Interview with Richard Cioci

1. Richard, tell us a bit about you. What made you go for an MBA?

I’ve always had an interest in business, even when I was completing my bachelor in Science, it seemed that no matter what you did, business was all around you, always having an impact on what you did, and having worked in a research lab, the effects were always apparent. At the same time, I’m also a bit of a do-it-yourself’er, so I also have a goal of one day owning my own business, whether it’s something regional or on a bigger scale. I chose an MBA because I had heard about the MBA co-op program at McMaster from a friend, I looked into it, finding the co-op aspect appealing, and started to make the connections with the experience the MBA would give me, and the opportunities I could take.

2. How do you plan to use your studies to achieve your future career plans?

I plan to stay within the Healthcare, Pharmaceutical, and Life Sciences industries. While I value my MBA, I want to continue to leverage my undergraduate in any way I can. Science and Health is still fascinating to me, and they also allow me to positively impact the lives of others around me. Working within these industries will allow me to achieve those goals while growing my career.

3. What do you hope to do after you graduate?

My co-ops within healthcare and pharmaceuticals have been eye opening at the number of opportunities that exist. I hope to remain within these industries and work my way up. Eventually I’d like to start a business that helps me attain the same goals I mentioned above, staying in a realm that fascinates me and also allows me to help others.

4. How did the ORCA Student Grant help you achieve your academic goals?

Unfortunately, an undergraduate degree followed by an MBA degree is a very pricey combination. The ORCA Student Grant allowed me to continue pursuing the extra curricular activities which developed my employability and let me apply for some co-ops which may not have been financially sustainable otherwise. It did this through providing some additional income, allowing me to cut back on some very intense part time work hours and focus on my education.

5. What do you do for fun, when you are not studying?

I’m trying to start up a presentation skills workshop for incoming MBAs at my school, something I think is a crucial skill that some don’t learn until much too late in our program. I just finished producing a show in Hamilton for the McMaster Thespian Company which wrapped up a creative streak over the past few years, and I also enjoy rock climbing here and there when I get the chance.

6. You were part of an orienteering group before. Can you explain what orienteering is and how it impacted you?

Orienteering is a competitive sport that a lot of Canadians haven’t heard of unfortunately. I think that’s unfortunate seeing as how my experience has shown that it is not only a fun way to exercise, but it provides a small community that sticks together and supports each other. Orienteering itself is a competitive race through the outdoors, mostly through areas consisting of woods, open fields, and other types of vegetation. It’s basically a time trial against others to reach a number of posts throughout the area using only a compass and map. It relies on physical strengths like stamina, but also on mental skill. It’s also given me a killer sense of direction as an adult 😉

7. Given the fact that you are one of last year’s winners, can you share with us how you found the application process for the ORCA Student Grant?

I found the application process pretty straight forward for someone who identifies closely with his family and Romanian heritage. As a result, writing about Romanian culture and what it means to me came very easily as I just talked about the variety of ways it has impacted my life.

8. What would you recommend for those interested in applying next year?

Just what I’ve said above, write about how Romanian culture has actually impacted your life and the rest will come easily.

9. Is there anything else you would like to add?

I was very grateful to receive the ORCA Student Grant and I’d like to thank all the sponsors and donors for keeping this grant going, it is tremendously helpful for students, and it is great to feel supported by the Romanian community.

Interview by: Anca Mitu