France_Margaret_Belanger_opt(1)L’édition de janvier du magazine Canadian Business présente un article intitulé «Education Business All-Stars », écrit par John Southerst. Cet article décrit les succès de trois diplômés, en mettant l’emphase sur le rôle qu’y a joué leur MBA ou EMBA. France Margaret Bélanger, une diplômée de l’EMBA McGill-HEC Montréal en 2014 est une de ces « All-Star». Voici son profil tiré de Canadian Business :

France Margaret Bélanger

Current position : Executive vice-president of corporate affairs and chief legal officer, Montreal Canadiens

Previous position : Partner, Stikeman Elliott LLP, Montreal

Program : Executive MBA, McGill-HEC, Montreal

Sometimes, the participants in an EMBA program can be as accomplished as the professors. But the EMBA can take them even higher. Case in point: France Margaret Bélanger.

When she entered the EMBA program at McGill-HEC, Bélanger was a partner and experienced mergers and acquisitions practitioner in the law firm Stikeman Elliott LLP. She had already led the auction process leading to the sale of the Montreal Canadiens on behalf of businessman George Gillett.

Once the sale was completed to a group of investors led by members of the Molson family, she and Stikeman resumed their role as outside counsel to the Canadiens on every deal they did. She had also led the Saputo family’s acquisition of a Major League Soccer franchise and had been named one of the best corporate lawyers in Canada for three years running.

So why did one of Canada’s top lawyers need an EMBA? Bélanger says that it was a way to be a better lawyer. “I always wanted to be a better business advisor to my clients.

I wanted to understand the deal in such a way that I could see how it fit the broader business objectives.”

Enrolling in the 15-month McGill-HEC program in 2013, she found herself working alongside engineers, medical doctors, accountants and others from senior management or ownership positions. The program’s nine modules built toward a comprehensive goal of thinking like a manager. “I liked that (in each module) we spent a number of days on an aspect of management – analytics or value creation, for example – and did a crash course. You read the same material as one another, but it’s very personal. It’s always about what you think about it as a leader.”

Bélanger developed a clearer appreciation of business logic.

One of the attractions of the EMBA for experienced business people is that the schedule allows them to continue working while they study.

In Bélanger’s case, she continued to work for her clients at Stikeman, including the Canadiens. And when president and CEO Geoff Molson came to her midway through the EMBA program and offered her a job with the Canadiens, it gave her pause for thought. “As a corporate lawyer, it’s not uncommon to get offers from clients. But the open horizons that I had through the EMBA program made me think twice. The conversation was about: ‘Yes, I can do your legal work, but I have a strong interest in doing more than that.”

Bélanger accepted Molson’s offer.

Joining the Canadiens in August 2013, she oversaw the acquisition of L’Équipe Spectra Inc., organizer of such popular events as the Montreal International Jazz Festival. She is also chief legal officer for Evenko, a large producer and promoter of music, entertainment and sports events and exclusive manager of a number of venues in Montreal. And she is one of the Canadiens’ three alternate governors to the board of governors of the National Hockey League.

She loves continuing to oversee all legal aspects of the business while also taking part in the management group.

It’s something she wanted from EMBA, and the EMBA delivered.