Enthusiasm 3.0

Daniel DebowDaniel Debow's enthusiasm is infectious. Whether he's talking about Workbrain, the workforce management software company he co-founded while still working on his JD/MBA, or Rypple, another employment software company he later co-founded and now runs, Debow's voice virtually bubbles with excitement. And why not? At 37, he's accomplished more than most people do over a lifetime, including engineering the sale of Workbrain four years ago for a tidy $227 million.

"We were very successful," he chuckles. "It was an extremely happy surprise. You always hope you'll succeed. The company grew really, really quickly and I was able to be a part of it for almost seven years."

Along the way, Debow took a year off to obtain an LLM in law, science and technology from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. But it's the combined JD/MBA from University of Toronto, obtained in 2000, that he credits for much of the success he has today.  After completing an undergraduate degree in psychology, Debow says he wasn't really sure what he wanted to do next. The combined law and business program offered a couple of paths that seemed promising, and the result, he concludes, paid off in spades.

"Going to UofT for the JD/MBA degree was a transformative experience in my life. There's just no other way to say it," he gushes. "It was one of the most intellectually stimulating but also most enjoyable times in my life." It also gave him a crucial understanding of business and law in a variety of contexts, including Workbrain's IPO, financing for Workbrain and Rypple, and the ability to negotiate and structure contracts and deal with lawsuits and business disputes.

"The dual combination is just an incredibly powerful package," Debow says, adding the many friends and contacts he collected while in the program still form his core personal and business network.

"It doesn't matter what path you take," he concludes. "The combined degree is going to give you a leg up and advantage no matter which way you go."

By Karen Gross

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