Author Archives: SarahMaciejewski

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

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

Alumni Guest Entry: John Holt

Let’s be honest, if you’re in the MM program, it’s likely because you want to add one final piece of the puzzle to get a job. I was no different. I had a Bachelor of Arts from UBC, and had taught English for a couple years in Spain and wanted to do something in business, whatever that meant.

My job search was varied and I applied to a range of jobs that had little in common. The first piece of advice I’d give is apply to anything you think you could do. The worst case scenario is that you get another live opportunity to test your interview skills. The day you sit down for the job you really want, you’ll be amazed how much more comfortable you’ll feel if you’ve already sat in the hot seat a number of times before.

The second piece of advice is really understanding the job you’re applying for and what you bring that makes you a great candidate. I applied for HSBC’s International Management programme. I was fortunate, I had a broad first degree which gave me a firm base in world politics, experience moving and living abroad in another language and the MM program gave me the finance angle that I was lacking previously. It seems so simple, but it’s your job to really make sure the interviewer understands the relevance.

Finally, I’ll echo something I know other MMs have written about, your classmates. Network is important, and to be clear not networking, but your network. Networking is often shallow and meeting people is great but I highly recommend you foster a network of people you really know and trust, and then invest time to keep up with them. I invested a lot of time in the MM program when I was going through it and would recommend you do the same, at a bare minimum get to know your classmates over the course of the program to make sure you can all help each other. You’ve got a built in opportunity to meet likeminded people over a relatively long period of time, use it!

In the end, I looked for something international, and wasn’t too focused on the industry. It meant I went for a number of interviews, often unrelated. I noticed in the interviews the question I always asked the interviewer was what international opportunities existed in the company. When I interviewed with HSBC it just clicked, I could identify what made me a good fit for them, and the rest is history. I’ve now had the great fortune to have worked for the bank in Paris, London and now Bangkok. Your ambition may not be international work, but whatever your driver, it’ll come out through the process. Let it happen, and good luck!

– John Holt, MM ’10

A Vancouverite’s Perspective

You’ve already learned about the culturally bountiful cocktail that is this year’s MM cohort – with 15 different backgrounds to constantly peak our perspectives. We sync for many reasons, but one of our key commonalities is the draw towards beautiful Vancouver, BC. While we learn from each other in the safety of our UBC bubble, study breaks mark the opportunity to explore our surroundings.

You may have heard rumours that Vancouver is all beauty and no bustle. But as a native Vancouverite of 13 years, I’ve seen this city bloom into a thriving marvel that’s evolving constantly. With an international brigade by my side, this has given me the opportunity to relive the city through their eyes, and play local tourist myself.

SkatingWe’ve got a myriad of ever-changing & exciting activities, particularly under the glitz and glimmer of the holiday season. Downtown becomes a shimmering spectacle, with its central Robson Square transformed into a skating rink. So for Lady Canadiana, we strapped up our laces and embraced this new experience for many! After 3 months of mutual support through multiple learning curves, we knew we had each other’s backs (and bottoms) on this slippery ride.

And our international cohort plowed through beautifully! Little did we know, we had an Elvis Stojko in our midst in the form of the fashionista himself: Mr. Phaokan! The veterans went hand-in-hand with the rookies, and we were all embracing the ice dance before we knew it.

MarketOur skating success earned us some much-needed refuel, and the opportunity to visit another local hotspot: the Vancouver Christmas Market. This annual favorite is quintessential of the traditional German style, with every kind of yuletide grub available. A perfectly apt representation of our various cultural offerings, and one of my personal favorites. Not surprisingly, we finished the evening with bellyfuls of free samples, from kettle corn to sauerkraut, coco to vino.

But this is just a small dose of the city’s seasonal offerings. Rain or rain, you’re guaranteed to see Vancouverites out embracing our gorgeous surroundings and communal cultures alike. Our eagerness is authentic, as we crave to learn and experience our diverse landscape. From sea to sky, we’re an eclectic, effervescent bunch – always active, always in the moment.

