Author Archives: AshleyDhaliwal

MM Culture Presentations

As an initiative to celebrate our multiculturalism and learn about and share each others’ cultural traditions, this year we began an initiative called the MM Culture Presentations. The idea is to have classmates volunteer to do brief presentations on their cultural background, followed by a small Q&A during lunch breaks. Initially, I wanted these to have a strong focus on how business is conducted in different cultures, however, with time it became apparent that the presentations should focus on the cultures themselves. Although we started late, I believe that having this initiative helped our cohort bond even further and many found the presentations engaging and inspiring. Current students have presented about Russia, Taiwan, India, Ontario, the Jiangnan area in China and Turkey. I believe there is potential in turning this into an interest-based presentation series similar to the ones held by the MBA Society. For the future, I hope this develops into a sort of Lunch&Learn, a concept that is becoming popular in small businesses/start-ups to increase employee engagement.

Below are some testimonials from presenters. Please have a read.

“It was an honor to do a cultural presentation on Taiwan in front of a class full of students with different backgrounds. Doing this presentation not only gave us the opportunity to introduce our culture, but it also reminded us of those cherished memories we have about our home.”

“We got to see how others thought and felt about our culture, and had the opportunity to speak about topics they were most interested that we hadn’t thought of even presenting on at first.”

“I think we didn’t realize how much we wanted to share. Before we even knew it, time was up! Many people came up to us later to express how much they learned and enjoyed the presentations.”

I am very proud to have been a part of this initiative and to see many of my classmates ask great questions, learn about each other, and gain insights into how business might be conducted in different cultures. It is my hope that this initiative continues for years into the future so that MM students can always take advantage of the cultural learnings in our diverse cohorts.

 

-Parawin Adisayathepkul, VP International

Shoreline Cleanup – Last Installment of 4-Part Local Volunteering Series

Sunday April 26th – A small, but mighty group of our class went out to Spanish Banks West/East to clean up the beach in our own MM Shoreline Cleanup.

The Shoreline Cleanup is a local initiative run by the Vancouver Aquarium and the World Wildlife Foundation. Anyone can organize a local cleanup at the beach of his or her choice by going to http://www.shorelinecleanup.ca/.

Although you wouldn’t think there is a lot of garbage at Spanish Banks, we managed to collect over 6 full bags of garbage! Among the expected bottles and cans, we picked up some unusual items including: a pillow, one shoe and one sock, a pair of gloves, and a road sign.

This was the last event in a series of 4 volunteering initiatives which included: a day at the Vancouver Food Bank, running in UBC’s Run for Rural Medicine, cooking a meal at the Ronald McDonald House and lastly, the Shoreline Cleanup. Although there were a variety of volunteer options, each event had the commonality of great, hard working volunteers. It was so rewarding to have the opportunity to make a difference in our community together as a class. We hope to see the local volunteering initiatives carried on with the next MM cohort because we know that they will get as much out of it as we did.

– Marni-Lyn Fox

Nearing the End of the Road

 

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When we started the MM program in September, I remember alumni and faculty telling our cohort that the program would be done before we knew it and to make the most of it. They weren’t joking! Period 5, our last and final set of courses, has arrived! Just five more weeks of classes and we will be on our merry way – out of the comfort of room 337, the MM Lounge and breakout rooms – and into the real business world. No more Mikes Bikes simulations, just real world decisions!

As we near the end of the program, many questions fill our minds – “What’s next? More school? Will I be deported after my visa expires?” and the scariest of them all, “Will I get that job I’ve been working toward?” But as we contemplate our future and look forward to May 25th, let’s not forget to enjoy the moment. I mean, where else can we get free lunches, sweet treats that magically show up in the lounge when we are stressed, or a personal support team that is dedicated to our careers! But above all, the thing that I will miss most is the camaraderie with my fellow MMs. Never was one of the late nights I spent at Sauder without a little fun and laughter. In a few years, I may not remember what TQM stood for or whether something is a debit or credit. But what I will remember are those many study sessions always filled with laughter, food and friendship. I value the new friendships I made and the people I study with because of the genuine respect and concern we have for each other. While some of us want to work in the same industry and are pursuing the same positions, never do we hold back from helping each other apply for those same jobs. These are the kinds of connections and friendships that I’m happy to leave the MM program with.

As we move into our last term, I want to encourage each of you to finish strong. Not just academically but in every aspect of the MM experience. Make connections, develop your brand and above all build lasting friendships. Ask yourself, “what do I want to leave with after MM,” then make it happen over the next five weeks we have left together. Make the most of the rest of your MM experience!

Peace out – Brennan Lee

Volunteering at the Greater Vancouver Food Bank

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MM Students at the Greater Vancouver Food Bank – Instalment 1 of the local MM Gives Back initiative, which engages students with the local community.

 

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.

 – Marni-Lyn Fox

Alumna Guest Entry: Bethany Bohme

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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.

 – Bethany Bohme, MM ’13

Trek Toronto and the Career Path Conundrum

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Students at the TD Tower in Toronto with Jeff Balin, MM Career Manager

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.

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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.

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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.

– Adrian Dingle

An International Classroom: Carnaval

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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.

– Gabi Maia

My MM Family

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The MM Class of 2015 at their end of Module 2 celebration!

 

When I first started this program I thought I would learn about business, make connections, and then find a job. However, four months in, I’ve realized that that will only be a small portion of what I will get out of this program. It has given me a second family that teaches me new things everyday.

At the beginning of the program, MM students were 49 small branches of a tree, all looking for guidance, strength, and security. During my first week, it never crossed my mind that the people who will give me the support and the security I need are sitting right next to me in this classroom.

