Term 2 Class Summary

This blog started 35 entries ago, wow.

See End of Term Wrap Up for my first semester courses.

Commerce 293 (Financial Accounting)
Rob Jackes
10:00am – 11:00am

I had never seen anyone more excited about accounting than Rob Jackes. He has a booming voice and could sometimes be seen jumping up and down to emphasize a point. He’s a firm prof, but quite fair and nice during office hour chats. As for the subject itself, duh, it’s accounting ,you either hated it or could tolerate it (kidding!). My two years of high school accounting and career prep work experience really paid off because the first month or so turned out to be a breeze. Instruction components: the textbook was not overly useful but good for previews and additional practice, the online Lyryx labs were kind of … frustrating and fun(?!), and the note pkg you had to buy were life-saving. One midterm and one non-cumulative final. Grade: I’m happy (I’ll let you work out the code haha).

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Avoidable Sins on Resumes and Cover Letters

For the past little while I’ve been sifting through a pile of resumes from UBC students, coming from all four years and four or five faculties. While I don’t have a database containing 20% of entire Sauder’s resumes like one of my dear friends *cough*, I did see enough to get a chuckle out of a few.

Papers Resumes Cover LEtters

Feel free to skip the following in italics: These are mostly based on true stories meant for amusement and not to debase anyone’s resume that they submitted in good faith. I do not claim to be an authority on resumes and cover letters for college students and is not promising jobs and/or rejecting any of these applicants on a public forum. All quotes are rephrased by me and any similarities are entirely coincidental (god, I’m putting disclaimers on practically every blog entry, this is getting ridiculous.)

1. Using almost the exact same cover letters for completely different positions.

“In a recent conversation with a colleague, I learned that you are seeking applicants for the Vice-President/Director/Manager position”. So did you REALLY have a conversation with a colleague? How many colleagues DO you have? No, in fact I don’t believe you spoke to a colleague when you submit two of these to me in the same wording (yes someone might just be your interviewer for multiple positions). For goodness sake, at least change some your highlighted skills so that your cover letter isn’t exactly the same past the first sentence. All that “I am confident that I will be a beneficial contribution to your organization” is losing credibility, do you know what this organization is?! One of these days you might seriously regret putting down the wrong company name.

2. Having an objective statement that is totally unrelated.

Sauder discourages Objective Statements, but I know some resume workshops still use it, so I’ll give this a pass. If you’re applying to be say, master chef specializing in Italian dishes, and your Objective statement reads “To be an ESL teacher for high school students”, I have three conclusions. 1) You forgot to change it 2) You’re too lazy to change it, or 3) You see that as your long term goal but in the mean time you can’t get any positions in that field so you’ll apply for a random unrelated opening to buff up your resume and wallet. Either way(s), I think your chance just plummeted.

3. Wild exaggerations.

Okay, admit it, we ALL do it. It’s what years of literature class taught us – the art of BS, buffing up mundane accomplishments so they sound spectacular on paper to strangers. TO STRANGERS. That’s the key thing here. For inter/intra-faculty activities in particular, it’s very likely that the person looking at your resume is a peer, someone who may have done similar EC’s as you or even worked WITH you at some point. I once led a team of web design-savvy people to work on this three-months long project that involved collaboration with several other teams. In a recent resume that I came across, a guy who was the head of another team that I collaborated with wrote something like, “increased efficiency of web design team in addition to my own group of x number of people by….” DUDE, I was picking up YOUR slack for three entire months. Not cool.

4. Incompatible file types, or the dreaded .docx

Most .docx files can be automatically converted now (who came up with the brilliant idea at Microsoft in the first place?!) My Mac crashing while trying to download a XML converter was partially the reason why I decided to write this. Don’t make other people work to open your files. Stick to .doc or even better .pdf (personal preference for the pdf – it doesn’t mess up formatting which is a huge plus).

5. So… what exactly is your GPA? ie. Random, unsubstantiated numbers on your resume.

One resume I received originally had a GPA of ~3.7. Two weeks later, for another position, the same person sent one in with a 4.0. Wow, I’m so impressed by the almost miraculous improvements this person made over the span of ten days! Congratulations. A friend also remarked to me that it’s funny how so many people have “raised/helped manged/funded $10 000 for project x”. It’s always $10 000. Some rich guy most be writing a lot of 10 grand cheques out there.

