Life After ArtSci: One Faculty, Two Alumni Stories

Students and alumni at the Life After Artsci event
Students listening to speaker at event

Queen's students at the Life After ArtSci event learned that successful entrepreneurs are not necessarily business grads. Many Arts and Science graduates have established themselves as leaders within their respective industries. 

The Faculty of Arts and Science hosted its inaugural career summit on Feb. 10 and helped answer the question “What can you do with an Arts and Science Degree?” Many accomplished Artsci alumni returned to campus to share how the skills they gained at Queen’s allowed them to succeed in their field. Students had the opportunity to network and participate in various workshops facilitated by a variety of professionals including CEOs, business owners and entrepreneurs. 

Two of the alumni who participated in the summit, Scott Megginson, Artsci’89, and Sharon D’Acre, Artsci’96, took some time out of their busy schedules to share their campus memories and explain just how their arts and science degree prepared them for successful careers. 

"We all came on a mission to encourage ArtSci students to continue their journey and to show them paths to great career possibilities," says Scott Megginson, Artsci'89

The son of two alumni, Mr. Megginson graduated with a degree in Drama in 1989. He went on to pursue a career in music with his band from Queen’s before diving into the world of business. He is currently the President of Kantar Insights Canada, a market research firm where he has spent the last 8 years, after positions in major marketing organizations such as PepsiCo Canada. 

Ms. D’Acre, Artsci’96, has lived and worked in Hong Kong, New York, Toronto, Shanghai and Singapore. After completing her four years at Queen's she decided to go international, beginning her career in research marketing. Since then, she has worked with numerous reputable financial companies in sales and business development. Currently, she resides in Mississauga, Ontario, where she founded her own consultancy business, DNG Global.

Question: How has your Arts and Science degree from Queen's University prepared you for your career? 

Mr. Megginson: "I picked up valuable research, analytical, and communication skills through the liberal arts courses I took. This equipped me well for the analysis, report writing, and secondary research gathering that are fundamental for a career in market research. Through drama, I learned how to deliver messages to an audience in a compelling way. Philosophy helped to refine my logic and debating skills while studying religion, history, and politics helped to teach me about the diversity of the employees I would eventually manage in a multicultural environment."

Ms. D'Acre: "When I graduated and moved to Asia, my first job was in research marketing at Merrill Lynch. Coincidentally, three others were also Canadians, but I felt my academic training at Queen's equipped me with superior communication skills, and a more hands-on approach to getting work done. I felt more than comfortable working out problems with peers. My economics degree has proved to be extremely useful and allowed me to communicate effectively amongst senior peers."

Question: Were there any activities, classes, or professors that you encountered while at Queen’s that helped you to discover your personal path to success?

Mr. Megginson: "I spent two years in the Queen’s Entertainment Agency of the Alma Mater Society (AMS). It was here that I had my first exposure to the complexities of event management. These were critical transferable skills that helped me to quickly learn how to manage a business and people as my responsibilities increased. I can’t stress the importance of gaining experiences through the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society (ASUS) or the AMS to help Artsci students to stand-out to employers."

Ms. D'Acre: "After university, I found there wasn't much difference between my resume and other candidates' resumes, except for the interests and hobbies section. Outside of classes, I worked part-time with campus security and also played rugby. Both those extra-curricular activities led me to secure interviews at investment banks. I quickly learned that employers were more interested in getting to know the type of person I was and whether I was the right corporate fit than how quickly I could crunch numbers."

Sharon D'Acre speaking to students

Sharon D'Acre, ArtSci'96, spoke to students at the Life After ArtSci summit and shared how her degree prepared her for a career in international finance.

Question: Why would you recommend that future students study Arts and Science at Queen’s University?  

Mr. Megginson: "At my first job in a marketing department, the office was well stocked with Queen’s graduates, but almost all with business degrees. Although I had eight years of related experience going into that job, I heard a term used that I didn’t comprehend: Thinking outside the box. As an arts major, I was a fairly abstract thinker, and would always approach a problem from a few different angles. Since I spent my life outside of ‘boxes’ I was able to dream up new applications of market research. I encourage Artsci students to position skills like this as a competitive advantage to employers." 

Ms. D'Acre: "I believe it's important to surround yourself amongst people who are positive, passionate, like-minded, and trying to achieve the same end goal; those are the key components of a successful network. Despite travelling and living in five different countries, my Queen's network is one of the strongest that I still have after graduating in 1996 (that's 21 years)! My experience at Queen's gave me some of my closest friends: friends that flew 18 hours to attend my wedding in 2003, friends who without hesitation introduced me to their network after I had been away for nearly two decades, and friends whom I meet on a monthly basis to discuss current issues, family adventures, and our current journeys to success."

Are you an Artsci grad? Find your Faculty of Arts and Science class on the Classes, Clubs and Groups page.