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Career advancement

Local lawyer tops in Memorial's 2019 MBA graduating class

Student Life

By Susan White

It was early into his legal career at the province’s Supreme Court that André Clair realized he needed counsel of his own – from the business experts at Memorial’s Faculty of Business Administration.

André Clair is pictured in front of the courthouse of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.
André Clair earned an MBA degree while also working at the province’s Supreme Court.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

Mr. Clair had been working as legal counsel for the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador since 2013.

“I was leading a small team of lawyers, and I was looking to learn how to be a better manager,” he said. “I chose the MBA program at Memorial as the flexible program structure seemed like a good fit for a full-time worker.”

The St. John’s native started the master of business administration (MBA) program in 2015 as a part-time student. He’ll receive his degree on Oct. 17 during Memorial’s afternoon convocation ceremony at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre.

“I had a number of great professors, who were clearly passionate about the topics they were teaching.” — André Clair

“I really enjoyed my time in the MBA program,” said Mr. Clair. “I had a number of great professors, who were clearly passionate about the topics they were teaching. I also learned a lot from my fellow classmates, who brought perspectives from a number of different professions, industries and countries.”

Top student

Mr. Clair was the top student in this year’s graduating MBA class. He continued to work full time throughout the program, while also making an effort to give back to his community and grow his family.

During his first year of the program, he served as a director for the provincial branch of the Canadian Cancer Society. He was later co-editor of the Canadian Legal Research and Writing Guide, which was subsequently published by the Canadian Legal Information Institute.

“I do think this program is helpful for anyone working in any type of organization.” — André Clair

In 2018 he was an instructor in the Newfoundland and Labrador Bar Admission Course, and in 2019 he began his master of laws (LL.M.) degree from the University of Toronto.

Perhaps most significantly, Mr. Clair welcomed the arrival of his first child, Madeleine, with his wife, Meaghan McConnell, in 2018. Ms. McConnell will also graduate this week with a graduate diploma in business administration.

Finding the balance

“Balancing work, studies and personal life certainly brought its challenges,” he said. “You definitely have to be really good with time management. And even then, I had to give up a lot of weekends and evenings studying or working on assignments. It just wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my wife and family.”

Armed with his new MBA, and working towards his LL.M., Mr. Clair plans to stay in the province working in the public service.

“While my experiences in the MBA program didn’t guide me to my current career path, I do think this program is helpful for anyone working in any type of organization,” he said. “Even if you don’t end up being a general manager, your organization will benefit when you understand your general manager’s perspectives and concerns.”

Mr. Clair also holds bachelor degrees in science and education from Memorial and a bachelor of laws from the University of New Brunswick.

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