Charlotte MacDonald
Home Region

Halifax, Canada

Undergrad Education

Queen's University, BCom Business Administration/Commerce, 2013

Previous Experience

Boston Consulting Group, KPMG LLP, Scotiabank

HBS Activities

Canadian Club co-president, Section I Admissions Rep, Outdoors Club, Family Business Club, Retail & Luxury Goods Club

“You can choose your own adventure and prioritize what's important to you.”

With four years of consulting experience at Boston Consulting Group behind her, Charlotte MacDonald, realized it was time to reflect on the path before her. "I was having a great experience, I loved the work and people," she says. "But if I didn't pause and take a step off the treadmill, inertia would take its course." 

Pursuing the MBA would represent an opportunity to step out in many directions at once. "I wanted to take time to experience a ton of different industries, different people, as fodder for what I'd like to do long term."

A varied banquet—with a strong shot of Canadian Club

"The beauty of HBS," Charlotte believes, "is flexibility. There are so many ways to spend your time—you have thousands of options. You can choose your own adventure and prioritize what's important to you. For me, that's about doing less and not filling my calendar with too many formal commitments. Because I want this experience to be reflective, I need to leave myself some time, some freedom and mental energy."

Her reflections are informed and reinforced by both her direct colleagues and the "virtual" mentors she observes through HBS cases. "You're surrounded by such a capable, diverse group. I came in with a bit of imposter syndrome, but after the first six months or so I understood what I can contribute, what I do bring to the table."

"My personal favorite class is Leadership & Organizational Behavior from the first semester. Reading and analyzing these leaders forces self-reflection: how would I have handled it? What would’ve been my downfall? What would I do right? Attaching specific persons and stories to concepts makes them so much more real!"

Outside of class, Charlotte is "most engaged in the Canadian Club. On paper it's primarily social. But for me, it's important to stay close personally with Canadians on campus and also with Canada in general. It's where I want to return. The club allows me to stay close to home during the HBS experience."

As she considers her post-graduation future, Charlotte says she has "a couple of hypotheses to test. My short-term plan is to return to BCG in Toronto. I grew up in a more rural environment, with a slower economy. My long-term ambition is to return home to Atlantic Canada and contribute to the economy there. Do I want to do this in a big company? In an advisory capacity? As an investor?"

During the summer, Charlotte will test her assumptions within a smaller company, "ideally under one hundred people. I've been consulting with Fortune 500 companies for four years. I want to go as far in the other direction as possible, a growth-stage company with few employees where I can add value."