Tag Archives: Academics

Business for Creatives

I took a different path than most of my cohort did to get to the MM program. I think that my story will help show one of the strengths of the MM program as well as hopefully inspire others to push their boundaries and try to gain new skills, so bear with me for a minute.

When I was a kid, I was never a big fan of school, especially anything that involved numbers. I spent a lot more time playing with cameras and computers than I actually spent paying attention in high school. For the most part, I took the easy route with a singular vision in mind – going to design school. After 3 years studying graphic design at MacEwan University in Edmonton, I graduated with a certificate and a diploma and immediately landed a fantastic internship as a designer in a construction company’s communications department. I’d never seen myself working in an office, but I quickly fell in love with it.

I knew that my new career goals would require more education than a diploma, so the following year I went to Royal Roads University in Victoria and completed my BA in Professional Communication. However, as I was completing my undergraduate degree I felt like something was missing. While I had gained a lot of great skills, I lacked the ability to quantify their value. I also lacked business acumen as well as knowledge of key areas such as commercial law and financial reporting.

I had never taken a single quantitative course in university. With increasingly high aspirations, I knew that I wanted, and needed, more. To make a long story short: I worked my butt off brushing up on my quantitative skills, wrote the GRE, and applied for the MM.

While I had some basic quantitative experience from investing as well as summer jobs in construction, starting the MM three weeks after finishing my undergraduate degree was daunting. The first period included courses in Economics, Statistics, and Financial Accounting. Looking back, I realize what a difficult job the professors had catering the material to a class that ranged from very little to heavy amounts of quantitative experience. One of the great things about the cohort model was that I’ve never been alone. I’ve constantly badgered my classmates for help in my weaker areas (thank you, if you’re reading this) and I was able to push through the courses. Plus, with the exception of a B- in Statistics, I’ve done very well.

Moving forward, I see endless possibilities for my creative background combined with my graduate business training. A lot of employers are seeking well-rounded individuals, which I can now certainly claim to be. While I don’t see myself becoming an accountant or a financial analyst, I have gained confidence and knowledge that helps me communicate with people from various areas of businesses. These skills have already proved invaluable in my conversations with potential employers.

The moral of my story is that you can earn an MM, whether you studied science or art. You can earn an MM even on the off chance that, like me, you haven’t taken a single quantitative undergraduate course. The MM is designed in a way that will help you succeed. All it takes is your dedication and a few late nights. Luckily, your cohort will be right there with you.

– Nick Larson

nicklarson.xyz

@NRWL

From Arts to Business

How business education shapes your world..

I always knew that some day I would like to wear a suit, smoke a cigar, and talk business. I might have exaggerated that a little bit, but it is true: I always wanted to immerse myself in the business world. I believed, and I still do, that business education would open doors to opportunities, leading me to companies that I longed to be a part of. When I was deciding on my undergraduate major, I chose to first invest four years of my life in the liberal arts education, believing that it would change the way I perceive the world for the rest of my life. I never regret.

My subconscious, however, kept telling me that I also needed knowledge and skills that could be more directly applied to careers in which I was interested. After thorough research, I chose the Master of Management program to build a broad foundation upon which I can further solidify my business knowledge and skills through work experience in the future. Now that I have completed 60% of the MM program, I can tell you that business education goes beyond finding a job: it will also equip you with another lens, enabling you to deepen the knowledge about the world.

Prior to the MM program, inadequate exposure to statistical theory made me skeptical when I read academic journals or articles on the newspapers. “How could they draw conclusions that represent the majority, from 1,000 samples only?”, I thought. It could be just a coincidence! However, Professor Jonathan Berkowitz introduced me to essential theory about statistics, its reasoning, and applications, in a unique way. He turned ordinary conversations or dialogues in movies and poems into statistical works of art. And the way I see this world has changed. Statistics has now become an additional tool that aids decision-making, personally and professionally.

Each jigsaw puzzle piece that the MM courses offer will provide you with different useful lenses to be used in different scenarios. The concepts of costs in Managerial Accounting might change your buying behaviour. Design thinking from Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship might redefine your perception of failure. Whichever lenses you use, a more versatile way of thinking, a big picture of business, and the link between your business career and your undergraduate degree will develop along the journey.

– Phaokan Thooptong

BLACK(M)MERLE

Courses you take during 9 months of the MM program are very intensive and challenging. However, these courses will definitely equip you with necessary tools that you would need in order to become a successful entrepreneur. Your learning experiences would be perfectly utilizable if you have some idea of your own venture before you come into the program or are even better when you have a business already. I can assure you of this because I am speaking from personal experience.

