Author Archives: SarahMaciejewski

Study, Play, Volunteer!

As an MM student, it’s easy to get bogged down by the academic workload or our personal job-hunts, but taking the time to get together as a cohort and be present in our community is something many of us felt was important. There have been countless bar nights and study sessions that I have shared with my classmates, however, my favorite cohort experiences have been the three volunteer opportunities organized by our VP Internal, Sarah Maciejewski.

The first volunteer opportunity we took on was a trip to Ronald McDonald House BC, where a group of MM students, joined by Chris Gorczynski (MM Program Manager) and Margot Fraser (MM Program Assistant, spent a few hours giving back. As a group we organized (by every colour of the rainbow) and sanitized what must have been millions of pieces of donated Lego! This may sound tedious (it was!), but having the opportunity to give back to the community in which we study, work, and play, was really rewarding. While sorting the Lego, we were met by many curious young faces wondering what we were doing with their toys. We also chatted with parents who were happy to pass along thanks for our involvement with the house, which only made the whole experience that much more memorable.

Our next volunteering day was spent sorting yet again, but this time it was less reminiscent of childhood playtime cleanup! A group of seven MM students and I spent an afternoon sorting cans, produce, and other donated foods at the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. We had a surprising amount of fun doing this together and while we only made a dent in the masses of food at the warehouse, by the end of the day we managed to pack away a significant amount of food to be sent to families in need.

The third and final volunteering session we participated in as a cohort was the Shoreline Cleanup at beautiful Kits Beach. You could not ask for a better location to spend a morning. We are spoiled to live in this spectacular place and it’s easy to forget the impact we have on our environment. Maintaining the shores of this spectacular landscape was an invaluable experience. We later rewarded our efforts by relaxing as a group at the beach, playing a bit of soccer, and a few of us (not me!) ventured into the chilly ocean for a swim!

I didn’t seek out many volunteering opportunities during my undergraduate like I should have. I went to Ronald McDonald House BC for our first volunteering session thinking I was simply going to spend time with my classmates. I left that day with a sense of accomplishment and an excitement for the next volunteering opportunity. A bit of advice for the Class of 2017: if you haven’t volunteered much before and don’t know the impact it can have on you personally, don’t think for a second your other priorities are more important to your success! Volunteering didn’t make me worry that I didn’t use the time to secure a job, it made me more motivated and inspired in my other initiatives. Spending time away from your notes, projects, and job hunt is not only important for your well-being, but if volunteering is how you choose to spend that time, you can have a positive impact on the world around you, and THAT is time well spent.

– Lauren O’Sullivan

Sport Chronicles

For long, sports entertainment has been an integral part of my life. I woke up every morning awaiting the next big game or tournament, looking to catch glimpses of exciting events and action in the sports world. Every sports bar I visited brought with it a familiar ambiance. Scattered clusters of team jerseys and colours all around inspired a sense of belonging with the place. Even the team sponsors had a separate place in my heart. I could turn any random conversation into a sports conversation.

During my early days in Vancouver as an international student, I experienced a strange void growing within me. Something wasn’t right; something was missing. It took me a while, but I eventually recognized the problem. The problem was the games that I followed – Cricket and Football (Soccer; I hate to call it that) – were not popular here. The latter is the biggest sport on the planet and the former is an Indian religion (we have a Cricket God). There were no television sets in restaurants that showed highlights of recent cricket games. I wasn’t often surrounded by people wearing those familiar soccer jerseys. I was accustomed to watching my favourite sports conveniently in the evening with pints of chilled beer, and that was a part of the entire experience. In Vancouver, I had to watch them early in the morning, half-dead with hot, strong coffee.

Things were far from ideal and I needed a real sporting experience. I visited a sports bar on a weekend in Vancouver where I was introduced to the Canadian sports world – Football (clearly lacking imagination), Baseball, Hockey and, oh yes, Curling. A boring, senseless version of cricket, football that is not primarily played with the foot, world wrestling entertainment with a tag team of 6 players on a special ring made of ice, and a sport that I never knew existed. Obviously, I was terrified. Canada might be one of the rare countries that telecasts a curling game instead of a live UEFA Champions League semi-finals game!

