Graduating from Schulich a family tradition

Justin Cogan (BA Spec. Hons. ’05) will be following in the footsteps of his father and two brothers today when he crosses the stage during York’s Schulich School of Business’ Spring Convocation ceremony, having earned a master of business administration (MBA).

It has become a Cogan family tradition to attend Schulich. Did Justin feel any pressure? The choice was a natural one, says Justin, the youngest of the Cogan brothers. “There are a number of MBA programs in Toronto, but it was helpful to have an insider perspective on Schulich. I knew from my family members what I would be getting into.”

Right: Justin Cogan

His brother Jonathan was the first to successfully complete a bachelor of business administration degree in 2003, followed by eldest brother Joshua, who studied strategy and marketing and graduated with an MBA in 2006.

Justin’s father, Dr. Farrell Cogan, completed his MBA in 1996, taking part-time evening courses while running a full-time family medical practice. “I am extremely proud of my three sons and their accomplishments in life, including the fact that they all successfully completed some very challenging Schulich programs,” says Dr. Cogan.

All have gone on to build successful careers in business. Jonathan works for Jeffrey Simbrow Associates, a health care-focused marketing communications company, and Joshua is managing strategic communications and issues management within the Ontario Ministry of Finance.

Dr. Cogan has put his medical and business degrees into practice working as a senior medical consultant at Medcan Health Management, one of the country’s leading preventive health care clinics. “I think Schulich provides a wonderful learning experience in preparation for the world of business and beyond,” he says. “I really feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment that the four Cogan boys have all been fortunate enough to successfully complete the Schulich program.”

Focusing his studies on real property development and finance, Justin looked forward to the challenges he expected to face while pursuing an MBA degree at Schulich. “I knew it would involve hard work. But I could also see the benefit. I watched my family graduate and go on to have careers in the industries they were interested in,” he says.

Left: Joshua (left), Farrell, Jonathan and Justin Cogan are all graduates of York’s Schulich School of Business

In July, Justin will begin his new job as a real estate associate with TD Commercial Banking. What advice does brother Jonathan have for him? “Prepare for your golf game to suffer and maybe to put on a few pounds,” Jonathan says.

On a serious note, he adds: “The one mistake I find many graduates of prestigious business programs make is assuming the mere fact they graduated from that school will carry them in whatever they do next. The truth is, the experience at Schulich is valuable for teaching you the skills you need; but it should be looked at as a stepping stone, not a free pass. Ultimately, it’s up to the individual to apply the skills they’ve learned; its personality, work ethic and character that set people apart.” 

And that’s exactly what Justin plans to do: stand apart.