Category Archives: Life at UBC/Vancouver

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

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

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

Day of the Longboat 2014

longboat2015 (1)

As one of the MM students that also did her undergrad at UBC, the MM experience has been a little different for me than it has for others. Although I did not have some of the challenges of adjusting to life in Vancouver (e.g the regular and sometimes seemingly-constant rain), thus far it has been interesting experience to be a Masters student at UBC. With five years of experience on this vast campus I know the resources that are available, the awesome annual events and all of the good hidden study spots.  With this great knowledge comes the great responsibility of passing it along to MMs who are new to the UBC Vancouver Campus!

One of my favourite events at UBC has always been the Day of the Longboat that happens every year on the third weekend of September. Students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members gather along the coast of Jericho Beach and race boats that fit up to 10 people. This year it was my pleasure to help rally the troops and have our very own MM team enter the 15 minute race under the team name ‘SeaEOs’. Although we had a rocky start to the race, as any good SeaEO we managed to stay composed, stay positive and fight till the very end. With a little bit of hard work and a few sea shanties our team advanced to the second round! However, as you will soon find out with the MM program, there isn’t enough time to spend a whole day at sea so we had to forfeit the second race so we could head back to Sauder to study for our upcoming exams.

The Day of the Longboat was a great day to connect with the other MM students especially as it was early on in the year. The other non-UBC undergraduate students seemed to really enjoy feeling a part of the great community that is UBC. It was also a great chance for UBC undergraduate students to also experience an event that they had always wanted to but never had the chance in their undergrad.

Whether you have completed your undergraduate degree here at UBC or are joining this beautiful university for the first time, there are tons of great ways to get involved, enjoy the Vancouver area and have some fun with fellow classmates!

– Filza Qureshi

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Happy Halloween!

HalloweenPic1

Halloween… every blog needs at least one post about it. For MM 2015, October 31st was not just Halloween. It was a celebration of two of our classmates’ birthdays and a very hectic day at the first Career Development Programming Day (CDP). But that evening everyone got costumed up and went to kick off the celebration at Koerner’s Pub. Some of us had never celebrated Halloween before and it was a great opportunity to see what it was all about and how locals celebrate. We also went down to Granville’s entertainment district later that night and saw even more people in costumes having fun. Some were funny, others were just downright scary! Vancouver is very into this celebration and I hope to join it again next year.

If you’re looking for a scare, be sure to check out Fright Nights at the PNE. I believe it’s only opened in October so be sure to go before Halloween. I guarantee you’ll have lots of fun between the roller coasters and haunted houses.

-Parawin Adisayathepkul

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Diwali with MM 2015

DiwaliPic1

I have to be honest, I wasn’t sure this one was going to work out! The idea to have a Diwali Party came up on a Tuesday and the party was set to happen on Friday. All I could say on Tuesday was “so… what’s Diwali?” But with our curiosity and a hunger to learn about each other, MM 2015 made this Diwali a great one!

For those of you that don’t know what it is, Diwali is the Festival of Lights in the Hindu culture and an official holiday in many countries. Our Indian classmates shared how we could celebrate and everyone embraced the opportunity to do something new and fun. For our celebration we dressed up in nice and/or traditional attire (see picture above), lit up the room with lots of candles, cooked a feast, ate until we couldn’t eat anymore, and played many games. Many people brought food to share, including myself (mango lassi) and it was a great time. It was all about sharing culture, and that is something I really value in our MM cohort. As you can tell from the pictures, not everyone was dressed up, but it was something everyone, international or domestic, could rally around and just have fun. At the end of the day, that’s what matters: being open and accepting. This was one of the first international events MM 2015 held and I know there are many more to come. Can’t wait!

– Parawin Adisayathepkul

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Coolest/Most Beautiful Spots on Campus

Hi Guys!!

Hope you’re all doing great. We are coming closer and closer to the end of our program; I can’t believe how fast time has flown :(.

The weather here is getting a lot warmer which means that there are days when I can frolic around campus without an umbrella and it means I can wander around to all my favorite spots on campus. Here are the top 5 places I think everyone should check out before they graduate from UBC.

1. Rose Garden

You know the saying “a picture says a thousand words”? Well when I saw a picture of the Rose Garden I was sold on UBC, the thought of being on a campus with such million dollar views immediately attracted me to this place (I’m so glad it was not a Photo- shopped picture, I would have been so disappointed). I love having lunch here when it’s really nice outside 🙂


2. First Nations Longhouse

This place is pretty awesome, you can come here if you want to learn about Aboriginal traditions, plus it’s shaped like a boat tipped over. They serve free lunch every Tuesday (I’m not gonna lie, this was the first thing that ever brought me to the building in my undergrad).


I also really like the Xwi7xwa (pronounced whei-wha) Library which is sort of attached to the building. If you ever want to read some Aboriginal stories, this is a great place to come and get a book.

3. Museum of Anthropology (MOA)

Did you know that this museum is on the list of “1000 things to do before you die”??? and you do not have to tell me why. I LOVE visiting MOA! I remember the first time I came here they had to kick me out because they were closing down for the day…haha. I would have to say my favorite room here is the Multiversity Galleries room, they have art work and monuments from ALL OVER THE WORLD:

I, of course get VERY excited when I see the Nigerian art

4. Nitobe Garden

Now this is our very own UBC Japanese garden and its a great place to visit when you want to “study” outside and be inspired by nature. I remember in my undergrad a lot of students would come here to read a book when they didn’t want to focus on work. They have free wifi… need I say more?

