Category Archives: Other

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

MM Culture Presentations

As an initiative to celebrate our multiculturalism and learn about and share each others’ cultural traditions, this year we began an initiative called the MM Culture Presentations. The idea is to have classmates volunteer to do brief presentations on their cultural background, followed by a small Q&A during lunch breaks. Initially, I wanted these to have a strong focus on how business is conducted in different cultures, however, with time it became apparent that the presentations should focus on the cultures themselves. Although we started late, I believe that having this initiative helped our cohort bond even further and many found the presentations engaging and inspiring. Current students have presented about Russia, Taiwan, India, Ontario, the Jiangnan area in China and Turkey. I believe there is potential in turning this into an interest-based presentation series similar to the ones held by the MBA Society. For the future, I hope this develops into a sort of Lunch&Learn, a concept that is becoming popular in small businesses/start-ups to increase employee engagement.

Below are some testimonials from presenters. Please have a read.

“It was an honor to do a cultural presentation on Taiwan in front of a class full of students with different backgrounds. Doing this presentation not only gave us the opportunity to introduce our culture, but it also reminded us of those cherished memories we have about our home.”

“We got to see how others thought and felt about our culture, and had the opportunity to speak about topics they were most interested that we hadn’t thought of even presenting on at first.”

“I think we didn’t realize how much we wanted to share. Before we even knew it, time was up! Many people came up to us later to express how much they learned and enjoyed the presentations.”

I am very proud to have been a part of this initiative and to see many of my classmates ask great questions, learn about each other, and gain insights into how business might be conducted in different cultures. It is my hope that this initiative continues for years into the future so that MM students can always take advantage of the cultural learnings in our diverse cohorts.

 

-Parawin Adisayathepkul, VP International

Shoreline Cleanup – Last Installment of 4-Part Local Volunteering Series

Sunday April 26th – A small, but mighty group of our class went out to Spanish Banks West/East to clean up the beach in our own MM Shoreline Cleanup.

The Shoreline Cleanup is a local initiative run by the Vancouver Aquarium and the World Wildlife Foundation. Anyone can organize a local cleanup at the beach of his or her choice by going to http://www.shorelinecleanup.ca/.

Although you wouldn’t think there is a lot of garbage at Spanish Banks, we managed to collect over 6 full bags of garbage! Among the expected bottles and cans, we picked up some unusual items including: a pillow, one shoe and one sock, a pair of gloves, and a road sign.

This was the last event in a series of 4 volunteering initiatives which included: a day at the Vancouver Food Bank, running in UBC’s Run for Rural Medicine, cooking a meal at the Ronald McDonald House and lastly, the Shoreline Cleanup. Although there were a variety of volunteer options, each event had the commonality of great, hard working volunteers. It was so rewarding to have the opportunity to make a difference in our community together as a class. We hope to see the local volunteering initiatives carried on with the next MM cohort because we know that they will get as much out of it as we did.

– Marni-Lyn Fox

Nearing the End of the Road

 

Brennan.BlogPost

 

 

When we started the MM program in September, I remember alumni and faculty telling our cohort that the program would be done before we knew it and to make the most of it. They weren’t joking! Period 5, our last and final set of courses, has arrived! Just five more weeks of classes and we will be on our merry way – out of the comfort of room 337, the MM Lounge and breakout rooms – and into the real business world. No more Mikes Bikes simulations, just real world decisions!

As we near the end of the program, many questions fill our minds – “What’s next? More school? Will I be deported after my visa expires?” and the scariest of them all, “Will I get that job I’ve been working toward?” But as we contemplate our future and look forward to May 25th, let’s not forget to enjoy the moment. I mean, where else can we get free lunches, sweet treats that magically show up in the lounge when we are stressed, or a personal support team that is dedicated to our careers! But above all, the thing that I will miss most is the camaraderie with my fellow MMs. Never was one of the late nights I spent at Sauder without a little fun and laughter. In a few years, I may not remember what TQM stood for or whether something is a debit or credit. But what I will remember are those many study sessions always filled with laughter, food and friendship. I value the new friendships I made and the people I study with because of the genuine respect and concern we have for each other. While some of us want to work in the same industry and are pursuing the same positions, never do we hold back from helping each other apply for those same jobs. These are the kinds of connections and friendships that I’m happy to leave the MM program with.

As we move into our last term, I want to encourage each of you to finish strong. Not just academically but in every aspect of the MM experience. Make connections, develop your brand and above all build lasting friendships. Ask yourself, “what do I want to leave with after MM,” then make it happen over the next five weeks we have left together. Make the most of the rest of your MM experience!

Peace out – Brennan Lee

Volunteering at the Greater Vancouver Food Bank

FoodBankImage

MM Students at the Greater Vancouver Food Bank – Instalment 1 of the local MM Gives Back initiative, which engages students with the local community.

 

Instalment 1 of the MM Gives Back Local Initiatives:

10 MM students from the 2015 cohort followed in the footsteps of the 2014 cohort by volunteering at the Vancouver Food Bank

One of our tasks was to assemble the emergency food bags. We were shocked by the small amount of fresh produce available to give to each recipient. At this time of the year no local produce is growing and therefore, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank has to make due with what is available. We had no idea how many families rely on these services and it was a chance for us to understand the magnitude of the problem and reflect on ways to give back further.

The Greater Vancouver Food bank provides for over 100 meal-providing agencies that help over 13,000 people each week and relieve families across Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster and the North Shore. It is incredible, the 26,000 square foot warehouse is packed full of generous donations from the community. Even so, there is still a growing need for help. It was a very eye-opening experience, and I think I can speak for the whole group when I say that we took a lot away from volunteering our time.