– Sher Najafi

Should I Take the GRE or the GMAT?

When thinking about the application process for the MM program one of your key decisions will be whether to take the Graduate Records Exam (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). Both tests are standardized testing methods that aim to evaluate your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing and your critical thinking. Your results from one of the tests must be submitted with your application, so let’s try and help you decide which one to take!

The GMAT test is primarily used for graduate programs at business schools such as the MM and MBA programs. The structure of the test is broken down into four sections: verbal, quantitative, analytical writing and integrated reasoning. The GRE is primarily used for graduate and doctoral programs from varying academic disciplines and contains verbal, quantitative and analytical writing sections but does not include the integrated reasoning section found in the GMAT.

The integrated reasoning section is the only major difference in content between the tests. It is a new section on the GMAT that aims to evaluate your ability to evaluate data presented in multiple formats from multiple sources. However, your score on the integrated reasoning section does not contribute to your overall GMAT score. The GRE has an experimental section that could be either verbal or quantitative that tests new questions so therefore is also not part of your overall score. Apart from the content of each test, the total test time is comparable at 3.5 hours for the GMAT and 3.75 hours for the GRE. Your results from both the GRE and the GMAT are valid for 5 years after your test date, but the GRE is cheaper at $195 compared to the GMAT at $250.

The overall perception of the two tests is that the GRE focuses more on vocabulary rather than grammar, the quantitative section is easier and you can use a calculator. However, the best thing to do is to take a practice test of each and see how you score and how you like each test. Pick the one that you think you can improve the most in to reach those goals sooner! Also, it’s also a good plan to think ahead – maybe you’re going to apply to another program after the MM, which also accepts the GRE! Whichever test you pick, the online or in class prep courses give you great study tips and materials to help you reach your desired score. I hope this answers some of those burning questions so you can pick a test and get studying! Good luck!

– Samantha Bisnaire

MM Finance Stream

Are you interested in working in finance, consulting, or marketing? The MM program offers a unique stream which offers the following intense courses: Corporate Finance and Investment Theory, which prepare students for the challenges ahead in their future careers. Five weeks per course may seem like a lot to handle but, in reality, the key takeaways from these challenging courses may be invaluable for our future careers. Students learn to adapt to a steep learning curve as they are submerged into real life examples in finance from day one. A background in business is definitely not required as the MM program is designed for students without a business background. The quality of students is high and the chance to work with the diligent and clever classmates around you is definitely what makes the finance stream an attractive option.

Does taking the finance stream REALLY help you towards your future career in finance, consulting, and marketing?

This is a question I get asked a lot and, to be honest, a question I asked myself a couple times throughout my own studies. Not surprisingly, my answer would be definitely! Let me give you some examples to support this claim. Taking the finance stream has allowed me to list these courses on my resume and my LinkedIn profile. Most big financial institutions, although not requiring candidates to come from a financial background, prefer candidates to demonstrate their interest in finance and prove their analytical skills. What better way to show these companies your desire to excel in finance and your strengths in mathematics than taking courses such as Corporate Finance and Investment Theory? I have been interviewed by four of the largest financial institutions in the world and the question that always comes up is: Prove to me your interest in finance. Indeed, some banks even asked me to define financial terms and compute financial equations which, without the knowledge I’ve obtained from the finance stream, I would have had a difficult time answering.

All in all, the finance stream is both challenging and rewarding in my opinion. Although five weeks is brief, the amount of extra work you put into these courses will pay dividends in your future career and have a huge advantage to your future job search in finance, consulting, and marketing.

–  Eric Li

MM’s Got Talent

Welcome to the first annual MM Talent Show! I’m your host, Naomi Giberson. It is no surprise to say that we have a very talented cohort. Our diverse cultural and academic backgrounds give us a wide array of skills to bring to the table. I’d like to take a moment, however, to unveil to you some of the hidden talents these fabulous people hold up their well-tailored sleeves.

