Category Archives: Careers

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)

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

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

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

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

GDC 2014

In December I started to plan my trip to the Game Developers Conference 2014 in San Francisco. Unluckily, it fell during one of the busiest times of the school year (Week 4 of Module 4) and was a fairly large investment, but I still decided to go because not only am I interested in games, but it’s an industry I would love to be a part of.  So on March 18th, I brought my suitcase with me to school and after a full day of classes, boarded a plane and headed to San Francisco!

The conference itself was a bit overwhelming at first. Having been to Tokyo Game Show (TGS) before, I half-knew what to expect, but the scale of GDC blew me away. It took up 3 massive convention centers! On top of that, the best and brightest developers in the industry were there and here I was – a student looking for a job. I had taken the advice of my friends and the BCC and set up a few meetings in advance, but for the most part I was going to have to figure it out on the fly. As such, I took the first day slowly – spending most of my time scoping out the companies I would like to learn more about and speaking with some of the larger studios.

That night I was able to attend some of the parties and really started to feel more confident about the entire trip. As someone who isn’t the best networker in the world, it was great to know that everyone at the conference already shared something in common (hint: we enjoy video games.) I met some great people and really started to enjoy myself. It was really nice to learn from professionals in the industry. I felt like it was a good day overall, but I really wanted to hit the ground running in the morning.

The next day (and the rest of the conference) proved to be just as awesome as I had hoped. I met tons of people, learned a bunch, and managed to get into some of the larger networking parties that night.  In one night, networking had turned into something that was enjoyable. I didn’t leave the conference with any job offers, but I had a bunch of leads and more than a handful of business cards.

Since coming back to Vancouver, it’s been nonstop between school and following up with everyone I met. The trip was absolutely worth it from both a learning and career development perspective.  It would have been nice to enjoy some of the sunny Californian weather, but with module 4 wrapping up soon maybe it won’t be so long before I return to Cali. Only next time, I hope it’s to start my career.

 

Trek Toronto – The Next Frontier

Among all the wonderful opportunities offered by this program, I believe that this was the one that contributed the most to my personal development. Along with this, I feel that I have obtained a clearer understanding of what my dream career path is.

The trek was a length of four days (Tuesday to Friday) during our break week. The schedule of our visits was excellently structured and the Business Career Center team was able to create a list of very interesting companies. We had the opportunity to visit companies of different sectors, from Facebook to IBM, from BMO to Google, and Labatt to Deloitte.

With a small group of MM colleagues, we decided to arrive to Toronto early in order to visit the city and understand what it would be like to live there. I must say we arrived to Toronto not in the coldest period, but most definitely not in spring. The city was covered in snow and it kept snowing during our entire visit. However, it made the environment even more magical and spectacular.

Both the visits to the companies and the alumni mixer were truly useful in understanding more about working environments and working possibilities. I would have never expected to see such a warm and creative environment within companies. It’s now clear to me how and why companies are driven to such perfection!

The opportunity to meet fantastic geniuses from big companies is not a frequent occurrence, and I would never have had the experience if I didn’t join the MM program. When it comes to applying for jobs or talking with friends about companies, you don’t really know how it is – you have to experience these things with your very own eyes. Some companies are so forward thinking and innovative that by just talking to them, it opened my mind to so many new perspectives.

I have just one comment about Trek Toronto: Fantastic!

And now… to the new adventure, to the final frontier!

Tiziano
ca.linkedin.com/in/TizianoMenconi

And the Gold Medal Goes to…Everybody!

The job hunt is important to all of us for some reason or another. Maybe it’s student loans waiting to bite back, wanting to move on from student life, or even just anxiety. In the MM program, there are 50 other bright students trying to figure it out along with you and we’re all more than happy to help each other out. We get a lot of coaching and help from the BCC (Business Career Centre), but I think as students we give each other the best shot of succeeding after graduation.

If we’re all students and we’re all trying to find jobs, how can we possibly be giving each other the best shot for success? At most, each of us only have a few years of experience and we haven’t come from business backgrounds. What can we do for each other?

We support each other and act as a team. Yes, I know this may sound wishy-washy and maybe it’s all the Olympic hype, but please bear with me and let me explain.  We spend a lot of time together in the classroom, in teams, and outside of Sauder. We quickly get to know each other and what types of opportunities each of us might be interested in. This is fantastic because when we’re searching the web for own job hunt, we may not always find something interesting. However, you might find perfect opportunity for one of your classmates. So share it with them. On top of that, a lot of us are trying to enter industries where we may have little experience. With a cohort as diverse as ours, there is always someone to talk to who may have studied or has experience in that area.

I’ll admit when I came into the program I was a bit worried about finding a job after graduation. Now, however, it is more exciting than I ever could have thought and I credit this change to my classmates. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice. And remember that even if our destinations aren’t all the same, right now we’re all in the same boat.

 

Blair Reedy

A firm handshake

Early on Friday the 24th of January, 22 MM’s dressed in suits gathered at the Starbucks in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Hotel for Trek Vancouver.

What is Trek Vancouver?

Trek Vancouver is an awesome event planned and organised by Nate, our class’s VP of Career Affairs. The bible of job hunting states that you should have as many informational interviews with people in industries you are interested in as possible. Trek Vancouver is a super, day-long informational interview with 12 people from three companies and half of the MM class.

Fuelled by caffeine, the MMs headed to the BMO’s palatial offices next door where we were greeted with some more coffee by senior banking executives who were ready to meet starry-eyed students, share stories, and lavishly impart wisdom.


After an enlightening session, we grabbed some lunch and headed to Vision Critical’s trendy and picturesque office on Granville Street. There, we were greeted by 3 MM alumni and given a tour of their offices, which featured a kitchen with a foosball table much like the one in our MM lounge.