5.  Koerner Library

One thing I’ve learned in my time at UBC is that no building is JUST a building, every building has a story or a reason for why it’s shaped the way it is. Well the Koerner Library is one of the buildings that has a cool story behind it’s shape. If you look very closely, you will notice that it’s shaped like an open book face-down (some people believe that when they’re in the building they are walking through the pages of knowledge).

Look very closely


Hopefully, when you get here you’ll be able to go to all these spots and discover some of your own; UBC is a really beautiful campus and it was VERY tough for me to narrow this post down to just 5 spots.

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment :).

Until next time!

Yoyo.

Storm The Wall…. I FINALLY did it :)

Hi guys! I hope you are all doing great and not too nervous about the application process 😀

I know that it sometimes feels like we are always working on one assignment or group project or something along those lines but we also like to have fun around campus as well.

For those of you who don’t know, I completed my Undergrad degree at UBC so I’m used to a lot of the AWESOME traditions we have here and one of those is something called “Storm The Wall”, in fact, this was my first time actually storming the wall… I know, I know, what????

So what exactly is Storm The Wall? It is a 4-5 person relay that happens all over campus; someone does the swimming, another the short-distance run, someone else does that biking, and then the last person does the long-distance race (me having abnormally long limbs automatically meant I was doing this part for my team). At the end of the relay there is a 12 FOOT WALL….yes I repeat 12 FOOT WALL (double my height) that you have to storm with the help of your team mates… there are even a few people who do the whole relay and the storming on their own (this is called the Ironman/Ironwoman… you should totally check it out here ).

Well this year I decided to finally stop avoiding that giant wall and join a Storm team which was great because the MM Society put together two teams that competed.

Here are some pictures of the MM competitors and us climbing the wall:


We are such a beautiful bunch aren’t we?


Pulling up one of our teammates 🙂


And we had THE BEST supporters in the crowd!!!

I’m so glad that I finally got round to storming the wall because I can now check that off my list of things to do before graduating. While none of our teams actually won the competition (in fact, my team got disqualified…. awkward), the experience was great and I couldn’t have chosen a better bunch of people to get this done with!


Until next time,

Yoyo!

here

Life in Vancouver

What makes Vancouver so great? Just about everything. You can kayak and ski in the same day here – seriously. It would be a challenge to find something that you can’t do in Vancouver. Below I’ve outlined the reasons why I like to call Vancouver home:

  1. The food. The food the food the food. I love trying new restaurants, and there is never a shortage of those here. Virtually every cuisine you can think of is represented in some way in Vancouver. We even have a food truck festival in the summer. Throughout the rest of the year there are food trucks dispersed all around the city – one of my favourites is Tacofino (get a fish taco!).
  2. The weather. People might complain about the rain, but I don’t mind it. Living in a city where -5 is a freezing day is my kind of city.
  3. The mountains and ocean. I grew up in Vancouver and I’m still in awe of its beauty.
  4. The culture. Vancouver is a melting pot – there are so many cultures represented and celebrated here. One event I look forward to every year is Italian Day on Commercial Drive. The Asian population is a significant influence on the culture of Vancouver, and there are many celebrations throughout the year associated with different Asian cultures – all of which are fun to attend.
  5. The size. Vancouver is a city, but you still can run into people you know at the grocery store. There are distinct neighborhoods in Vancouver that all have a community feel. In Kitsilano, my neighborhood, I know some of the small business owners just from shopping at their stores.

I like to be a tourist in my own city, so I’ve outlined 5 must-do Vancouver activities below:

  1. Bike the seawall around Stanley Park.
  2. Either hike the Grouse Grind (or take the gondola…I won’t judge you) up Grouse Mountain to see the most amazing views of the city.
  3. Wander around Gastown – our own cobblestone neighborhood! Some of the best restaurants are there, along with some great shopping
  4. Eat sushi! Anywhere! Well, maybe not anywhere, but we have some fantastic sushi restaurants here. If you’re looking for more upscale, try Miku, for the middle of the road: Hapa Izakaya, and for a funky sushi experience: The Eatery.
  5. Finally, one of my favourite things to do (and I do this often!) is to visit Granville Island. There are restaurants, art galleries, produce, flowers, toys, and everything in between. It’s in a gorgeous location and I always find something new there.

Off to eat some sushi…. Maddie 

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Fun and Social

I still can’t believe I have been in this amazing city for almost half a year. It feels unreal! The past five months of the MM program have been super busy and we might need to push ourselves even harder for the remainder of the program. But, if you think the heavy work load or final exam pressure can stop us from having fun, you’re absolutely wrong!

Hanging out with my classmates is one of the biggest reasons why I like this program so much! The program gathers like-minded people with diverse backgrounds which makes the social life in Vancouver so incredible and diverse. For example, last week a group of us went to try some of the spiciest chicken wings on earth – so spicy that you need to sign a waiver before you’re allowed to eat them. What’s more, for someone who’s born and raised in a completely different culture, I never thought watching a hockey game in a bar with a bunch of friends would be so much fun!

We also participate in a wide range of special events outside of class. The faculty and my classmates strive to provide many networking opportunities to make friends and connections. For example, at our alumni mixer in November I received precious advice on careers, job hunting, interviewing and even tips for new-comers to Vancouver. Another special event was Trek Vancouver. Trek Vancouver was very useful for the class, especially for international students to get acquainted to local companies as well as Vancouver’s business culture.

Almost every Master of Management student likes a good quality social life to enhance the value of their learning experience. I don’t think many of my classmates would sit in a class think “Geez! this capitalization table is the coolest thing I’ve ever learned!”. However personally, my classmates are my greatest support in this program and I have learned just as much from them as what I’ve learned in class.