Ever think of ditching the student life and starting a band instead? If so, I know exactly the students to go to. I’m not sure when Sauder decided to turn the MM lounge into an aviary, but I for one am glad that the song bird himself, Jino Guzman has graced us with his vocal talents. Beginning his guitar practice at the young age of 12, Jino’s subdued confidence takes over the moment one is placed in his hands. With a voice that could sell ice to a polar bear and sunscreen to a Vancouverite in November, Jino has a way with music that makes you drop whatever it is your doing, whatever it is you’re thinking, simply to listen. When he’s not halting MM students in their tracks by playing in the lounge, you can find Jino and his friend Jan capturing the audience at the Pit’s open mic night. Come on out and see him in action!

Jino is not the only musical talent we have in the cohort. A great number of us play instruments as well, like Sylvia Ma who has recently began to learn guitar and Apoorv Gupta who’s Stairway to Heaven will take you exactly there. Want to add a new twist to your rock group? Coco Wu and her gu zheng will surely add the flare you’re looking for!

Art comes in many forms other than music. There is no denying Terry Shin’s artistic finesse and passionate dedication to his clothing line, Black Merle. His talent for combining quality fabrics with a striking black and white palette turns the wearer into a walking canvas, creating art to be lived in. Check out http://www.blackmerle.com/ to get a piece of your own.

The talent continues, folks! Our class is constantly proving that jocks can have brains too. Some of you New Zealand viewers of today’s show may recognize the name Renee Cadenhead from the cycle scene. A vivacious individual with too much energy to trap behind a desk used to teach spin classes in what I can only hope was a full-piece, aerodynamic suit. Yanna Baiman began her life somersaulting out of the womb and at the age of 8 began training rigorously as a gymnast here in Vancouver. Quick and nimble Phoakan Thooptong was once a tightrope walker and, last but not least, let’s not forget that Zach Robinson played hockey.

The purpose of today’s show was to demonstrate there is a lot more to an MM student than meets the eye. These are but some of the toolkit of skills this cohort possesses. From Yash Doshi’s Bollywood dance and talk show skills, to Eric Li the poker protégé, and Leonard Lin’s voice acting potential, we all have a variety of talents that make us who we are as a class, as a cohort, and as a family.

–  Naomi Giberson

Diwali Celebration – MM Style

As this is our first blog post of the year, I’ll share with you a bit of background about the program so far! There are 46 of us in the MM 2016 Cohort, and we are from over 15 different countries. If you’re worried about making friends, don’t be, because by week 2 it felt like we had been friends for years! Everyone is here to learn, and more importantly, support each other. We have made it a big part of our year so far to celebrate different cultures and different backgrounds. Our first celebration was the Lunar Moon Festival, where some of our classmates taught us about their culture and shared their very yummy moon cakes with us! More recently, we have been able to celebrate Diwali, which I would highly recommend to any incoming classes!

HennaDiwali: the festival of lights. Unfortunately, due to our event venue, no fireworks were lit… but we didn’t let that bring down the celebration. An array of Indian cuisine was arranged by our classmates, and I’m hoping they are bringing leftovers for the next couple weeks. Mehndi (otherwise known as Henna) was beautifully done by one of our very own, and certain beverages were also consumed. Most importantly, however, was what I think was the highlight of the night… watching our boys dance! Lucky you, I have attached a short clip to go with this blog post, as I really feel like you need to get the full effect to appreciate it. It is safe to say that celebrating Diwali was definitely a highlight of the year so far, and probably has a lot of us wishing our “white girl moves” could be translated to those of our classmates. Not to fret, however, as I’m sure if I ask for a lesson, I will receive one, because that’s the way our classmates are. Kind, generous, and most of all fun!

I hope you enjoyed reading this post, and be sure to follow along with the MM Life Stories Blog 2016. There are a lot of awesome people in this cohort, and I think its safe to say that I now will have someone to visit on every side of the world.

–  Tayla Westgard