Mike Sekerka is an engineer by training. He graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) in 1987 and began a career as a Systems Engineer in the military. He left the military in 1995 and worked a variety of roles including those that involved systems engineering, product marketing, and manufacturing.
His well-rounded portfolio helped him accumulate an abundance of general business knowledge. However, he knew that he needed a theoretical framework to help enhance the other areas of his expertise so that he could improve his management skills:
“I needed to understand what my CFO was telling me about what needs to be done on the financial side, and also be comfortable understanding manufacturing operations, product marketing, Human Resources (HR) and other leadership issues.”
As part of the inaugural class of the Sandermoen School of Business at the University of Fredericton in 2007, Mike holds a special place in the history of the institution that fills him with a sense of pride. At the time, he was seeking to broaden his general management skills, and through a personal contact at the university he became aware of the university and applied to the Executive MBA degree program.
The key to the success of the program for Mike was the ability to complete his studies remotely. Due to the travel requirements of his job, he has taken classes from locations as far away as Malaysia. He was also able to take a break in his studies when the pressures of his job and travel became too much. He was able to resume his studies and complete the program in just under 3-years:
“I had to take a 6-month break in the middle because there was too much going on. I finished it in just under 3-years, which goes back to both the quality and flexibility of the UFred program, because you’re able to balance your work life, your family life, and the education. Some of the traditional Executive MBAs you basically spend 2-years, every weekend in classrooms. They just aren’t compatible.”
Mike was satisfied that the specialty stream in Global Leadership helped provide the techniques and reference frameworks for helping him lead his organization collaboratively in a global market. “My current job is probably the most complicated I’ve ever done because it covers all aspects of running a business, and the UFred program touches on all of those aspects,” he said.
Currently, Mike is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Neptec Technologies Corp., and career wise, he says, “I am having way too much fun in this job, so I think we’re going to continue doing this for a while.”
As for academics, Mike currently holds three university degrees; he has decided that may be enough for right now, though it has not stopped him from learning new things, “Intellectual property law is quite relevant in my current business, so there are some interesting areas there,” he said.
Mike is confident that online education is the best way to advance the knowledge of busy career professionals:
“Being very flexible and still maintaining the excellent quality is key to where education needs to go. Life’s getting really busy, it’s difficult to maintain a balance, and these sorts of innovative models of delivering continuing education are really key for all of us to continue to remain relevant in our careers.”
Mike thoroughly enjoyed his time at UFred, “It’s a lot of work, and a lot of commitment, but it was a very positive experience,” he said, and added, “Congratulations on your anniversary!”