Instalment 1 of the MM Gives Back Local Initiatives:
10 MM students from the 2015 cohort followed in the footsteps of the 2014 cohort by volunteering at the Vancouver Food Bank
One of our tasks was to assemble the emergency food bags. We were shocked by the small amount of fresh produce available to give to each recipient. At this time of the year no local produce is growing and therefore, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank has to make due with what is available. We had no idea how many families rely on these services and it was a chance for us to understand the magnitude of the problem and reflect on ways to give back further.
The Greater Vancouver Food bank provides for over 100 meal-providing agencies that help over 13,000 people each week and relieve families across Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster and the North Shore. It is incredible, the 26,000 square foot warehouse is packed full of generous donations from the community. Even so, there is still a growing need for help. It was a very eye-opening experience, and I think I can speak for the whole group when I say that we took a lot away from volunteering our time.
What we found very interesting was the direction that they hope to take the Food Bank in years to come. They are currently in a transition phase starting with the transformation of their depots into hub centers. The new centers will create a “shopping experience” rather than an assembly line approach to giving out donations. Our group was very impressed by this improvement, primarily, because it dignifies the process. Another unique element is the café in their North Vancouver hub, which allows people to sit and eat a meal together. The idea behind this is to foster a sense of community amongst food bank users. Overall, the Food Bank is trying to revitalize their framework and focus on empowerment and education.
We are so happy to have volunteered our time and we hope that the next MM class will come together to continue on the legacy.
My name is Bethany and I’m an Account Executive with Robert Half Technology. What that translates to, is that I have a career at a recruitment firm in which I specialize in consulting with executive level management at the best companies to work for in BC about their Tech/IT hiring needs. Many of the companies we consult with are growing tech start-ups. When I wake up most mornings I spring out of bed, have a solo dance party and walk to work with a smile on my face.
The most important skill I acquired from the MM program was learning how to effectively negotiate. Most things in life are negotiable. The sooner you’re able to really narrow in on honing this skill, the more satisfying outcomes you’ll experience in business and life. Whether it’s your first salary, rent on a new apartment, or where to go for dinner with your friend, negotiation is key. Negotiation isn’t about winning or losing, it’s about compromise. Ultimately, being an effective negotiator will make you a more desirable colleague, employee, and partner, because it requires you to actually listen to what the other party is saying. The value of this can never be understated.
My advice for potential applicants to the MM program is to connect with as many people as you possible can, and never stop. During the program I forced myself to go to networking events every couple weeks, even though at the time this was very much outside of my comfort zone. Even now, I constantly remind myself that everyone else at the event also showed up there for the same reason – to meet new people! If you can connect with 1, 2, or 5 people an event, those are valuable connections. No matter whom you meet there’s a very good chance if you just ask, that they know someone in the industry/career that you’re interested in, and can facilitate an introduction. Vancouver is very, very small. Treat everyone you meet like gold.
The question that many new MMs are faced with regularly is pretty common in our society: “So what do you want to do?” Most of us have a pretty good defense sound byte that we can repeat on command but what we’re really thinking is “I’m not sure – that’s why I’m here!” Obviously this isn’t true for all of us, but it sure was for me.
Much of the way we are classified in terms of our future career is based on what industry we each want to work in. For certain industries you write different cover letters, focus your resume to highlight particular traits and attend industry-based info sessions. For me, one of the toughest parts of the job search has been figuring out what industry I want to work in in the first place! The trick, in my experience, has been diffusing the concept of “industry” and looking at the problem with both macro- and micro-scopic lenses.
I had the chance to be a part of the MM crew that participated in Trek Toronto only a few weeks ago to meet with companies in the downtown for four days of info session-style events. After seeing a dozen companies – some of which were in the same industries – I can tell you that my logic in choosing the “industry” I wanted to work in was flawed as a result of one assumption: that all companies within an industry are roughly the same. As it turns out, they can be vastly different. This was news to me. Learning this first hand in Toronto helped me realize that my employment search should be undertaken at the level of the company and not the industry.
This realization brought me to my next set of questions: “What kind of companies do I really want to be a part of? What things will I value the most in the first part of my career?” Through this reasoning and a little self-reflection, I discovered that I am, above all, longing to work for a company with a fast paced, strong entrepreneurial culture where I can exercise my creative skills, take initiative in providing excellent deliverables and be accountable for the quality of my work. Guess what? This culture is not limited to any one industry. In fact, I saw it first hand in Toronto at Deloitte and Google, among other companies. As a result, I’m currently scouring the earth for organizations in several industries that claim to sustain this cultural environment along with a healthy opportunity for experiential learning. I just narrowed my search and I’m feeling pretty good about it because now, in response the question “So what do you want to do?” I can answer straight from the heart.
If you’re leagues ahead of me at this point and you already know all of this stuff, then thanks for reading this far. You’re a champ. For everybody else, the lesson that I learned is simple: in order to find a really great job you have to know yourself, you have to know what’s out there and you have to show exactly who you are to the employers that you think align with your values. To any current, past or future job seeker, MM or not, my advice is to take any opportunity possible to get out there and actually see what companies are really made of! Trek Toronto was my wake up call and thankfully the BCC was there to provide that experience.
It’s that time of the year again where everyone forgets about their problems, dresses up as someone else, and puts on their heart-shaped glasses: It’s time for Carnaval! (…at least in Brazil!) Being in the MM program, you get to learn, work, and build relationships with people from around the world. Considering the global world we now live in, this is a huge learning opportunity and we quickly realized that sharing our cultural experiences is crucial to understanding each other better and growing as future business leaders. Through this brief blog post I hope to share with current and prospective MM students at least some of my passion for my favorite celebration of the year.
Waking up at 5am, getting costumed up, and rushing out early to begin the celebration is a must for Carnaval. The street parties in Rio de Janeiro act like an alarm clock for the city. Hearing the drumbeats coming up my street, my blood starts to bubble with adrenaline and excitement. Drums are playing, singers are entertaining, and people are dancing. People from different ethnic and social backgrounds gather together to celebrate washing away the worries of everyday life; violence, corruption, and the fear of being on the streets are, at least for a moment, forgotten.
Although the mercury reads 40 degrees Celsius, the heat of over one million people dancing in the streets brings it up to 55. But that does not stop anyone from having a good time. The heat is one of the things that makes Carnaval so unique in Brazil. Since childhood, Carnaval has been a big part of my life and I strongly believe everyone has to experience such an event. It is a party where you lift your spirits and let go of the usual day-to-day. It is not a rave, it is not a festival, it is not a drinking event, it is Carnaval and those who experience it will look at life in a whole new way.