During my undergraduate years at Queen’s University, I majored in life sciences. Nonetheless, I knew that deep inside my heart the one thing that I was always passionate about was fashion. It is something that I have been putting my heart and soul into ever since my childhood. After graduating from Queen’s, I finally decided that I would start my own clothing brand, and to aid the process of building my own business, I applied to study management at UBC. After a lengthy but super enjoyable preparation, designing, sampling, and manufacturing process, BLACKMERLE (blackmerle.com) was officially launched on September 1st of 2015, which was the start of our MM program as well. 12625779_10153209303546059_821982769_nBeing a designer and starting your own fashion brand may look glamorous to some people but it is a really challenging venture and industry since there is a lot more business involved than what it seems like on the surface. Although I have taken care of all the beginning administration tasks and basic business side of the brand at this point, such as creating the online presence, marketing both online/offline, or making creative content, I was still faced with more tasks and strategic managing in order to move forward. Courses I have taken so far during the MM program and help from the Business Career Center have been guiding me and pushing me forward with my venture.

I have to admit that marketing is the biggest challenge in most start-up ventures. Marketing courses taught by Ann Stone and Yi Qian will definitely help you plan out and execute several important marketing tactics. Financial and managerial accounting gives you the important technique in tracking where all your precious investment is going and, more importantly, gives you the right mindset for dealing with cost, revenue, and profit. Real life case studies that you will be reading throughout the whole program give you great insight by analyzing other company’s mistakes and successes. Entrepreneurship class gives you some of the most direct advice you can utilize right away to build your own start-up. Lastly, resources and help from BCC are very precious since they can give you the most “tailored” advice. It is incredibly amazing opportunity when you can apply what you learn in the classroom right away into your own business. Concepts that might seem so abstract to some students are better understood when you can relate it to your own business.

You only live a short life. I always feel like there is not enough time. If you have a dream of building your own business empire, start now. Although it may be different from person to person, the MM program can help you gain some essential skills in order to achieve your entrepreneurial dream. As I always mumble to myself, “know thyself” and follow your heart.

–  Terry Shin

BLACKMERLE

Academic-Life Balance

The MM program offers 24 intensive courses over the course of 9 months. Although this might sound like a wonderful time, I was mostly attracted to the program because of its location in stunning Vancouver. Vancouver and the greater surrounding area has something for every adventure seeker, and in order to best balance books and life in the city without losing your sanity, it’s very important you master the art of work-life balance. This is a skill that will continue to prove useful throughout your career and will lead to reduced stress, anxiety and overall a more pleasant life. Perfecting work-life balance comes down to setting personal priorities. Not just ‘Should I watch the new episode of Suits or the Bachelorette?’ – in which case the answer is always Suits. Rather, setting priorities involves critically questioning the type of person you are, what you want out of your life and where you want to be in your final days. Do you want to be the wealthiest person in the world or live a healthy, prosperous life, surrounded by those who love and care about you? There’s really no one right answer, as I mentioned, these are personal priorities and you cannot judge yourself based on the priorities of other people. Therein lies the key message I’m trying to convey: don’t judge yourself using scorecards made by others – you’re doing yourself a disservice. Remain focused on your priorities and don’t let other’s sway you from them. By no means does this happen overnight; knowing what you want is a long process which can involve years of self-actualization. While you’re setting your priorities consider this: What type of lifestyle do you want in the future? How will you take care of parents, siblings or anyone else who made you who you are today? Will you have time to care for other loved ones, a spouse or even kids? It’s pointless to plan every detail of your life, as such plans are bound to change, but thinking about these questions will allow you to figure out who you want to be.

Like in business, focus is crucial when trying to achieve certain goals in your life. Whether it be finding your dream job or a partner who loves trap as much as you, priorities will help you focus on the important things and stop sweating the small stuff. For example, if you realize you’re here to save the planet and prevent humanity’s certain doom, you’ll stop worrying about that C you got in Stats. So fellow and future MM students, if you ever find yourself getting stressed about school, work or any other facet of life, take a step back and breathe. Ask yourself if what you’re worrying about is really a priority or if your life will continue to progress without it. In my limited 21 years of experience, I find most people stress themselves out by comparing themselves to certain metrics created by and meant for others, be it friends, family or total strangers. As I often do, if you find yourself guilty in this matter, remember these words echoed by the great Albert Einstein: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

– Samuel Arulnathan

MM Finance Stream

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

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

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

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

–  Eric Li