Tia Thevenin ’18 (A&S), ’23 MBA, L ’23 has never stopped moving at a fast pace. From breaking track and field records at Syracuse University as an undergraduate to concurrently earning an MBA at the Whitman School and a law degree from the College of Law, Thevenin has never felt the need to slow down.
A native of Toronto, Canada, Thevenin started running track in high school and was a winning member of the Canadian National Track Team by age 17. She enrolled at Syracuse University’s College of Arts & Sciences as a psychology major and also joined the women’s track and field team. During that time, she broke a school record in the 4×4 relay (with three other teammates) and a 17-year University record in hurdling – and then broke her own hurdling record again just a short time later.
After completing her undergraduate degree, she began training for a spot on the Canadian Olympic Team, but, unfortunately, COVID-19 postponed the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. She had always planned to go to law school but had hoped to compete in the Olympics first. But, Thevenin “made the hardest decision I’ve ever made” and walked away from her Olympic dreams to start a new chapter at Syracuse University’s College of Law. As if she wasn’t determined enough, she also made the decision to add an MBA from the Whitman School to the mix through the University’s joint JD/MBA program.
“I knew an MBA would prepare me to flourish in a dynamic corporate world and specifically provide me with an understanding of the current economic climate, as well as how to provide value to future clients,” explains Thevenin.
To participate in the joint degree program, students must complete their first year of law school and earn a minimum 2.5 GPA. Applying to the Whitman MBA program is handled separately, and admission is not automatic. However, once accepted, students typically finish the joint degree in four years, instead of five, with the MBA course work primarily completed in years two and three. Students must complete 72 law credits plus 42 MBA credits. Thevenin will actually complete her law degree first, in the spring of ’23, and then finish her remaining MBA requirements by December ’23.
“I absolutely think that the joint degree is doable for anyone – with the caveat that you have to create a schedule that is malleable and satisfies your interests,” says Thevenin, who believes the MBA has introduced her to deeper concepts of business that she might not otherwise have learned had she only attended law school.
But, it’s not only the classwork that she has found helpful while working on her MBA; it has been the networking and some of the soft skills that she feels were also beneficial.
“Unlike the Socratic Method that is commonly used during law school, the classes in the MBA program have more shared conversations between professors and students, which have led to more collaboration after class with my peers,” she explains. “And, there is the opportunity for interaction with alumni and other professionals through panels, group events and more, which has helped sharpen my networking skills.”
Thevenin recently accepted a position at a law firm in New York City following completion of the program next year. She credits both the Whitman School and the College of Law for supporting her current ambitions and is proud that she’ll soon be able to say that she not only holds two school records in athletics but also an undergraduate, MBA and a law degree from Syracuse University.
“I bleed Orange through and through,” Thevenin says. “Being an Orange woman – whether on the track or in the classroom – is one of my favorite accomplishments.”
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