6. Starting the address with “Dear Sir or Madam”

Do your bloody primary research. From Comm299, “Call HR and find out the hiring person’s name!” It shows that your care.

7. Using duty verbs instead of achievement verbs

Another piece of nugget I will always be grateful for learning from Philippe Desrochers in COMM 299. Duty words basically restate the job description while achievement verbs make clear how you exceeded expectations on the job. Observe: “Sold large number of products and marketed to large companies” versus “Improved store profitability by regularly exceeding sales quotas by up to 50%”. I won’t go too much into this considering we spent three weeks on this in class. More info can be found here or a visit to the Business Career Centre.

8. Having outdated, incorrect contact information

One individual had three different phone numbers – one on her application, one on her resume, and yet another one on her cover letter. The first one was not in service; the second, international long distance. It’s not as if I’m a random person who tried to get your phone number at a bar. We’re trying to give you a job here! Make it easy.

There are of course the obvious ones such as “no typos” and “parallel structure” in addition to the plethora of styles and preferences that career building websites love waving in our face. I skipped those. Have any more? Comment below.

UBC AMS Election for the Clueless

Note: this post is backdated from Jan 20, hence date references are a bit blurred. Wait til I track down the person who sneezed in my face and gave me a fever… *sputter*

Who better to write an entry on the AMS Election than some mere first-year who was not aware that an election was going on until a few days ago? According to the latest survey of made-up data, 1/3 of you didn’t know the AMS had elections (if not for those Facebook group invites!), 1/3 of you is more interested in how pigeons get into the SUB than how your peers get voted into office, 1/3 of you will vote when forced then arbitrarily pick a candidate based on some funny-sounding foreign last name, and 1/3 of you can’t do math.

What is it? The Alma Mater Society of UBC (basically university student council) holds an election every at around this time to determine who holds those impressive-sounding titles, who gets to control the millions of dollars in the university fund, and who will bring about “change” in the upcoming year.

When is it? Campaigning officially started last Friday (Jan 16), hence the onslaught of Mr.Clean look-a-like posters on campus. If you missed out on the nomination process then… tough luck, maybe next year! Voting starts on Jan 29 and ends on Feb 4.

Now the candidates. With the power of social networking, a lot of the campaigns went on the internet. Candidates, I tried to pick the most flattering picture of you and avoided those that looked like they were taken in a sketchy ghetto =D

Presidential Candidates

… will the gentlemen please take the stage!

Blake Frederick “Bachelor” #1 Blake Frederick

Background: 4th year philosophy, AVP academic, student senator
Best known as: one of the voices behind UBC Insiders
Platform: lower tuition thru BC government, better housing, save the farm, more buses, fund raise for new SUB, reduce athletics fee
Thoughts: definitely a comprehensive platform (by God, do you know how long it took me to read all of it?!) I like the idea of turning towards the BC government for credible improvement of campus resources; it shows this candidate has both short-term plans and long-term visions. I would vote for Blake Frederick AMS President for his clearly articulated and relevant blog entries. A blogger *cough* can do no wrong (most of the time)!
Links: Facebook Group | Website

Paul Korczyk “Bachelor” #2 Paul Korczyk

Background: 6th year student, residence advisor for Vanier, residence coordinator
Best known as: “That Polish Guy” aka President of the Polish Club
Platform: open communication, open communication, open communication (oh and better housing, bring back AUS County fair, oppose move to NCAA, green space in new SUB)
Thoughts: a bit vague in contrast to Blake’s platform. It’s very student-based however, but I see no efforts to reach out to the government and external sources for change, funding, and support. I would vote for Paul Korczyk for AMS President because the AMS really needs some new blood. For those of you who sat in British Columbia Youth Parliament with me saw first hand the deterioration that can happen to an organization if the governing portion becomes too exclusive and fails to delegate leadership to the newbies.
Links: Facebook Group | Website | Twitter

