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By: Janice BandickPublished On: January 6, 2015
Melisa Olivares arrived at Ashton College armed with a degree in Industrial Engineering and a desire to speed her career advancement. Melisa is currently employed as a product manager with Prolec GE, a transformer manufacturer in Mexico. Melisa’s supervisor at Prolec encouraged her to enrol in a business program where she could develop her coaching skills and improve her English in order to be considered for future promotions. Ashton Insider sat down with Melisa on her last day in Canada to discuss her experience at Ashton College as a graduate of the Diploma in Business program.
Melisa is no stranger to international study, having previously completed an international exchange in Spain, during which she traveled extensively through Europe. Melisa spoke about her passion for cultural exploration, noting “I chose to study at Ashton College because I wanted to improve my English, but I wanted a broader experience than just an English language school. At Ashton, I learnt about different cultures and how a person’s background affects their individual approach to business. My classmates had such varied backgrounds; some had worked in health care, some in fine arts, even financial services. Working alongside people from different industries is such a big part of my job, so I appreciated having the opportunity to do so in an academic setting.”
As a product manager, Melisa specializes in quality control, process efficiency and productivity optimization. According to Melisa, her role requires strong soft skills, as well as practical knowledge, experience, and education. “A big part of my job is critiquing the work habits of others and changing the established way of doing things. If I don’t communicate my ideas effectively and establish my credibility, people will not take me seriously. I have to be able to prove why my way of doing things is going to be more effective than a process that employees have been using for years.
The Diploma in Business program really helped me to become more aware of the different cross-functional areas of an international organization and how they interact and affect each other. The length of the course (six months) was perfect for me, as it allowed adequate time to delve into different business concepts, while still ensuring that my classmates and I could return to the full-time workforce quickly and begin the next stage of our careers.”
With a business diploma in hand, Melisa is preparing to move into a management position with her current company. She plans to continue climbing the corporate ladder and hopes to be promoted to a position as a Director of New Product Development within the next five years. “The skills that I learned at Ashton, the analytical, the coaching, the leadership skills, I know that they will help to set me apart in my industry.”