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MBA Grad Benefits Berkshires

06/21/17

As a member of the second cohort to graduate from MCLA’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, Nathan Girard ’12 is using what he learned and the connections he made to not only benefit himself, but also his community, through the projects and businesses he runs in the Berkshires.

The owner of the Adams Ale House in Adams, Mass., Girard also worked full time as a real estate broker while he earned his MBA.

“I attended classes every Saturday while I was in the program, and before I knew it, it was done,” Girard said.

Married to a wife who also worked full time, and with a young son at home during his time at MCLA, Girard came to the program with a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from Endicott College in Beverly, Mass.

Although it wasn’t always easy to devote his Saturdays to attending classes while he also fulfilled his real estate job duties, Girard said MCLA’s MBA program helped him to formulate some important relationships with the other students in his cohort.

Since he graduated, Girard left the brokerage firm he worked for and started a real estate development company of his own, Royal Property Group LLC, of Pittsfield.

“Especially as a working professional, MCLA’s MBA program allowed me to learn things I would not have ordinarily learned,” he said. “You need to have work experience before you can enter the MBA program. It really teaches you a new way to do things.”

For example, Girard’s classes included several in international business – something he previously had no exposure to.

“It allowed me to focus on how to work with international buyers,” he explained. “Since then, I’ve worked with some real estate buyers from China. I would never have known about Chinese business and culture had I not had experience with it at MCLA.”

As a result of the MBA courses he took in international business and law, Girard now works with a number of international buyers.  One of those clients is a Chinese businessman who wanted to purchase a commercial property in an area with friendly tax incentives and a high-caliber workforce.

Girard was introduced to this client by a member of his cohort. Networking among cohort members is an important benefit to students, especially as they continue in their business careers.  

“Because of what I learned at MCLA, I was able to close the deal, which not only benefitted this businessman from China, but also the local economy, as the sale resulted in bringing 13 full-time jobs to Pittsfield,” he said.

Looking ahead, Girard is in the process of starting a third business, Royal Property Development. With plans to purchase acreage in Cheshire, he intends to build 11 new homes. In addition, he wants to convert the former Country Charm restaurant on Cheshire Lake to a different use, such as a hotel or a wedding facility.

“I am a member of this community,” Girard said, “and if I can give people jobs or create work and bring money into the economy, that’s very fulfilling to me.”

He added, “I would definitely recommend the MBA program, whether it’s to improve in your job, get a promotion, a requirement of your job, or to continue learning.”