2019 Best EMBAs: Jason Taylor, McGill-HEC Montréal

Jason Taylor

McGill-HEC Montréal

“I grew up in the housing projects to a single mother who was one of the first women to finish her MBA in the late 1980s who taught me the power of believing in myself.”

Age: 40

Hometown: Montreal, Quebec

Family Members: Annick (wife), Sidney (son), Julien (son)

Fun fact about yourself: Black belt in karate and winner of a bubble gum blowing competition.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

University of King’s College – Foundation Year Program

Dalhousie University – Bachelor of Finance

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA)

Where are you currently working? Scotiabank Global Banking & Markets, Head Government Sustainable Finance

(Scotiabank’s work is split into corporate and government – my role deals with all that is government-related, including municipalities, provinces, pension funds, crown corporations, etc.)

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: The majority of my community work has been around coaching hockey and mentoring student-athletes. I’m currently working with a hockey player at Laurentian University, whom I helped earn a scholarship and volleyball player at the University of Montreal through the Carabins-Mentors program founded by Robert Dutton.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I’m most proud of my final paper that analyzed the investment value chain to make it more efficient at redirecting capital towards environmental and social objectives (Paris Agreement & Sustainable Development Goals). It is estimated that $2.5 USD trillion of capital is needed to achieve the ‘2030 Agenda: SDGs’. My paper identified 36 ideas that I shared with the Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance in December of 2018.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I’m most proud of having worked my way into a role that allows me to align my values with my finance skills and help to channel capital towards important environmental and social objectives through our bond origination group.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? I firmly believe each one had a unique skill or talent that I appreciated in all. Some were passionate about sharing and transmitting it to the students so they could go off and apply it in their communities. One professor, in particular, deeply influenced me for his kindness, respect and compassion for humanity> He is Robert Dutton. We had the impression he simply wanted to enrich each ones learning and quality of life by demonstrating a lot of interest, compassion, and empathy towards us.

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? The sustainability module opened my eyes and made me aware of the ‘knowing’ and ‘being’ aspect of sustainability. Climate change and social problems can only improve when people are informed in a pleasant, non-judgmental, and sophisticated way. You can only create an inflection point around yourself if you are living by these principles and setting an example through behavior.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? I wanted to volunteer with non-profits by using my financial skills in a strategic and structured way. This would provide me with 15 months to dive into philanthropy and social finance to learn and reflect on some of the newest and most effective models.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? I really appreciated the influence some of the professors and students had on me. Some really helped me develop a richer lens by which I see the world through today.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? I was initially very proud of my work ethic and stress tolerance entering the program, but quickly realized I was capable of producing even more than I thought. This helped me improve my productivity through a greater focus, efficiency, and discipline.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family, and education? I became very regimented in my weekly planning. I would wake up at 5 a.m. to read material outside the curriculum on philanthropy and social finance before going off to work from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Afterwards, I would do an hour or two of homework before trying to get home in time to give the boys their bath. Although bath time can seem mundane, it’s actually an opportunity to spend precious quality one-on-one time with them! On the weekends I would wake up a bit later around 6 am to go to the office to do assignments, followed by the gym, to get home in the middle of the afternoon to do an activity with the family. At the end of the program, we all went away so I could isolate myself with them without any distractions to give 110% of my attention, focus, and energy.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? Try to align your choice of program with the skills required for the economy of tomorrow, whether that be the low carbon or 4.0 economy (automation) or and the richness in diversity of the cohort.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? Being too old to go back – easy! I witnessed people falling in love again with learning and the pursuit of knowledge no matter their age.

What was your biggest regret in business school? The time spent away from my family. My boys were 2 and 3 years old at the time. I missed out on some precious moments that were critical for their development, which I found challenging. Having grown up without my father early, on I felt like I was subjecting them to this as well. Then I remembered the effect my mother’s MBA had on me in seeing her push herself to provide a better life for us.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admired a mindset shared by many more than by a single person. It was a purpose-driven desire to enrich their environment through each of their interactions with people. In the vernacular, it was simply about giving and helping to enrich those around them. That said, there’s one person who donates around 80% of his income to charity and that I find deeply inspiring.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I still felt young and healthy looking out on a long career ahead, that I began to appreciate and recognize the importance of continuous learning.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I’d like to lead a really strong and innovative foundation one day. This would be a dream! It could also be a financial institution where I can be in a position to influence capital to go towards environmental and social objectives.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I’m hoping to be remembered as someone who genuinely tried to enhance my environment no matter where I went, or with whom I interact.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  1. Donate $1 million dollars.
  2. Lead a fundraising campaign that raises $25 million dollars.

What made Jason Taylor such an invaluable addition to the class of 2019?

“Jason is a finance guy with a difference. He has mastered all the technical aspects of his field throughout his career in the financial services industry. If you want to know about the most complicated derivatives you could imagine, he’s your man. But what’s fascinating about Jason is that finance is not what drives him. He’s all about finding ways to give back and finding ways to make the world a better place.

That spirit and drive were a marvelous addition to the classroom, as he asked tough questions and pushed his classmates to think beyond dollars and cents to bigger societal issues in which business plays a role. As the father of two young children, social, economic, and environmental health are big issues for him. He brings a lot of intensity and determination to whatever he does, and he really blossomed during our “Sustainability Challenge” module. He connected the dots between his personal drivers and his profession, and he’s been working hard ever since, developing his thinking and his action plan for how investment and sustainability can work hand in hand. His final applied research paper for the program studied “The role of Sustainable Investment in Creating Social Benefit within an Integrated Financial System”, and soon after completing his paper, he worked with his company to define a new role for himself that would enable him to put his ideas about an integrating financial system into practice. Our program seeks to develop courageous leaders who have an impact, not just in their organizations, but also in society. Jason Taylor is a real-life illustration of what that means. We look forward to following his ongoing evolution.

Professor Louis Hébert

Co-Academic Director, EMBA McGill-HEC Montreal Program

Module Director, Analytic Mindset Module, EMBA McGill-HEC

MBA Program Director, HEC Montreal

Professor of Management, HEC Montreal


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