What we found very interesting was the direction that they hope to take the Food Bank in years to come. They are currently in a transition phase starting with the transformation of their depots into hub centers. The new centers will create a “shopping experience” rather than an assembly line approach to giving out donations. Our group was very impressed by this improvement, primarily, because it dignifies the process. Another unique element is the café in their North Vancouver hub, which allows people to sit and eat a meal together. The idea behind this is to foster a sense of community amongst food bank users. Overall, the Food Bank is trying to revitalize their framework and focus on empowerment and education.

We are so happy to have volunteered our time and we hope that the next MM class will come together to continue on the legacy.

 – Marni-Lyn Fox

Alumna Guest Entry: Bethany Bohme

IMAG0370

Wreck Beach

 

My name is Bethany and I’m an Account Executive with Robert Half Technology. What that translates to, is that I have a career at a recruitment firm in which I specialize in consulting with executive level management at the best companies to work for in BC about their Tech/IT hiring needs. Many of the companies we consult with are growing tech start-ups. When I wake up most mornings I spring out of bed, have a solo dance party and walk to work with a smile on my face.

The most important skill I acquired from the MM program was learning how to effectively negotiate. Most things in life are negotiable. The sooner you’re able to really narrow in on honing this skill, the more satisfying outcomes you’ll experience in business and life. Whether it’s your first salary, rent on a new apartment, or where to go for dinner with your friend, negotiation is key. Negotiation isn’t about winning or losing, it’s about compromise. Ultimately, being an effective negotiator will make you a more desirable colleague, employee, and partner, because it requires you to actually listen to what the other party is saying. The value of this can never be understated.

My advice for potential applicants to the MM program is to connect with as many people as you possible can, and never stop. During the program I forced myself to go to networking events every couple weeks, even though at the time this was very much outside of my comfort zone. Even now, I constantly remind myself that everyone else at the event also showed up there for the same reason – to meet new people! If you can connect with 1, 2, or 5 people an event, those are valuable connections. No matter whom you meet there’s a very good chance if you just ask, that they know someone in the industry/career that you’re interested in, and can facilitate an introduction. Vancouver is very, very small. Treat everyone you meet like gold.

 – Bethany Bohme, MM ’13

An International Classroom: Carnaval

10979245_10155122882095696_193589437_n (1)

It’s that time of the year again where everyone forgets about their problems, dresses up as someone else, and puts on their heart-shaped glasses: It’s time for Carnaval! (…at least in Brazil!) Being in the MM program, you get to learn, work, and build relationships with people from around the world. Considering the global world we now live in, this is a huge learning opportunity and we quickly realized that sharing our cultural experiences is crucial to understanding each other better and growing as future business leaders. Through this brief blog post I hope to share with current and prospective MM students at least some of my passion for my favorite celebration of the year.

Waking up at 5am, getting costumed up, and rushing out early to begin the celebration is a must for Carnaval. The street parties in Rio de Janeiro act like an alarm clock for the city. Hearing the drumbeats coming up my street, my blood starts to bubble with adrenaline and excitement. Drums are playing, singers are entertaining, and people are dancing. People from different ethnic and social backgrounds gather together to celebrate washing away the worries of everyday life; violence, corruption, and the fear of being on the streets are, at least for a moment, forgotten.

Although the mercury reads 40 degrees Celsius, the heat of over one million people dancing in the streets brings it up to 55. But that does not stop anyone from having a good time. The heat is one of the things that makes Carnaval so unique in Brazil. Since childhood, Carnaval has been a big part of my life and I strongly believe everyone has to experience such an event. It is a party where you lift your spirits and let go of the usual day-to-day. It is not a rave, it is not a festival, it is not a drinking event, it is Carnaval and those who experience it will look at life in a whole new way.

– Gabi Maia

My MM Family

LaCasita

The MM Class of 2015 at their end of Module 2 celebration!

 

When I first started this program I thought I would learn about business, make connections, and then find a job. However, four months in, I’ve realized that that will only be a small portion of what I will get out of this program. It has given me a second family that teaches me new things everyday.

At the beginning of the program, MM students were 49 small branches of a tree, all looking for guidance, strength, and security. During my first week, it never crossed my mind that the people who will give me the support and the security I need are sitting right next to me in this classroom.

There are, of course, highs and lows in our shared journey. In a fast-paced and intense program like the MM, sometimes we frustrate or challenge each other as we all learn and grow how to navigate this experience. Despite these moments, we also always support, empower, and cheer each other up. If someone is absent in the class, we message that person to ensure he/she is ok.  If someone goes through a break up, we take him or her out for a great night to let him or her know that they aren’t alone. If someone starts a new commitment, such as working out we all support the person to ensure he/she doesn’t quit. If we have a problem in our lives, we know that there is always someone in our class to listen and truly care. We never hesitate to approach our MM family to ask for help or a favor. I have to admit, I have learned lessons from just being a member of this family that I would never have learned from class lectures. We are 49 people with different life stories, cultures, thought-processes, personalities, ideas, and opinions. It is fascinating and mysterious how we have created this family and we “never eat alone.” Most importantly, we all have individual roles in this family that nobody else can replace.

It is an exciting but also gloomy thought that, when the program is over in four months, the branches of our tree will be off and growing in their own directions again. However, what we’ve shared will no doubt keep us connected for a lifetime.

– Samin Saadat