From Toy Cash Registers to Business School: Meet Courtney DeGiobbi

Courtney DeGiobbi has had an interest in Business for her entire life. When she was little her favourite toy was a cash register, and things haven’t changed much since. “Funny enough my sister’s favourite was a doctor’s kit and she recently graduated from CBU’s Bachelor of Science, Nursing program but it was always going to be Business for me,” says Courtney.

Growing up in New Waterford, NS, CBU was the clear choice for Courtney, but the third-year Bachelor of Business Administration student says she would have happily chosen CBU even if she was from another province. “When people say that CBU’s small class sizes are a bonus, it’s the truth,” she explains. “I’ve gotten to know my professors and even spent the summer working on Economic research for one of them. Having professors who know who you are is the biggest bonus a university can offer its students if you ask me.” Courtney jokes that the stunning Shannon School of Business (SSOB) building didn’t hurt her decision either.

While Courtney says she is passionate about all of her courses and the experience of learning, what she loves most about CBU are the wonderful people she has been able to meet. “Coming from a small high school, I was the only one with any interest in Business,” she says. “Now at CBU, I’m surrounded by people who share the same passions as I do which is a fantastic feeling.”

Recently, Courtney was surprised to be nominated for the Frank H. Sobey Award by SSOB Dean, George Karaphillis. Each year, the Frank H. Sobey Awards for Excellence in Business Studies are presented to Atlantic Canadian Business students who demonstrate academic excellence, community activity, entrepreneurial interest and strong career aspirations. We are proud that Courtney was one of 30 finalists for this prestigious award.

“When the initial email went out to our class I only had one year of business studies under my belt, but I thought ‘what’s the harm in applying?’ so I sent in my reference letters and transcripts,” says Courtney. “But when I got an email informing me that the Dean would like me to stop by I was shocked.” Courtney says just to be selected by CBU’s award committee was a significant honour in itself.

As a finalist, Courtney was presented with a scholarship and an engraved pen which she says has been proudly on display in her bedroom. “No, I didn’t take the top prize,” says Courtney. “But I was up against later year Bachelor’s and even Master’s students from across Atlantic Canada. So to have made it as far as I did was beyond my wildest dreams.”

Like many students, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Courtney’s plans, forcing her to adapt and push forward. While she initially anticipated doing a co-op placement this summer, Courtney refused to let its cancellation slow her down. “One thing anyone who knows me can tell you is that I hate wasting time,” she explains. “So I went ahead and applied for four courses over the spring and summer to get ahead.”

Courtney says she wasn’t sure what to expect during the shift to online learning, but that once she settled in the experience was great. “I’m a dog lover, so hearing my professor’s dogs in the background while they’re trying to teach definitely brightens my day during these tough times,” laughs Courtney. “For my fellow students who haven’t begun their online classes yet, my advice is to treat it exactly the same as an in-person class even if your professors and classmates can’t see you. For my first online lecture, I thought I would just pop my headphones on and listen while curled up in bed. That was a terrible idea because I ended up dozing off, sorry Mary Jane! From that point on, I’ve gotten up and dressed for my lectures and I’ve been so glad for it.” While Courtney misses being on campus with everyone, she says she understands that this is for the best and we’ll all get through it together.

Above all else, Courtney says her best piece of advice is to get involved and ask for help. You can currently find Courtney delivering online services through the Math & Science Centre, providing free tutoring to university and high school students.