When entering a new program it is hard not to have preconceived notions of what to expect. Personally, I was quite nervous to start the MM degree. I could not visualize how I would balance the demands of the program. Yet as with most things, this experience could not have been more different from what I had envisioned.
As I am sure you have been warned, this program is very fast paced. Although I am used to busy environments, I still had to quickly adjust and time manage more efficiently than ever before. For me, this really boiled down to prioritization. I needed to figure out how to manage my time and focus on what assignments were most important and form a hierarchy. Therefore my suggestion is to get used to time managing right away and don’t let things fall behind.
As undergrad was my only frame of reference, I had carried some expectations over to this program. If you happen to be coming straight out of an undergraduate degree, this master’s could not be more different. The anonymity of a large undergraduate class is no longer relevant as you are with the same small class every day. Not to mention the grading system and class expectations are completely different as well. Leave your undergrad mentality behind and prepare for an entirely new environment.
I could never have predicted how much group work we would be doing in this program. One of the most valuable things I have learned is to be a good team player. This includes not only showing up, but also being a good contributor. Even if your strengths may not be represented in the task at hand, help out anyway! The working relationship you will build in this program is one of the most rewarding aspects of the MM program.
Lastly, have fun! It’s too easy to get wrapped up with the hectic schedule during the MM, but it is important to make time to socialize and meet your new classmates. During the first period I did not take the time to go out and have fun because I was so focused on school. That was a big mistake because meeting the great people in your class is one of the best parts of the program. Some of the friendships you make could be lifelong and help you in your future career.
The MM is a truly a wonderful program. It imparts the value of time management, adapting to new environments, team work and friendships. I am happy to report that my original preconceptions of the program are untrue, as the experience has exceeded my expectations.
– Marni-Lyn Fox
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Having just started our December break, I think I can speak on behalf of the class by saying we all need to relax and rest over the coming weeks. I wonder how we even made it this far! I think the Tim Horton’s coffee and Triple O’s burgers definitely helped! Nonetheless, it was important for many classmates and I to try not to get lost purely in academics during this demanding time.
For a lot of us, this meant taking part in fitness activities and athletics. As a class we formed a soccer team. We had solid group of players that competed in one to two matches a week. We had a fantastic start to the season, winning all of our matches and achieving a goal differential of greater than 10. It was amazing to see everyone enjoy themselves, especially for those that hadn’t played the sport in a while.
Beyond soccer, people wanted to play a few different sports including football, volleyball, and basketball. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough demand to pull more teams together, however, we filled this void by partaking in drop-in sports on campus. A handful of us also made our way onto the MBA hockey team, giving us another opportunity to mingle with our grad school peers.
Outside of organized sports, many people have blown off steam and kept fit by going to the gym, hiking the local mountains, and going to yoga.
For Periods 3, 4, and 5 we have already signed up a flag football team, a futsal (indoor soccer team), and some of us are returning to the MBA hockey team. Other activities such as skiing, yoga (as mentioned), and snowshoeing are also in the works. The New Year will bring us all together again, and I can’t wait to see everyone tie up their running shoes, and clip on their skis!
– Kanha Shete
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Coming into the MM program, despite poring over all the marketing materials, I was still nervous about what the program would really be like. Taking on this degree was a big step for me. Having a background in Science and wanting to pursue clinical work, I was unsure how I could have a completely different degree work in my favor. Many questioned this next step of mine. However, something felt right when I read the description of the program two years ago.
Not knowing what the coursework in this program would entail, I was quite nervous. Meeting everyone in the class and getting to know them all eased these nerves quickly throughout the first weeks. I was quite interested in everyone’s backgrounds and knowledge, which they brought to the program. However, this program has been life changing in multiple ways.
Most importantly the type of information I have been learning in the classes has changed me as an individual. I have more confidence in my ability to succeed and I have become a better professional and public speaker over the past three months.
The marketing, accounting, organizational behavior, and finance classes have changed my perspective on how I approach thinking about organizations and even the world. Even after this short time, I am able to understand how businesses are organized, the varieties of companies and how they operate, and the difference between company structures. In a short period of time this program has matured its students in understanding what it means to be a business professional.
This program is life-changing from the students to the staff. Everyone cares for one another and are willing to help those around them. It is amazing to see how interconnected you can become with a group of people in a short time and have it change your life.
– Gurjot Dhaliwal
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A snapshot of Alex’s exchange to Melbourne, Australia
So, how I did I get here?
I was one of those high school students who were told they just HAD to be a doctor. It was my plan from the age of 15. Then I came to UBC for my undergrad in 2009 and realized that almost every other science student had the same plan. The competitive spirit was definitely challenging, but I was determined.