As time progressed, I learned that for many of my friends, these sports actually made sense. As the saying goes, “the fans define the sport,” and it is only logical that the games would make more sense if experienced with the fans. Over some time, I did just that. I started trying to understand the games and get engaged with the sports. Overall, I feel that this has worked. While I haven’t necessarily developed a keen eye for these sports, they have surely sparked my interest. I am convinced that it is only through fans of the sport that I could experience the true spirit of the game. I hope to continue my journey of learning to love new sports. Soon, I might even be awaiting the next Superbowl or hanging out with Canucks fans!

– Yash Doshi

Winding Down

As the undergraduates finish their last day of exams, we still have one month of classes awaiting us. Although it will be difficult to ascertain the shaky landscape of our future in the following weeks, we still have many things to look forward to – such as using phrases like “ascertain the shaky landscape of our future” to embellish our business writing skills. Or, alternatively, attending one of Geoffrey’s many famous pool parties.

In all seriousness though, I encourage everyone to take advantage of what time you have left in Vancouver because, like many of you, I’m not quite sure where these past 8 months have gone. The sun is finally making an appearance, so go on a hike, take a trip down to Wreck beach, or go for a swim in Geoffrey’s pool (better known as the aquatic center). Below are some of my favourite activities to do in Vancouver:

  • Rain or Shine / Earnest Ice Cream; some of the best ice cream shops I’ve been to
  • Deep Cove; a beautiful and really short hike where you can have a picnic at the viewpoint on a massive rock overlooking the water
  • Stepping it up a notch and moving beyond regular yoga to try acro-yoga (it’s a lot easier to do than it looks and you look like a pro after a day! Plus there are some free classes offered at UBC)
  • Bike the Seawall

Don’t let the stress of career searching and school take over. Take time for yourself to have fun and explore what Vancouver has to offer!

– Mandeep Nahal

Do You Know What You Really Want From Your Life?

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.” – Bruce Lee, Philosopher, Martial Arts Instructor, Actor, Screenwriter, Producer

Whenever I hear the question “What is your main achievement?”, it always makes me reflect thoughtfully. I’m quite a self-rigorous individual, and I always try to set big goals. Although I have a lot of accomplishments I am proud of, I would like to share the story of a person who happened to change his life entirely.

About one and a half years ago, I landed at Toronto Pearson International Airport to have one of the happiest months in my life. I came to Canada to attend a short-term English Program at the University of Toronto, and that experience changed the way I looked at things. I met a lot of extraordinary people from all over the world, significantly improved my English proficiency, and developed a global perspective. I was a different person when I came back to Moscow, and although I was not completely sure of which path to choose, I was bound and determined to take the next step in my personal development journey.

At that time, I had a full-time job that was demanding and challenging enough to keep me engaged and motivated. However, I felt a strong desire to challenge myself even further and learn more. That was the reason why I started to consider pursuing a graduate degree in business.

At first glance, my decision to apply to the Master of Management Program seemed absolutely unrealistic. I was literally stunned with the huge amount of work I faced when beginning the application process. I had to considerably improve my proficiency in English. I had to spend months preparing for the GMAT – improving my quantitative as well as qualitative skills. I had to do a lot of other challenging things on my way to Sauder, but I never regret that. It was an experience that is worth getting through and that made me far stronger in every aspect of my life.

Today, I am happy and proud to be a student of unquestionably one of the most prestigious business schools in the world. This program has been transforming me since the very first day. It made me understand deeply what a real challenge and work looks and feels like. It let me collaborate with an amazingly diverse cohort of people from all around the world, and this experience fundamentally changed my understanding of things like commitment, reliability, teamwork, success, networking, personal and professional development.

Apart from the excellent business education, I learned to make the most of my inherent talent, interests, vision, and values. I still remember the first days of the program when we were frequently asked “What do you really want to do when you graduate?”. 90% of the class, including myself, could not confidently answer that question because we all came here to discover ourselves. Now, if you ask the same question, you will hear a completely different answer. And that is what this program is all about – answering questions that matter, and finding your own path to succeed and enjoy the journey we call life. I can confidently say that one of my greatest achievements is to be here, among these bright and intelligent people, and be a part of this experience. What about you? Are you ready to discover yourself?

