Author Archives: Soundous Ettayebi

Alumni Spring Social

This spring, a group of MM alumni from the program’s 8-year history came together to celebrate and reconnect. This was the first “reunion” planned across MM graduating years by the Master of Management Alumni Association (MMAA), and it was a huge success! At the event, we played pub trivia to see if anyone remembered anything from the program (surprisingly, quite a lot!), tasted some local craft beers, caught up with old friends, and made some new ones.

It has been truly inspiring to watch our alumni community grow and see how far people have come. There’s something about the MM: our degree is relatively young both at UBC and around the world. Because of this, we think we MMs have a unique bond that brings us together. There’s a sense of closeness and camaraderie that comes from our experience, and together, we’re building a name for ourselves on a global scale.

We’re looking forwards to making this event bigger and bi-coastal next year and want to sincerely thank the planning committee and the Alumni who came out!

Written by Cidnee Vaykovich & Elizabeth Sun (Alumni)

Alumnus Entry

First, thank you for inviting me to write a guest post on the official UBC Sauder MM Blog. It feels just like yesterday when you could find me sucking down double doubles from the Tim’s at Henry Angus at 7:30 AM each morning with incredible zeal, steeling myself for the day’s barrage of intense MM classes and dreaded group meetings – you know what I’m talking about.

In honesty, I look back on my days at Sauder with much fondness and believe that the MM program was a cornerstone decision that’s had a tremendous impact on my life.

I want to take this opportunity to offer a few words of advice and encouragement to those currently going through the program.

  1. Embrace your diversity in background, don’t shy from it.

I think many start the the MM program with a bit of self-doubt. I know in my year, we were only the third cohort coming out the program, so there was really a lot to think and be skeptical about. Wedged somewhere in between the rigorous academic foundation of a BCom and the work experience of an MBA, would I really be ready?

About half a decade out now, it’s very clear how little I had to fear. I still remember many of the stimulating conversations and incredible personalities from the MM program. I really enjoyed the dynamic natures of the people I went to class with, coming from various nationalities and academic backgrounds, who offered up perspectives on our courses and business cases with a perspective different from mine filtered from Science, Liberal Arts, Engineering backgrounds and more. Rarely in business is there only one way to tackle a problem, so learning to see so many different sides of an issue was a great lesson for me.


There have also been practical benefits to the MM experience. In the working world, now more than ever, creativity and new ideas are celebrated. At least in the technology and advertising world, many were fascinated by the story of my Music and Business background and often it’s kept the interviewer’s interest after they had slagged through 100 resumes with the same information, over and over. It shows we MMers have diverse interests, we’re willing to forge a unique path and if nothing else, that we’re interesting people (at least I’d like to think so). Breadth often breeds respect. I’ve noticed that stacking knowledge from different disciplines often enhances and rarely hinders your value to an organization.

  1. The UBC Sauder network is full of incredible connections. Use them.

One of the greatest things about being a graduate of UBC Sauder is that you’ll soon be joining the ranks of our amazing alumni community. A quick LinkedIn search will show you that we’re a global bunch, firmly established in almost every industry under the sun, whether in finance, tech, health, or entertainment – you’ll find us there..

Through the alumni network I’ve made many lifelong friends. I’ve found mentors to help me brainstorm through difficult business and career problems, I’ve secured job interviews while looking for new careers and I’ve found great friends and travel guides to meet up with when I’m visiting new countries, such as Tokyo, NYC and Seoul. Of course, I’ve also done my part to pay it forward when I can, helping make connections and introduction where possible. The reciprocity found in the Sauder community always surprises me and I’m grateful to be a contributing member.

  1. Life is a journey, don’t forget to enjoy the ride

The late nights, myriad exams and numerous networking and study sessions can seem incredibly arduous at times, but let me assure you that it will all be over in a blink of an eye. Very soon, you’ll be walking across a stage, shaking hands with the Chancellor in the Chan Centre and it will all feel like a dream.

So carpe diem. Will yourself to go to all the networking events, take part in the TREKs the school provides, make a few extra visits to the Career Centre, have a couple late nights out with your cohort and drink it all in (pun intended), leave no stone unturned because – to reiterate – it will all be over faster than you think. Say “yes” to more often than saying “no.” Make the most of your time in the MM program and leave no stone unturned. I assure you, it will be worth it.

All the best to this year’s MM cohort and a big shoutout to the amazing UBC Sauder alumni all around the world.

