Monthly Archives: February 2016

From Arts to Business

How business education shapes your world..

I always knew that some day I would like to wear a suit, smoke a cigar, and talk business. I might have exaggerated that a little bit, but it is true: I always wanted to immerse myself in the business world. I believed, and I still do, that business education would open doors to opportunities, leading me to companies that I longed to be a part of. When I was deciding on my undergraduate major, I chose to first invest four years of my life in the liberal arts education, believing that it would change the way I perceive the world for the rest of my life. I never regret.

My subconscious, however, kept telling me that I also needed knowledge and skills that could be more directly applied to careers in which I was interested. After thorough research, I chose the Master of Management program to build a broad foundation upon which I can further solidify my business knowledge and skills through work experience in the future. Now that I have completed 60% of the MM program, I can tell you that business education goes beyond finding a job: it will also equip you with another lens, enabling you to deepen the knowledge about the world.

Prior to the MM program, inadequate exposure to statistical theory made me skeptical when I read academic journals or articles on the newspapers. “How could they draw conclusions that represent the majority, from 1,000 samples only?”, I thought. It could be just a coincidence! However, Professor Jonathan Berkowitz introduced me to essential theory about statistics, its reasoning, and applications, in a unique way. He turned ordinary conversations or dialogues in movies and poems into statistical works of art. And the way I see this world has changed. Statistics has now become an additional tool that aids decision-making, personally and professionally.

Each jigsaw puzzle piece that the MM courses offer will provide you with different useful lenses to be used in different scenarios. The concepts of costs in Managerial Accounting might change your buying behaviour. Design thinking from Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship might redefine your perception of failure. Whichever lenses you use, a more versatile way of thinking, a big picture of business, and the link between your business career and your undergraduate degree will develop along the journey.

– Phaokan Thooptong

Alumni Guest Entry: Nav Sidhu

I currently work in Marketing for one of North America’s largest real estate investment advisors. So what steps did I take to get here?

The first, and most important thing I did, was decide early on which field I wanted to go into. I always had an interest in real estate, and I knew it was the career trajectory I wanted to pursue. By having a vision about the path I wanted to embark on, I was able to make it clear to the Business Career Centre (BCC) exactly what I was looking for. I feel that this is an advantageous step for all MM students. When career opportunities arise, BCC advisors are more likely to reach out to individuals who have expressed a specific interest in a field over someone who has not.

The second thing I did was focus on building my resume. We were given numerous opportunities in the MM to gain relevant work experience. Instead of trying to gain diverse experience, I focused on acquiring experience that was specific to the field I wanted to pursue. I was able to accomplish this through the Community Business Project, which helped me create a stronger resume, thus influencing my job outcome.

The third, and one of the most important steps I took, was beginning to apply for jobs before graduation. I believe you can never get enough practice with interviews. There will always be questions thrown around that you have not had the chance to prepare for. Going through actual interviews will help you determine your strengths and weaknesses as an interviewee. You then have an opportunity to hone and structure yourself into a better candidate. If you are able to learn from these mistakes early on, it will make it much easier and less stressful when applying for jobs later on.

With the help of the three points I listed above, I was lucky enough to come across an internship opportunity as an Analyst for a real estate investment company. By making it clear to the BCC what I was looking for, through my resume building activities during the year, and by completing multiple interviews with different companies before hand, I was in a good situation when it came this job. Although this position was temporary for the summer, I saw this as an opportunity to gain valuable skills that would significantly strengthen my resume.

Once that role ended, I eventually moved into my current role in Marketing. My success in landing this job is due to all of the above, but also to the extensive time I took to research and understand the company. So how do you stand out from the competition? Study the company. Know the company. When answering questions during the interview, bring in things you learned about the company during your research to support well developed and thought out answers. This is your opportunity to show them that you really want to be there, and that you are already ahead of the competition with your extensive knowledge about the company.

So there it is, some of the important steps I took during the MM to help develop my career. I advise you begin your search now. Good luck!

 – Nav Sidhu, MM’15

The Cohort

The MM cohort has truly been a unique experience. The year has consisted of going to class everyday with the same people, then hanging out with them after class. Being new to Vancouver, I was a bit worried and insecure about making new friends. I had just spent four years at my undergraduate school in Ontario building a very tight social circle. Then I decided to move across the country away from everybody I know and start a new chapter in my life. I was excited but nervous about being able to establish close connections out west. However, it has been exceptionally easy to make friends that will last long after the program ends.

Socially, I have met people who I have become very close friends with. The program really facilitates this. After endless assignments, constant job hunting and letting off steam on the weekends, you will inevitably start to form some pretty tight bonds. Sometimes I step back and realize how quickly these friendships have been built in such a short time. One of my close friends recently texted me, “I’d do anything for ya kid”. I met him in September… and the feeling is absolutely mutual. Two months into the program, I was riding the bus with a classmate and she looked at me and said, “It is hard to imagine I only met you in September.” These examples are really a testament to the social aspect of the program. In all of the madness that comes with the MM program, the special people I have met make it possible to persevere.