However, in my 3rd year I went on exchange to Melbourne, Australia and I learned some very important lessons. The main one I learned was that life is too short to not do what you love. I realized I had made decisions in the past based on pride and what other people expected of me. Coming back to Canada, I re-evaluated my options and decided I didn’t want to be a doctor. However, I still enjoyed biology and healthcare technology. I knew I loved managing people and I had some business experience that made me think about pursuing management further. I heard about the MM program at the start of my 4th year and I never looked back. After graduating with my BSc. in 2014, I started the MM program right away.
Having completed 3 months in the program, I can honestly say that I have no regrets. I feel I am exactly where I am supposed to be and I am learning on a daily basis. Since the MM program started, I have been challenged in many ways. I have had to learn how to interact and work with people on a daily basis; you can’t be anonymous at Sauder. At this point in the program, I feel like I have a better understanding of who I am, where I succeed or struggle, and how to push myself outside of my comfort zone. There is a lesson to be learned in each day.
I can’t wait to see what the New Year brings and how our cohort continues to develop.
– Alex Perrin
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Even though I arrived in Vancouver almost a month before school started, I was really not prepared for the beginning of this program. I had found an apartment, my husband had a job, and I was well on my way to learning the Vancouver bus system. BUT…none of this came close to getting me ready for the intensity of Opening Week and Business Immersion. There are several things that I did, and some that I wish I had done, in order to prepare myself for the social, intellectual, and emotional rigor of those first few days.
- Get in contact with the administration at least two weeks before the start of the program. They will set you up with all the information you need and take the stress out of figuring out where you need to be. Unfortunately, I did not get in touch with anyone before starting the program and it really hurt me that first week.
- Be ready to dive in. Please prepare yourself for the time commitment involved with this program. Whether you are coming from far away, or you have lived in Vancouver your entire life, you will nearly drop everything to be in this program. While you will still be able to have some fun, its way better for you to give yourself over to the MM program.
- For anyone not from Vancouver, it is absolutely crucial for you to familiarize yourself with the transit system. It took me at least a week to figure out the timing and routes to the school. Even now, in early November, there are many time I am clueless when it comes to many of the different lines. You will not be able to use your transit card until September though!
- If you are assigned work before the week starts, just suck it up and do it. Get it out of the way! You really want to spend this first week getting to know your cohort and soaking up as much information as you possibly can.
- Get outside as much as you can! It will soon get dark and rainy, so take this time in late August to go on walks and really enjoy the campus! It’s truly amazing. The first thing I did on campus was visit the Nitobe Zen Garden and I have no regrets.
From personal experience Opening Week will change your life. It’s so incredible to be part such a inclusive and amazing group of people. I hope that these few tips can help anyone coming into this program to gain a little perspective on what the program entails. Keep in mind that these people will be your network, your friends, and some your family during this program and into the future.
– Erica Yan
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Halloween… every blog needs at least one post about it. For MM 2015, October 31st was not just Halloween. It was a celebration of two of our classmates’ birthdays and a very hectic day at the first Career Development Programming Day (CDP). But that evening everyone got costumed up and went to kick off the celebration at Koerner’s Pub. Some of us had never celebrated Halloween before and it was a great opportunity to see what it was all about and how locals celebrate. We also went down to Granville’s entertainment district later that night and saw even more people in costumes having fun. Some were funny, others were just downright scary! Vancouver is very into this celebration and I hope to join it again next year.
If you’re looking for a scare, be sure to check out Fright Nights at the PNE. I believe it’s only opened in October so be sure to go before Halloween. I guarantee you’ll have lots of fun between the roller coasters and haunted houses.
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I have to be honest, I wasn’t sure this one was going to work out! The idea to have a Diwali Party came up on a Tuesday and the party was set to happen on Friday. All I could say on Tuesday was “so… what’s Diwali?” But with our curiosity and a hunger to learn about each other, MM 2015 made this Diwali a great one!
For those of you that don’t know what it is, Diwali is the Festival of Lights in the Hindu culture and an official holiday in many countries. Our Indian classmates shared how we could celebrate and everyone embraced the opportunity to do something new and fun. For our celebration we dressed up in nice and/or traditional attire (see picture above), lit up the room with lots of candles, cooked a feast, ate until we couldn’t eat anymore, and played many games. Many people brought food to share, including myself (mango lassi) and it was a great time. It was all about sharing culture, and that is something I really value in our MM cohort. As you can tell from the pictures, not everyone was dressed up, but it was something everyone, international or domestic, could rally around and just have fun. At the end of the day, that’s what matters: being open and accepting. This was one of the first international events MM 2015 held and I know there are many more to come. Can’t wait!
– Parawin Adisayathepkul
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