2021 Best & Brightest EMBAs: Kate Arthur, McGill-HEC Montréal

Kate Arthur

McGill-HEC Montréal

Age: 47

I’m passionate and relentless about mobilising countries to bring digital skills into youth’s education.”

Hometown: Montreal, Canada

Family Members: Part of a large family spread across many countries, but under my roof are my 3 daughters and my husband.

Fun fact about yourself: I like to read books, from beginning to end, in a few hours – like watching a movie.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Concordia University, BA in English Literature

Where are you currently working? Kids Code Jeunesse, CEO

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

Community Work:

  • Member, Artificial Intelligence & United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Working group, CCUNESCO
  • Member, Artificial Intelligence Public Awareness Working group
  • Member, PromoScience and NSERC Awards for Science Promotion Committee, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Board of Trustees, Anita Goulden Trust, London UK
  • Board Directors, Canadian Federation of Friends of Museums
  • Mentor, Young Volunteers Program


  • Top 100: Canada’s Most Powerful Women
  • 100 entrepreneures qui changent le monde
  • Women of Distinction Awar Prix: Femmes de mérit
  • Leader, Empowerment, Women in Communications and Technology Award
  • Visa Entrepreneur/ Innovation Leader of the Year Award

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? As an anglophone, I am most proud of completing my eMBA in English and French.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I’m most proud of starting Kids Code Jeunesse (KCJ), a charity that supports education systems with digital skills. At the time I started it, I was co-founder and Vice President of an IT company, with 3 young children at home. It was a risky move, but it was so worth it.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? The professors who asked lots of questions and gave us room to share and learn from each other. The professor who did this unimaginable was Sujata Madan. I never thought I’d understand, let alone pass, a finance exam and I did it!

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? I chose the McGill-HEC EMBA because it is a combination of two highly regarded universities, one representing English Canada and the other French Canada. It’s a unique combination of languages and cultures.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? The biggest lesson I gained during the program was the role of leadership. I’ve learned about collaboration, teamwork, and how important the tone that is set at the top influences the whole company. I am a better leader because of the program.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? I wrote my final paper sitting by my mother’s bedside at the palliative care on the weekends and would read my work out loud for input from my daughters and husband after a long workday on weekdays.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? There’s never a perfect time to register. If you’ve been thinking about doing the Executive MBA program, don’t wait.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? I forgot how much fun it is to learn! We should all embrace life-long learning. It’s food for the brain and for the soul.

What was your biggest regret in business school? My biggest regret was not having done the program earlier in my career. I also completed half of my program during the COVID pandemic, which negatively impacted some of the experiences, but I think made me stronger in the end.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? There are many who struggled through a very difficult year and pushed through with a positive outlook, but the person who stands out to me the most is Ahmad Serhal. Based in Beirut, Lebanon, Ahmad persevered through an economic crisis, a health crisis, a major deadly explosion, and much more — and he still showed up to every class (in-person, pre-pandemic) with a smile, prepared and always ready to contribute.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? The main reason I chose a full-time, in-person EMBA is because I value the human interactions and relationships built between people who are learning together.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My long-term professional goal is to contribute to the advancement of digital skills education for youth on an international level.

What made Kate Arthur such an invaluable addition to the class of 2021?

“Kate Arthur is a the founder and CEO of Kids Code Jeunesse, an important Canadian charity devoted to giving every Canadian child access to digital skills education, by teaching both kids and their teachers.  She’s a member of a number of working groups on Artificial Intelligence, including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals working group. She serves on several boards, and in order to promote her vision, often speaks publicly, as well as working collaboratively to help develop government policy. Add 3 daughters, a busy home life, and the EMBA program, and that’s one very full plate.  The energy and passion required to wear all those hats is something Kate brought to class every day.  She was a great contributor in class, never afraid to challenge assumptions or question conventional wisdom, and her questioning really helped to push the learning of her classmates.

For us, an ideal participant is one who is curious and wants to learn from others, but who also shares his or her own experience, knowhow and thinking.  Kate certainly fit the bill.  The questions she asked, often triggered by her dedication to the cause of preparing youth for success, cracked open fascinating class discussions and brought new perspectives. Kate has real desire to learn, and the humility to do so. She’s willing to question everything. There’s no such thing as an uncomfortable truth or a sacred cow in her way of thinking.  That was a real plus for her classmates.

Of overarching importance to Kate is her mission to prepare youth for a successful future. In other words, a holistic view of society and what it needs. It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day challenges, but Kate was always able to see the bigger picture. Not ‘what’s in it for me?’, not ‘what’s in it for my company?’, but what does it mean for the country, for society?  It’s important for EMBAs to think about these questions, and Kate made sure her classmates did so.”

Marianne Vandenbosch
Program Director, EMBA McGill-HEC Montreal


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