Feel free to connect with me whenever on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/leungalexander/ or read more about my travels, work and life at my blog leungalexander.com

Always willing to help a fellow MM-er in need.

 

Photo: Checking out the Angkor temples in Siem Reap, Cambodia


Written by Alexander Leung ’12

 

Good to Great

Yes, I’m going to borrow Jim Collins’ book title for the title of this blog post. And while it might sound cliché, I truly feel that the MM program took my career path, my personal life and my overall attitude and ambition from Good to Great.

Freshly graduated from the Faculty of Arts at UBC, before entering the MM program I was working as a bartender downtown Vancouver while deciding what my “real” job might be. I stumbled upon the MM program while researching UBC Law online, something I had imagined would always be on my post-graduate path. I am so happy that I chose the MM and Sauder.

The 9 months of MM were the most revolutionary in my adult life. Not only did I learn so much from the program courses and professors, but I also went through a major change in my personal life. I was so inspired by the energy, tenacity and drive of my fellow students that I knew I wanted to be around similar people in my professional and personal life. So much so, that Corey (a fellow MM student) and I started dating about half way through the program. We recently became engaged and have plans to marry in the summer of 2018.

Highlights of my time in the MM program include: our case study project on lululemon in Ann Stone’s marketing class, organizing events and social gatherings as part of the Student Exec, and delivering a successful pitch and business proposal as part of the CBP program.

I started working at L’Oreal only a few months after graduating from the MM program. I’m now coming up to my 5 year anniversary at the company, having worked on 2 brands across Western Canada. I would never have entered L’Oreal without the MM program and the help of the BCC. Thanks to them, I now feel more at home than ever at this organization and have my sights sets on a long career with the company.

I owe a huge thank you to all those around me in the MM community for your inspiration and setting me on this path! And to all current and future MM students, wishing you all the best, and hoping that you experience the same “Good to Great” transformation as me!

(Photo: Backcountry skiing with Corey, March 2017)

 

Written by Christine Frieght (Alumna)

HOLI 2017 – Better than India… Maybe.

The sun gleams through between the curtains, the alarm clock is not too far behind. Yes! I am finally awake. For the first time this year, I wake up with a smile and immediately jump out of my bed, skipping the morning coffee and heading straight to change into whites. It’s HOLI!  A mythological Indian festival to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, but who cares? As kids all thought about was getting out there and playing HOLI with colour, but why colours? Well that’s the way it is…  Everyone in the neighbourhood (friends and families) comes together to the celebrate the festival, putting colour on each other and playing with water. You can’t forget about all the Indian food and music!  Most people also take some Bhaang shots before the day starts.

Holi 17’ was slightly different, because this time I was in ‘Beautiful British Columbia’. As I was walking towards the venue of the HOLI festival at UBC, I was wondering how the festival would be. To be honest, I didn’t have high hopes. Was I right? Nope, I was wrong. People turned up in thousands, speakers blaring music to max, food, colour, you name it. It was 4C that morning in VanCity, but who cared. People slipped into their shorts and Ts’ and didn’t complain once when strangers in the party threw water and colour at them. The party only became intense as time went on. It was packed, phew! But hey, that’s what we want parties to be right?  Everyone jumping to the beats with half coloured faces, high spirits and enormous amounts of colour in the air. Holi turning into a Rave party, and it was awesome. Thank you to all the MM folks who came along and to UBC for making HOLI 17’ so memorable. And who could forget the Bollywood themed after party too!

Stay healthy, my friends.

 

Written by Kartic Sharma ’17

How Sales Sold Me on Business

Flashback to 18 year old me: bright eyed, bushy tailed and hell-bent on pursuing a degree in psychology. Less than a year later, I was already disenchanted with that idea. When I began my undergraduate degree, I was convinced that a career in counselling was my passion. As a full-time first year student it was required that I select five courses and the first four were easy: Psychology, English, Philosophy and History. Politics became part of the mix through process of elimination – I was the least opposed to it as compared to any other option. By the end of first year, I had declared a major in Politics.

Upon reflection, it felt so necessary that I know exactly which path to pursue fresh from high school. Naturally, as an 18 year old I was fully equipped with all the necessary experience to reach some sort of informed decision about the direction of my life. Right? Wrong. In fact, fast forward to the end of my bachelor’s degree four years later: still bright eyed, still bushy tailed and absolutely certain that I was going to law school.