By working on a variety of group assignments, I have learned lots about my classmates and myself. Specifically, I have learned how I interact with people in different settings. Coming from a science background, creative group work has not been a common theme for me. Throughout the program I have realized that certain people get the very best out of me. It has been exciting to work with individuals that create a personal inspiration and confidence to get the job done.

As the program progresses, I am looking forward to building on the friendships I have made and learn more about those I have not interacted with as much. There are a lot of a unique people in the program and some of us (me) are just plain weird. It makes everyday interesting and helps wake you up in the morning as you stumble into class with a coffee in your hand. Everyone has something unique to offer and it demands that you be genuinely attentive. Therefore, I am excited to see where everyone goes after the program and to stay connected throughout the years.

–  Zach Robinson

A Week in the Life Of..

When I was deciding whether or not I should apply to the program one of the major factors I considered was general lifestyle, in school and extra-curricular activities. It’s impossible to know exactly what you will be doing, feeling, and thinking, but I’ll give you my best possible simulation by providing you with a standard week in the MM program! Here is a fairly close approximation of what went down in my life as an MM student last week:

Mondays: Class starts at 10am on Monday mornings, so I was up at the crack of dawn. Before you go thinking I’m really active and productive it’s worth noting that the crack of dawn in January in Vancouver is approximately 8:30am, and that was still a struggle. Fortunately I live on campus so I need to leave home about 15 minutes before class starts. I piled on about 42 layers and left for class around 9:45am. There is a little coffee shop in the bottom of the Sauder School of Business, which I probably should have invested in at the start of the year as I faithfully drop $4.32 there several times a day for a latte. From here I trotted on up the stairs (by stairs I mean elevator) into my first class. I proceeded to learn and absorb like a keen little sponge until we finished up classes at the crack of dusk (4pm in Vancouver). From here I pranced on up to the Gold’s Gym in University Marketplace for a quick sweat, and proceeded back to my apartment to watch The Bachelor (Ben’s season, my bet’s on Lauren B for the win). I wrapped up my Monday evening with a few readings and by catching up on emails.

Tuesdays: These mornings class kicks off at 8am, so I have to forcibly remove myself from bed around 7am. From here I proceed to sprint around my flat like Usain Bolt attempting to get my life rapidly together because I accidentally hit my snooze button 4 times and it is now 7.30am. Fortunately I am then warmed up and able to power walk to Sauder without pulling a muscle and with time to spare for a coffee. More learning, more absorbing, more coffee and we are done classes for the day at noon. This leaves the afternoon free, but usually meetings, study dates, real dates for the hotties of the program (not me), and informational interviews fill up the spare time fairly quickly. This previous Tuesday I spent the afternoon finishing up an accounting assignment, meeting for a group project, chatting with friends in the MM lounge, and eating my body weight in chocolate almond Pockys.

Wednesdays: Class at 10am again, spent the extra two hours of my morning productively changing outfits 67 different times, because Vancouver weather is a challenge. I finally settled on the classic getup of head to toe waterproof wear. Up to Sauder I went, learnt, accounted, group meeting’d, ate Pocky and wrapped up the day at 4pm again. Fortunately I managed to finish off some other homework over our 2 hour lunch break so proceeded to head to the gym to prepare for another day of Pocky tomorrow.

Thursdays: This past Thursday was the most important day of everyone’s week (maybe even year) for the very serious reason being IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY!! Because of that I learnt and absorbed with a sparkly silver birthday hat on. Also I would like to mention that I only hit my snooze button 1 time on this morning because I matured into a together 22-year-old adult. After a quick meeting with our MM executive team to discuss class events, clubs, volunteer opportunities and career prospects I was taken out for a lovely evening of great food, drinks and laughs with some of my amazing friends in the program.

Fridays: If you don’t already know this I’m about to blow your mind, in the MM program WE DO NOT HAVE CLASSES ON FRIDAYS!! It’s a beautiful and kind gift that just keeps giving. I spent my most recent Friday in group meetings, running outdoors in the first break of rain in well over a week, and eventually going out for a class wide triple birthday celebration in the evening. Here we laughed and drank the night away, reminiscing of all the memories the weeks here in the MM have held.

Well this brief week outline may sound standard and seemingly unexciting, each day is also filled with plenty of laughter, plenty of learning, and (my personal favorite) plenty of classroom camaraderie. While the MM program delivers a plethora of information on all relevant aspects of business, it also delivers a plethora of friends as you spend the hours building memories to last a lifetime. The days go by faster and faster, and as we pass the halfway point of our short year together I look back on this collection of seemingly unexciting weeks with complete nostalgia. I look forward to what the rest of the program has to deliver, knowledge wise, Pocky wise, and friendship wise.

Note: Pocky did not sponsor this post.

– Renee Cadenhead