Monthly Archives: December 2015

Alumni Guest Entry: John Holt

Let’s be honest, if you’re in the MM program, it’s likely because you want to add one final piece of the puzzle to get a job. I was no different. I had a Bachelor of Arts from UBC, and had taught English for a couple years in Spain and wanted to do something in business, whatever that meant.

My job search was varied and I applied to a range of jobs that had little in common. The first piece of advice I’d give is apply to anything you think you could do. The worst case scenario is that you get another live opportunity to test your interview skills. The day you sit down for the job you really want, you’ll be amazed how much more comfortable you’ll feel if you’ve already sat in the hot seat a number of times before.

The second piece of advice is really understanding the job you’re applying for and what you bring that makes you a great candidate. I applied for HSBC’s International Management programme. I was fortunate, I had a broad first degree which gave me a firm base in world politics, experience moving and living abroad in another language and the MM program gave me the finance angle that I was lacking previously. It seems so simple, but it’s your job to really make sure the interviewer understands the relevance.

Finally, I’ll echo something I know other MMs have written about, your classmates. Network is important, and to be clear not networking, but your network. Networking is often shallow and meeting people is great but I highly recommend you foster a network of people you really know and trust, and then invest time to keep up with them. I invested a lot of time in the MM program when I was going through it and would recommend you do the same, at a bare minimum get to know your classmates over the course of the program to make sure you can all help each other. You’ve got a built in opportunity to meet likeminded people over a relatively long period of time, use it!

In the end, I looked for something international, and wasn’t too focused on the industry. It meant I went for a number of interviews, often unrelated. I noticed in the interviews the question I always asked the interviewer was what international opportunities existed in the company. When I interviewed with HSBC it just clicked, I could identify what made me a good fit for them, and the rest is history. I’ve now had the great fortune to have worked for the bank in Paris, London and now Bangkok. Your ambition may not be international work, but whatever your driver, it’ll come out through the process. Let it happen, and good luck!

– John Holt, MM ’10

A Vancouverite’s Perspective

You’ve already learned about the culturally bountiful cocktail that is this year’s MM cohort – with 15 different backgrounds to constantly peak our perspectives. We sync for many reasons, but one of our key commonalities is the draw towards beautiful Vancouver, BC. While we learn from each other in the safety of our UBC bubble, study breaks mark the opportunity to explore our surroundings.

You may have heard rumours that Vancouver is all beauty and no bustle. But as a native Vancouverite of 13 years, I’ve seen this city bloom into a thriving marvel that’s evolving constantly. With an international brigade by my side, this has given me the opportunity to relive the city through their eyes, and play local tourist myself.

SkatingWe’ve got a myriad of ever-changing & exciting activities, particularly under the glitz and glimmer of the holiday season. Downtown becomes a shimmering spectacle, with its central Robson Square transformed into a skating rink. So for Lady Canadiana, we strapped up our laces and embraced this new experience for many! After 3 months of mutual support through multiple learning curves, we knew we had each other’s backs (and bottoms) on this slippery ride.

And our international cohort plowed through beautifully! Little did we know, we had an Elvis Stojko in our midst in the form of the fashionista himself: Mr. Phaokan! The veterans went hand-in-hand with the rookies, and we were all embracing the ice dance before we knew it.

MarketOur skating success earned us some much-needed refuel, and the opportunity to visit another local hotspot: the Vancouver Christmas Market. This annual favorite is quintessential of the traditional German style, with every kind of yuletide grub available. A perfectly apt representation of our various cultural offerings, and one of my personal favorites. Not surprisingly, we finished the evening with bellyfuls of free samples, from kettle corn to sauerkraut, coco to vino.

But this is just a small dose of the city’s seasonal offerings. Rain or rain, you’re guaranteed to see Vancouverites out embracing our gorgeous surroundings and communal cultures alike. Our eagerness is authentic, as we crave to learn and experience our diverse landscape. From sea to sky, we’re an eclectic, effervescent bunch – always active, always in the moment.

– Sher Najafi

Should I Take the GRE or the GMAT?

When thinking about the application process for the MM program one of your key decisions will be whether to take the Graduate Records Exam (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). Both tests are standardized testing methods that aim to evaluate your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing and your critical thinking. Your results from one of the tests must be submitted with your application, so let’s try and help you decide which one to take!

The GMAT test is primarily used for graduate programs at business schools such as the MM and MBA programs. The structure of the test is broken down into four sections: verbal, quantitative, analytical writing and integrated reasoning. The GRE is primarily used for graduate and doctoral programs from varying academic disciplines and contains verbal, quantitative and analytical writing sections but does not include the integrated reasoning section found in the GMAT.

The integrated reasoning section is the only major difference in content between the tests. It is a new section on the GMAT that aims to evaluate your ability to evaluate data presented in multiple formats from multiple sources. However, your score on the integrated reasoning section does not contribute to your overall GMAT score. The GRE has an experimental section that could be either verbal or quantitative that tests new questions so therefore is also not part of your overall score. Apart from the content of each test, the total test time is comparable at 3.5 hours for the GMAT and 3.75 hours for the GRE. Your results from both the GRE and the GMAT are valid for 5 years after your test date, but the GRE is cheaper at $195 compared to the GMAT at $250.

The overall perception of the two tests is that the GRE focuses more on vocabulary rather than grammar, the quantitative section is easier and you can use a calculator. However, the best thing to do is to take a practice test of each and see how you score and how you like each test. Pick the one that you think you can improve the most in to reach those goals sooner! Also, it’s also a good plan to think ahead – maybe you’re going to apply to another program after the MM, which also accepts the GRE! Whichever test you pick, the online or in class prep courses give you great study tips and materials to help you reach your desired score. I hope this answers some of those burning questions so you can pick a test and get studying! Good luck!

– Samantha Bisnaire