For about a year after completing my undergrad, I worked as a server in a local waterfront restaurant. Simultaneously, I studied for the LSAT and prepared several law school applications. Unfortunately (or, perhaps fortunately), my efforts were unsuccessful and now I found myself at a real crossroads. I felt slightly stagnant and that was uncomfortable. So, I began applying for different jobs in the hope that a career path would present itself. But, I was only applying for jobs that felt familiar or comfortable.

Looking back, my desire to grow and the action I took as a result – applying for “comfortable” jobs – were most certainly at odds. Luckily, the job I ultimately accepted was neither familiar nor comfortable.
About a year after completing my undergrad, I became an outside sales representative in the automotive and industrial sector. Let that sink in for a moment. Here was the girl who was going to counsel people for a living, and also the girl who was going to argue in courts of law for a living, and now she is cold calling on collision and mechanical repair shops and presenting products to customers? My life had definitely zigged and then zagged and then zigged again in the four years between ages 18 and 22. And you know what? Thank goodness for those zig zags.

Finally, I found my groove (well, at least for a short while). Let me tell you a bit about my daily responsibilities as a sales rep. The company I worked for has contracts with about 30 different manufacturers. I began by focusing on several of these product lines, and was directed to traverse the lower mainland stopping in at any business that might have a need. For the most part, these were automotive shops and supply stores, although once or twice I got creative and dropped by a winemaker’s store and a shipyard. At the beginning, before I had developed any sustained relationships with customers, I experienced many suspicious looks that culminated in “thanks, but no thanks” (and this was the nicest version of ‘no’ that I received). My repertoire of rejection only encouraged me, as this was a challenge I simply had to surmount. Eventually, with a little more experience and product knowledge, I was able to create a network. At this point, some sales calls were more akin to talking business with friends than trying not to sweat or blush as I nervously attempted to engage a new customer.

I cannot find the words to express how much fun I had with that first sales position. Nor can I find the words to express how much I learned, even in that very short span of time. Though, as much as I looked forward to work each day, another pinch of self-awareness was creeping up on me. I was experiencing the beginnings of a passion that would not have been possible at 18, or at 22. And I wanted to learn more! It began with a Professional Sales Certificate, completed through Langara College. Still, this was not enough. It was at this point I discovered the Master of Management program. I applied and this application process was very different from the law school application process. Yes, I still had to write a test (LSAT to GRE) and yes I still had to write some creative pieces as part of the application. But, I felt more certain, more committed, and definitely more passionate.

Following graduation, I want to work in a sales position once again. However, if there is one important lesson I have learned it’s that you really cannot ever be sure about where your personal path will lead. I know, very cliché. Also, I promise you, very true. So, craft a plan, follow a direction but always, always be open to the multitude of opportunities that are available. If you don’t feel sure, that’s ok – a little bit of uncertainty adds excitement. Capitalize on that uncertainty and allow it to open you to new experiences.

Stay healthy, my friends.

 

Written by Savana Caruk ’17

Don’t be a M.E.S.S: Meditate, Exercise, Snack, Sleep

How can I set a daily routine that allows me to feel and live better? The answer is M.E.S.S, a friendly reminder that we should routinely meditate, exercise, snack, and sleep.

MEDITATE: Meditation is an effective way to relax, relieve stress, and promote your personal well-being. It can include things such as relaxed yoga, personal reflection, prayer, and many other forms. Some practical times for meditation include:

Beginning of the day:

  • Prepare you for the upcoming events of the day
  • Allow you to focus on what is important
  • Re-align your thoughts with your purpose

End of the day:

  • Allow you to positively reflect on the events of the day
  • Rid your mind of stressful thoughts
  • Prepare your mind and body for a rejuvenating sleep

EXERCISE: The importance of exercise is old news. As stated by John F. Kennedy, “physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” With this in mind, we are most concerned about where, when, and how to exercise.

Where? Any location that fits your needs. If you have an open space in your house, a local gym, or a nearby field, then those are all great places to stay active. I would strongly recommend going outside where the locations and opportunities are endless.

When? Consistently. Add “exercise” to your daily agenda and stick to it. For me, I work out in the mornings. This helps me to feel vigilant all day and prevents me from fidgeting uncontrollably during long meetings.

