Jad Hachem spent eight years creating flight simulators for aerospace software development company CAE in Montréal prior to his MBA.
Working as a software engineer in the aerospace industry, he took on a variety of roles, from mechanical system designer, to software integration specialist, to product specialist.
Determined to expand his horizons and diversify his skillset, Jad decided to pursue a full-time MBA at HEC Montréal and pivot into the startup scene.
Since graduating in 2020, Jad has been working as a project manager and product owner for pioneering AI video analytics startup company C2RO.
Engineer to MBA
After starting out as a systems engineer, Jad worked more on the product side and it was then that he decided to switch from engineering to business, pursuing an MBA to hone his leadership and management skills.
“As an engineer you’re often surrounded by similar environments with like-minded people who think in similar ways. I wanted to transition out of that and wanted something where the pace of growth was different,” Jad explains.
“It was at the point when I started interacting with customers, leading projects, teams, and working with managers internally, that I wanted to learn more than just engineering.”
Jad was introduced to the HEC Montréal MBA by a former colleague and became convinced it was the right choice for him
He could remain in Montréal close to his family, undertake the MBA full-time for a year, and re-enter the workforce with added management skills and business knowledge.
The HEC Montréal MBA
At HEC Montréal, MBA students begin with core modules learning Business Fundamentals under the themes of Understanding the Business Environment of The Firm, Value-Creation Challenges, Management Tools, and Management simulation.
Students later choose from a range of specializations in areas like Consulting, Digital Business, Strategy and International Business, Leadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Finance and Economics.
For Jad, the strategy and marketing courses were crucial in helping him think more strategically and understanding how to think about market opportunities. “Coming from an engineering background, these were skills that I was not exposed to before,” he says.
A highlight for Jad was the end of year consulting field project where students conduct an in-depth analysis of a business case and propose concrete solutions to a problem.
“You’re given a consulting project assisting a company for five weeks with a team and a mentor who supports you to make sure you’re on the right track,” he explains.
“At HEC, you also have all the clubs you can take part in, the events you can participate in, and the alumni network,” he continues. “It’s a whole ecosystem, and not something that you have quick access to whilst at work.”
Jad became president of the entrepreneurship club and brought successful entrepreneurs and people from the startup community on campus to share their insights and advice for students.
“It wasn’t just about networking; it was about connecting and getting feedback. It was beneficial in demystifying entrepreneurship and the world of startups,” he says.
Landing a top MBA job at AI startup C2RO
Jad also partnered with several startups in HEC Montréal’s Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), a leading high-tech startup accelerator in Canada.
He took on a consultant-style role, supporting their development and putting business theory into practice. Talking about his experience during his interview at C2RO was a big reason why he got the job, he says.
C2RO is a leading provider of AI-powered video analytics for surveillance cameras. Its flagship product, ENTERA, provides ‘faceless’ shopper journey insights based on camera footage that’s also compliant with privacy regulations.
As a product owner at C2RO, Jad delivers client projects and ensures all product features are deliverable.
By taking a year out to study an MBA, Jad says he’s gained a more holistic perspective of how business works that helps him make effective decisions in his day to day work.
“Being an engineer is about operational focus which means you look at delivering excellence,” he explains. “Through the MBA, I was able to understand the macro vision of how a company functions.”