Monthly Archives: January 2016

BLACK(M)MERLE

Courses you take during 9 months of the MM program are very intensive and challenging. However, these courses will definitely equip you with necessary tools that you would need in order to become a successful entrepreneur. Your learning experiences would be perfectly utilizable if you have some idea of your own venture before you come into the program or are even better when you have a business already. I can assure you of this because I am speaking from personal experience.

During my undergraduate years at Queen’s University, I majored in life sciences. Nonetheless, I knew that deep inside my heart the one thing that I was always passionate about was fashion. It is something that I have been putting my heart and soul into ever since my childhood. After graduating from Queen’s, I finally decided that I would start my own clothing brand, and to aid the process of building my own business, I applied to study management at UBC. After a lengthy but super enjoyable preparation, designing, sampling, and manufacturing process, BLACKMERLE (blackmerle.com) was officially launched on September 1st of 2015, which was the start of our MM program as well. 12625779_10153209303546059_821982769_nBeing a designer and starting your own fashion brand may look glamorous to some people but it is a really challenging venture and industry since there is a lot more business involved than what it seems like on the surface. Although I have taken care of all the beginning administration tasks and basic business side of the brand at this point, such as creating the online presence, marketing both online/offline, or making creative content, I was still faced with more tasks and strategic managing in order to move forward. Courses I have taken so far during the MM program and help from the Business Career Center have been guiding me and pushing me forward with my venture.

I have to admit that marketing is the biggest challenge in most start-up ventures. Marketing courses taught by Ann Stone and Yi Qian will definitely help you plan out and execute several important marketing tactics. Financial and managerial accounting gives you the important technique in tracking where all your precious investment is going and, more importantly, gives you the right mindset for dealing with cost, revenue, and profit. Real life case studies that you will be reading throughout the whole program give you great insight by analyzing other company’s mistakes and successes. Entrepreneurship class gives you some of the most direct advice you can utilize right away to build your own start-up. Lastly, resources and help from BCC are very precious since they can give you the most “tailored” advice. It is incredibly amazing opportunity when you can apply what you learn in the classroom right away into your own business. Concepts that might seem so abstract to some students are better understood when you can relate it to your own business.

You only live a short life. I always feel like there is not enough time. If you have a dream of building your own business empire, start now. Although it may be different from person to person, the MM program can help you gain some essential skills in order to achieve your entrepreneurial dream. As I always mumble to myself, “know thyself” and follow your heart.

–  Terry Shin

BLACKMERLE

Academic-Life Balance

The MM program offers 24 intensive courses over the course of 9 months. Although this might sound like a wonderful time, I was mostly attracted to the program because of its location in stunning Vancouver. Vancouver and the greater surrounding area has something for every adventure seeker, and in order to best balance books and life in the city without losing your sanity, it’s very important you master the art of work-life balance. This is a skill that will continue to prove useful throughout your career and will lead to reduced stress, anxiety and overall a more pleasant life. Perfecting work-life balance comes down to setting personal priorities. Not just ‘Should I watch the new episode of Suits or the Bachelorette?’ – in which case the answer is always Suits. Rather, setting priorities involves critically questioning the type of person you are, what you want out of your life and where you want to be in your final days. Do you want to be the wealthiest person in the world or live a healthy, prosperous life, surrounded by those who love and care about you? There’s really no one right answer, as I mentioned, these are personal priorities and you cannot judge yourself based on the priorities of other people. Therein lies the key message I’m trying to convey: don’t judge yourself using scorecards made by others – you’re doing yourself a disservice. Remain focused on your priorities and don’t let other’s sway you from them. By no means does this happen overnight; knowing what you want is a long process which can involve years of self-actualization. While you’re setting your priorities consider this: What type of lifestyle do you want in the future? How will you take care of parents, siblings or anyone else who made you who you are today? Will you have time to care for other loved ones, a spouse or even kids? It’s pointless to plan every detail of your life, as such plans are bound to change, but thinking about these questions will allow you to figure out who you want to be.

