From being a member of Cape Breton University’s first daycare class, to crossing the stage as a Master of Business Administration graduate more than twenty years later, Natasha Kochhar has always had a special place in her heart for CBU. Originally from Glace Bay and now calling Sydney home, Natasha enrolled in the MBA program in 2018 after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Politcal Science from Mount Allison University.
“I knew I eventually wanted to work for the Federal Government in some capacity and felt like a Master’s program in Public Administration would be the best path for me,” Natasha explains. “But after learning about the MBA in Community Economic Development from CBU and having a chat about it’s one-of-a-kind curriculum with Dr. Keith Brown, I decided to start at CBU.”
Natasha says what she enjoyed most about the MBA program was the localized focus of the coursework. “For every one of my major projects I was able to use local organizations for case studies, research projects and examples in papers,” she says. “Unlike other MBA programs, the CED focuses less on the private element of business and more on the social impacts of business on the community.” She adds that the focus on social enterprises, non-profits and governments and the role they play in business, economic development and marginalized communities aligned perfectly with her personal values.
Throughout her studies, Natasha spent many hours in the Verschuren Centre studying with friends and fostering relationships with her peers. Though she originally anticipating graduating in 2020, Natasha took some time away after being offered the opportunity to work for Mike Kelloway, Member of Parliament for Cape Breton-Canso. “I had always dreamed of working on Parliament Hill and it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” she says. For the past two years, Natasha has been working for MP Kelloway as his Parliamentary Assistant in Ottawa, and now as his Senior Advisor while completing the remainder of her degree.
Now, as she prepares to cross the stage and receive her Masters degree, Natasha is reflecting on her long history with CBU. “Some of my first memories were at CBU, whether it was through daycare, gymnastics at the Canada Games Complex or my time on stage at the Boardmore Theatre,” she shares. “Now more than 20 years later, walking across the stage will fill me with pride and gratitude to have been part of CBU’s growth over the years. We’re fortunate to have a world-class institution here on our beautiful Island that has and will provide incredible opportunities to so many folks from around the world.”
Natasha says what she will miss most about CBU is the unique experience of learning about different cultures and traditions through her classmates from around the world. She says her time at CBU has played a key role in her success at MP Kelloway’s office and that given her work with community groups and organizations and their role in economic development, she feels like the program was built just for her.
Looking forward, Natasha says she is so excited for her little brother to begin his CBU journey this September, and can’t wait for him to experience all that the University has to offer. “CBU has always been a part of my story and I’m thrilled to start this new chapter as an Alumni of an institution that has given me so much.”