dream of culinary school was exchanged for a new dream of making a difference in the world through innovation and business. The study of economics made the most sense to him since he says almost everything in our culture has an aspect of economics to it.

“Economics gave me a useful framework to try and understand our complex world,” says Nicholson. “All decisions have trade-offs and not everything is black and white. Most things are more nuanced than they seem.”

Nicholson quickly caught the attention of his first-year professor, Emma Hutchinson.

Max is exceptional. He got 100 per cent in ECON 103 the semester he took my class. No student before or since has achieved a perfect score.
UVic economics professor Emma Hutchinson

She adds that hiring him to be a teaching assistant when he wa in second year was a “no-brainer.”

“Max is beloved by his students and is one of the best TAs I have ever had the pleasure of working with,” continues Hutchinson. During his time at UVic, Nicholson was involved with local student politics and ran for a seat in the UVSS student election. His slate, Encompass UVic, beat out the incumbents and won every seat in the general election.

“My favourite memory was the day we won,” says Nicholson. “We cheered so loud that the department chair had to come and quiet us down.”

When he wasn’t involved in student politics or travelling to Singapore during an exchange, Nicholson was trying to make a difference in the classroom through open textbooks—texts authored by professors for the specific purpose of being used and taught from without charge. Nicholson successfully convinced Hutchinson to author and use one of these textbooks in her course.

Unlike some other schools, where you feel like a number in a seat, at UVic it is very easy to seek and implement the changes you wish to see. In my studies, I was able to work closely with many of my professors, and ultimately collaborate with Dr. Hutchinson for the open textbook project.
Economics graduate Max Nicholson

Last year, Nicholson was one of 10 students across Canada awarded a prestigious 3M National Student Fellowship, in recognition of his future potential to enhance teaching and learning at the post-secondary level. Nicholson, who graduates this month with a BA honours degree  in economics—and will be awarded the UVic Jubilee Award in Social Sciences during convocation—says leadership is all about taking action to bring about change.

“Leadership is realizing that you can’t do everything yourself. It is building partnerships with others who share common goals and collaborating to achieve results. This focus on action and collaboration are core to my style of leadership,” says Nicholson.

Nicholson plans to apply his skills to his new position with McKinsey & Company, a global management consultant firm where he interned last summer. McKinsey is regularly ranked as the best consulting firm in the world by Vault, and Nicholson is the first student hired from UVic directly out of an undergrad program. Nicholson says he values the company’s culture of openness and their emphasis on personal development.

Nicholson’s next chapter begins after returning home from some summer travels in Southeast Asia. In the future he hopes to pursue a MBA at a school in the US.


In this story

Keywords: convocation, employment

People: Maxwell Nicholson, Emma Hutchinson

Publication: The Ring

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