Working as an associate vice president of “everyday banking” at TD Bank, headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Jason Thacker became interested in earning an MBA to sharpen his financial skills and become a stronger leader. He also wanted exposure to the best possible business minds, which for him meant one school — Wharton.
“Wharton has one of the top MBA programs in the world and the EMBA format meant I could earn the degree on the weekends. That was important because I loved working for the bank and had no desire to leave,” he recalls. So after gaining acceptance as a Fellows candidate — he was under 30 when he applied — he began commuting from Toronto to Philadelphia for classes.
The four-hour door-to-door travel time turned out to be pretty manageable, despite needing to clear customs on each trip, according to Thacker. “During school, you have to balance the personal, professional and academic aspects of your life and you need to use every hour to keep all those balls in the air. Having time on flights to wrap work up at the bank or study for classes worked out pretty well,” he says, noting that several other students shared similar commutes from other locations in the U.S.
Toward the end of his second year at Wharton, he was asked by bank leadership to consider moving to the U.S. Becoming a retail market manager, he now leads a sales team of several hundred employees within the Metro New York region of TD Bank. Taking on that new role as he approached graduation, Thacker credits his Wharton education for opening up so many doors in the U.S.
“Having gone through this program, it allows people to see that I can handle different experiences, pick things up quickly, and make a meaningful difference. I’ve never been in a front-line distribution role before so putting me in this job was a bold move, but my educational journey has helped others feel comfortable that I can complete the transition and continue making a valued contribution within the organization,” he explains. “We’re rapidly expanding our footprint in the U.S. so this is a really exciting time to be working on the front line delighting our customers – which is the heart and soul of our bank.”
Looking back over the last two years, Thacker says that earning his Wharton MBA was worth “every ounce” of effort. “You can’t put a price tag on the memories, knowledge, and connections you gain because it is such an invaluable experience. If I had it to do over again, I would jump in with both feet in a heartbeat!”.