– Jeremy Velichko

Business for Creatives

I took a different path than most of my cohort did to get to the MM program. I think that my story will help show one of the strengths of the MM program as well as hopefully inspire others to push their boundaries and try to gain new skills, so bear with me for a minute.

When I was a kid, I was never a big fan of school, especially anything that involved numbers. I spent a lot more time playing with cameras and computers than I actually spent paying attention in high school. For the most part, I took the easy route with a singular vision in mind – going to design school. After 3 years studying graphic design at MacEwan University in Edmonton, I graduated with a certificate and a diploma and immediately landed a fantastic internship as a designer in a construction company’s communications department. I’d never seen myself working in an office, but I quickly fell in love with it.

I knew that my new career goals would require more education than a diploma, so the following year I went to Royal Roads University in Victoria and completed my BA in Professional Communication. However, as I was completing my undergraduate degree I felt like something was missing. While I had gained a lot of great skills, I lacked the ability to quantify their value. I also lacked business acumen as well as knowledge of key areas such as commercial law and financial reporting.

I had never taken a single quantitative course in university. With increasingly high aspirations, I knew that I wanted, and needed, more. To make a long story short: I worked my butt off brushing up on my quantitative skills, wrote the GRE, and applied for the MM.

While I had some basic quantitative experience from investing as well as summer jobs in construction, starting the MM three weeks after finishing my undergraduate degree was daunting. The first period included courses in Economics, Statistics, and Financial Accounting. Looking back, I realize what a difficult job the professors had catering the material to a class that ranged from very little to heavy amounts of quantitative experience. One of the great things about the cohort model was that I’ve never been alone. I’ve constantly badgered my classmates for help in my weaker areas (thank you, if you’re reading this) and I was able to push through the courses. Plus, with the exception of a B- in Statistics, I’ve done very well.

Moving forward, I see endless possibilities for my creative background combined with my graduate business training. A lot of employers are seeking well-rounded individuals, which I can now certainly claim to be. While I don’t see myself becoming an accountant or a financial analyst, I have gained confidence and knowledge that helps me communicate with people from various areas of businesses. These skills have already proved invaluable in my conversations with potential employers.

The moral of my story is that you can earn an MM, whether you studied science or art. You can earn an MM even on the off chance that, like me, you haven’t taken a single quantitative undergraduate course. The MM is designed in a way that will help you succeed. All it takes is your dedication and a few late nights. Luckily, your cohort will be right there with you.

– Nick Larson

nicklarson.xyz

@NRWL

St. Patrick’s Day

With all the drinking and celebration going on, it is easy to forget the origins of St. Patrick’s Day. March 17th commemorates the day that St. Patrick’s died. A Roman boy enslaved by the Irish, Patrick, helped bring Christianity to Ireland peacefully in the fifth century. Legend has it that Patrick used the shamrock, with three petals on its stem, to explain the Holy Trinity while converting a pagan Irish King.

I was most excited about this day in particular, at the beginning of the program, given the opportunity to come up with cultural festivals to celebrate throughout the year. And I am glad (as someone who had not celebrated St. Patrick’s day before) that we have our own Irish champ in the class, giving us an even better excuse to go celebrate the day. On a day where our ethics class proposed that it is our responsibility to go green to protect the environment, we did exactly that. We had a challenge to see who could wear the most green on the night and there were many contenders for the winning spot. Camille looked elegant with her green dress and brown shoes. Mandeep showed up with the brightest green jacket that I have ever seen in my life. And Shamsheer showed dedication with a green shirt and a matching green turban.

12896231_985775321476370_1190687029_oWhile the folks were enjoying, the waitress happened to tell me a funny joke that I would like to share. She was waiting tables one time when an American stumped her with a drink order. She took the order and approached the bartender, “Have you ever heard of a drink called ‘Seven young blondes’? He admitted he had never heard of it and grabbed a guidebook to look it up. Unable to find the recipe, he asked her to tell the patron that she would be happy to get the drink made if he could list the ingredients for her. “Sir”, she said, “can you tell me what’s in the drink?” The American looked at her like she was nuts. “It’s wine,” he said, pronouncing his words carefully this time, “Sauvignon Blanc!”

