“He gets better grades than I do, but I’m not far behind,” says Julie Beaudette of her father, and now, her classmate and competitor. Both Julie, 25, and Daniel, 52, are simultaneously pursuing MBAs at the University of Manitoba’s Asper School of Business.
“It started when I suggested Julie attend an information session the school was doing on the MBA program,” says Daniel. “I said I would go with her to encourage her to consider the program. After the session, she said, ‘Dad I want to do this.’ And I said, ‘Me, too.’” The Beaudettes started their MBAs at the same time. They have taken classes together, teamed up for projects, and maintained an air of healthy rivalry. “We get along really well, we support each other, understand each other’s stresses, we sit beside each other in class, and if I miss something, he helps me catch up,” says Julie.
Julie has a BA in psychology from the University of Manitoba and decided to pursue an MBA to understand why people and organizations work in certain ways. Daniel has a master’s degree in psychology and has worked for Correctional Service of Canada for 20 years. He says he wasn’t even remotely ready to retire and took the MBA to launch a new career in consulting and health administration. Plus, he’s a big believer in continuing education and thinks it’s an untapped market for those who have been in the workforce for a long time.
The advantages of an MBA can be seen by both Beaudettes. “Julie has youth, she has the open-mindedness to be flexible,” says Daniel. “I’m still a bit of a product of yesterday’s world, trying to catch up to what today’s world is like. But I have the knowledge of anticipating things coming, having lived through different experiences.”
Their professors definitely appreciate the novelty of having a father and daughter in the classroom — and other students have told the pair they wish their parents were there with them, too. “It feels natural to have my dad in the classroom because he has always provided me with guidance,” says Julie. Daniel, meanwhile, says he has gone from being father, to teacher, to his daughter’s peer. “It gets me to know her on a very different level,” he says. “It feels natural to make those transitions with her and to be a part of all those experiences.”