Alex Monegro “Bachelor” #3 Alexander Monegro

Background: 4th year commerce, arts transfer, VP external for CUS
Best known as: the guy from the Dominican Republic (wow we have such a regional diversity for the race!)
Platform: Create book exchanges, increase student say in prof tenure, strengthen UBC services thru stricter hiring/internal evaluation/campus wide promotion, maintain Upass, maintain tuition hike a fixed percentage
Thoughts: Finally, someone who was born in the real world and realizes that shouting to the government/the board to drastically slash tuition or take tuition away altogether is utterly ridiculous. Taking away tuition charges from a public institution that is so meagerly funded by the government such as UBC is like… hmm… TAKING AWAY MAGIC FROM HOGWARTS (Phoebe apologizes, she hasn’t had a HP reference in a while). Moving on.  I would vote for Alex Monegro for AMS President because he was very active in AMS Council meetings (anyone else just spent his/her Sunday morning reading AMS minutes?!) making motions and voicing his opinion, and of course, because I have a strong commerce bias 😉
Links: Facebook Group | Website

VP Academic and University Affairs Candidates

… Arguably the fiercest bunch. I will focus mainly on the VP Academic portion of their platforms.

David Nogas David Nogas

Background: 4th year science, no positions listed (don’t make me dig for your titles… well unless they’re the cool sketchy ones like … you know)
Platform: talk about public transit, bring back water, work with campus housing to emulate other univ’s plans (I’m quoting here!!), no dough to CASA, new gym, coordinate advertising in SUB to make it prettier, encourage Blue Chip to give $0.25 worth more of chocolates on their chocolate covered doughnuts in exchange for students bringing their own coffee mug (… can someone pinch me please?)
Thoughts: David seems like a nice guy. Maybe he needs a campaign team to help him out or an older AMS-veteran as a mentor otherwise he’s going to get trampled once and if he gets inside the AMS. His previous platform (which was still up on Fb a few days ago before I was hit by the fever of the century) actually included two academic-related suggestions: a used-book store and an “everything lecture”. Maybe he’s scrapped them? I would vote for David Nogas for VP Academic because at least he’s not Jeremy Wood.
Links: Facebook Group

Sonia Purewal Sonia Purewal

Background: 4th year computer science and biology, no positions listed
Platform: review course fail policy, review tutorial curriculum, shift less difficult courses to the morning and harder ones to later in the day, optimize timetables to have days with no classes, set up conglomerate university services website (I like, I volunteer XD), implement an Academic Grievances Database
Thoughts: Sonia was a bit late getting someone to set up her Facebook Group. I believe it went up just under 48 hours ago. I would vote for Sonia because she is determined to cater towards commuter students, who believe it or not, make up a HUGE portion of the campus population (just look at the 480 bus line, ugh).
Links: Facebook Group | Website

Johannes Rebane Johannes Rebane

Background: 2nd year finance and international relations, VP Academic for CUS, exec for International Business Club
Platform: Allocate more funding to TA training, introduce, freshman seminar classes (see Berkeley), create more dual degree options, hire career counselors, pass Pass/D/Fail Policy in Senate, bring academic focus to Farm, set up conglomerate website with all career resources (i like v. much), increase student and leadership advising
Thoughts: Okay, this is what an actual VP Academic should sound like. I helped out with a campus interview a few weeks ago in which I asked students at different parts of campus, “What career resources do you know about on campus?” On one hand we had the Sauder students gushing about the wonder that is the Business Career Centre and on the other hand, over 90% of science students gave responses such as 1) “What career services?!” and 2) “I’ve never gone to see a career adviser”. The lack of a career resources at UBC is a HUGE, APPALLING issue, more so than *gasp* the Farm, because believe it or not, one day you’re going to graduate and step out into the real world with a degree in hand but no idea what to do because your VP Academic, your AMS, your University never thought about students’ long-term needs. Career resources are a huge part of Johannes’ platform; other candidates barely touched the issue. As for the freshman seminars, my friends from Berkeley and other US Schools have been telling me that they’re a God-send. FS’s discussion-based and engaging, definitely a non-daunting way to start off the school year. I would vote (and campaign) for Johannes Rebane for VP Academic because he has the abilities to do what he says, a comprehensive academic platform, and one hell of a kickass website. And oh, because I want a course in my timetable called Rhetorics 24 – Arguing with Judge Judy: Popular “Logic” on TV Judge Shows.
Links: Facebook Group | Website