Like in business, focus is crucial when trying to achieve certain goals in your life. Whether it be finding your dream job or a partner who loves trap as much as you, priorities will help you focus on the important things and stop sweating the small stuff. For example, if you realize you’re here to save the planet and prevent humanity’s certain doom, you’ll stop worrying about that C you got in Stats. So fellow and future MM students, if you ever find yourself getting stressed about school, work or any other facet of life, take a step back and breathe. Ask yourself if what you’re worrying about is really a priority or if your life will continue to progress without it. In my limited 21 years of experience, I find most people stress themselves out by comparing themselves to certain metrics created by and meant for others, be it friends, family or total strangers. As I often do, if you find yourself guilty in this matter, remember these words echoed by the great Albert Einstein: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

– Samuel Arulnathan

Location, Location, Location

It’s crazy what can happen in a year isn’t it? This time last year, I was living in a different city, with different friends and learning a completely different subject. Choosing to do a Masters, let alone which school to do it at, isn’t an easy decision and I can’t tell you if the MM program is right for you. Most of our cohort chose the program because we wanted to gain business knowledge to complement our undergrads, shift directions from our undergrads or get a different perspective on management. Yet even with similar intentions, I know our end games will be completely different. So, if you were hoping that I could make your decision easier.. I’m sorry! However, if you are like me and not from Vancouver, part of the MM experience is moving cities. While that can be difficult, this is a great opportunity to live in one of the most beautiful cities in Canada. Here are a few options to consider when moving here:

Apply To Res

Living on campus is probably one of the easier transitions you can make. Living so close saves you time getting to class and most of the residences are pre-furnished, which can save you money on furniture. If you do choose to live in a residence building, remember that there is a possibility that you may have roommates who are not graduate students, but first or second year undergraduate students. Other residence options to consider are the graduate college such as: Green College, St. Johns College or the MBA house. If you do want to live in residence, apply now. Or yesterday. There can be a huge waitlist and it’s first come first serve with applications, which open even before you are accepted (personally I was waitlisted until December and chose not to accept a room at that time). For more information visit UBC’s Website.

Live On Campus

Renting in University Village on campus or in Wesbrook Village is a great option. It’s about a 10-20 minute walk to the Sauder Building or there’s a bus. The area itself has everything you need including coffee, food etc. but if you are one who goes out a lot, UBC is a bit of a journey to get to downtown late at night. Both options can also be a tad expensive with unfurnished studios starting at $1350. If you are looking to live close to school and save a bit of money, consider looking for a roommate posting on Craigslist, and rent a two-bedroom instead.

Live Off Campus

Common areas for students are around Kitsilano, Point Grey, and Dunbar. Other students also live in the Olympic Village and even Downtown. Point Grey has more of a neighbourhood feel and rental options are often in houses, basements or some apartment buildings. Kitsilano is about a 20-minute commute to campus and is close to the beach and shopping on both West 4th Ave and Broadway. Downtown is about a 30-45 minute commute to campus and offers a number of often smaller rental options and lots of activities. The Olympic Village has a great community feel and is made up of newer units, also about a 30-minute commute. Here is a link to a map of all the areas: http://www.vancouveruserguide.com/neighborhood.html

Vancouver is expensive. On average, a shared room will cost approximately $800, Studios: $1000, One Bedrooms: $1250 and Two Bedrooms over $1600, plus utilities and internet. Typically, the further out, the less expensive it will be. Side note: In speaking with classmates, many of us are paying much more than these averages depending on the quality of the unit, expectations and when we signed the lease, but many people found great deals too!

Craigslist is your best option in searching, but be aware of scams, particularly against people from out of town. In my opinion, the most important thing to consider is how long are you willing to commute? One method for searching is to look for locations near express bus route stops. These buses (such as the 99, 84, 44, 258 etc.) have less stops than regular buses, shortening your commute, and they run more frequently in rush hours. For stops closer to UBC, express buses can fill up and pass the stop, so take that into consideration (there’s always regular buses too). Most likely if you are near an express stop, the area will have everything you need such as groceries, take out etc. One last thing to consider, every other student is searching for a place to live starting in September, so if it is at all possible to start your search before that rush, do it!

– Ruth Treasure