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When we last spoke with Marcus, he had recently completed a Diploma in Business at Ashton College and was preparing to return to his native Brazil.
Marcus was in Vancouver this past weekend to attend the Ashton Achievement Awards and stopped by the campus to catch up with former instructors and advisers. Ashton Insider sat down with Marcus to discuss recent career developments and reflect on his time at Ashton College.
Marcus knows a thing or two about making a big play. As a former professional soccer player in Brazil, Marcus served as team captain for four years, acting as the public face of the organization in a hyper-competitive market. Marcus led his team to championships in 2007 and 2008, and learned valuable leadership skills that he feels will translate well to the business world. “As a captain, you have to be accountable for your team’s performance. The media comes to you when the team is losing and you have to take responsibility publicly, while privately, you’re trying to motivate your teammates to perform at a higher level. It’s very similar to managing employees in business.”
While playing soccer at the professional level, Marcus was also working towards the completion of a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree at a local university in Brazil. After graduating and realizing it was time to hang up his cleats, Marcus decided to take a risk and chose to study abroad in Canada. “I wanted to improve my English and force myself out of my comfort zone” Marcus said. “Ashton was my gift to myself, it was an investment in me and my future.”
After a rigorous interview process, Marcus was one of over 10,000 applicants selected to fill 15 positions in a prestigious management training program with TIM Brasil, one of the largest telecommunications firms in South America. Marcus credits Ashton for providing him with a competitive advantage over other applicants, noting “my English improved immensely during my time in Canada, which obviously helped during the English proficiency interview. I also heavily relied on the ‘Challenge-Action-Result’ model favored by (business instructor) Bart Zych. I found myself answering every interview question with CAR statements. It really helped me demonstrate how I could be an asset to the company. Ashton helped me improve my business vocabulary and knowledge. I gained a different point of view and was exposed to a more international approach to management that will be invaluable to me as I move forward in my career.”
Beginning in January, Marcus will spend 27 months rotating through different departments, learning about marketing, sales, human resources, and finance operations within the organization. After completing the training program, Marcus will be assigned a supervisory position in the department he and TIM decide is the best fit for his skills, education and leadership style. As Marcus prepares for a career at the management level, the thing he is most looking forward to is the opportunity to mentor others. “I was really lucky, I felt a strong connections to many of my professors, especially Bart Zych, who I viewed as a mentor and a friend. I want to continue to grow and develop in my career so that I may eventually be a resource for others. One of the things I am most excited for is developing talent and serving as a mentor for young people as they work to advance their careers… In five years, I see myself in an executive position surrounded by a strong and motivated team, and contributing as much value as possible to a company that values my input.”
Keen to impart his knowledge, Marcus has some advice for those considering a business degree, locally or abroad. “Choosing a school is not just about what you learn within the four walls of a classroom. It is about the entire experience. I made lifelong friends and business connections and developed an international network, studying alongside individuals from Taiwan, Mexico, France, Japan, and Canada. I had the opportunity to travel around British Columbia and Alberta, as well as throughout the Pacific Northwest; even Las Vegas! My experience at Ashton was fulfilling on an academic as well as a personal level.”
In order to gain as much as possible from your time at Ashton, Marcus noted that it is important for students to “use Ashton as a tool for your life- there are so many resources available to students and you get back what you put into it. With dedication and hard work, the program can be your foundation for an exciting future.”