Jeremy Wood Jeremy Wood

Background: 4th year History, no positions listed
Platform: extend exam hardship to 36 hour period, open pass/fail option, expand funding to smaller academic departments, fight for the farm and oppose market housing there, more need-based scholarships, more social spaces etc.
Thoughts: After hearing the Monday Debate, I gave Jeremy “Best Speaker” award in the VP Academic race. I have to keep telling myself that Jeremy is not a joke candidate. In the last 24 hours, especially, I lost all respect for him. For those who missed it, Jeremy pulled out of the race for a few hours – first reported by UBC Insiders then confirmed by my source – to endorse Sonia Purewal and “bring Johannes down”. Scared much? So this candidate finally realized that his platform has neither depth nor substance and decided to withdraw from the race to be VP Academic. Great. The sun continues to shine and Phoebe continues her love affair with Halls and Chinese herbal medicines. Lo and behold, this morning I find out that it’s FALSE ALARM, Jeremy’s back in! To quote the lovely UBC Insiders (yea yea I’m glued to that site), “I’m not quite sure yet how I feel about a candidate who feels like he lost sight of the issues, only to regain focus when others supported him.”
Links: Facebook Group | Website

So that took a week longer than I thought to type up. I’ll do the VP External, VP Admin, VP Finance, and Board of Governors blurbs another time, or never. Coming up next, a definitive list of all worthy UBC media covering the election =P

[Lovely Photo Credits]

End of Term Wrap Up

I’m going to follow Sam’s template here and do a review of the classes I took this year. Thanks for the idea and title Sam!

Commerce 292 (Organizational Behaviour and Management)
Deborah Rupp
11:00am – 12:30pm

OB in a nutshell is basically employee-manger relationships in the modern workplace. Maybe it’s because I have two office-type jobs or maybe it’s fate telling me to pick the Human Resources stream in third year, but this class turned out to be one of my favourite of the term. Yes, the textbook is common sense to a certain extent, but one has to approach OB with the intent to apply it to the real world. The class was largely discussion/activity based with lecture off the powerpoint usually taking no more than 40% of the class time (I think we spent half an hour having a paper tower building contest *ahem*teamwork in one of our classes). We watched hilarious clips from The Office and movies on Kennedy and decision making. Both the midterm and the final were multiple choice; a one page “cheatsheet” was allowed for the final exam (I managed to cram 6000 words into mine, don’t ask lol). The class was very much team-oriented. A group case study project was worth 25% of the mark, and the rest came from participation. Dr. Rupp was a very nice and enthusiastic prof who gave us the choice of what to do each class, whether it was a discussion on past material, lectures, or a jeopardy review game (did anyone else notice that OB profs seem to be the HAPPIEST ones around? Makes the students more cheerful too!). She definitely knew her materials and was extremely well-prepared for each class with activities and such. Our section had the highest class average – a whole 5% above the grade average – so that says something about the prof (or us haha)! For those of you who want to get her as a professor, unfortunately she was only at UBC for a one-term Sabbatical. Grade: A+.

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How Incredibly Keen We All Are

Follow-up on Textbooks

One of the disadvantages of getting second-hand textbooks is that they sometimes do not have the glossy, colourful pages of the newer ones, hence causing frustration to their readers.

Observe page 47 of my Econ book: “The blue arrows in the upper half of Figure 2.9 indicate the flow of labour… the red outer arrows represent [blah blah blah]” Great, my Figure 2.9 is black and white and filled with grey arrows of different shades *sulks*.

In other news, the $12 book I ordered from Powellbooks.com got here in one piece. This hardcover on a Civil War battle looks like it has began to turn yellow from sitting in the warehouse for too long – what an exciting item to receive the first time I buy something online! (That’s sarcasm, by the way).

Lyryx Labs

Speaking of Econ 101, Lyryx labs are slowly becoming the bane of my existence! We get unlimited tries on these online quizzes, and Lyryx just records and sends in our highest score. It took me 5 tries and 3 hours to get 64/64 on the first lab (okay, maybe I should’ve read the chapter BEFORE attempting the question, lesson learned). From the data Prof. Lemche showed us, an upward of 800 students took the quiz, with an average of 96%+ on most questions. The average attempt number was four.

Can you imagine the scores for a quiz like this (worth 1% of final mark) in high school? No doubt most students would’ve been happy with an 80% and wouldn’t even bother retrying. It’s a warm and fuzzy feeling knowing that as much as my peers announce how we should skip lectures, we are all secretly working our butts off trying to get a high mark.  Academia is an awesome thing. Almost makes my daily two hours pole-dancing-on-the-bus commute to UBC worth it!


On a completely unrelated note, here’s a short video. It’ll make you smile, I promise (if not just watch it again). TURN ON SPEAKERS.