How? Exercising can take many forms. My advice is to do something that you enjoy. Playing sports, walking your dog, hiking, and working out are all great ways to stay active. Exercise should not be a chore, it should be a time that you look forward to each day!

SNACK: Eating a healthy and consistent diet will make you feel physically better and enhance your mental awareness. Try to put emphasis on eating progressively throughout a day rather than sticking to 3 large meals. Fruit smoothies, vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, and nut-mix are all great snacks to munch on throughout the day. And remember to stay hydrated to keep your mind vigilant throughout the workday!

SLEEP: Set a consistent sleep routine and stick to it. It is most important that you wake up at the same time each day (although going to bed at the same time is beneficial, this is not as important). Different people require different amounts of sleep, but 7-8 hours is safe for most people. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to nap. A 10-20 minute power nap is a great way to increase mental alertness and feel energized without the need for coffee.

Remember to not be a M.E.S.S. Try to establish a consistent 24-hour routine that incorporates meditation, at least 30 minutes of exercise, proper eating habits, and a sufficient amount of sleep. If you treat your mind and body well then they too will return the favour.

Stay healthy, my friends.

 

Written by Ben Magnuson, VP Health & Wellness ’17

New Year Same Reality

It seems like every day there is a new headline highlighting the issues that our southern neighbors are facing after the US elections results. Social media has become a boxing ring between Trump supporters and non-supporters, each side delivering a blow that stings as much as the last. With an estimated 900,000 to 2 million US citizens living in Canada[i] we must recognize our position as a neighbor and declared ally to the US. We must also recognize that we are not innocent ourselves.

We have never elected a female Prime Minister, and our very nation has been built on cultural genocide. We cannot change the past, and it feels as though we may not be able to change the future as much as we had once thought…. Canada and the US are not quite as different as we like to think.

Even though I raise my hand in class every time one of our professors asks who is American, and every time I go unnoticed, I am in fact American…. AmeriCanadian if you’d please. Going back to the US and spending the break there was a strange mixture of holiday cheer and utter shock. Although the election hit me hard while up in the land of my mother, I was not prepared for the emotional edifice that I was to face coming back.

But, I am not going to make this post about my personal grief or stomach churning sensation I get every time the orange-faced you-know-what stands up as a representation of my country. In fact, it is actually difficult not to use the colorful-almost-made-up vocabulary I possess from my art history days to paint the portrait of a man who is so brilliantly portrayed on Saturday Night Live (if you have yet to see Alec Baldwin in his what I believe to be an Oscar worthy portrayal of the President Elect, click here).

I am angry, I am offended, I am disgusted, but I am also optimistic, I believe in the common good and common decency of humanity despite that every time I open the ‘news’ app on my iPhone it is constantly tested. I commend everyone I know who has used their position to speak out against what has happened, I know multiple people who have written letters, marched in protest, and have actively spoken out on every social media platform. I also know people, people I love and admire, who voted for Trump.

So after weeks of reflecting, fighting with people I don’t agree with, being flabbergasted by the reality of violence and hate in the US, and a complete emotional roller coaster over the month we had off… I want to share with all of you my New Year resolution…

TO LISTEN: We do not need to become angry and shut out those we disagree with. We need to listen, we need to lead through our actions, we must maintain the values and cultures of our workplaces, social circles, educational arenas. This coupled with actively raising our voices against the injustices that have been committed as those who have been waiting to unleash their pent-up intolerances think that power has just been handed to them, is the fight that is our responsibility to stand up in. Regardless of who you support or did not support, regardless if you are American or not, this election has affected people worldwide and has instilled a sense of fear of what is to come. The culture of fear is a funny thing; it can paralyze or mobilize.

So for 2017 I have decided to listen, to speak, and to show that despite any individual’s political alliance, Love Trumps Hate. We mustn’t allow fear of others’ political views to destroy who we are as individuals, and as a community. This is an opportunity to fight harder, push further, and demonstrate that as Americans & Canadians living in a multi-cultural world, we are not innocent, but we can take hold of our futures. Listening and acting is where we can start.

Stay healthy, my friends.

 

Written by Kristen Underwood, VP Events ’17

 

[1] http://www.walkingwithcake.com/?attachment_id=8011

[1] http://www12.statcan.ca/census-recensement/2006/dp-pd/hlt/97-562/pages/page.cfm?Lang=E&Geo=PR&Code=01&Data=Count&Table=2&StartRec=1&Sort=3&Display=All&CSDFilter=5000