Greg Smith, Alexander MacLeod and Olena Sapojnikova have many things in common.
Each is a self-proclaimed car enthusiast, who was introduced to the automotive industry in childhood. All three have worked in automotive retail for years, and can agree that they’ve found their perfect career fit. Soon, each will add an MBA to their respective list of achievements.
Despite these similarities, the soon-to-be graduates work in very different capacities. Greg is a Regional Sales Manager for BMW. He’s responsible for achieving sales volume targets for several dealerships in his region.
“I am a rep for many different stores, varying in size and strategy. As such, I get a sense of how the dealerships operate and what drives success in the retail world.” -Greg Smith, BMW Canada
Alexander was recently promoted to Business Development Manager for Hyundai, with an extended territory that includes all of Canada.
“I plan and strategize Retail Incentive Programs to help sell the highest volume of cars. Another aspect of my job is ensuring that there is strong collaboration between the Sales and Marketing teams to help develop synergies.” -Alexander MacLeod, Hyundai Canada
Lastly, Olena is a Digital Marketing Consultant for Toyota Canada’s Lexus brand. Her responsibilities span web, search, social media and e-mail.
“I work closely with our various agency partners to execute the many vehicles launches, maintenance projects, photoshoots and other initiatives to support the brand.” -Olena Sapojnikova, Toyota Canada
Though they excel in different roles for three distinct automotive brands, Greg, Alexander and Olena share similar insights about why they love the work they do. It should come as no surprise that for three auto enthusiasts, obstacles, detours and rapid speeds are all welcome challenges in the workplace.
“One of the things I like most about the automotive industry is how dynamic it can be,” says Alexander. “I find it exciting to see how my decisions influence automotive sales in different ways, and love the opportunity to test and learn about different tactics that yield different results.”
Olena and Greg also appreciate the variety and energy of their work, which demands responsiveness and agility.
“One day I could be working on the digital and legal aspects of a sales event, and the next day I could be on set at a photoshoot,” says Olena. “Digital is a fast paced, ever-changing channel, and it’s always exciting to keep up with its innovations.”
“I enjoy the fast-paced environment while working for a performance-oriented company,” says Greg.
All three agree that pursuing an MBA was a rewarding investment; one that will help them stay the course as they advance toward their professional goals.
“I wanted to accelerate my career,” says Olena, who transitioned back to automotive after working in aerospace. “Being quite junior in the industry, I knew that an MBA would equip me to take on more challenging leadership roles.”
Greg completed the Accelerated MBA part-time while continuing to work for BMW. “I wanted to brush up on certain areas of business that I encounter in my professional career,” he says. “Topics such as Marketing, Operations and Strategy all help me to think about business problems in new ways, and approach them with a different outlook.”
Alexander’s Accelerated MBA was also a means of enhancing the work he does for Hyundai.
“The plan to complete my MBA was always there,” he says. “I saw that my career was progressing and that it wouldn’t get any easier if I waited.” The program has deepened his applicable business knowledge to help him be an efficient, competitive leader.
“The auto industry is truly dynamic, meaning you have to stay ahead of the curve to be on top!”
Greg, Alexander and Olena have committed significant time and effort in the midst of their developing careers to earn their MBAs. In an industry that demands adaptability, it’s already begun to pay off.
“This is the time to take risks,” says Olena. “The MBA offers you an environment of exploration.”
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