My Tipping Point: Why I Chose the Sauder Master of Management Program



Best-selling Canadian author and journalist Malcolm Gladwell elegantly describes a concept he calls the tipping point as this:

“The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.”  – Malcolm Gladwell

This is the story of how I got to be a proud MM student.

I share this story in the hopes that it could one day motivate you, potential MM Candidate, to share your own MM story.

My tipping point, motivating me to apply to the Sauder Master of Management program, happened at MM Experience Day last year. This event was an engaging overview of the program and an opportunity to network with MM alumni and Sauder staff and I encourage anyone who can attend it to do so.

Before I get into the details, please allow me to introduce myself.

My name is Ammar El-Sherif, an Egyptian-born Canadian citizen, MM student, and current President of the MM Society for the Class of 2015. I graduated from UBC in May of 2014 with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering and a minor in Commerce. I have always considered pursuing a business degree to complement my technical engineering degree so, of course, the MM program was a logical next step for me.

But back to our story.

Solidarity. That was the theme that resonated most evidently for me from MM Experience Day. I vividly remember how wholeheartedly alumni at MM Experience Day spoke about different aspects of the program: the dedicated Business Career Development Centre, the exposure to hands-on consulting work with organizations through the Community Business Project, and the challenging but fulfilling course modules.

I remember speaking to Jeff Balin, Manager of MM Careers, about potential job training workshops and job finding techniques. He explained how the program’s Career Progression Course pushes students to refine how they present themselves to employers. How the careers team helps students to perfect not only their cover letters and resumes, but to master informational interviews, 30-second pitches, and other staples of career development success.

I remember listening to marketing professor Joey Hoegg, Canada Research Chair in Consumer Behaviour, speak about the fall of Blackberry and how Bic, known for lighters and ink pens, was now expanding into perfumes and fragrances!

Since that day I was hooked, and the program has yet to disappoint.

Every day has been a new experience, like unwrapping presents of self-actualization and fulfillment on a daily basis.

The experiences you gain in the program are ones I know will stay with me for a very long time. The close friendships, self-confidence, and business skills gained are invaluable. If you take take this journey on, the biggest advice I can give you is to cherish the short time you spend here. It flies by so fast and next thing you know, the program is over!


Following the example of our incredibly helpful and supportive MM alumni community, I invite you to contact me on LinkedIn if you are looking into the program and have any questions about my experience. I am more than willing to connect with you.

All the best,

– Ammar El-Sherif


Alumni Guest Entry: Elizabeth Sun



It’s a little hard to believe that it’s been eight whole months since I graduated from the MM program. In my mind, it feels like not so long ago that I was scrambling to study for exams and worrying about job hunting – but it’s been a great few months, with lots of changes and opportunities to grow.

For reference, a bit about my background: I did my undergrad in Biology and Computer Science, and took a few years off after my degree to travel and do an international research-based internship. I am currently working at a not-for-profit life sciences association.

The last year has been a memorable learning experience. I received a lot of helpful advice, and I wanted to take a moment to share the things I would tell myself if I could go back in time to when I started:

  1. First, don’t be afraid to explore new potential careers. Sauder offers a wide variety of career-related opportunities for students, including industry panels and company info sessions. There were many events where the focus was on an industry I’d never considered before – but I decided to attend as many sessions as possible. Not only did I learn more about different industries I might be interested in, I met unexpected contacts who became helpful later in my job search. It’s a small world, and people move around more than you would expect.
  2. Second, learn to embrace people who work differently from you. Being in a program where your classmates come from all sorts of academic and cultural backgrounds means that you’re often put in groups with people who think and work very differently. It can be jarring at first, but it was an important lesson to learn to appreciate these differences. By working in this kind of environment, you recognize your own strengths and weaknesses to the benefit of the group as a whole.
  3. Finally, remember to enjoy the experience. If I had to choose the best part of the program, it would easily be the time I spent with my classmates: they challenged me with their diversity, had my back when classes got stressful, and were there to go through the same hectic but amazing experience as me. Of course, you have to prepare to work hard, but in the long run, the connections I made were much more memorable than whether or not I ended up with an A on my finance assignment. Don’t forget to find balance between work and play, and get to know your cohort!

MM has been incredibly valuable in terms of allowing me to work with truly diverse teams, teaching me how to network, and giving me the business knowledge I need for my current role. It opened up a lot of exciting opportunities for me, and I’m looking forward to see where I end up going forward.

 – Elizabeth Sun, MM ’14


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