– Anoop Banodkar

Balancing Passions: Music & Business

“For me it’s important to be in balance. To not let fear get in the way of things, to not worry so much about protecting yourself all the time.”
 – John Frusciante, Lead Guitarist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers

Music is one those things that pulls you in and ties you down. There’s just something about it that has always called out to me, and I can’t think of any substitute for the beautiful feeling of writing songs. It is a process that requires deep introspection, large emotional investment, and a genuine need for expression. Most importantly, it takes time to write a song, and in the MM program time is a valuable commodity.

Since the start of our program I felt as though I was being pulled in two separate directions. One towards a passion for creative expression, and another towards my desire to succeed in the business world as an entrepreneur. Time was the only constraint, and I found myself in a constant state of strife between my two passions. The conflict was almost too real for me to handle, and there were many instances where I considered dropping one option for the other. You can only imagine my parents’ reactions when I had asked them what they would think if I decided to be a professional musician over winter break! Nevertheless I powered through, spending each night thinking about what I truly wanted to do with my life, and after one particularly busy weekend in January I had come to a realization that enlightened me on the path I wanted to take.

That week in January was a hellish one for me. All I really remember was having pile after pile of work from school and my father’s company, on top of upcoming gigs dropping on my shoulders like a bag of bricks. At the end of it I was exhausted, and had spent my entire Sunday in my room staring at the ceiling. It was then that the realization hit me. It was like one of those cheesy scenes in teen dramas where, the male protagonist who felt so conflicted about telling the leading lady how he feels, realizes how much he loved her, and rushes out to see her again.

I realized that I had survived.

It was a surreal feeling. I began asking questions to myself like “Am I sure there is nothing else I have to do?” or “How did I even have the time?” I slowly let it sink in, and came to realize that my success was a result of achieving a proper balance. You could say that balance was the bridge between my two passions. It enabled me to skirt between the two and see each for what they were. By successfully learning to manage my time, I eventually saw that nothing could take me away from what I truly wished to achieve.

This is not to say that balancing two strong passions is easy. There are times when one tries to overpower the other, and the temptation is so strong that it becomes impossible to resist the urge to excessively indulge. In my case, that comes in the form of song ideas that I just have to get in writing when the inspiration hits. To others it could be a potential client calling for a sale, a company calling for an interview, or even a child asking if they want to play a quick game of hide and seek. Regardless of the situation, we all find ways to balance it out in the long run: whether that means spending an extra hour in the MM lounge slaving away in front of a computer screen, or in my case, putting aside school work to do that last quality guitar recording.

Often you’ll feel like you have to choose one door over another. But, what you have to realize is that, finding balance can create a way for you to open both at the same time.

–  Angelino De Guzman

The Art of Networking

You arrive at your networking/info session event in your newly bought business outfit. The feeling of importance may or may not strike you. You look around, spotting the important things:

Food? Check.

That little miracle to inspire that fierce inner confidence called alcohol? Check.

If not, then it is just you and your nametag.

You find a seat. The presentation starts. One of two things may happen: you may zone out trying to think of questions you can ask to “stand out” during the question period, or try to think of conversation topics that would last more than a few seconds – attempting to think of methods you could use to seem calm and interesting. You sit through the presentation. A company seems kind of interesting. Now you realize the presentation is coming to an end – the dreaded networking is about to happen…

For those “social butterflies”, meeting new people can be exhilarating and rewarding. However, for others, the mere thought of meeting new people could elicit significant anxiety. Now, what may be the underlying cause of this discomfort, and how can we overcome such uneasiness to enable a more pleasant and an impactful experience?

Understanding the root causes of anxiety-related problems is an essential step in overcoming the challenge of the networking fear!

handshakeIt has to do with the mismatch between modern and ancestral environments. The characteristics humans possess today are a result of adaptations to a multitude of social and physical challenges our ancestors faced, which may not be well-adapted for life in our modern society. Unfortunately for us, social fear is the result of this mismatch.

Psychology says our brains have evolved to compete for “attractiveness” – to make good impressions on others because these are related
to obtaining important social resources and investments from others. Being ostracized carries many negative consequences. So, your brain activates “submissive defensives”, which trigger characteristics such as self-consciousness, eye-gaze avoidance, inferiority, or submission, leading to interference with our confident performance.