There are, of course, highs and lows in our shared journey. In a fast-paced and intense program like the MM, sometimes we frustrate or challenge each other as we all learn and grow how to navigate this experience. Despite these moments, we also always support, empower, and cheer each other up. If someone is absent in the class, we message that person to ensure he/she is ok.  If someone goes through a break up, we take him or her out for a great night to let him or her know that they aren’t alone. If someone starts a new commitment, such as working out we all support the person to ensure he/she doesn’t quit. If we have a problem in our lives, we know that there is always someone in our class to listen and truly care. We never hesitate to approach our MM family to ask for help or a favor. I have to admit, I have learned lessons from just being a member of this family that I would never have learned from class lectures. We are 49 people with different life stories, cultures, thought-processes, personalities, ideas, and opinions. It is fascinating and mysterious how we have created this family and we “never eat alone.” Most importantly, we all have individual roles in this family that nobody else can replace.

It is an exciting but also gloomy thought that, when the program is over in four months, the branches of our tree will be off and growing in their own directions again. However, what we’ve shared will no doubt keep us connected for a lifetime.

– Samin Saadat

 

Alumnus Guest Entry: Kian Khoshnevis

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One aspect of the MM program that never ceases to amaze me is the speed at which it flies by. Of course, when one is immersed in its peak moments – with readings, assignments, group work, and test prep consuming every single waking hour – it seems never-ending. But really, when you take a step back, 9 months is no time at all.

So, as an MM alumnus who graduated from the program back in 2012, my one piece of advice for the Class of 2015 and all incoming classes, would be to embrace all that the MM program has to offer. Have fun, challenge yourself, don’t take things too seriously (like I did), and make sure to develop those relationships – you’ll thank yourself later.

Trust me when I say you’re going to miss school – especially the camaraderie you build with your classmates. Many of my best friends today are those I met four years ago at Sauder in the MM.

For those of you who are looking to start your careers right away, you’ll soon find out that the stakes are a little (or way) higher, depending on where you end up. An organization has invested in you to perform. You need to do everything in your power to succeed and achieve results – not to mention make that paycheck (not to discourage you!).  It’s an entirely different thrill. With that being said, use the MM as a lab – make a ton of mistakes, learn from them, and have a blast in the process!

Speaking of those personal relationships, one in particular from my MM experience led me down the career path I’m on today.

Back in May of 2013 I was finishing up an internship at HootSuite – the Vancouver social media startup. I wasn’t necessarily looking for work, as I wanted to see how my internship would play out. But one day, I got a group message in my Facebook inbox. It was from one of my MM classmates saying the following:

Hey guys!! just wanted to send out this message and see if any of you might be interested in potentially working at SAP – someone I met a few months back just emailed me with an opening in their Sales/Marketing/Customer Service division…. please let me know if any of you would like me to put your name forward- since I’m already working I would be happy to recommend you guys or anyone else from our class you guys think might be interested!”

I thought to myself – “Oh, what the hell, let me apply! What’s the worst that could happen?”

The worst would have been not getting a callback. The best, I guess, is what ended up happening. I got the job, started working for SAP, worked as hard as I could, and, after eighteen months, got promoted to my current position as the Team Lead for the North America Inbound Marketing team.

The moral of the story is that your professional network and the relationships you build today can have a great impact on where you end up in the future.

Without my classmate, I would have never come across the job posting or pursued the role in the first place. Even had I applied online via a database or job board, I may have never made the crack. Because my classmate had already established a relationship with the SAP hiring manager, her endorsement went a long way and helped me move through the interview process with ease and confidence. Sure, I still had to win over the hiring manager, but going in hot is always better than cold.

So whether you’re currently in the MM program, or simply on this blog to check things out, start today! Go out there and build your network, develop those relationships, and meet as many people as you possibly can. It can only add value to you in the long run.

Oh, and if you’re reading this (classmate who endorsed me), I owe you a huge thank you and a few rounds at the bar! That’s for sure. Thanks for reading and good luck.

– Kian Khoshnevis, MM ’12

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

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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

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ammarelsherif

 

Alumni Guest Entry: Elizabeth Sun

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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

 

Day of the Longboat 2014

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As one of the MM students that also did her undergrad at UBC, the MM experience has been a little different for me than it has for others. Although I did not have some of the challenges of adjusting to life in Vancouver (e.g the regular and sometimes seemingly-constant rain), thus far it has been interesting experience to be a Masters student at UBC. With five years of experience on this vast campus I know the resources that are available, the awesome annual events and all of the good hidden study spots.  With this great knowledge comes the great responsibility of passing it along to MMs who are new to the UBC Vancouver Campus!

One of my favourite events at UBC has always been the Day of the Longboat that happens every year on the third weekend of September. Students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members gather along the coast of Jericho Beach and race boats that fit up to 10 people. This year it was my pleasure to help rally the troops and have our very own MM team enter the 15 minute race under the team name ‘SeaEOs’. Although we had a rocky start to the race, as any good SeaEO we managed to stay composed, stay positive and fight till the very end. With a little bit of hard work and a few sea shanties our team advanced to the second round! However, as you will soon find out with the MM program, there isn’t enough time to spend a whole day at sea so we had to forfeit the second race so we could head back to Sauder to study for our upcoming exams.

The Day of the Longboat was a great day to connect with the other MM students especially as it was early on in the year. The other non-UBC undergraduate students seemed to really enjoy feeling a part of the great community that is UBC. It was also a great chance for UBC undergraduate students to also experience an event that they had always wanted to but never had the chance in their undergrad.

Whether you have completed your undergraduate degree here at UBC or are joining this beautiful university for the first time, there are tons of great ways to get involved, enjoy the Vancouver area and have some fun with fellow classmates!

– Filza Qureshi

View Filza Qureshi's LinkedIn profile View Filza Qureshi’s profile