But, there is good news! Our brains can be tricked into maintaining our awesomeness when we need it most.

  1. Reappraise Those Body Sensations

What is the difference between a “social butterfly” and a person with social anxiety? Conscious or unconscious appraisal of the bodily sensations. More or less we experience the same amount of stimulation in social situations. New situations trigger the adrenaline rush that increases our heart rate and oxygen delivery to the brain allowing us to be quicker on our feet. The trick is to understand that the sensations of “nervousness” are actually positive signs from our body to use to our advantage rather than an evil mechanism that inhibits our thinking. This is in line with the well-known self-fulfilling prophecy.

  1. Increase Certainty

The uncertainty of meeting new people induces anxiety. Therefore, one way to trick your brain and reduce this anxiety is to create a sense of certainty around the situation. First, there is certainty in knowing that not everyone is going to like you, no matter what “show” you put on. So be yourself – it is much easier to be in your own skin than in someone else’s. Second, create more certainty around the topic you will talk about by preparing 2 – 3 questions (the trick here is not to be lazy about it!). Third, reminding yourself that nothing horrible will happen if you say something rather “awkward” and you can be certain no one will even notice because no one is thinking about you. Everyone is too busy thinking about themselves.

  1. “Meeting Friends” or “Game”

Language is a powerful tool. Language and words we use trigger emotions and our emotions propel us into particular actions. Therefore, calling “networking” something else may alleviate the many stresses you have around the notion of meeting new people. Try calling it “meeting friends”. It’s just talking to nice people with whom you get on well and talking about things that you’re interested in. Or call it a “game”, and actually create small games for yourself prior to attending an event. For example, “today I will talk to 4 people, and find one interesting fact about them”. It doesn’t have to only be the company representatives. Networking opportunities are everywhere.

Of course, the list is not exhaustive in terms of what you can do better your experience. Just remember: people are people, and even CEO’s of big companies are nervous about new, social situations, yet, it does get easier with practice.

And really… at the end of the day, ask yourself, what’s the worst that can happen?MM NetworkingMM Networking Exchange 2016

–  Yanna Baiman

Alumni Guest Entry: Mel Gabanna

I was always envious of people who ‘just knew’ what they wanted to do for a living and had a clear post-MM career path to work towards. I had no idea what I wanted to pursue and struggled with feeling like I had no purpose or intention in my job search. It wasn’t until Steven Fitzgerald (our fearless leader at Habanero Consulting, an IT Consulting firm) came to speak to my MM class in 2011 that I started to realize, maybe it doesn’t really matter what I do. As Steven shared stories of Habanero and spoke about the culture and values that drive the company, I vividly remember thinking to myself ‘that’s the guy I need to work for, that’s where I need to be’ without really knowing what Habanero even did. It was a big “ah-ha!” moment for me and I started gaining a lot of clarity about what was important for me in a career and what I valued in a workplace. I shifted my perspective from trying to figure out ‘what’ to do and focused on finding the right people and leaders to surround myself with – the right ‘who‘.

Jim Collins (smart guy, read his books) explains his version of Who vs. What in this little video clip, check it out – (Your Personal Hedgehog – Who vs. What http://www.jimcollins.com/media_topics/all.html#audio=85)

“Far more important than what jobs you take early on is who you work for, and who your mentors are” – Jim Collins

I would have never predicted that I’d end up working in IT consulting, but the amazing quality of people I work with at Habanero and the feeling I get when I go to the office is exactly what I was looking for.  As it turns out, Habanero’s ‘what’ happens to be super interesting to me, so that’s a nice bonus.

My advice to the MMs, especially those feeling a little lost in the job search as May starts to approach, is not to worry too much about figuring out the ‘what’ right now. That will continue to change and evolve as we go through our careers for years to come. If you’re ‘what’ is flexible, start hunting for an amazing ‘who’. They are harder to spot and take more work to find so get out there and talk to people – network, network, network. And use the BCC as much as possible, don’t wait until graduation to realize how valuable those resources are!

– Mel Gabanna, MM ’12

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